Improved HyperDrive is the USB-C hub your iPad needs [Review]

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Sanho HyperDrive USB-C 6-in-1 Hub for iPad review
Attach the Sanho HyperDrive USB-C 6-in-1 Hub to your iPad to use a wide variety of accessories.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Sanho HyperDrive USB-C 6-in-1 Hub clips to an iPad and adds a collection of ports, allowing the tablet to make use of a variety of popular accessories, from mice and headphones to external displays. The multiport adapter offers outstanding functionality in minimal space.

The original version is one of the best iPad accessories ever. I tested the followup and it’s even better.

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Sanho HyperDrive USB-C 6-in-1 Hub for iPad review

iPad Pro and iPad Air are marvelously slim and sleek, but they make you get by on a single USB-C port. With adapters, that port can connect to a huge range of accessories: external drives, monitors, memory cards, keyboards, headphones… the list goes on and on.

The Sanho HyperDrive USB-C 6-in-1 Hub lets you use nearly every one of these peripherals, many of them at the same time. And it conveniently clips to the side of the iPad and takes up hardly any room.

Hardware and design

This isn’t some bulky MacBook hub you can also plug into your tablet. Sanho made an accessory that very nearly becomes part of your iPad. It plugs into the USB-C port and clings to the side of your computer.

The casing is aluminum and the outer corners are rounded to match the look of the tablet. And the HyperDrive hub for iPad comes in silver or space gray for an even better match.

At 3.6 inches by 1.2 in. by 0.4 inches and just 1.2 ounces (0.07 pounds), the multiport adapter is easily pocketable.

A black plastic flange on one long edge of the hub serves to keep it in place when cables are plugged in. This greatly reduces stress on the iPad Pro’s USB-C port. In my testing, it worked very well; the hub stays connected even with a heavy HDMI cable plugged in. And that held true for years of use with the first version.

Ports

Serious tablet owners can probably find a use for all six of the ports in this hub.

The HDMI port got an upgrade in the new version. It’s capable of 4K video at 60Hz, while its predecessor topped out at 4K at 30Hz. That makes it an even better option for playing games or watching TV. I tested the port and am quite pleased with it.

The HDMI port on the HyperDrive USB-C 6-in-1 Hub
With this HyperDrive hub, you can easily connect an HDMI display to your iPad Pro or iPad Air.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The USB-A port in the HyperDrive allows a range of easily available accessories to be plugged into the iPad, like keyboards, mice and thumbdrives. I’m not a fan of trackpads, so I often use this port with a mouse.

For data transfers, it supports USB 3.1 Gen 1, so it’s capable of transferring data at up to 625 MBps. In testing, I was able to copy a 1 GB file from an external drive to my iPad Pro in 12 seconds, and copy the same file back onto the external drive in 43 seconds.

Sanho’s hub offers both an SD card reader and a microSD card reader. Both are handy for importing images taken with external cameras. But note that they can not be used at the same time — plug something into one reader and the other becomes inactive.

These slots support UHS-I so they can transfer data at up to 104 MB/s. Copying a 1 GB file from a microSD card to my tablet took 25 seconds, and copying the same file back onto the external drive required 114 seconds.

The HyperDrive hub for iPad also includes a 3.5mm headset jack so you can use a wired headset while working on your iPad. Sanho says nothing about the DEC so don’t expect studio-quality audio. But it sounds quite good to my non-professional ears.

The USB-C port lets you charge your iPad while using the other ports. It supports up to 60W Power Delivery, though the iPad can only use 30W of that.

And that’s not it’s only use. You can plug in a USB-C drive and transfer data between it and a USB-A thumbdrive or an SD card also plugged into the hub. Sanho doesn’t list the data speed for this port, but it transferred a 1GB file in about 3 seconds so I suspect it’s USB 3.1 Gen 2. But there are limits. This port can’t handle an external monitor — I tried.

A drawback of this hub is that you won‘t get some of the ports available on larger multiport adapters. There’s only one USB-A port, and no Ethernet port.

Compatibility

HyperDrive hub for iPad MacBook adapter
The HyperDrive 6-in-1 USB-C Hub is designed for iPad. But there’s an adapter for MacBooks.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Sanho HyperDrive was designed for the 2020, 2019 and 2018 iPad Pro, as well as the 2020 iPad Air.

I tested it with a 2021 iPad Pro 12.9, which is just a bit thicker than its predecessors. It was not a problem — the accessory comes with a second, slightly wider flange designed for use with a screen protector. That one fits Apple’s newest tablet.

The side flange doesn’t interfere with attaching this hub to an iPad connected to an Apple Magic Keyboard or the Smart Keyboard, but the HyperDrive can’t be clipped onto the side of the iPad Pro when it’s in a case that covers most of the bottom edge.

Sanho’s solution is to make the flange removable, and include an adapter that allows a short USB-C extension cable to be attached. It’s a hassle requiring a screwdriver, though. Still, the screw-on cable allows this hub to be used with a MacBook.

The HyperDrive hub fits securely on an iPad Pro or iPad Air.
The HyperDrive hub fits easily on a iPad in the Apple Magic Keyboards.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Sanho HyperDrive USB-C 6-in-1 Hub for iPad final thoughts

Accessories come and go from my gear bag, but Sanho’s original HyperDrive hub for iPad stayed with me since it debuted back in 2019. It seems likely the improved followup will be with me for just as long.

This accessory is almost ridiculously small for all the ports it includes. And it connects solidly to the iPad — it won’t fall off just because you bump it slightly.

Pricing

The Sanho HyperDrive USB-C 6-in-1 Hub for iPad costs $89.99 on hypershop.com. It’s available from Amazon.com for that same price.

Comparable products

The closest rival to the HyperDrive is the Satechi Mobile Pro Hub ($59.99). It has a similar design and costs less, but it doesn’t have the memory card slots, nor does it include the protective flange.

Alternatively, you can chose any of the dozens of larger USB-C multiport adapters designed for MacBooks, like the Sanho HyperDrive Power 9-in-1 USB-C Hub ($99.99). iPad Pro and iPad Air can use these too.

Sanho provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out other in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.