Why I Want Kensington’s New StudioDock for iPad

Transform your tablet into the littlest iMac

Key Takeaways

  • Kensington’s handsome new $399 StudioDock could transform the way I work with my iPad. 
  • The dock includes four USB ports, and you can also attach a separate monitor. 
  • My favorite part of the StudioDock is the way the iPad snaps on using magnets. 
Person placing an iPad on the Kensington StarDock

Kensington’s new StudioDock is the iPad accessory I never knew I needed until it was announced this week. 

The $399 dock essentially turns your iPad into an adorable and versatile iMac. Just look at this thing. Somehow, Kensington managed to take all Apple’s crisp design cues and mash them into a must-buy piece of gear. 

But the StudioDock is about more than just good looks. It’s got all the gizmos, ports and chargers to transform your iPad into your main computer, rather than just a peripheral. I’m surprised that Apple didn’t release something like this on its own. Keep in mind, though, that the StudioDock is only compatible with the iPad Pro 11-inch, iPad Air, and iPad Pro 12.9-inch.

My favorite part of the dock? It’s the way the iPad snaps on using magnets. The tablet can go on the dock either in portrait or landscape mode, too, making for a versatile bit of gear. 

Ports Aplenty

StarDock in profile

The Kensington dock offers a plethora of ports. It’s got four USB ports (one USB-C and three USB-A) that let users connect devices such as a keyboard, mouse, USB storage, and printer. A 3.5mm audio jack supports the connection of a microphone or external speakers, as well as a gigabit Ethernet port for large file transfers or bandwidth-sensitive applications.

Another remarkable feature is the ability to add an extra monitor to your setup easily. The StudioDock provides a single 4K HDMI 2.0 video output to support an additional monitor for screen hog applications like iMovie, Keynote, Netflix, Procreate, Shiftscreen, and more.

“The StudioDock could open up a whole world of new possibilities for the way I work with my iPad.”

Photographers will be happy to know that the StudioDock also has an SD card reader (UHS-II SD 4.0), so you can grab files without the need for adapters or dongles.

Charging all your gadgets also should be a breeze. The dock has a 37.5W USB-C to charge the iPad, and also includes a Qi wireless iPhone and AirPod charger (up to 7.5W and 5W, respectively). An optional charging module for Apple Watch will be available later this year.

Why Buy an iMac When You’ve Got a Dock?

The StudioDock could open up a whole world of new possibilities for the way I work with my iPad. Every day I grow more impressed with how capable this machine is. After all, it’s got a terrific operating system, all the apps I need, and a speedy processor.

Clearly, the folks at Kensington were thinking, "With all that goodness inside the iPad, why not make it a desktop?" I agree with that sentiment, wholeheartedly. Throughout the day, I’m constantly transitioning from my iPhone to my iPad to my Macbook. It would be so much easier if I just stayed on one device.

Of course, these days, with so many pieces of software in the cloud, it’s easy enough to keep all your work synced. For example, I started this article on my Macbook in Google Docs, then wrote and edited it on all three of my Apple devices. 

But the ability to keep working on just one device would have significant advantages. When I want to work on the couch, I could tap away on the terrific Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad. But when the going gets tough, I could just pop it in the StudioDock, where I’d have all the convenience of peripherals like a bigger display and SD ports to access any photos. 

Of course, many people will shake their heads at the $399 price tag on the StudioDock. They would have a point, since that’s the cost of a reasonably good, brand new iPad all by itself. Can you really justify paying four big ones just for a dock? 

Like many things associated with Apple, it seems you are paying for more than the sum of its parts with the StudioDock. For myself, I’d happily pay the cost of the dock to gain the convenience and the peace of mind that comes with excellent equipment. You even could argue that the dock might pay for itself, if it means you don’t have to buy an iMac. After all, who needs a desktop when you have the world’s cutest mini Mac? 

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