Kensington StudioDock Review: Lets Your 11″ or 12.3″ iPad Pro Connect, Charge, and Create in Powerful New Ways

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The Lowdown

The Kensington StudioDock offers a single location for charging your iPad, iPhone, AirPods, and with an optional purchase in a few months, a charging spot for your Apple Watch. At the same time, it offers a range of viewing angles in both landscape and portrait that will let your iPad work the way you want to work rather than the other way around. Add in the abundant array of ports, and this single accessory not only makes your iPad more useful than ever, but it also lets you unclutter your desk and get rid of many of the cables and chargers you’re currently using.

Overall
4.5

Pros

  • Large, stable, and solid
  • There is a version for the 11″ iPad Pro and iPad Air and a separate version for the larger iPad Pro
  • Charges the iPad faster than Apple’s 18W charger
  • USB ports galore as well as an SD card reader, HDMI 2.0 and more
  • Qi charging for iPhone and AirPods
  • Optional charger for Apple Watch coming soon

Cons

  • Big and bulky, this isn’t an accessory you will want to move around much
  • Apple Watch charger coming soon but will be an added expense
  • Will become obsolete if Apple does a major iPad redesign
  • Pricey
Kensington StudioDock Review: Lets Your 11" or 12.3" iPad Pro Connect, Charge, and Create in Powerful New Ways Listen to this article

The iPad Pro is a remarkable tablet that has become an indispensable productivity and content creation device for many of us. And while it is amazing, the right accessory makes it even better. The new Kensington StudioDock is one such accessory. It holds your iPad, charges all your devices, and connects your peripherals. At under $400, the StudioDock adds ports and other functionality that takes the iPad to new heights.

Kensington StudioDock

The Kensington StudioDock is available in two models. The $379.99 model fits both the 11” iPad Pro and current generation iPad Air. For $399.99, you can get a version for the larger 12.9” iPad Pro. As the company explains,

Get the most from your iPad with StudioDock. The ideal iPad docking station that expands more than your desktop options — it expands your creativity. Magnetically attach and detach your USB-C iPad Pro 11” (2018+), iPad Air (2020+) or iPad Pro 12.9″ (2018+) to the elegantly designed StudioDock in portrait or landscape mode, and the possibilities are endless.

Kensington StudioDock

When the box containing the StudioDock arrived, I was surprised by how large and heavy it was; it weighs over 11 pounds! That surprise continued when I took the StudioDock from the box. It is large and has some serious heft behind it.

Kensington StudioDock

The main part of the device is solid. There is no give, creaks, or other weaknesses exposed even when squeezing it with a good deal of force. This is a solid and well-built product.

The upper portion of the Kensington StudioDock is an iPad holder specifically designed for the 11” iPad Pro, iPad Air, or the 12.9” iPad. That’s the reason Kensington is releasing two different models.

The iPad slides into the iPad holder and locks it into place on one side where the dock connects to the iPad via USB-C. The USB-C port delivers 37.5W of power. That’s more than twice as fast as you’ll get with Apple’s 18W charger.

Kensington StudioDock

Most of the work of holding the iPad is accomplished via magnets, but the USB-C connection and a small lip at the bottom of the iPad holder add stability. I’ve yet to have my iPad accidentally come loose from the dock.

CREATIVE POSSIBILITIES: Elegantly designed to rotate between Portrait and Landscape modes.

Kensington StudioDock

The Kensington StudioDock’s iPad holder offers more than it initially suggests. Once the iPad is placed into it, you can easily rotate the iPad between landscape and portrait.

Kensington StudioDock

That means you can be watching a movie one minute and, seconds later, rotate the iPad into the landscape and begin taking notes with a keyboard or Apple Pencil.

And there’s more. To provide the best viewing and work experience, the dock can adjust the iPad’s angle. This works in both landscape and portrait and means viewing and using your iPad has never been more comfortable or convenient.

Were that all the Kensington StudioDock offered, it would make for a compelling product, albeit it, not one worth almost $400. Fortunately, that’s just one small part of what this new iPad accessory offers.

Kensington StudioDock

The base of the Kensington StudioDock has a large lip extended from it. This would be necessary simply to offer the degree of stability, but Kensington set out to build into it. Since the “real estate” was already there, the company decided to make use of it. And boy, did they make use of it.

Kensington StudioDock

One side of the surface has a Qi wireless charging pad ideal for any iPhone or similarly-sized device with Qi wireless charging built-in. Next to it is a second Qi wireless charging pad.

Kensington StudioDock

The second Qi wireless charging pad has a rubber ring that helps with the proper placement of AirPods with wireless charging. The iPhone’s charging pad delivers up to 7.5W of power, while the AirPod charging spot delivers up to 5W of power. And there’s more.

Apple Ecosystem Charging: Charge your entire Apple ecosystem. In addition to rapid charging of your iPad (USB-C at 37.5W — 108% faster than the Apple 18W charger), includes Qi wireless iPhone (up to 7.5W) and AirPod charging (up to 5W), as well as optional charging for Apple Watch up to 5W that’s coming mid-2021.

Kensington StudioDock

Yes, the company will be releasing an add-on that will let you also charge your Apple Watch. That means a single Kensington StudioDock can charge your iPad, iPhone, and AirPods now; in a few months, it will also be able to charge your Apple Watch. It is truly the one charging solution any Apple fan needs.

Not convinced this is worth almost $400 yet? That’s okay since… there’s more.

Kensington StudioDock

Speed Read: Speed read with the latest SD card reader (UHS-II SD 4.0), to quickly access all of your photography without the need for adapters or dongles.

Along the side of the StudioDock is an SD card reader. It is a full-size slot, so you’ll need an adapter if you are using a microSD card, but those are easy to come by. The fact is, now you can shoot images on a DSLR and then quickly and easily download them to your iPad so you can process and tweak them.

There is a 3.5mm headphone jack just below the SD card reader so you can plug headphones in, or, if you prefer, you can connect the Kensignton StudioDock to an audio system, so your iPad music sounds better than ever.

Kensington StudioDock

On the other side of the StudioDock, you’ll find the power button. It glows blue when plugged in and turned on. Sitting just below it, there is a USB-C port.

Kensington StudioDock

Along the back, there are two Kensington lock slots. That’s important since this is a pricey accessory that could easily disappear from your desk at work.

All of that does, in my opinion, largely justify the high price of the Kensignton StudioDock. But there’s even more.

Along the back of the StudioDock are a series of ports that make the dock even more powerful.

In addition to the USB-C port on the side, there are three USB-A ports and a Gigabit Ethernet port. That means you can connect and charge an array of different accessories.

Seeing is believing: Take your video beyond your iPad with support for single 4K HDMI 2.0 video. Great for applications such as iMovie, Keynote, Netflix, and more.

Finally, there is an HDMI 2.0 port, so you don’t have to limit yourself to the iPad’s screen. That’s a huge deal whether you are watching a movie or trying to get work done in as efficient a manner as possible.

Kensington isn’t kidding when they say,

Room for Expansion: Connect all your devices with four USB ports (1 USB-C port that supports 5V/3A & 9V/2A charging, and 3 USB-A ports at 5V/0.9A), one 3.5mm audio jack, and a Gigabit Ethernet jack. With StudioDock, there’s plenty of room for expansion.

Kensington StudioDock

The Kensington StudioDock is an impressive accessory that will thrill pretty much anyone who is deeply invested in Apple’s ecosystem. It offers a single location for charging your iPad, iPhone, AirPods, and with an optional purchase in a few months, a charging spot for your Apple Watch. At the same time, it offers a range of viewing angles in both landscape and portrait that will let your iPad work the way you want to work rather than the other way around.

Add in the abundant array of ports, and this single accessory not only makes your iPad more useful than ever, but it also lets you unclutter your desk and get rid of many of the cables and chargers you are currently using. At almost $400, this isn’t an inexpensive purchase but, if you are like me and your iPad is an important part of your workflow, it is worth checking out! You can learn more about it here.

The Kensington StudioDock retails at $379.99 for the iPad Pro 11″ (2018+)/iPad Air (2020+) and $399.99 for the iPad Pro 12.9″ (2018+). The iPad Pro 11″/iPad Air version is available now directly from the manufacturer, and the iPad Pro 12.9″ version is available for pre-order.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Large, stable, and solid; There is a version for the 11″ iPad Pro and iPad Air and a separate version for the larger iPad Pro; Charges the iPad faster than Apple’s 18W charger; USB ports galore as well as an SD card reader, HDMI 2.0 and more; Qi charging for iPhone and AirPods; Optional charger for Apple Watch coming soon

What Needs Improvement: Big and bulky, this isn’t an accessory you will want to move around much; Apple Watch charger coming soon but will be an added expense; Will become obsolete if Apple does a major iPad redesign; Pricey

 

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.