Docking Stations for Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3

surface laptop

Surface Pro 3 (and Surface Pro 2) are from Microsoftnot true! Although the Surface is a tablet, there are still several options available for various docking stations, both produced my Microsoft and not.

In this post, I will concentrate on the review of three main types of docking stations for the Surface: Microsoft docking stations, USB 3.0 docking stations (without power charging), and portable docking stations.

Let’s look at one in each category in the above order…


Docking Stations for Surface
Microsoft Docking Station:

How much: $114 – $209.99

Where: Amazon and Microsoft

Works with: versions available for Surface Pro 2/Pro and Surface Pro 3

Tech Specs:

Surface Pro 3 Model:

  • Ports: 3 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet port, 3.5mm audio input/output connection, Mini DisplayPort
  • Designed to leave the Mini DisplayPort and USB 3.0 port on your device available for use when docked
  • No HDMI
  • Allows a full-size keyboard, printer and more, while charging your Surface Pro 3
  • Connect to your HD monitors, wired network, audio system, Security lock slot

Surface Pro 2 model:

  • Ports: Power supply input • 1 USB 3.0 Port • 3 USB 2.0 Ports • Ethernet port (10/100 Ethernet RJ-45) • 3.5 mm audio input/output connections • 1 mini DisplayPort
  • Charge multiple accessories, transfer large files to an external drive or plug into the Ethernet port for a reliable wired network connection
  • Charges the Surface while you work
  • Supported Platforms: Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2

Pros:

  • Charges the Surface
  • Optimized for Surface
  • Ethernet port

Cons:

  • No HDMI
  • Highest Price

USB 3.0 Docking Station:

Plugable UD-3900 Universal Dock


How much: $109

Where: Amazon

Works with: Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3 (same model)

Tech Specs:

  • USB 3.0 (5Gbps) link from PC to dual video, gigabit Ethernet, audio input/output, and two USB 3.0 ports. Hot-swappable
  • HDMI port supports resolutions up to 2560×1440* and DVI/VGA port supports display resolutions up to 2048×1152 / 1920×1200
  • Wired Ethernet port supports 10/100/1000Mbps speeds
  • NOT a USB charging station
  • *2560×1440 output only available when using a single HDMI display connected through the dock. If dual displays are connected, each will be limited to a maximum resolution of 1920×1200.

Pros:

  • Universal – works for both Surface Pro/2 and Surface Pro 3
  • Ethernet port
  • Hot swappable
  • Lower Price

Cons:

  • No Charging Station
  • Video via USB 3.0 is slightly slower – not great for gaming
  • Highest resolution only achieved with 1 monitor.

Portable Docking Station:

3 in1 Mini Display Port To HDMI/DVI/DP


How much: $14.90

Where: Amazon

Works with: Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3

Tech Specs:

  • Support Mini DisplayPort 1.1a input and DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort output.
  • Support DisplayPort highest video resolution 1920*1200
  • Support HDMI/DVI highest video resolution 1920*1080p
  • Powered from Mini DisplayPort source

AmazonBasics 4 Port USB 3.0 Hub for $18.99 from Amazon

Pros:

  • Easily portable
  • Great for interfacing with projectors
  • Low price
  • Plug-and-play

Cons:

  • Lower resolution
  • Doesn’t include USB ports, you need a USB hub

Bottom line:

I know what you’re thinking: So, which one of those docking stations is best?

Well, that’s like asking “which is the best ice cream flavor?” – the answer is always in a form of a question:  “what do you like/want/need?”

If you’re looking for a charging station or maybe you are a heavy gamer then you should probably go with the Microsoft option; if you want something for travel – choose a portable dock. And if you’re looking for something right in the middle, with a mid-price yet several ports, then choose the Plugable.

Check out my Home Office Setup with Surface Pro 3 and Plugable dock.

Do you use a docking station with your Surface? Which one and how do you like it?

Joanna-

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