Pocket-size USB hub adds 4 useful ports to iPad or Mac [Review]

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Twelve South StayGo mini review
Tremendously expand the usefulness of your iPad with this tiny USB-C hub.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Plug the Twelve South StayGo mini into the USB-C port on an iPad Pro or Air and you’ll add a USB-A port, HDMI and a headset jack. All without sacrificing the USB-C port. And it can be used with a Mac thanks to a handy cable.

I put this matchbook-size adapter through its paces. Here’s how it stood up to my testing.

Twelve South StayGo mini review

If an iPad is your primary computer then odds are you need access to many types of accessories. But Apple makes us iPad Pro and iPad Air users get by on a single USB-C port. Fortunately, our tablets can use many different port types — just add the right adapters. The StayGo mini packs four of these into a small unit, and so adds noticeably to the usefulness of the iPad.

Hardware and design

The accessory plugs directly into the tablet’s USB-C port and fits directly against the side of the iPad. Twelve South made a very portable gadget here: 2.8 inches by 1.5 inches by 0.3 inches. That’s not counting its own USB-C connector that projects from one edge.

The exterior is black aluminum. A metallic casing makes it more rugged but also helps the multiport adapter shed heat. That’s necessary — it gets a bit warm in use.

All that’s keeping the StayGo mini connected to your iPad is the USB-C port. That’s a bit of a strain if/when you have four accessories plugged in simultaneously. It wasn’t a problem in my testing, especially with the tablet in landscape mode. The adapter never slipped out. But I’m concerned about stressing the tablet’s USB-C port. It’s something to think about if you plan to frequently plug in three or four accessories.

The accessories plugged into the Twelve South StayGo mini are a bit tightly packed.
The StayGo mini has a USB-C port, an HDMI port, a USB-A port and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Four ports

The StayGo mini includes a USB-A port for connecting keyboards, thumbdrives, etc. I tested it with a mouse and a keyboard and both worked just as expected. There’s only one of these ports but that doesn’t have to be too limiting if you’re creative. I daisychained a USB-A hub into Twelve South’s hub and was able to use mouse and keyboard at the same time.

Next I plugged in a USB drive to test data transfer speeds. The theoretical top speed is 5 Gbps, but I wanted some real-world data. Moving a 1GB file from external drive to my computer took 31 seconds. Moving it from computer to drive took 64 secs. That’s… not fast. Still, it’s fine to move the occasional file around. If you’re going to be frequently transferring files then you might want to look for a faster option.

The USB-C port can also be used to plug in external drives too. But it’s not really faster. Moving a 1 GB test file from a drive to my iPad took 31 seconds. Copying it back took 56 secs.

Twelve South intended this USB-C port for charging your tablet while you use other accessories. It can handle up to 85 watts of pass-through power — slight overkill considering an iPad Pro can only benefit from 30W of that.

The StayGo mini also has an HDMI port. It can handle 1080p, 2K or 4K but tops out at 30 Hz. That’s the refresh rate most people are accustomed to on their TV so you might not notice any difference. On the other hand, some people have gotten used to 60Hz or even higher. If that’s you then this might not be the HDMI adapter for you.

There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack for listening to music while working. I tried it with a pair of decent headphones and it sounds quite good to my non-audiophile ears. Just remember: this isn’t professional audio gear.

Be aware that the StayGo mini’s ports are fairly tightly packed in. I was able to plug cables or peripherals into every port at once… just barely. The fit is quite tight.

Mac cable

This accessory is primarily for tablets but Twelve South bundles a high-quality 1.6-foot cable to connect to a Mac. Plug the multiport adapter into the cable, then plug the cable into your computer.

It’s a good solution for people who intend to use the StayGo mini with their iPad but also want the option to connect it to a MacBook.

Twelve South StayGo mini final thoughts

The Twelve South StayGo mini is designed primarily for iPad.
The StayGo mini fits tightly to the side of an iPad Pro or Air.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

There’s simply no room for USB-A or HDMI in a super-slim iPad. Shrinking designs even squeezed out the headset jack years ago. The Twelve South StayGo mini is a good compromise — you have to carry around an adapter but you can add the ports you need most.

And the option to easily connect this accessory to a Mac is icing on the cake.

Pricing

The official price for the StayGo Mini USB-C Hub is $59.99 on Twelve South’s website.

Buy from: Amazon

Comparable products

The top competitor for this miniature multiport adapter is the Sanho HyperDrive USB-C 6-in-1 Hub for iPad. It has the same ports, plus is adds SD and microSD readers. And it has a flange designed to reduce stress on the USB-C port. But at $89.99 it costs more.

Or Satechi offers an adapter that’s very similar to the Twelve South one. The Satechi Aluminum Type-C Mobile Pro Hub has the same ports and also sells for $59.99.

Twelve South 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.