Review: HyperDrive is the most well-rounded iPad Pro USB-C Hub yet

in iPad edited January 2021
One of the biggest arguments against the iPad Pro being a "Pro" device, is the lack of multiple ports. The HyperDrive USB-C Dock for iPad Pro tries to set that complaint aside.

HyperDrive for iPad Pro
HyperDrive for iPad Pro

A pro workflow

The HyperDrive USB-C Dock for the 2018 iPad Pro is a single USB-C plug providing connectivity to the iPad Pro, hosting a medley of other ports. Hyper's offering a six-in-one USB-C dock that houses a 3.5mm headphone jack, a full-size HDMI port, USB-A, USB-C, SD, and microSD ports. That's the most we've seen on a dedicated iPad Pro USB-C hub thus far.

A removable shim helps keep the hub flush with your iPad, but can come off if you should ever try to use this with your Mac or another USB-C device.

HyperDrive for iPad Pro
HyperDrive for iPad Pro

Within that list of ports there are a few things worth touching on. The USB-C port supports 5 Gbit per second of data as well as power delivery, which means your iPad can charge and sync at the same time. The USB-A port is also a 5Gbit port, with the MicroSD and SD slots are UHS-1 capable of around 100MB/s transfer rate.

If you're looking for the best HDMI output for your new iPad Pro, you're not going to get it while using a hub, unfortunately. Most of the hubs out in the market right now, including HyperDrive, only support 4K at 30Hz even though iPad Pro supports 4K at 60Hz. The HyperDrive can deliver a signal at 1080p at 60Hz, as well as 2K resolution at 60Hz though, which is still solid.

HyperDrive for iPad Pro
HyperDrive for iPad Pro

One thing that some people miss from the 2018 iPad Pro is that dedicated headphone jack. When Apple announced the new iPad Pro late last year with its new, modern design. Apple decided to ditch the headphone jack altogether and go all out on wireless audio with the AirPods. But, this doesn't work for everybody -- so the HyperDrive has a headphone jack.

Audio can be finicky with hubs. With the HyperDrive though, if you've got a television connected with HDMI, the audio routes properly to the television. If you plug in a set of headphones, the hub will route audio to those headphones, or other audio peripheral the way it should, and it does so automatically.

A plethora of ports doesn't matter if the dock keeps falling off the USB-C port. A simple, removable, well-designed PVC clip prevents this in the HyperDrive.

This little piece of plastic keeps the HyperDrive hub stable and evenly distributes the weight across the entire edge of the iPad, and crucially not just the USB-C port in the center. This makes a huge difference in daily use, and it easily stops the hub from disconnecting accidentally which happens disconcertingly often with the other hubs we've tried. The removable clip works with, or without the Smart Keyboard -- but if you have a case that doesn't fit, just remove the clip and you're good to go.

HyperDrive for iPad Pro
HyperDrive for iPad Pro

USB-C hubs are great for the new iPad Pro, but practical applications are still somewhat limited by iOS. We're hoping that this upcoming WWDC and when Apple officially announces iOS 13.

Where to buy

Rating: 4 out of 5

Where to buy

The HyperDrive 6-in-1 USB-C Hub for Apple's current iPad Pro can be ordered from Hyper directly for $89.99. B&H Photo also stocks the accessory for $98 with free expedited shipping.


  • Reply 1 of 8
    I bought one off of Kickstarter, works great. I was surprised to find it works with my 2018 MBP as well, when I need a card reader or HDMI out. I don't have to remove the PVC shim, it grips the side and I can close the lid.
  • Reply 2 of 8
    They need to add a Lightning port. Some of us will need that also.
  • Reply 3 of 8
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 960member
    A hub turns one port into several of the same kind. This is a port replicator.

    I'm going to die on this goddamned hill.
  • Reply 4 of 8
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,778member
    USB-C hubs are great for the new iPad Pro, but practical applications are still somewhat limited by iOS. We're hoping that this upcoming WWDC and when Apple officially announces iOS 13.

    That and the the lack of a proper file system are the iPads greatest limitations preventing it being a better computer. Then multitasking, windowing, cut and paste @and tabs all need a bit of refinement. We are slooooowly getting there.
  • Reply 5 of 8
    beowulfschmidtbeowulfschmidt Posts: 1,717member
    How does one read or write to the SD card?  Is there an app, or has iOS gained the ability to easily access external storage while I wasn't looking?
  • Reply 6 of 8
    UselessInformationCollectorUselessInformationCollector Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Looks great, but I haven't met anyone yet who dropped $1k on an iPad Pro and didn't - like me - wrap it in a military grade hard shell so the dang thing doesn't warp like they do when unprotected. So... while a port replicator (nice to meet you, @Eric_WVGG) would be swell, the male parts do not appear to be long enough to penetrate the eager female parts of the anxious host. Thus, some kind of extender cable would be necessary, and likely too long while also being obnoxiously expensive.
  • Reply 7 of 8
    gordlaceygordlacey Posts: 30member
    It does come with a short 3-4” extender cable.
  • Reply 8 of 8
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 550member
    I was an early Kickstarter backer and (after installing the April firmware update)  find it very useful.  I use the Apple cover/keyboard most of the time and the plastic clip works really well with that, especially if I flip the HyperDrive over (so the label is on the backside, opposite as what is shown in the video).  If I am in the field and use a full case the included extender cable works well.

    As noted above the limitations regarding file handling will be removed with iOS 13, drastically increasing the usefulness of this port replicator.

    Presently the only way to access digital photo files is to utilize Apple's iOS file format on the SD cards/USB stick.   

    This web link provides more info on this port replicator, with the last article referencing the file formats for pictures

    After several months of use I can highly recommend this accessory for iPad 2018 Pro.  It also works well on my 2018 MBP 15" as a port replicator also - in that application if fully allows SD/USB file transfers in addition to the other features noted for the iPad Pro.
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