Satechi’s Aluminum Monitor Stand Hub is designed to elevate Apple’s all-in-one iMac while providing the added functionality of a hub with front-facing ports. Should you consider it over other iMac stands? Watch our hands-on video review for the details.
- Aluminum construction
- Space saving design
- Supports up to 31 pounds
- Built-in cable management
- SD & Micro SD Card Slots
- Audio jack port
- 3 x USB Type-A ports
- 1 x USB Type-C port
- Price: $89.99
Unboxing and design observations
Unboxing the Satechi Aluminum Monitor Stand Hub (we’ll just call it the Satechi iMac Stand from here on out) is a straightforward affair. A relatively simple cardboard box and some styrofoam to protect its contents is about all you’ll find outside of the product itself.
The majority of the iMac Stand, outside of the hub on the underside, is comprised of a solid piece of aluminum. Underneath the raised legs, which create an elevated shelf-like effect on a desktop surface, you’ll find four rubber feet to keep the Satechi iMac Stand nice and secure on its resting area.
I’m not a fan of how the rubber feet poke through the aluminum to attach to the underside of the stand. It means that you’re constantly subjected to look at the little rubber nibs that stick through the surface for the two front feet. One could say that I’m nitpicking, but I consider it a valid criticism since it’s front and center on your desk.
Satechi Aluminum iMac Stand video review
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iMac stand properties
Satechi offers its stand in both space gray and silver aluminum colors. The company sent over its silver model for me to test, which doesn’t look bad when paired with my space gray iMac Pro, but would probably look somewhat better underneath a standard 5K iMac. “Installing” the stand takes only a few seconds, although depending on how much cable mess you have behind your iMac, lifting it and resting it on the stand could prove to be challenging.
The Satechi iMac Stand will provide iMac users with close to two inches of additional height, which could make a big difference in usability considering that the iMac has no built-in vertical adjustment. The added height is nice, if not a bit limited. It’s worth noting that other stands, like Twelve South’s HiRise Pro, provide several different height settings and can raise you iMac significantly higher.
Speaking of the Twelve South HiRise Pro, it features a substantial storage area that can be hidden behind its magnetic front cover. Satechi’s stand also creates a storage area underneath the iMac with about an inch of clearance. This area might be handy for storing small accessories — I use it to store my space gray Magic Trackpad — but it’s not large or accessible enough to provide a lot of extra storage benefits.
Connecting to iMac
Below the top surface of the stand is where you’ll find the location of the 7-port front-facing hub. The hub comes with a permanently attached USB-C uplink cable, and features a cable management area on the underside to store said cable. The uplink can be connected directly to one of the USB-C ports on your iMac, or you have the option of using the included USB-C to USB-A adapter in an effort to keep the iMac’s precious Thunderbolt 3 ports free.
I, of course, opted to use the included adapter, because using the USB-C ports provides no measurable benefit over using USB-A. At the end of the day this is still just a standard USB 3.0 connection (5Gbps), so it makes no sense to use up a Thunderbolt 3 port when a USB-A port can provide the same functionality.
Lots of ports, but limited in scope
One of the best and worst qualities about the iMac is its rear-facing I/O, because you’re provided with a clean front design experience at the expense of easy I/O access. Personally speaking, I think Apple made the right decision to stick with rear-facing I/O, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying when attempting to connect accessories.
Having access to 7 different ports thanks to Satechi’s Hub is nice, but you’ll need to temper your expectations as far as performance is concerned. For starters, the SD Card slot is not UHS-II-enabled, meaning it’s noticeably slower than the built-in SD Card slot on the iMac Pro. For 5K iMac users, this won’t be a big deal.
The USB-C port is also just a USB port, meaning you can’t connect a Thunderbolt 3 accessory to the front-facing I/O and expect it to work. Again, this might seem obvious, but it’s worth noting. Satechi also notes that the USB-C port isn’t intended for charging other devices. In other words, it’s primarily designed around transferring data between your Mac and the connected accessory.
That’s not to say that having quick USB, SD Card, and headphone jack access isn’t nice. In fact, I find myself at times using the SD Card slot on front due to the convenience, even though I know it’ll be slower than the SD Card slot built in to my iMac.
At first glance, the $89.99 asking price for the Satechi stand seems a little on the expensive side, but if you price a hub that attaches to the bottom of your iMac for front-facing I/O, along with a basic stand, the price seems reasonable for what you get.
The Satechi Aluminum Monitor Stand Hub for iMac is a good product, and will prove to be useful for those looking to slightly raise their iMac display off the desktop. It’s especially useful for someone like me, who utilizes an adjustable standing desk.
What do you think about Satechi’s iMac stand, or iMac stands in general? Sound off down below in the comments with your thoughts.
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