As an avid Apple user, I have an iPhone and iPads — multiple versions at that. While my 2018 9.7-inch iPad (with lightning connector) has a headphone jack, my 2018 iPad Pro does not. At first, I found this odd. The cheaper model has something that the Pro model doesn’t? However, I realized that most people are switching to wireless headphones anyway. Additionally, since the new iPad Pro models have a USB-C port — much like the new MacBook models — instead of a lightning port, the USB-C hubs needed are much more readily found.
For most people, that’s just fine. The minimal latency between hitting play and actually hearing music is worth the portability and wire-free ease of use. Yet for some, myself included, this presents a problem.
As someone who composes music, edits videos, and does other similar tasks, I’ve run into some trouble with audio delay. For example, while editing video, I need to know exactly when the video and audio line up. This isn’t always possible when there’s a Bluetooth delay.
I’ve found that the easiest solution to this issue is to buy a USB-C hub with a headphone jack. Rather than subjecting you to hours of research on the best Apple iPad USB-C docks and hubs, I understand your confusion and I am here to help. Here are three of my favorites in case you find yourself in a similar predicament.
IOGear Travel Pro USB-C Mini Dock [$40]
While this is the cheapest option of the three mentioned below, it is one of my favorites. I’ve been surprised by how handy this product is. Small and simple, this device boasts a headphone jack, USB-A, USB-C pass-through charging, and an HDMI port. One important note is that this dock attaches without a dongle, and therefore fits snug against the new iPad Pro. Because of this, if there’s a case around the USB-C port, it may not fit. For example, it fits perfectly with my Logitech Slim Folio Pro case for my iPad Pro. However, with my Logitech Folio Touch case, this dock doesn’t.
I can confirm that this hub works great for a multitude of things including plugging in headphones, editing videos, external storage, output to a TV and power, and more. It’s worked without any flaws and has been my go-to hub for most things on my iPad Pro.
HyperDrive 6-in-1 USB-C Hub [$70]
The HyperDrive claims to be the best-selling USB-C Hub of its kind. I can say with confidence that, though pricey, this product works wonders. It feels like a continuation of my iPad Pro rather than an attachment. Similar to the IOGear Travel Pro dock above, this hub has a headphone jack, USB-A, pass through, USB-C Charging, and HDMI. However, to add to that list, the HyperDrive 6-in-1 also has an SD and MicroSD card reader.
Satechi Type-C Mobile Pro Hub [$60]
Satechi built a hub that adds the same main ports as the IOGear Mini Dock. One headphone jack, one HDMI, one USB-A, and one passthrough USB-C port. After using this device for a short period I feel as though it is nearly the perfect middle ground between the two devices above. Satechi did not add the SD and MicroSD card readers, though understandably so. I did enjoy the color matching to my space grey Apple products — something sadly not offered by IOGear.
Sometimes on my iPad Pro, audio latency isn’t an issue. However, with certain tasks, I just can’t take the risk of audio delay. While the iPad Pro can do nearly anything, it doesn’t have a wired headphone option. Now, with these hubs, I have the option to use wired headphones anytime without any hassle.