Tech review: Sanho HyperDrive USB-C Hub for iPad Pro (2018)

The Sanho HyperDrive for the iPad Pro is said to be the first dedicated USB-C hub for the tablet. PHOTO: SANHO
The Sanho HyperDrive for the iPad Pro is said to be the first dedicated USB-C hub for the tablet. PHOTO: SANHO

The Apple iPad Pro( 2018) is the first iPad to feature a USB-C port. While it might be convenient to have a USB-C port for charging and syncing, you are out of luck if you have multiple adapters for Apple's Lightning port.

Thus, Sanho has rolled out the HyperDrive for iPad Pro, the world's first dedicated USB-C Hub for the iPad Pro 2018, according to its maker.

The HyperDrive comes in two colours of space grey (version tested) and silver, so you can get one to complement the iPad Pro model you have. It has a nice aluminium build and it works with both 11-inch and 12.9-inch models of the new iPad Pro.

With this adapter - slightly smaller than a KitKat chocolate bar - attached to the iPad Pro, the tablet will retain its USB-C port (with power delivery) and gains a USB-A port, a HDMI port, a microSD card slot, a SD card slot as well as a 3.5mm audio jack. Yes, you can use your normal headphones (those with 3.5mm audio connector) again with the HyperDrive attached.

However, the most unique feature about the HyperDrive is its grip that is made of soft polycarbonate and a type of thermoplastic polymer known as ABS. This grip allows the USB-C hub to be securely attached to the iPad Pro without scratching the tablet's chassis.

I tried the HyperDrive on a 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2018) with the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio cover attached. The HyperDrive fits snugly to the tablet. I tried inserting and pulling out the HyperDrive several times without it scratching the iPad Pro at all.

In addition, I can open and close the keyboard folio cover without any issue when the HyperDrive is attached. But when you put the iPad Pro into your backpack or briefcase, there might not be enough space for the HyperDrive to stay attached to the tablet.

  • TECH SPECS 

  • PRICE: US$99 (or S$134) at https://igg.me/at/hyperdrive2/x, available this month

    CONNECTIVITY: 3.5mm audio jack x 1, HDMI x 1, USB-A x 1, USB-C x 1, SD card slot x 1, microSD card slot x 1

    WEIGHT: 34g

    RATING

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The ports of the HyperDrive all worked as advertised. Its USB-C port provides pass-through power when connected to a USB-C cable. You can also sync the iPad Pro with your computer using the USB-C port. But it does not support 5K display output like the original USB-C port of the tablet.

While the HyperDrive's HDMI port is supposed to work with 4K displays, I found that I can only get up to full high-definition resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels on my 4K TV.

However, the audio output is loud and clear when I use an AKG in-ear headphones with the audio jack.

Due to the limitations of iOS 12, nothing will show up when you insert a USB thumb drive (even those with photos) into the USB-A port.

However, when a USB CF card reader - with a CF card inserted - is connected to the USB-A port, the Photos app will automatically start, ready to import still images or video footages in the CF card. The same happens when you insert a microSD card or an SD card into the HyperDrive.

Using the microSD card slot, I was able to import 7.4GB of videos and photos into the iPad Pro in 123 seconds. This is usually the time needed to transfer just one video clip if you were to use Wi-Fi.

Verdict: If you own an Apple iPad Pro (2018), the Sanho HyperDrive USB-C Hub is the probably the only adapter you'll ever need.