Accessories for Surface 3 – What’s reusable?

Accessories for Surface 3

I’m sitting here playing with my Surface 3 and wondering to myself: I have all the previous versions of Surfaces and most of the Microsoft accessories for them, but which of them can I reuse with the Surface 3?

I think that’s a question many of you will be asking too, especially if you previously owned an earlier version of the Surface. I mean let’s face it, the cost of a new tablet is not just the device itself – the accessories you probably bought from Microsoft add a chunk of money to the cost as well.

Accessories for Surface 3: Compatibility Table

I created the below table to help you decide what Microsoft accessories you can keep using, what accessories you might want to replace, and what accessories you will need to replace because they no longer work with the Surface 3.

Accessories for Surface 3 Compatibility Table

As you can see, many of the Microsoft accessories for previous Surface models will work but, many won’t. The Power Cover incompatibility is a bit odd but, I’ll cover that below.

Accessories for Surface 3: Why Are There So Many Incompatibles?

Frankly, it’s mainly because Microsoft keeps changing connectors and (at least in the case of the Surface Pro/Pro 2 stylus) technologies used in successive versions of the Surface line of tablets.

Most of the above incompatibles can be attributed to the docking stations or power supplies. The docking station incompatibility is particularly disappointing since they are not cheap at $199.00 USD.

However, the new, different power supply is not as much of a problem since it comes with an upside; the Surface 3 is using a standard Mini USB port for charging. This makes it compatible with many USB phone and tablet chargers.

Accessories for Surface 3: KeyBoard Covers

OK, the good news is that the Surface 3 works with all of the older Type Covers that you shelled out around $120.00 USD to buy. Unfortunately, there are a couple of things to be aware of…

  • The older Type Covers will not fully cover the Surface 3 screen when closed. There is about 1.75cm (3/4 inch) of glass exposed with the cover closed. This does not affect the functionality at all but might make that portion of your screen more susceptible to scratches and damage
  • The Power Cover will work fine as a keyboard and touchpad but it will not supply extra power to the new tablet. This is because the Surface 3 is missing the necessary power connectors for the battery in the Power Cover to connect.

Accessories for Surface 3: My Advice on Surface 3 Accessories

Personally, I would recommend upgrading your Keyboard cover and, if you don’t have one already, a Surface Pen.

In fact, I already sprung for the new Surface 3 Type Cover Keyboard (we got the red one). I did so because I found the new trackpad to be slightly bigger and more responsive than the previous versions. I know it’s not necessary so, feel free to disregard this advice, especially if the expense is a concern to you – an older cover will function just fine.

The Surface Pen is pretty self explanatory. It is simply a handy thing to have with any Surface tablet. You should remember that you can only pair the Surface Pen with one device at a time so, if you have a SP3 you will need to re-pair it with the Surface 3 and you won’t be able to switch back and forth (and get full functionality) without re-pairing it each time you switch the device.

Personally, I’d just get a second pen for the Surface 3. On the plus side, you can get a choice of colors:

I hope this helps you figure out which previous Surface accessories you can reuse and which ones you might need to replace.

I concentrated on Microsoft accessories for Surface tablets but if you have an accessory that is or is not compatible and not covered in this article, please share it with us in the comments.


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