Shop HP’s Memorial Day Sale:Save up to 61% on PCs and more!
01-14-2014 03:13 AM
27 12
tools
  1. MDBulldog's Avatar
    I am a total newb when it comes to evaluation docking stations as I have always had a desktop at home and had never needed to add peripherals past what was available on my desk top. I recently receive my surface pro 2 and would like it to become my desktop replacement. That being said, I see that Microsoft has released their docking station for the pro/pro 2 for a little under $200. Surprisingly I could not find to much info on it. When comparing it to the Toshiba Dyna dock. It seems as if the Toshiba comes with more ports ( 4 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0) has the ability to play audio in 5.1 surround sound (dont know if this is a feature of the surface docking station) and a hdmi port (plus it is cheaper). Where as the surface docking station may have the upper hand when it comes to screen resolution (3,840 x 2,160 ) and the fact that it is also a charging station. So here is my question. What are your overall impressions of it? How do you think it compares to other docking solutions?
    Thanks for the advice.
    Bo likes this.
    10-25-2013 12:41 PM
  2. csiguy1's Avatar
    Just got a email from MS announcing the the Docking Station is available to order. I just ordered mine from the Microsoft Store.
    10-25-2013 01:48 PM
  3. MDBulldog's Avatar
    Just got a email from MS announcing the the Docking Station is available to order. I just ordered mine from the Microsoft Store.
    Yeah, I noticed your post after I posted mine (I could of just ask the question on your post). If u would not mind, I assume that you got the dock so you can use your surface pro as a desk top replacement. If so, what lead you to the decision to choose the surface dock over the Toshiba,plugable, (etc).
    I am also unfamiliar with the display port operations. Do you need special monitors to be able to daisy chain more than 1?
    Thanks.
    10-25-2013 02:29 PM
  4. hcrick's Avatar
    I haven't seen or handled one yet, but my initial reaction was "Very nice but expensive." I'm currently achieving the same thing with a good USB 3.0 powered hub, mini display port cable, and USB Ethernet adaptor for $100. That said I'm probably still going to get the Surface Dock for my Pro 2 and here's why:

    1. Surface Dock has integrated charging, which is worth $80 for anyone who was already considering the purchase of a second charger. Since I am in that camp it essentially brings the price down to $120.

    2. Surface Dock provides quick and easy hook up and removal since all peripherals are permanently connected to the dock. Plus, my charger is rarely where my monitor & desk are located so I either have to go grab the charger or make sure there's enough juice left in the battery.

    3. I want video output support for 2560x1440 since that is the resolution I use on my 27" monitor.

    4. Surface Dock is simply a faster, cleaner, more tidy solution. While I could live with the current solution, I share the Pro 2 with others and they complain about the mess of cables and hassle of hooking and unhooking everything individually each time. Something along the lines of "looks like a science experiment" when connected and "pile of spaghetti" when not....
    Bo likes this.
    10-25-2013 03:39 PM
  5. MBytes's Avatar
    I don't think it's worth it (beside looks and a bit more convenience)

    Here is why:
    1- You gain no additional video outputs... all you have is mini Display-Port which you already have on the device. Not even a full size DisplayPort.. not even a cable for mini-Displayport (mini-DisplayPort to full size DisplayPort would have been nice). At least Dell docks, while expensive, includes multiple inputs.
    2- No additional USB 3.0 ports.
    3- Ethernet is a USB to Ethernet adapter built-in. Can't do 1Gbps, only 10/100 Mbps.
    4- All it is, is a USB hub with USB powered Ethernet (so connection speed varies based on what you are doing with other ports, and requires CPU interaction to manage it all, as it's USB, meaning: reduce performance.. while minor, still.), and the rest redirects ports.
    5- This one is a concern: there is no padding on the stand.. will scratch over time the Surface Pro? A rubber pad width wise the unit could have been added to avoid this.

    Here is what I expected:
    -> 2x USB 3.0 ports. (Port 1 is "dedicated", Port 2 is shared with USB 2.0 bellow)
    -> 2x USB 2.0 ports.
    -> DisplayPort Full size, OR a provided cable from mini DisplayPort to full size DisplayPort.
    -> Dual Link DVI (DisplayPort to Dual Link DVI is a costly adapter), for resolution of 2560x1400 and 2560x1600.
    -> Gigabit Ethernet... but, because the device doesn't have a dedicated port for dock, I can excuse the 10/100Mbps connection on USB.

    On the other hand, it's a fantastic looking dock, and good build quality.
    If it was cheaper, I would say it's a great buy.
    1jaxstate1 and Bo like this.
    10-29-2013 01:46 PM
  6. MDBulldog's Avatar
    Thanks guys for your responses. I have already ordered the surface dock with the thought that it better to pick one up now (with the supposedly limited stock) and if I did not like it I can just return it. That being said after reading various different opinions of the surface dock it seems that those that do have negative views have similar views as to the failing of the surface dock. Namely the price, lack of more 3.0 ports, lack of additional video outputs, and Ethernet. So this leaves me with a few question.
    If not this dock than what?

    1) I think that hcrick makes some good points, for me the surface is not only a desktop replacement but also my laptop replacement as well. A efficient, clean, and tidy setup is what I am going for. His point about the dock integrated charging was also an eye opener as I was planning to buy a second charger to put in my travel case. What other solution is available that can provide the above (with the possible exception of the integrating charging solution).

    2) I am planning to run a wireless setup. That being said I see a lot of people complaining about the Ethernet situation on the surface dock. I will admit that I am ignorant when it comes to technology but I just don’t get it. What is it that I am missing? I guess I am trying to figure out how people use their docking stations as a desktop replacement. Maybe my plan setup is not optimal.

    3) As far as the cost is concerned, taking hcrick point about the integrating charging feature really making the surface docking station $120. I wonder what else compares to the surface dock at that price point.

    I have just moved and am still unpacking and getting organized, as such my post may seem few and far in-between. Even so, I just want to thank everyone who have help educate me on this topic.
    10-31-2013 01:27 PM
  7. Jake52's Avatar
    Have you thought about this one?
    Amazon.com: Plugable UD-3900 USB 3.0 Universal Docking Station with Dual Video Outputs for Windows 8.1, 8, 7, XP (HDMI and DVI/ VGA to 2048x1152, Gigabit Ethernet, Audio, 2 USB 3.0 Ports, 4 USB 2.0 Ports, 4A AC Power Adapter): Computers & Accessories

    It has dual video outputs, a number of additional USB ports, and Gigabit Ethernet. It doesn't have tons of reviews but most of them are very positive and most of the people say it works perfectly with the Surface Pro.

    I'm also thinking about getting a dock and the high cost of the official Surface dock is a little bit of an issue for me. But the point about the additional charger is really good, you would have to get an extra charger with the dock that I linked above.
    10-31-2013 07:30 PM
  8. tboggs13's Avatar
    I bought the original Surface Pro when it was released and since then I have been in search of docking solutions.

    I have tried the Lenovo USB 3.0 dock which includes dual DVI outputs. However, it had horrible mouse performance and when I moved to a Dell U2913WM (2560x1080) monitor, it did not support DP or the higher resolution.

    I also tried the HP USB 3.0 dock which had better video support, but also the mouse would lag and sometimes the video would glitch.

    Next, I purchased the Dell s2340T monitor home, which includes a USB 3.0 dock. Again, the mouse would lag.

    All three of these devices utilize the DisplayLink USB 3.0 technology. The problem is that you are trying to run video, audio, network and mouse/keyboard over a USB 3.0 connection. DisplayLink updates their drivers regularly, but in my experience, every release has it's issues. The mouse lag on my Dell disappeared when I installed Windows 8.1 preview and the DisplayLink beta drivers. However, the lag returned somewhat when they upgraded the drivers to RTM. During this whole time, I was never able to play encrypted content (Netflix/Hulu) in Windows 8 store app (metro) on the Dell monitor. Recently DisplayLink told me that the monitor did not support it. We also had issues with encrypted content with the HP and Lenovo docks, but that's been long enough ago that they may have resolved those issue with updated drivers. For a while we couldn't play encrypted content in a desktop browser with the DisplayLink drivers loaded.

    I finally said forget it and just used a DP cable, a USB3.0 cable and a power adapter at work. For one extra cable, I got excellent video quality and excellent audio over DP all with not issues related to DisplayLink. At home I stuck with the Dell monitor/dock because it also included touch. After one update that made mouse performance worse, I uninstalled the DisplayLink drivers and went with a three cable setup there also.

    Now, when the Surface docks became available I purchased two, one for work and one for home. No regrets. The network adapter is only 10/100 but is adequate. I have USB3.0 to GB adapters and could use them if needed but really for what I do, 100mb is adequate. DisplayPort on the Surface Pro 2 is 1.2, so you can daisy chain supported monitors. My Dell U2913WM monitor has a built in USB3.0 hub, so USB ports are not really a problem for me.

    The Surface Dock is much better than cables and is much more solid than any of the DisplayLink solutions I tested. Plus I can actually play encrypted content on my very nice monitors.

    Since the Surface Pro release, I have been using the Surface Pro as my primary computers at work, home and on the road. It makes an excellent desktop when docked and makes a great if slightly heavy tablet. As a laptop, I find the screen a bit small for my eyes. I have now purchased the Surface Pro 2 and love the new type cover 2. If possible, I will keep buying Surface Pros until they quit making them as I can only see them getting better and better.

    For the record, my job includes evaluating new technology for my company. This gives me a flexibility that others would not have and would find cost prohibitive. We have enough employees that most of what I get can be handed down. By the first of next year, we will probably move forward with deploying Surface Pro 2 tablets (or an equivalent) to current laptop users.
    Last edited by tboggs13; 10-31-2013 at 10:59 PM.
    hcrick, Jake52 and Gergolos like this.
    10-31-2013 10:49 PM
  9. Jake52's Avatar
    Thanks for all the great info. So it sounds like all the DisplayLink USB 3.0 docks that you tried didn't really perform too well. It also sounds like the official Surface dock is the best one that you've used.

    I would love to buy the official dock but I have to figure out if I want to spend 200 bucks on it.
    11-01-2013 06:40 AM
  10. elysm1's Avatar
    When you've got your Surface docked in the official Surface dock, does the screen stay on?
    11-01-2013 11:46 AM
  11. vipkl's Avatar
    I realize the Surface Docking Station only connects via the USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, and power. If there was a way though, I wish it would have included an optical drive. Some of my family members are old fashioned that way
    11-01-2013 03:49 PM
  12. tboggs13's Avatar
    When you've got your Surface docked in the official Surface dock, does the screen stay on?
    I haven't tested that specifically, but I seem to remember thinking why is my screen still on several times. I usually max out the power plan when on power. We use direct access at work and if the network goes to sleep, it has to reconnect when powered back on.

    There is a hidden power setting on the Surface Pro that can put it to sleep even if you tell it to never go to sleep while on power. The only way to change it is through a registry setting. I am guessing the Surface Pro 2 doesn't have that since it didn't go to sleep on power after a full day at work plugged in.
    11-02-2013 10:15 AM
  13. tboggs13's Avatar
    I realize the Surface Docking Station only connects via the USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, and power. If there was a way though, I wish it would have included an optical drive. Some of my family members are old fashioned that way
    I purchased a $25 Sony USB DVD/RW drive to share amongst all my new devices. Nothing we have purchased in the last two years has had an optical drive. That includes two tablets, three laptops and two Surface Pros. But, they all have USB ports cause they are windows.
    11-02-2013 10:19 AM
  14. tboggs13's Avatar
    Thanks for all the great info. So it sounds like all the DisplayLink USB 3.0 docks that you tried didn't really perform too well. It also sounds like the official Surface dock is the best one that you've used.

    I would love to buy the official dock but I have to figure out if I want to spend 200 bucks on it.
    The real question is not if you need a dock, but how many cables do you want to plug in and what is your existing setup

    Surface dock - 0 cables. Drop it in, snap and done. You get full display port 1.2 capabilities. That is great if you have a DP monitor, but if not you will have to purchase adapters. I am guessing that the Ethernet port is Ethernet over USB and is limited to 100gb.

    USB Dock - 2 cables. Power and USB3. Depending on your existing hardware, you can find a USB dock that will support multiple monitors and various connectivity options, including DVI, HDMI, DP. More ports. Gigabit Ethernet. On the negative side, you may experience driver and performance issues over the life of the device. Your mileage may vary, but visit the DisplayLink forums to see what users are experiencing.

    Build your own cable dock - 3 cables. DP cable or adapter, USB 3 hub, power. This is what I decided on after trying the USB docking stations. It's just one more cable and you get perfect video and no mouse lag. If you have multiple monitors, it get more tricky. Also, you would need a USB 3 GB Ethernet adapter and possibly a USB 3 audio adapter. My monitor is DP with a built in 4 port USB hub, so it was very easy. The Ethernet adapter was plugged into the monitor, the audio came over Displayport to the built in speakers. Depending on what you need, this can be a mess. With a little bit of cable management, you can just leave 3 cables showing on your desk for hookup. You may also want to purchase a second Surface power brick. I did that for work, but at home I purchased a cheap power cable to leave in place of the short cable that ships with the surface power brick.
    11-02-2013 10:52 AM
  15. vipkl's Avatar
    Great info, thanks.

    I realize the Surface Docking Station only connects via the USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, and power. If there was a way though, I wish it would have included an optical drive.
    I just realized my previous comment didn't make sense. The fact that the dock connects the USB 3.0 port would technically allow a Blu-ray/DVD drive to be integrated, duh

    I like your idea of a portable optical drive though. Do you like the Sony USB DVD writer you have? I assume it runs fine off one USB port, instead of requiring a USB Y-cable to combine power from 2 ports? If possible I'd like to look for a version that's a portable Blu-ray writer (or Blu-ray reader/DVD writer), that can be reliably powered via the SP2's single USB 3.0 port.
    11-02-2013 12:46 PM
  16. Bo's Avatar
    I don't think it's worth it (beside looks and a bit more convenience)

    4- All it is, is a USB hub with USB powered Ethernet (so connection speed varies based on what you are doing with other ports, and requires CPU interaction to manage it all, as it's USB, meaning: reduce performance.. while minor, still.), and the rest redirects ports.

    On the other hand, it's a fantastic looking dock, and good build quality.
    If it was cheaper, I would say it's a great buy.
    11-02-2013 01:10 PM
  17. Bo's Avatar
    My thoughts exactly, I thought for the price they actually built a dock like a laptop dock where the actual hardware is installed in the dock instead of it being a pass thru connection utilizing ports that already exist on the surface. I thought that was the purpose for the connection at the bottom of the surface, to expand the connectivity of the device with other peripherals besides Blades....With this setup I wonder if you can just eject the SP from the dock or would you have to stop all of the devices connected to the dock first before removing the surface. I almost purchased one before I took a better look at it and noticed all it was is a 200 dollar USB hub.

    Edit...
    I'm all in for that power cover as soon as it comes out and will pass on this since I use Bluetooth keyboards and mice to connect to my SP1
    11-02-2013 01:18 PM
  18. Jake52's Avatar
    ...since I use Bluetooth keyboards and mice to connect to my SP1
    Have you found a good Bluetooth mouse? I've tried a few and none of them are any good. I would love to have a Bluetooth mouse as good as the Logitech Anywhere MX. It's a great mouse but it has a small USB receiver that takes up the only USB port if you want to use the device away from a hub or dock.
    MBytes likes this.
    11-02-2013 08:15 PM
  19. jfourman's Avatar
    Have you found a good Bluetooth mouse? I've tried a few and none of them are any good. I would love to have a Bluetooth mouse as good as the Logitech Anywhere MX. It's a great mouse but it has a small USB receiver that takes up the only USB port if you want to use the device away from a hub or dock.
    I bought the MS Arc Mouse Surface Edition. It is Bluetooth. I am not thrilled with the touch scroll wheel; but it is probably a learning issue. I very much like that it flattens to slide into my portfolio or pocket. Like all of the other MS accessories, it is pricey at $69.
    11-02-2013 09:01 PM
  20. MBytes's Avatar
    I agree. I hope Logitech will get up of their asses with those Magic Mouse style mouses, and make good old mouse.
    11-02-2013 09:06 PM
  21. Jake52's Avatar
    I would love to try the Arc mouse but that is a lot of money for a mouse! How does it track on non-hard surfaces? I bought this one a while back and I had to return it...
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008OEHPPM...pUvbUpU2204383
    I really wanted to like it but it would skip and lose tracking on something like a couch or anything that wasn't completely solid. It kind of defeats the purpose of having a mouse that you can use anywhere. It also has the touch scrolling which I didn't like at all. Logitech makes the best mice, I'm really surprised they haven't put out a great Bluetooth mouse yet.
    11-02-2013 09:30 PM
  22. hcrick's Avatar
    When you've got your Surface docked in the official Surface dock, does the screen stay on?
    I haven't tested that specifically, but I seem to remember thinking why is my screen still on several times. I usually max out the power plan when on power. We use direct access at work and if the network goes to sleep, it has to reconnect when powered back on.

    There is a hidden power setting on the Surface Pro that can put it to sleep even if you tell it to never go to sleep while on power. The only way to change it is through a registry setting. I am guessing the Surface Pro 2 doesn't have that since it didn't go to sleep on power after a full day at work plugged in.
    When connected to your external monitor just swipe in the Charms Bar and tap Devices, there you should be able to turn off the Surface display, mirror the Surface display, or extend the desktop.
    11-02-2013 09:49 PM
  23. jfourman's Avatar
    I would love to try the Arc mouse but that is a lot of money for a mouse! How does it track on non-hard surfaces? I bought this one a while back and I had to return it...
    Amazon.com: Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse: Computers & Accessories
    I really wanted to like it but it would skip and lose tracking on something like a couch or anything that wasn't completely solid. It kind of defeats the purpose of having a mouse that you can use anywhere. It also has the touch scrolling which I didn't like at all. Logitech makes the best mice, I'm really surprised they haven't put out a great Bluetooth mouse yet.
    I tried tracking on the cushion of my recliner to post this reply. It works fine. I have a Logitech Darkfield Laser mouse that I use when my SP2 is docked on my glass desk. I like it better than the Arc Mouse; but it requires the unifying USB dongle and is not as portable. The Arc mouse won't work on glass like the Darkfield Laser mouse. As I said above, the touch scroll on the Arc Mouse is going to take time to learn; but with all things new, once you use it awhile, you wonder why you thought it was so difficult when you first tried.
    11-02-2013 10:22 PM
  24. Bo's Avatar
    I have the MS sculpt BT mouse. Its fully BT and works great with the Surface without the need for a dongle or any other software. The mouse is kinda compact to me and I don't have large hands. It fits well in my pouch pocket along the the charger without adding much bulk.
    11-11-2013 01:33 PM
  25. Bo's Avatar
    I have the MS sculpt BT mouse. Its fully BT and works great with the Surface without the need for a dongle or any other software. The mouse is kinda compact to me and I don't have large hands. It fits well in my pouch pocket along the the charger without adding much bulk.
    Sorry, I didn't see that you already tried the sculpt mouse.
    11-11-2013 01:36 PM
27 12

Similar Threads

  1. Who's got a fault free Surface 2?
    By podsnap in forum Microsoft Surface 2
    Replies: 33
    Last Post: 11-19-2013, 09:36 PM
  2. 5.1 surround sound from Surface Pro 2
    By Great deal in forum Microsoft Surface Pro 2
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 11-09-2013, 02:14 AM
  3. UK 10% Surface Pro 2 Discount
    By dolphinparty in forum Microsoft Surface Pro 2
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 10-28-2013, 02:00 PM
  4. What are these down arrows on the apps on my Surface Pro 8.1?????????
    By bobocox1 in forum Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 Pro
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 10-25-2013, 02:25 PM
  5. Docking station available.
    By WG Rowland in forum Microsoft Surface Pro 2
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-25-2013, 12:30 PM
LINK TO POST COPIED TO CLIPBOARD