Since its launch, Apple has positioned the iPad Pro as a device that could be a competent laptop replacement for many users, and as we noted in our review, the latest iPad Pro certainly delivers on that front as far as the hardware is concerned. That’s been a bit of a theme for the iPad Pro over the years — while the underlying hardware has been really powerful, the software has taken its time catching up.
Apple recently gave the iPad an OS of its own, and iPadOS 13 brings features that address a couple of long-standing complaints. First up is native support for external storage devices such as pen drives and SD cards. This means you can, for example, plug in a drive into the Type-C port of your iPad Pro and view/ modify its contents using the Files app or any other app that integrates with Files as a plugin.
iPadOS 13 also introduces the ability to connect a Bluetooth or USB mouse and use it as a pointing device on your iPad. Though exposed as an accessibility feature, mouse support on iPadOS is surprisingly robust, and it has the potential to change the way many use their iPad.
Of course to get the most out of these new features and everything else that the iPad Pro offers, you will need accessories. So, without further ado, here are some must-have accessories for the iPad Pro that we’ve tested over recent months. Note that this is by no means a comprehensive list of everything that is out there — this list is limited to stuff we’ve tested at Gadgets 360.
A USB Type-C pen drive
With iPadOS 13 now supporting external storage natively, a pen drive with both Type-C and full-sized Type-A ports could be the quickest, most convenient way of transferring large amounts of data between a computer and your iPad Pro. Available in capacities between 32GB and 256GB, the Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C is the faster of the two such products that SanDisk offers.
We ran the popular BlackMagic Disk Speed Test benchmark on a MacBook Pro and recorded read speeds of 168Mbps, which is higher than what SanDisk claims. We also noted average write speeds of 68MBps. This might not seem like much, but was faster than a couple of generic USB 3.0 pen drives that we had lying around, which recorded write speeds of between 25MBps and 45MBps.
SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive price in India starts at Rs. 629 for the 32GB variant and goes all the way up to Rs. 2,869 for the 256GB variant. The drive is backed by a five-year warranty.
As we alluded to earlier, SanDisk also offers a slower, more affordable drive called the SanDisk Dual Drive Type-C that’s available at only a very slight premium compared to regular pen drives, with the 64GB variant retailing at Rs. 799. If you need a drive only for occasional use and don’t care much about speed, it’s worth picking one up and carrying it around in your bag.
A small bag or a sleeve
Talking about carrying your iPad around, if you are looking for a sleeve or a minimalistic bag to complement your style, we have a couple of recommendations for you. First up is a 13-inch sleeve from popular Australian accessories brand STM. This sleeve is made from a water- and dirt-repellent fabric, and is available in three colour options — Windsor Wine, Slate Blue, and, for those looking for something a bit more formal, Granite Black (below).
The Granite Black and Windsor Wine variants have handles on the side, while the Slate Blue one has a handle on the top. These are great if you are looking to carry your iPad for a short duration, but if you need to carry the bag on your shoulder, you can always throw on the adjustable strap, and remove it later for a cleaner look.
Everything about this sleeve screams quality, and it’s backed by STM’s three-year warranty. There’s an outer zipper for you to carry a small charger and a couple of cables, but don’t expect to throw in much stuff without it bulging awkwardly. Don’t be confused by the fact that it’s a “laptop sleeve” — STM also sells a 15-inch version that we’ve used and can recommend — it’s an ideal companion for your 12.9-inch iPad Pro as well.
If you are looking for something that offers a bit more versatility, consider this bag by CASE U. While your iPad Pro will fit snugly inside it, you will still have enough room to fit other stuff in the main pocket itself. In fact, we’ve carried a 13-inch MacBook Air and a 12.9-inch iPad Pro in this bag at the same time without any problems.
The main pocket opens from one of the sides, instead of the top or bottom, which makes it pretty convenient to slide items in or out from. Additionally, you can fit in a charger, a power bank, a few cables, multiple pens, and a few other things in the two convenient outer pockets that the bag offers.
While the bag isn’t as sleek or stylish as STM’s offerings, it doesn’t look cheap either, and you wouldn’t feel awkward carrying it into, say, a high-profile business meeting. It offers sufficient protection by itself, though you can easily remove the shoulder strap and tuck it inside a bigger bag using the top handle, if necessary. We’ve used the red version of the bag, but it’s also available in grey and black.
Like its siblings, the iPad Pro offers incredible battery life, but you will eventually run out of juice. If you are near a power outlet, you can use a wall charger and cable to top up your iPad, but in case you are on the move, you’ll need another solution. We’ve tested a few power banks with Type-C output in recent months, and our pick for iPad users is the Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 PD.
We like this power bank due to its high capacity as well as fast charging capabilities with support for 18W Power Delivery. In 30 minutes, it could top up the iPad Pro 25 percent, which is more than what the bundled wire charger can manage (19 percent). It’s relatively compact for its capacity and has a premium design to complement your iPad Pro.
If Anker’s offering is too expensive, you can consider one of the other Type-C power banks that we’ve tested that better fits your budget.
If you already have a non Type-C powerbank, you might want to continue using it with your iPad Pro. Since the iPad Pro ships with a Type-C to Type-C cable, you will need to buy a third-party cable. The AmazonBasics USB Type-C to USB-A cable is our pick for most people, due to its reasonable price and the reliability of the brand.
The cable supports fast charging, but is limited to USB 2.0 data transfer speeds, so if you need a cable to move huge amounts of data, you should look at other options. Available in a variety of lengths — and in black or white — the cable comes with a one-year warranty.
If you want a cable that allows faster data transfers — or if you don’t mind spending a little bit extra for additional peace of mind (read a longer warranty) — we recommend the STM Type-A to Type C cable. The cable supports USB 3.0 speeds and is backed by STM’s two-year warranty. It’s priced at Rs. 1,599, which might sound like a lot, but that’s still less than what Apple charges for its own Type-C (to Type-C) cable.
The iPad Pro ships with a 1m Type-C cable in the box, but if you are looking for something longer, you could buy a 2m cable from Apple for Rs. 1,700 (which, incidentally is exactly what a replacement 1m Apple Type-C cable is priced at as well). However, Apple’s Type-C cables (including the one that ships in the box) are disappointingly limited to USB 2.0 speeds. If you are looking for something that enables faster data speeds, we can recommend the STM Type-C to Type-C cable.
It supports USB 3.1 Gen1 data transfer speeds of up to 5Gbps, which is less than the iPad Pro’s theoretical USB 3.1 Gen2 (up to 10Gbps) speeds, but quite an upgrade over Apple’s own cables. It’s priced at Rs. 1,799 and is backed by a two-year warranty.
So you have your cables, but the iPad Pro has just one Type-C port. To deal with that, you will need to use a dongle or dock, which can greatly extend your connectivity options. You can pick up practically any Type-C dock and expect it to work with your iPad, but for best results, check the manufacturer’s website and user reviews to make sure of compatibility. We’ve tested a few Type-C dongles over the years, and here are some we can recommend.
Our favourite Type-C dock is the Targus USB-C DOCK412AP Travel Dock with Power Pass-Through. Not only does it have nearly all the ports that you might need as an iPad user, but what really seals the deal is its premium build quality and compact form factor.
Measuring 9.4 x 9.1 x 2.3 cm and weighing 90g, this dock has three different display outputs on one side — VGA, HDMI 1.4, and Mini DisplayPort, with the latter two capable of supporting up to a 4K display at 30Hz. It’s worth noting that only one of these ports can be used at a time, which shouldn’t be a problem as an iPad user.
On the other side, you get two full-sized USB 3.0 ports and a Type-C port with power pass-through. The dock also features a Gigabit Ethernet port and a Kensington lock slot, which enterprise users might like. Unlike some other docks, this one doesn’t require any external power. Perhaps our favourite feature is that the USB cable that plugs into the iPad can be tucked away and stored in the bottom of the dock when it’s not being used.
If you are looking for something a bit more affordable, or a bit different, we recommend the Artis HB400. This Type-C hub has nine ports — three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and Ethernet ports, a 3.5mm audio jack, individual microSD and SD card slots, as well as a Type-C port with pass-through charging support. Note that only one of the microSD/ SD cards can be used at any given time.
If you don’t need the Ethernet port, you could consider the Artis HB300, Artis HB200, or Artis HB100, which we haven’t tested, but all cost less and offer different port combinations.
Another hub we’ve tested and can recommend is the Portronics Mport 7C (POR-925), which looks a lot like the Artis HB400. There’s no Ethernet port, but you get three full-sized USB ports, an HDMI port, and a Type-C port with power pass-through, as well as microSD and SD card readers. It’s worth pointing out though that only one of the full-sized USB ports supports USB 3.0 speed, which is a bit of a disappointment.
Portronics also sells another hub — that we haven’t tested — without a USB Type-C port (which means you can’t charge your iPad while the hub is plugged in) and with one less full-sized USB port, but the two Type-A ports you do get both support USB 3.0 speeds.
A fast charger
The iPad Pro ships with an 18W charger in the box, though it supports even faster charging. If you are looking for something that will top up the current generation iPad Pro at the fastest possible speed, our top pick is the Anker 5-Port 60W USB charger, which has one Type-C port and four regular-sized USB ports.
The Type-C port supports standard USB Power Delivery at up to 30W, which is as fast as the iPad Pro can be charged. In 30 minutes, the charger took our 12.9-inch iPad Pro from zero to 30 percent, compared to 20 percent with the official bundled charger.
The other four ports can be used to charge multiple devices at the same time, making this charger a great pick for use around the house, but more so for your travels, when you want to minimise the number of chargers you need to carry.
If you aren’t necessarily looking for something that offers faster charging, but need a replacement charger for your iPad Pro, you could go for the Apple 18W USB-C Power Adapter. That will set you back by Rs. 2,700, which seems like poor value for money compared to Anker’s offering. If you are on a tight budget, you could consider a couple of these more affordable alternatives.
Our first pick for our international readers is the 36W Xcentz USB charger with Power Delivery. This charger has two ports — one full-sized USB Type-A port with Quick Charge 3.0 and a Type-C port with Power Delivery, both of which support charging at up to 18W simultaneously. What this means is that while this device will top up your iPad Pro at exactly the same rate as the bundled charger, you can fast charge a phone at the same time without the iPad charging speed dropping.
Priced at $22.99 (approximately Rs. 1,650), this charger has an 18-month warranty.
If you are reading this in India, you can consider the Stuffcool Type-C charger with 18W Power Delivery. Priced at an affordable Rs. 1,299, this Type-C charger is targeted at smartphone users, but it will work with your iPad Pro just fine — as long as you don’t use the cable that came bundled with your iPad Pro, or any other Apple cable.
That’s right, for some reason, this adapter failed to charge our iPad Pro when used with Apple’s own cables, but it worked just fine with all other Type-C cables that we tried. The company says it’s aware of the problem, but there seems to be no fix on the horizon.
Though the charger is rated at 18W, in our tests it managed to top up our 12.9-inch iPad Pro to 29 percent in 30 minutes, which is practically the same as what the 30W Anker charger managed. However, the adapter got pretty warm while topping up the iPad Pro, which has us a little bit concerned about its long term durability.
As we said, this charger inexplicably does not work with Apple’s own charging cables, so you will need to buy another one, if you don’t already have a Type-C cable with you. You could consider one of the options we mentioned earlier in this article, or opt for a bundle that includes the charger as well as a Type-C cable, that Stuffcool sells for Rs. 1,999.
As we mentioned earlier, iPadOS 13 brings full-fledged mouse support to the iPad, which means you can pair your favourite Bluetooth (or if you’re using a dongle or dock, even USB) mouse with the iPad Pro. Using a mouse with an iPad might seem like an odd choice to some, but it can potentially improve your iPad experience when used alongside a keyboard.
When you are doing something — like working on an article, for example — moving your hand from the keyboard all the way up to the screen just to tap something real quick isn’t comfortable. Sometimes, it’s just easier to slide your hand across to a mouse to accomplish the same thing, and many users have years of experience doing this thanks to their time spent using PCs.
Logitech recently introduced the M350 Pebble wireless mouse in India, and it’s our pick for iPad users thanks largely to its compact form factor, which makes it easy to carry in any bag, or even slide into your pocket, if necessary. Measuring 107 x 59 x 26.5 mm and weighing 100g (with the pre-installed AA battery), this mouse has a traditional three-button layout, with a scroll wheel in the middle.
The iPad doesn’t support right-clicks, but you can assign custom actions to each button, such as the ability to invoke Control Centre, Siri, or Spotlight, or take a screenshot, which can come in pretty handy. We used this mouse for a fair amount of time with the iPad Pro. While we didn’t find it ideal for use for long durations due to the very things that make it easy to carry around — flat design and compactness —one look at the best-selling mice on Amazon India suggests that many people don’t seem to care about ergonomics as much as we do. With that said, we still recommend that if you are going to be using a pointing device for more than occasional use, get something more ergonomic such as a model from the Logitech MX series.
Priced at Rs. 1,999, the Logitech M350 Pebble Wireless is available in Rose, Off-White, and Graphite (read black) colours.
Our final recommendation is something to hold all these accessories together in one place — or more accurately, to make sure you have them with you when you really need them. We’ve used a lot of backpacks over the years, but none of them have continued to delight us weeks after we started using them, like the one we’re currently using. We’re talking about the STM Myth 28L backpack.
First up are its looks, which have attracted attention and comments wherever we’ve gone. From friends to complete strangers — airport security staff, for example — we’ve received more favourable feedback on this bag than any other; not that we’ve been out fishing for that kind of attention.
The STM Myth backpack has a fairly understated, premium design. Available in three colours — Granite Black, Slate Blue, and our favourite, Windsor Wine — this backpack stands out from the usual black/ grey ones we see everywhere.
Available in two capacities, 18L, and the one we had, 28L, this backpack is full of nice touches that we continued to discover long after we’d started using it. The bag is made entirely from polyester, measures 47×30.0x17 cm, and weighs 1.2kg. There are three main zipped compartments in addition to an outer open pocket, and zipped side pockets for storing bottles or other miscellaneous items.
The company has used reverse zippers all over, which is an STM hallmark that not only looks (and feels) nice, but is also said to be more durable. The innermost pocket (as you wear the bag) is for devices such as laptops and tablets that need extra protection. The pocket next to the back can fit a 16-inch laptop, and the one on the other side can easily fit a 12.9-inch iPad Pro at the same time.
In fact, on a couple of occasions, we carried two 15-inch laptops and an iPad without any problems. There’s sufficient padding on all sides — including the bottom, which many bags neglect — which ensures that your precious gear is never too close to the edges of the bag, and thus safer.
The zipped pocket in the middle is the one that carries most of the load. There are zipped pockets on either side, with the slightly bigger one on the outer side featuring some additional padding, which should make it a good place to store your sunglasses. The zipped pocket on the other side is ideal for storing stuff like AirPods or an Apple Pencil, which you would want to be easily accessible when needed.
The main storage area is pretty roomy, with enough space to carry large headphones, or even a DSLR with a couple of lenses (without protection, which isn’t something we’d recommend, obviously). An organiser pocket on the inside lets you separate your papers from the rest of the stuff. There’s a small pocket towards the bottom that can be used to tuck away a powerbank, a small bottle, or anything else you’d want to be easily reachable amidst the chaos of the rest of this large storage space.
Right above this pocket is a small grommet-covered passthrough hole to the side pocket, which can come in handy if you, say, want to charge a Bluetooth speaker tucked into that pocket. Similar holes connect the three main compartments as well, which means you can, say, have your iPad in the back compartment and a phone in the front zipper, all charging via a power bank in the middle compartment without any wires showing on the outside. The middle compartment also has a tiny orange clip to help manage the potential mess of wires.
Finally, the outermost zipper has a zipped pocket that’s for miscellaneous stuff like a passport, medicine, keys, or even a small notebook. Outside this pocket are smaller pockets for business cards, pens etc. On the other side, there’s a little loop that can be used to hold your wired earphones to stop them from getting tangled in your bag — it’s these nice touches that make the bag truly stand out.
The outermost pocket runs nearly the full length of the bag and can be used to store additional water bottles, an umbrella, newspapers, or books. We found ourselves using it as a dumping ground for receipts that we collected during our trips, as well as the place to tuck away our conference badge at the end of the day.
Even when the bag was stuffed to the gills, it didn’t feel as heavy as similar loads with other bags, and we experienced decent airflow while walking around with it on for extended periods on warm days. There’s a polyester handle at the top that doesn’t look very sturdy, but is strong enough to carry the entire weight of a packed bag without any problems.
If you are a frequent traveller, you will also appreciate the “luggage passthrough” that lets the backpack be connected to your wheeled trolley bag. Additional lumbar support means it won’t flop around when you are carrying it across the airport terminal The entire bag features a water-repellent coating, which you’ll appreciate it you are exposed briefly to a light shower.
All in all, the STM Myth 28L backpack is one of the most stylish and comfortable backpacks we’ve used and we can whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone looking for an upgrade over their current backpack. As we mentioned, the Windsor Wine is our personal favourite colour, but STM says most Indian customers prefer the other two options, since the former tends to show dust a bit easier.