Device works as promised, but has some design shortcomings.
With the advent of iPad OS, it’s an exciting time to reevaluate your workflow to include the iPad into both your mobile and stationary workspaces. Unfortunately, there aren’t many docking options out there that can accommodate both newer laptops and mobile devices. In July of this year, IOGEAR announced the release of the Access Pro KVM Switch, which is designed for the ‘modern professional.’
DETAILS & FEATURES
The Access Pro is a 2-port USB-C KVM Switch with Power Delivery that makes it possible for users to connect a USB-C compatible computer and tablet/smartphone to the same monitor and peripheral devices. With the Access Pro you can control and share 2 USB-C devices with DP Alt Mode from one keyboard, mouse, and an HDMI monitor. The switch does provide Power Delivery support up to 75W for a laptop and up to 10W for a mobile device. An external power supply is required for this feature to be operational (not included). The Access Pro does support Windows, Mac, iPad Pro 2018 and higher, and Android 8+ devices. There is no special software required when using the switch and it comes complete with USB-C cables and a push-button remote switch with a 6-foot long cord attached. The switch does also provide 4K Ultra HD support so you can take advantage of your monitor’s high-quality video resolutions.
- Upstream Port
- USB-C: 1x USB-C for laptop, 1x USB-C for smartphone; data rate up to 5 Gbps
- Downstream Port
- HDMI: 1x HDMI 1.4b compliant, up to 4K UHD 3840 x 2160 @30Hz resolution
- USB-A: 2x USB-A 3.1 Gen 1, data rate up to 5Gbps
- USB-C: 1x USB-C for Power Delivery Pass-Thru
- Power Delivery Pass-Through: Support USB PD 2.0 at 5V/9V/15V/20V up to 85W for laptop charging. Provides 5V/2A for Smartphone charging.
- Power Consumption: 5V/3A (15W)
- Operating System Requirements
- Mac®: macOS X 10.12 and above
- iPad®: iPadOS® 12.1, iPadOS 13 (when available and recommended for better experience)
- Windows®: Windows 10 (32/64 bit) and above
- Android™: Android 8 and above
When the Access Pro was announced, I was giddy with anticipation. I acquired a new iPad Pro in 2018 and was very happy to be able to realize it’s fully potential with the release of iPadOS from Apple and being able to connect it to an external monitor. I was also very excited that the Access Pro was going to give me the opportunity to do these things with a single connection device. I’ve been a fan of IOGEAR for quite some time and I’ve always been impressed with the quality of their products. Unfortunately, the Access Pro fell a little short of my expectations and I was let down just a little. Before I go into more detail I want to say that these were my personal perceptions of the device and my preferences may not align with others’ preferences. The device is wonderful and it does its job well. It was just some aspects of the design I didn’t like.
No external power supply included. This has been a pet peeve of mine for a while now. When a device boasts that it supports Power Delivery, but only if you connect to a power supply that isn’t included, I’m immediately turned off. And that’s what happened with the Access Pro. I know that part of the allure of this device is that it supports Power Delivery, but you can’t have that unless you add your own power supply. For a device that is $200 retail, a power supply should be included.
USB-A ports located on the front. This is just my personal preference, but if these ports are designed to be used for peripherals like a keyboard and mouse, they should be on the back of the switch to help with workspace design and to reduce cable clutter.
Limited details in quick start guide. When I first attempted to connect my MacBook Pro and iPad Pro to the switch, I had some issues getting the iPad to be recognized by the switch and connected monitor. As it turns out, the key was to open an app first that supported display mirroring. When I did that, the iPad mirroring function appeared immediately. This process though took about an hour to figure out if I was doing something wrong. The quick start guide that is included with the switch only mentions where you should plug in the smartphone or tablet. And there is limited information online about troubleshooting connection problems. It was a frustrating process that was made worse when I couldn’t find any supporting documentation to fix the problem.
Aside from the few things I found flaws with design-wise, the Access Pro did a nice job of allowing me to access the iPad Pro on my monitor and utilize my keyboard (but not the mouse) at the same time I was connected to the MacBook Pro. Switching back and forth was a breeze. There was no perceived lag except when one of the devices had gone into sleep mode and had to be woken up. One thing I was very impressed with was how nice the display looked when mirroring the iPad. I am using HP 24f 24” IPS LED FHD FreeSync Monitor on the workstation where I tested the switch and it looked beautiful with the mirrored iPad displayed.
While I truly appreciate the concept behind the Access Pro, I think the execution could have been so much better. I would love to see the second generation of this product have a smaller desktop footprint with cable management taken into account. I would also really like to see a power adapter included. If one of the main features of the device requires the user to add something to make it happen, it’s not really a main feature, is it? This isn’t a bad option for a modern switcher, but it is an expensive one. I hope IOGEAR takes a strong look at the design of this before releasing the next generation version.