Anker’s 551 USB-C Hub is sort of the proper iPad Professional accent


Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

For the final two weeks I have been testing the Anker 551 USB-C hub with my 2021 iPad Professional, after which the 2022 iPad Professional. It is confirmed to be a beneficial gadget that I’ve grown to understand the extra I exploit it. 

It isn’t due to the eight completely different ports which might be unfold out on the perimeter of the bottom.

What makes the 551 a gadget that I take pleasure in utilizing is the adjustable stand the place you place an iPad, or actually, any USB-C pill. Let me clarify. 

Over the previous few years, I have been on the hunt for my best iPad Professional hub and dock working station. I’ve tried all types of options. 

Additionally: M1 iPad Professional (2021) vs M2 iPad Professional (2022): Is it well worth the improve?

I actually like TwelveSouth’s $80 HoverBar Duo for placing the iPad on the similar peak as my exterior monitor, but it surely does not embrace any form of hub for connecting equipment like a keyboard, mouse, or exterior storage. It additionally garnered bonus factors in my use for being simply adjustable on the fly.

Hub connected to iPad showing image of parrot.

Picture: Hyper

I’ve additionally loved the compact dimension, ease of use, and portability that Hyper’s $99.99 6-in-1 USB-C Hub permits when utilizing it with the iPad. Hyper’s $99.99 USB-C 6-in-1 Media Hub is analogous, however with the added bonus of bodily media controls inside arms attain. Nevertheless, having one thing like a complete hub bodily protruding from the aspect of the iPad makes me extremely nervous that I’ll break the charging port on my iPad. To not point out, having what appears to be like like a bundle of spaghetti with numerous cables and wires popping out of the aspect of the show simply does not look all that nice.

Belkin Thunderbolt Pro 4 Dock on white surface.

Picture: Belkin

And even in the event you can overlook all of that, you continue to have to determine some form of mounting association for the iPad Professional. 

I’ve additionally used some very costly USB-C or Thunderbolt hubs with the iPad Professional, such because the $399.99 Belkin Join Professional Thunderbolt 4 Dock. It does every part you’d desire a hub to do, with quick switch speeds, a number of ports, and a protracted Thunderbolt cable to connect with your iPad (useful in the event you’re utilizing the beforehand talked about HoverBar Duo) — but it surely’s $400. Ouch.

All of that experimenting and testing has led to my appreciation of the Anker 551 for a couple of completely different causes. 

Additionally: Utilizing the unsuitable USB-C cable can harm your tech. This is tips on how to keep away from that

What I like in regards to the Anker 551 USB-C Hub

At the start I admire the best way it holds the iPad. The adjustable stand is flexible and lets me place the iPad in order that it appears to be like extra like a laptop computer’s show, and it is nice. Nevertheless, I’ve discovered myself utilizing the 551 with the iPad Professional mendacity almost flat but nonetheless at a slight angle, just under my exterior monitor. 

Which means I can sort and work together with the iPad and no matter else is on the exterior monitor, after which if I would like to make use of the iPad Professional’s display, I can use an Apple Pencil or my finger to shortly write, faucet, or swipe throughout the display. 

There are two hinges on the 551, with the decrease hinge providing 70 levels of vary, whereas the highest hinge nearest the pill can rotate a full 180 levels. 

Closeup side view of iPad with hinges of the Anker 551.

Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

As for connecting equipment and extra units to the hub, you’ve gotten a complete of eight choices. On the left aspect of the bottom, you may discover a 3.5mm audio jack and two USB ports. On the again, flanking both aspect of the hinge, you may discover a USB-C PD port that accepts as much as 100W of energy to cost your pill and an HDMI 2.0 port that handles 4K/60Hz output.

On the proper aspect of the bottom are a microSD card slot and a full-size SD card slot, together with one other USB-C port that is used to attach your iPad to the dock through the included cable. 

What I do not like in regards to the Anker 551 USB-C Hub

There’s one space the place the 551’s quest to turn into the proper USB-C hub for the iPad falls brief, although. That is the dearth of an Ethernet port. Certain, Apple simply added Wi-Fi 6E assist to the most recent iPad Professional, and wi-fi networks are getting quicker and extra dependable basically, however there’s nothing fairly like a hardwired connection. 

I might quit the three.5mm audio jack or a USB port on the left aspect for ol’ gigabit RJ-45 Ethernet port any day of the week. However possibly that is simply me. 

Anker 551 USB-C closeup on a desk.

Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

For now, nonetheless, the Anker 551 goes to stay on my desk for the times or moments after I’m utilizing my iPad Professional as a pc and never a pill. 

If you do not have an iPad Professional however like the general look and concept of the Anker 551, do not overlook it. As a result of it makes use of USB-C, you should use it with any USB-C gadget. Which means the Floor Professional 9, any of Samsung’s Galaxy Tabs, and even the upcoming Pixel Pill will relaxation properly on the stand and interface with all of the belongings you connect with it.

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