At this point, I’ve had opportunity to try out a lot of different accessories for the Surface tablet and I have some recommendations to share with you.
I’m assuming you’ve already gotten either a type or touch cover. If not, you should get one. The on-screen keyboard is good for some things but typing long documents or e-mails isn’t one of them. If you need help deciding between a touch or type keyboard, check out my post on Touch vs. Type Cover Comparison. OK, let’s get started…
Let’s face it, the touchscreen may work great and the track pad your touch/type cover does it’s job but, sometimes you just need a real mouse. This is especially true when your’re running desktop apps on your Surface. Here’s my thoughts on a couple of mice I’ve had the opportunity to use with a Surface tablet. Note: if you’re using your Surface to play “real” games (Borderlands, X-COM, Civ, etc.) you defiantly need a mouse. No arguments. Get one now.
- Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse: This seems to be the “default” mouse folks use with the Surface. It’s small and works well. It also had a “horizontal scrolling” feature that’s handy when looking a wide documents like spreadsheets. I found it just a little tricky to use but it’s very small and easy to carry.
- Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse : This mouse is “bendable” you can shape it for comfort. It’s a little less expensive than the Wedge mouse but doesn’t have the “horizontal scrolling” feature. Personally, I liked this mouse just a little better because I have large hands and it serves me well blasting skags in Borderlands 2 .
USB Port Expander
The single USB port on the Surface is really handy but sometimes you need something more. Here’s an option for quickly adding ports to your Surface tablet. It works well on both the Surface Pro and Surface RT but on the RT, it tends to block the Mini Displayport. As a result, you can’t use this adapter at the same time you have your RT plugged into an external monitor.
- Juiced Systems Microsoft Surface 5 in 1 Adapter : This one gives you 2 full size USB ports, a Micro USB port, a SD/MicroSD slot and a SDHC/MicroSDHC slot.
The screen on the Surface is good but is a bit small for presentations or games. Fortunately, Microsoft added a Mini Displayport to the Pro so you can display on a monitor or TV. Here’s a couple of options I’ve tried and found good.
- StarTech Mini DisplayPort to VGA Video AdapterMicrosoft adapter.: I’ve had good luck with this one and it’s half the price of the
- Datastream Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter : I keep one of these plugged into the back of my TV (along with a HDMI Cable ) for easy hookup of my Surface for watching Netflix.
Gorilla glass is tough but, it’s not impervious. A little bit of extra protection for just a little money can go a long way.
- Tech Armor Screen Protector
Misc accessories for the Surface
Here are a few miscellaneous recommendations for you. Funny enough, these tend to be the “handiest” of the things to get for your Surface.
- Extra Surface Charger: Always a good idea. One for the Home and one for the office.
- SanDisk Ultra 64 GB MicroSDXC: It’s always good to have some extra storage for documents and pictures.
- Stylus Loop: I had a tip of the week about attaching a elastic pen loop to your Surface. It works better than the magnetic clip and doesn’t block your charging port. I highly recommend this solution for Surface Pro and Pro 2 lines.
I’d like to recommend a car charger for the Surface but I can’t. I only found one to try. It was very cheaply made and didn’t work very well. Maybe in the next couple of months someone will make a dependable unit? I hope you find these recommendations helpful. I know adding some of these accessories for the Surface to my bag has made my tablet much more useful. Tim
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.