Tested: Plugable’s latest iPad docking stand doubles as an 8-in-1 USB-C/HDMI hub

Plugable 8-in-1 USB-C iPad Dock-02

Just before its latest Chromebook solution hit, Plugable launched its new 8-in-1 USB-C iPad Dock. The brand is no stranger to hub and docking solutions of all kinds, but its latest looks to combine the typical iPad stand with an integrated USB-C hub. A compelling feature list and overall aesthetic, we though it would be a good idea to give the new Plugable 8-in-1 USB-C iPad Dock a run for its money as part of our Tested with 9to5Toys series and our findings are waiting down below. 

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Plugable 8-in-1 USB-C iPad Dock

Plugable’s new aluminum 8-in-1 USB-C iPad dock first made its appearance on the scene at the very end of last month as the latest docking station-meets-USB-C hub on the market. Essentially combining a handy metal and adjustable viewing stand with a base that doubles as a 8-in-1 USB-C hub, it is looking to deliver an all-in-one setup to accomodate iPads, tablets, and smartphones on the desktop. 

Dual articulating hinges rest atop the slightly weighted base, allowing users to get their USB-C device at just the right angle for viewing content and lining up nicely not he desktop as a second display. Rubber padding on the hooked stand surface as well as along the bottom of the unit protect your gear and tabletop from scratches while providing a bit of extra overall stability to the unit. 

On the hub side of thing’s you’ll find SD and microSD card readers, a pair of 5Gb/s USB-A jacks, a 4K 30Hz-capable HDMI port, a 3.5mm headphone/audio jack, and USB-C ports to connect the hub to your docked device and to bring power in from your wall adapter – 100W pass-through charging is in place here. 

Here’s a closer look at the spec sheet:

  • 8-port hub
  • 4K 30Hz capable HDMI port 
  • 100W USB-C Pass-through Charging
  • SD card and Micro SD card
  • Windows 10+, iPad M1+ with iPadOS 16+ (iPadOS 16.1+ for Stage Manager), USB-C phones/tablets with DisplayLink Alt Mode
  • 2-year limited parts and labor warranty

9to5Toys’ Take

Overall, the iPad dock hub meets stand design is a good one for me. It both makes the typical metal stand an entirely more functional one with loads of I/O potential while also tucking one of those tabletop USB-C hubs out of the way and under the stand you were likely going to employ while at your desk anyway. 

The physical design in general is mostly top notch for me. The dual hinges in place here at the articulating points on the stand portion of the dock feel particularly robust and look great doing it. There’s nothing flimsy about them at all. Much is the same with the hooked-tray that holds your iPad or other USB-C gear in place.

But having said that, I did find that you need to have the angle of the stand nearly vertical in order to maintain stability with the current-generation iPad Air 5 I have here – and even more so with the larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro I tested it with briefly. It will tip over if you try to tilt the tray up too high. This isn’t a problem per say, but rather just something to keep mind – the more you angle the larger iPads on the stand, the less stable the top half of the screen becomes to your touch and overall. 

One thing I just have to mention, as trivial as it might be to some folks, is that giant logo on the top of the base. Some users/customers won’t even notice it, but for me it is a particular eye sore and easily the only negative to the aesthetic design of the new Plugable iPad dock. Perhaps if it had been some kind of etched in or embossed take on the logo, but the flat white text paint just isn’t going to cut it for me – a personal gripe that really has no effect on the performance of the machine, but one that should be mentioned briefly.  

As far as the I/O goes, this Plugable iPad dock has everything I need personally. That includes solid passthrough charging, a nice HDMI video port, and some card readers. In my case I never really need anything more than a decent quality 4K second-display (if that), so it’s hard for me to weigh in on just how high quality the HDMI output is here, but when it comes to casual and business-related secondary screen tasks, it worked just right. 

Buy the Plugable 8-in-1 USB-C iPad Dock

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