Convince me that the Dock is worth the money

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 3' started by kiwigirl, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. kiwigirl

    kiwigirl Member

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    I have a couple friends who keep telling me that I would benefit greatly with the dock. I have dual monitor setup at my home desk with a USB hub, mouse, keyboard, ext speakers, and SP3 power cord.

    They say if I get the dock, all I do is slide in the SP3 and i dont have to plug, and unplug 4 cords each time.

    The only thing is the price, its just not an easy sell for me when the dock costs 20% of the entire SP3 cost.

    Anyone here have the dock and can comment?

    I had a glorious chance last Christmas to get this for $140CDN, which was a really good deal seeing that these never go on sale. But I didnt jump on it and they sold out fast. Now theyre back up to $200 :(
     
  2. Tmozer

    Tmozer Member

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    They are at a special price on Amazon for $163.87. Not sure if that is a Prime member only price.........
     
  3. rquellet

    rquellet Member

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    I just bought the dock and received it today. My decision was based on the following:
    1. An extra charger for my desk costs $80 retail, so if you're going to get an extra charger anyway, the dock only cost $120 more. I got mine on Amazon for $165.
    2. Cables hanging off the Surface's connectors put a fair amount of torque on them. I was worried that this might wear out the ports prematurely. The dock connector was clearly designed for repeated use and puts no stress on the IO ports.
    3. You can still use the mini-display port connector on the side of the Surface while docked, which allows you to connect two monitors without using a MST hub/Daisy chaining or using a USB video adapter (laggy).
    4. The dock is just really convenient compared to manually plugging this in every time.
     
  4. kiwigirl

    kiwigirl Member

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    I have a USB video adaptor (Diamond) to run my 2nd monitor. It runs fine, but obviously a monitor hooked up by Mini DP would use a lot less resources than one running off USB. It would be nice to be able to run both my monitors off Mini DP. My monitor isnt laggy at all, its not as smooth as the first monitor connected by Mini DP but its still very much acceptable IMO.

    What would really decide it for me, is whether the dock fixes all the scaling issues in windows with multiple displays. Right now I have to scale down to 100% after I plug in my monitors, then sign out and sign back in. Then I have to go into sound in the control panel and disable the SP3 internal speakers in order to get my ext ones to work (which makes absolutely no sense to me). Is it a PITA? Hell ya.

    But Ive always just tolerated it. And when I finish and undock the SP3 from my monitors, I have to do it all over again but in reverse.

    if the dock would eliminate all this manual scaling, disable speakers in the control panel and signing out and back in, I would get it.
     
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  5. mtalinm

    mtalinm Active Member

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    It gives you an extra displayport. Then you can run two monitors without buying the special ones that daisy-chain.

    Plus it is super cool looking unlike a USB hub dangling from the side.

    I take mine with me when I travel. There is something elegant about just slipping it into the dock and closing the slides as opposed to fishing for a power cord...
     
  6. rquellet

    rquellet Member

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    The sound output device automatically switches when connected to the dock and vice-versa.

    The dock won't solve your multi-monitor scaling issues - you'll need to buy a high-DPI external monitor to completely alleviate scaling problems. I have a 27" Dell P2715Q 4K monitor attached to the docking station; at 4K, the resolution is high enough that it uses the same DPI scaling percentage as the Surface's screen. In short, I don't have any scaling issues with this setup and I'm finally happy! You can even run two 4K screens by using the dock's connector plus the Surface's connector (I actually tried this today).
     
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  7. Tmozer

    Tmozer Member

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    What flavor of connection cable will I need to connect the SP3 to the HDMI input on a TV or monitor?
     
  8. ScottyS

    ScottyS Active Member

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  9. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It sounds like you need a second USB hub so that you leave your desk setup connected to it then you only need to plug in three cables: power, 1 USB connection, display port.

    A USB 3.0 dock would be a better solution then you only need to connect two cables; power and 1 USB connection. You could connect both monitors to it and all other devices: printer, Ethernet, external HDD, kybd & mouse. They are even small enough you could take it with you although less practical. Taking the MS Dock with you is illogical, does not compute.

    A USB 3.0 Dock is a reasonable tradeoff to the bulky and pricey MS Dock and if you also have a laptop it would work with that too. This single bullet solution can be had for under $100.

    IF MS had made the keyboard connector a USB 3.0 instead of a USB 1.0 connector they could have made a more compact and less expensive dock similar to the Dell Venue 11 Pro dock but that isn't the case. Sorry I'm in the It's not worth it camp.
     
  10. dajogejr

    dajogejr Member

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    This device is my all in one. I use it for work, home, play, etc.
    At work, as said...it's nice to set it, clamp it, forget it.
    As said, the price of an extra AC adapter alone is just less than half the price.

    It's simple, really. Do you mind manually plugging in all the peripherals each time you use it, and unplug them when you're done? If you truly don't mind....then don't buy it.
    Simplicity is why I have mine. I come from a laptop and dock solution before...so it was a natural progression.
     
  11. talon90

    talon90 New Member

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    I travel to a remote office one week per month for work. I use my SP3 as my tablet/fun computer while home and as my primary work computer while travelling. I purchased the MS dock and leave it at my remote office. I have all of my work files on a portable USB 3.0 1TB hard drive and at the office I just plug it in to the dock for the week. I keep a second monitor and a set of speakers plugged in to the dock and when I need to be out in the manufacturing plant, I slide it out of the dock and go. When I am back in my office, I slide it in and it switches to dual display, access to the portable hard drive files and charges with the connected AC adapter. In and out in seconds. Much nicer solution for me than having a USB dock, having to pack and unpack the SP3 AC Adapter and or multiple plugs/dongles when I want to be stationary. I have a rather elaborate desktop setup at my home office or else I'd all ready have a second dock and do the same thing at home. It also gives me the option to used a USB mouse and keyboard when docked. While you can accomplish many of these things with a USB dock (including adding additional monitors with some) there seems to always be some issue or tradeoff. If you are satisfied with your arrangement, there is no need to change it but if you find you are having to find workarounds or put up with sacrifices that you think would be better or eliminated with the MS dock, I'd say go for it.

    I've spent a lot of time over the years trying to save a penny and simulate the functionality of a particular device or peripheral that I just couldn't justify the cost. Unfortunately, I find it rarely works for me and I end up selling the extra gear and buying the unit anyway after several weeks/months of frustration trying to get it "just right". I'm slowly learning that there is some value to my time and to minimizing that frustration/anxiety over making something work or get close to what I want. The MS dock was one of the first things I just did it the right way (for me) the first time and I couldn't be happier with the arrangement and functionality of the dock.
     
  12. sharpuser

    sharpuser Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Besides features mentioned above:

    The dock allows quick placement of the Surface Pro on a desktop, keeping it accessible: Decent angle without kickstand, and keyboard ready to flip down.

    I travel with a Targus Universal Dock, but have stationary Surface docks in my office and at home.
     

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