- Frees up Lightning port while iPad is charging
- Premium appearance and build
- Offers only one viewing angle
- Doesn't come with charging cable
Quick TakeAlthough it's a bit expensive, the Logitech BASE is absolutely ideal for those who use an iPad Pro like a desktop, complete with charging and an open Lightning port.
All Apple iPads prior to the Pro had one major limitation: only one port for cables and accessories. That changed with the introduction of the Smart Connector, and the Logitech BASE is one of the more innovative accessories to support it. This cradle can hold and charge the tablet, while leaving the lightning port open for other uses.
Build and Design
The design of the BASE is simple but effective. It has a C shape with one end that sits flat on a desk while the other end curves up to support the back of the iPad. The product is primarily made of aluminum, and the appearance is both elegant and professional. It looks at home on any executive’s or artist’s desk. At the same time it’s quite rugged, completely resisting our efforts to bend it.
Charging the iPad Pro in this stand requires aligning the Smart Connectors on each device. There are magnets built into both that greatly simplify lining them up; as long as the two connector are within about half an inch of each other the magnets will pull them together correctly. Gravity holds everything securely, and lifting easily separates the iPad Pro from the stand.
Whether it’s the 9.7-inch or the 12.9-inch model, the tablet is held up at roughly 110 degrees. This is a good angle for watching video but not the best for typing onscreen, which is unfortunate because Logitech’s accessory can’t be adjusted to any other angle.
Speaking of limitations, the BASE has been designed for landscape use. However, the iPad’s resistance in portrait mode may damage the pins on the accessory’s Smart Connector.
Going with landscape mode leaves the iPad Pro’s Lightning port available for other uses while the computer is still charging, which is a clear advantage. For example, a movie can be played from the SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive or a collection of PDFs can be accessed with the Leef iAccess microSD reader.
Apple’s own Silicone Cases don’t have to be removed to put the tablet on the BASE. Keyboards that communicate through the Smart Connector do have to be removed, but external Bluetooth ones like the Apple Wireless Keyboard are still usable. This allows the iPad Pro to function like a desktop.
The bottom of the BASE comes covered with a removable layer of paper because it has a sticky coating that allows it to cling securely to desk surfaces.
Our testing showed that charging an Apple tablet through the Logitech BASE is as fast as using a cable attached to the Lightning port. The tablet will keep its full charge when docked.
So, will charging through both the Lightning port and BASE charge an iPad Pro twice as fast? Will it damage the battery? According to Logitech, “If both the lightning and Smart Connector are connected, your iPad will select the strongest charger and disregard the other one. If both chargers have the same rating, the iPad will select the one connected to the Lightning port.”
Despite its premium price, this accessory doesn’t come bundled with a charger. Instead, users must turn to the iPad’s bundled charger or a third-party charger that provides the right amperage, which plug into the BASE.
The Logitech BASE is absolutely ideal for those who use an iPad Pro like a desktop and want to be able to plug peripherals into the lightning port while also charging their computer.
Some people have wondered why Apple didn’t release its own charging cradle with a similar design. It’s quite possible that the limitations in Logitech’s offering explain why it hasn’t: most notably, the tablet can only be used in landscape mode.
With a suggested price of $99, the BASE is undoubtedly a premium item. There are similar cradles on the market, designed to work with a range of tablets–some of these cost up $100 and more, while others are much less. No matter the price, none of these have built-in Smart Connector chargers.