Cheap accessories that make iPad Pro a productivity powerhouse

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Satechi's iPad Pro USB-C hub packs four commonly used ports.
Get real work done on your iPad Pro.
Photo: Satechi

Is the iPad Pro a laptop replacement? Despite what you might think, and what many reviewers will tell you, it can be for a lot of professionals. But not by itself.

If you’re going to use your iPad to get real work done, and to be as productive as possible, you’ll need some things to go with it. In this roundup, we’ve listed affordable accessories that turn iPad Pro into a productivity powerhouse.

There’s a growing group of people who have swapped their computer for an iPad, and I’m one of them. For close to a year, I’ve used Apple’s tablet almost exclusively when working. I can’t remember the last time I booted up my Mac.

There are lots of wonderful apps I use that make doing my job on the iPad possible, but I’ll talk about those another time. In this roundup, I’ll highlight some basic accessories you’ll need to make the iPad fit for work.

And don’t worry if your wallet is looking a little worse for wear after buying a new iPad; every accessory on this list is affordable.

Anker wireless keyboard

Anker ultra-slim iPad keyboard
Slim, lightweight, and affordable.
Photo: Anker

If you plan to use your iPad to do any writing — even if it’s just replying to emails — a physical keyboard should be at the top of your shopping list. Real keys beat typing on a touchscreen in any situation, and if you try to get by without them, you’ll hate it.

This wireless keyboard from Anker is affordable, reliable, and works well with iOS. It offers all the keys you need, including a row of handy function buttons — and it’s compact and lightweight, which makes it easy to lug around when you’re on the move.

Despite its size, the keyboard is comfortable to type on, and lasts up to six months in between charges. It has a built-in battery so you don’t have to buy replacements, and it also works with macOS.

Buy from: Amazon — $18.99

Adjustable aluminum stand

iPad Pro stand
A stand that’s fit for any purpose.
Photo: Lamicall

Once you have your keyboard, you’ll need a stand to hold your iPad in a comfortable position when you’re working. There are loads of these out there, including some really fancy ones, but even the cheapest options will get the job done.

This aluminum stand is ideal. It’s affordable, incredibly sturdy, and can be adjusted to hold your iPad at the perfect angle. It supports tablets up to 13 inches in size, which means even the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is compatible, and it folds away when you’re not using it to make it easier to carry.

Buy from: Amazon — $13.99

AmazonBasics stylus

iPad Pro stylus
It’s no Apple Pencil, but it works.
Photo: Amazon

You may also want a more precise pointing device. If you plan to do any kind of drawing, you should buy an Apple Pencil — nothing beats it. But if you just want a little more control when browsing the web, editing photos, or making music, any old stylus will do.

This AmazonBasics stylus is perfect. It looks good, works well with any touchscreen, and comes in a number of color options. It’s well-liked, with a 4-star rating on Amazon after more than 5,300 reviews, and a steal at just $5.99.

Buy from: Amazon — $5.99

Magnetic smart case

iPad Pro magnetic smart case
Just like Apple’s, only cheaper.
Photo: ESR

If you’re going to be taking your iPad out of the house for work, or moving around with it at all, you’ll need a case. There are hundreds out there, many of which can be had for under $20, so you might want to shop around to find one that suits you.

I’ve chosen this magnetic smart case, mostly because it looks great. Just like Apple’s official offering, it attaches with magnets, reducing bulk — and automatically wakes your iPad when you open it. It won’t get in the way of your Apple Pencil, either.

Buy from: Amazon — $21.99

Aukey 10,000mAh power bank

Aukey power bank
Portable power anytime, anywhere.
Photo: Aukey

You may also need a power bank to keep you topped up during long days. I’ve chosen this model because it’s small and affordable, and the iPad Pro already has decent battery life.

However, the additional 10,000mAh you get in this bank from Aukey will give you a few extra hours of use when you need it. It has a USB-C port so you won’t need an adapter, and it supports high-speed charging, so it’s ideal for larger gadgets.

There’s a USB-A port for charging other devices, too — including your iPhone or Nintendo Switch.

Buy from: Amazon — $29.99

Satechi USB-C hub

Satechi USB-C hub for iPad Pro
Made for iPad Pro.
Photo: Satechi

I’ve saved this USB-C hub until last because it’s the most expensive accessory on this list (USB-C hubs are yet to become super-cheap) — and you might not need it. But if you want to connect anything to your iPad Pro, it’s a must.

What’s great about the Satechi hub is that it’s made specifically for the iPad. It sits neatly on the side of your device, and has connectors for USB-A and USB-C devices, HDMI monitors with 4K screens, and headphones with a 3.5mm jack.

The Satechi hub also supports bidirectional power delivery, which means you can charge your iPad while other accessories are connected to it, or charge other gadgets with your iPad through the hub. It works well with a Microsoft Surface, too.

There are more advanced hubs out there with SD card readers, Ethernet, and other connectivity options. But I’ve chosen this one because it’s one of the cheapest, and one of the most compact.

Buy from: Amazon — $59.99

What do you use?

That should be all you need to be productive with your iPad Pro. I’m not promising these things will make your iPad a laptop replacement, but if you want to use yours for real work, they will certainly make life a lot easier.

If you’re using an accessory I’ve missed off this list, let us know about it down in the comments.