One of the crucial parts of any good ergonomic iPad desk setup is a solid USB C hub. For a while I used the Kingston USB C hub (see my video review), and while it’s decent it’s not perfect so I was on the lookout for something better. In particular I wanted a wired connection to my router via an Ethernet jack.
Enter the StayGo USB C hub from Twelve South.
What had me purchase the StayGo hub was the dual cables it provides, and the Ethernet port. So let’s take a look at how it’s been performing over the last month.
Let’s start with the ports that the StayGo hub has. It starts with 2 USB C ports. One for power into the hub and one to connect to your device. It supports up to 85W pass-thru power, so it will charge your iPad without any issues. It’s designed to handle up to a 100W power brick going into the hub.
Next is a single Gigabit Ethernet cable followed by three USB A 3.0 ports. One of those USB A ports supports fast charging with 7.5W on it.
Then you get a single HDMI cable which I’m using to connect an LG 27UL500 4K monitor. This port only supports 30Hz refresh rates, which I’ve heard others complain about but I notice nothing off about the monitor.
Finally, the StayGo hub provides SD and Micro SD card support, but only of the UHS-I variety. It will support both slots at the same time if you need that and UHS-II cards will still work, just not at their full speeds.
Also in the box is a USB C cable with a 90 degree bend on one end that is 1 meter in length and then stowed inside is a short USB C cable for travel with your hub.
In daily use, the StayGo hub is about as good as my previous Kingston Hub, which is to say that it works but there are problems. First, and this may be an iPadOS bug really, is that I don’t always see my SD cards register with the iPad when I plug them into the hub. Sometimes they work if I remove the USB C power cable and plug it in again, but not every time. The same problem exists when I use an external hard drive with my iPad. Sometimes it’s seen from the hub, sometimes it’s not and there doesn’t seem to be any reason that I can figure out.
While this hub has one cable that’s generous by the standards of any other USB C I’ve ever seen, getting a clean desk with a 1 meter cable is hard. I’ve had to extend the provided cable with a male->female USB C cable from UGreen to get the extra 18” needed to connect the cable while routing it through my VESA monitor mount.
A similar complaint can be leveled at the hidden USB C travel cable. It’s long enough to lay flat with your MacBook, which is the intended device for this, but that means it’s going to hang off the side of your iPad. Not only does this look silly, it’s putting strain on your USB C port inside the iPad. This same complaint can be leveled at any USB C dock I’ve seen for an iPad thus far though so...I guess TwelveSouth is keeping up with the market.
Next, this seems to be an iPad issue totally, the HDMI port is not putting out 4K to my monitor. I’m getting 1080P only, which is annoying, but not a deal breaker. It looks like I’ll have to get this hub from CalDigit or maybe something from Pluggable to be able to get my 4K monitor running at native resolution with my iPad. I’ll need a DisplayPort out so that I can take advantage of the DisplayPort connection on my monitor.
Another issue that may bug some consumers is that all of the ports on the hub face in the same direction. This makes it easy to manage cables for your devices, but also means that if you want to plug an extra USB key or hard drive into the hub you’ve got to wrangle around to the back of it to access the ports. I’d love to see a single USB A and USB C fracking forward where it would be easier to access. This would create issues with their travel cable though, because it takes up that forward position on the hub.
Finally, why don’t we have even a single extra USB C port to actually use on the device?If you have a USB C hard drive like the Samsung T5, you won’t be plugging it into the hub because the only USB C ports are for power and then to your device. While not everything is USB C yet, the TwelveSouth StayGo will age out faster without this extra USB C port available for devices that use USB C.
I think it depends. If you’re looking to use a 4K monitor with your iPad then this isn’t the hub for you. You simply won’t get the resolution you want with your 4K monitor, and you can’t use USB C to connect to the monitor because there is no extra USB C port on the hub. Maybe, with the right monitor you could connect directly to the monitor and then connect to the StayGo hub with USB C out of the monitor. That right monitor is over 2x the price of the LG 27UL500 though so...
If you’re not worried about 4K then the StayGo hub is a decent option. I don’t think that the SD Card issue is one that is solely an issue for this hub. It’s been present on every hub I’ve tried so far which makes me think it’s an iPadOS bug.
The big thing I love about the StayGo USB C hub is that it has a Gigabit Ethernet port. I don’t have Gigabit speeds, but I’ve noticed a different in upload speeds with my videos because I have a wired connection to my router now. I even used it to test the internet at my wife’s job and there the travel cable came in handy. I simply unplugged the hub, and took it with me. When I got back all the cables were sitting there ready for my to plug them in again.
For that single feature and knowing that the iPad is a staple of mobile workers this is a great hub. It can be your single hub that travels with you, and takes up position on your desk when you’re in the office.