The Microsoft Surface Pro is an amazing combination of devices! It combines the mobility of a tablet with the power of a desktop. Out of the box, it is great for field work. To fully replace your administrative workstation, it requires some extra extensions. We have already reviewed the top 5 accessories for your Microsoft Surface. Each of those add-ons gives your Surface an extra cable – literally tying it down!
If you are getting tired of connecting numerous wires, you will be glad to know about a Microsoft Surface Pro Docking Station. Here is my two week review of the Plugable UD-3000 docking station.
The Benefits of a Surface Pro Docking Station
Although Microsoft has stated they could make a Surface Pro Docking Station, there won’t be any for the foreseeable future. Knowing that, a number of companies have released pseudo docking stations. These make use of the USB 3.0 port on the Surface Pro. A docking station is beneficial over a USB hub because of the number of devices integrated into the docking station. Instead of having to buy a bunch of separate attachments, the attachments are all built-in.
The Plugable docking station includes:
- 2 Front USB 3.0 Ports
- Front Audio jacks (Microphone and Speakers)
- 4 Rear USB 2 Ports
- Gigabit Ethernet Port
- DVI port
All of this connects to your computer through a single (included) USB 3 cable. In fact, my Surface Pro docking station runs three monitors, a set of speakers, keyboard, mouse, etc. The only thing not going through the docking station is the power itself!
With the Plugable Docking Station, you can run two full size monitors out of the box. One monitor can use the DVI port on the docking station. The other monitor can use the mini-DisplayPort adapter on the Microsoft Surface. With this setup, you also have the option of using the Surface screen as a third (smaller) monitor. This third monitor is useful for keeping Outlook open or a VOIP application open.
If you want to avoid the mini-Displayport route, you will need an external USB Video card. In order to use both the built-in DVI port and any external card, be sure to select a card that uses the DisplayLink technology. This will avoid any conflicts between adapters. Personally, I use the IOGear cards and have had them for several years. Here is a link.
Alternatively, Plugable makes an upgrade model that has two built-in video cards. One is for HDMI and the other is for DVI. While I have not personally used this model, you can read reviews on it here.
Final Verdict: What to Love and and Not Love
In two weeks, there have been zero issues with this Surface Pro docking station. I now have just two cables (Power and USB) that connect to my Surface. The setup was seamless and only required a single driver install! I also love how the box contains everything you will need (Power cable, USB 3 cable, and DVI-VGA adapter). It is nice to know that you aren’t being nickel and dimed.
In future releases of this product, I would like to see integrated bluetooth that might benefit other devices. This would free up a rear USB port for a lot of people. With a future update to USB 3, Power through USB would also make a great addition.
Overall, the Plugable USB Docking Station would be a great buy for your Microsoft Surface. It is currently priced at $99 on Amazon.
Note: Some links above are affiliated with Amazon.