Hands On: HyperDrive is the best USB-C dock for the iPad Pro yet

Posted:
in iPad edited January 14
If you're looking for an iPad Pro-specific USB-C hub, the HyperDrive is definitely the best yet.

HyperDrive
HyperDrive


What you get appears on the surface very similar to ones from Satechi and others -- an aluminum body with a single USB-C plug opposite a medley of other ports.

HyperDrive

Hyper's offering is a six-in-one, with a 3.5mm headphone jack, plus HDMI, USB-A, USB-C, SD, and microSD ports. So far, that's the most we've seen on a dedicated iPad Pro USB-C hub.

HyperDrive ports
HyperDrive ports


Within that list of ports are a few things worth touching on. The USB-C port supports both Power Delivery as well as data, which means you can charge your iPad as well as utilize it for syncing and third-party accessories.

HyperDrive HDMI
HyperDrive HDMI


If you are really looking for the best HDMI out, you aren't going to get it while using a hub. The HyperDrive supports 4K at 30Hz, but the iPad supports 4K at 60Hz. To drive 4K at 60Hz right now, it requires the full bandwidth of the port, thus, a hub won't work for that resolution.

We've also seen hubs take over the audio -- whether that is warranted or not. As an example, if you plug in an offending hub the iPad will see it as a possible audio device and routes audio through it, regardless if headphones are connected. HyperDrive doesn't do this and only reroutes audio when wired headphones are plugged into the hub.

Holding steady

What sets HyperDrive apart from others the most, is the removable PVC clip.

HyperDrive grip
HyperDrive grip


This slim accessory helps keep the HyperDrive hub stable and evenly distributes the weight across the entire edge of the iPad and not just the centrally located USB-C port.

After testing many different iPad Pro hubs, this makes a huge difference. It easily stops the hub from disconnecting accidentally.

This removable clip works with, or without, the Smart Keyboard Folio. If you have a case that it doesn't fit, remove the clip and you good to go.

Is this for the real world?

USB-C hubs are great for the new iPads, but practical applications are still somewhat limited by iOS. Having a USB-A port could theoretically be used for hard drives or flash drives, but iOS doesn't support external storage well. Copying over images through SD/micro SD is genuinely useful for anyone with an action cam or is a budding photographer, as the iPad Pro is an excellent editing device.

HDMI on the iPad Pro is an effective way to watch movies or TV but otherwise is impractical. Only a few apps -- including of those produced by Apple -- have any real use case for an external monitor. I enjoy editing in iMovie and seeing my uncompressed raw footage show on a larger display. This all can change moving forward, especially with iOS 13 around the corner, but there is no guarantee that the functionality will be expanded.

Shipping soon

HyperDrive iPad Pro
HyperDrive on iPad Pro


HyperDrive is being funded on Kickstarter like nearly all of Hyper's recent products. The campaign is just about to end, but shipping is set to commence by February. You can back the project and get HyperDrive for $69.

This is a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign so there never is any guarantee that the product will ship, but we've at least tried it out and the company has an excellent track record for previous campaigns.

HyperDrive: World's 1st USB-C Hub for iPad Pro 2018 -- Kicktraq Mini

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    sirozhasirozha Posts: 475member
    I recently bought a HyperDrive NET 6-in-2 for the 2018 MacBook Air and love it. It's solved all of my legacy port problem, and I can use my 2018 MacBook Air with the 27" LED Cinema Display (non-Thunderbolt version). 
    caladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 15
    I supported the Kickstarter and early backers should ship in January.   Kickstarter funding ends in about 12 hours and there are some available for $59 when I just checked.

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hypershop/hyperdrive-worlds-1st-usb-c-hub-for-ipad-pro-2018/

    For Thunderbolt 3 hubs I can highly recommend CalDigit's TS3 Plus, as it supports active Thunderbolt (40 Gb/s) and charging up to 85 watts (2018 MBP 15").  It is the one hub to rule them all if you have a late model iMac, MBP and iPad Pro.   It is relatively small and can be carried on the road, but disconnecting and reconnecting up to 15 ports can be a pain.  Hence my interest in the HyperDrive.
    edited January 14
  • Reply 3 of 15
    mobirdmobird Posts: 105member
    I had a 10MB HyperDrive in my original Macintosh 128. This was a 10MB internal hard drive. Big whoopee back then...

    Now back to a article regarding a new HyperDrive.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 15
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,199administrator
    mobird said:
    I had a 10MB HyperDrive in my original Macintosh 128. This was a 10MB internal hard drive. Big whoopee back then...

    Now back to a article regarding a new HyperDrive.
    The internal or the external? The internal one was a PITA to fit in a space it just didn't belong.
    edited January 14 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 15
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,199administrator

    emoeller said:
    I supported the Kickstarter and early backers should ship in January.   Kickstarter funding ends in about 12 hours and there are some available for $59 when I just checked.

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hypershop/hyperdrive-worlds-1st-usb-c-hub-for-ipad-pro-2018

    For Thunderbolt 3 hubs I can highly recommend CalDigit's TS3 Plus, as it supports active Thunderbolt (40 Gb/s) and charging up to 85 watts (2018 MBP 15").  It is the one hub to rule them all if you have a late model iMac, MBP and iPad Pro.   It is relatively small and can be carried on the road, but disconnecting and reconnecting up to 15 ports can be a pain.  Hence my interest in the HyperDrive.
    The TS3 Plus doesn't work at all on the iPad Pro, as it is Thunderbolt only and utterly will not connect to a USB 3.1 type C device acting as a host. The first dock that we've seen that will do both is the Monoprice one at CES.

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/01/06/monoprice-offers-up-thunderbolt-3-usb-31-type-c-dual-displayport-docking-station
    edited January 14 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 15
    My experience differs from the review. The HperDrive that I purchased fails to provide enough power to drive a USB-A DVD player/writer on a 2018 15" MacBook Pro, which prompts an OS warning. I be finding out how their customer service performs.
  • Reply 7 of 15
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,199administrator
    My experience differs from the review. The HperDrive that I purchased fails to provide enough power to drive a USB-A DVD player/writer on a 2018 15" MacBook Pro, which prompts an OS warning. I be finding out how their customer service performs.
    That's got more to do with the non-standard power demands of external USB optical drives than anything else. Look specifically for "supports Apple's SuperDrive" on packaging and documentation. Very, very few self-powered docks drawing power from a host device will support external opticals.

    And, given that this dock isn't shipping yet, you're talking about something else from Hyper.
    edited January 14 caladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 15

    emoeller said:
    I supported the Kickstarter and early backers should ship in January.   Kickstarter funding ends in about 12 hours and there are some available for $59 when I just checked.

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hypershop/hyperdrive-worlds-1st-usb-c-hub-for-ipad-pro-2018

    For Thunderbolt 3 hubs I can highly recommend CalDigit's TS3 Plus, as it supports active Thunderbolt (40 Gb/s) and charging up to 85 watts (2018 MBP 15").  It is the one hub to rule them all if you have a late model iMac, MBP and iPad Pro.   It is relatively small and can be carried on the road, but disconnecting and reconnecting up to 15 ports can be a pain.  Hence my interest in the HyperDrive.
    The TS3 Plus doesn't work at all on the iPad Pro, as it is Thunderbolt only and utterly will not connect to a USB 3.1 type C device acting as a host. The first dock that we've seen that will do both is the Monoprice one at CES.

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/01/06/monoprice-offers-up-thunderbolt-3-usb-31-type-c-dual-displayport-docking-station
    Mike you are correct, the CalDigit TS3 Plus will not allow an iPad Pro to utilize all of the ports, but it is compatible in that it will charge and allow an iPad Pro to connect through to iTunes:

    http://www.caldigit.com/kb/index.asp?KBID=241&viewlocale=1

    I should have been clearer when I added an iPad Pro in my post.

    As you have noted in your article the iPad Pro doesn't yet have the software to utilize many external ports.  Hopefully this will change soon.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 15
    Two points: I am an early backer of this Kickstarter project and plan on using this iPad Hub with my 12.9" iPad Pro. The other point is that I have used my iPad Pro's USB-C port to connect my 720P LED DLP Miroir MP160 projector and output video content to this DLP projector. Pity I won't be able to use this HyperDrive USB-C dock's HDMI port for this purpose. Or will it? As long as I don't output 4K content, I might be able to use it. We will see.
    edited January 14
  • Reply 10 of 15
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,199administrator
    MikeJB said:
    Two points: I am an early backer of this Kickstarter project and plan on using this iPad Hub with my 12.9" iPad Pro. The other point is that I have used my iPad Pro's USB-C port to connect my 720P LED DLP Miroir MP160 projector and output video content to this DLP projector. Pity I won't be able to use this HyperDrive USB-C dock's HDMI port for this purpose. Or will it? As long as I don't output 4K content, I might be able to use it. We will see.
    Why not?
  • Reply 11 of 15
    sirozhasirozha Posts: 475member
    My experience differs from the review. The HperDrive that I purchased fails to provide enough power to drive a USB-A DVD player/writer on a 2018 15" MacBook Pro, which prompts an OS warning. I be finding out how their customer service performs.
    Is it by any chance the Apple SuperDrive? If so, Hyper specifically warns that the Apple SuperDrive will not work when connected to the HyperDrive because it requires an authentication by an Apple device. 

    HOWEVER, the Apple SuperDrive works when connected to the back of the Apple LED Cinema Display, which in turn is connected to the HyperDrive with the USB cable attached to the display. I am using the HyperDrive NET 6in2 with the Apple 27" LED Cinema display, and the Apple SuperDrive works just fine when connected to the back of the display. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 15
    mobirdmobird Posts: 105member
    mobird said:
    I had a 10MB HyperDrive in my original Macintosh 128. This was a 10MB internal hard drive. Big whoopee back then...

    Now back to a article regarding a new HyperDrive.
    The internal or the external? The internal one was a PITA to fit in a space it just didn't belong.
    It was the internal version. The "authorized" dealer did the install. Those were the early days of my tinkering and was not ready to wade into "learning" at my own expense...I don't even know if xlr8yourmac.com was even around yet.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 15
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,199administrator
    mobird said:
    mobird said:
    I had a 10MB HyperDrive in my original Macintosh 128. This was a 10MB internal hard drive. Big whoopee back then...

    Now back to a article regarding a new HyperDrive.
    The internal or the external? The internal one was a PITA to fit in a space it just didn't belong.
    It was the internal version. The "authorized" dealer did the install. Those were the early days of my tinkering and was not ready to wade into "learning" at my own expense...I don't even know if xlr8yourmac.com was even around yet.
    Yeah, it wasn't fun. I did about a half a dozen installs of this in the basement of a shop that is long, long gone now, and man. Hard install, with a pretty decent chance of breaking off the flyback on the display in the process if you didn't do it just right.

    Xlr8yourmac was founded about 15 years later!
    edited January 17 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 15
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 424member
    Those that ordered the Kickstarter product should have received or will shortly receive theirs.  I got mine yesterday and thought I would update what I have found:

    1)  A lot of comments on the Kickstarter Comments site about the units NOT working.  
    2)  Mine also did not work out of the really nice case I received with it.  But in the famous words of Steve Jobs, "Your using it wrong".  The unit MUST BE PLUGGED INTO THE iPad PRO WITH THE LOGO FACING TO THE BACK OF THE iPad.   Once I did that my charging, headphones etc issues were resolved.  Don't ask me why because a USB-C should not care the orientation.
    3)  The HDMI works well with a second monitor 1080i 60Hz  in my case.  But as the literature notes it will not work with 4k as the Apple doesn't provide that capability.
    4)  The headphone jack works.   I'm using it with a Bose noise canceling headset as I type this.
    5)  So far running HDMI out, headphones and charging all at the same time the unit gets mildly warm, but not uncomfortable.

    I'll update as I test out the USB-A and micro slots later today.

    So far I am pleased with the unit and would recommend it.
  • Reply 15 of 15
    LuisPaHeLuisPaHe Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Were you able to recharge your iPad Pro with its standard charger? Lots of people complain about it, and it's really interesting that all reviews seem to forget to mention it.
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