New Docking Station...Should I do SP3 or SP4?

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 3' started by Jay Marino, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. Jay Marino

    Jay Marino Member

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    So, I have a SP3 and a SP3 docking station at work and absolutely love it. I'm thinking about getting another docking station for home. I love the fact that I can just slap it in and everything works perfectly. I have heard some bad things about the new docking stations that they don't work as well and have problems with displaying correctly on another monitor.

    The SP3 docking stations are just so expensive and they only work for the SP3. So, if I upgraded at any time years from now, it would be useless unless I stick with the SP3 again. (which I would highly consider)

    Does anyone have experience with the SP3 AND SP4 docking stations? I don't like the idea of having to connect everything into a brick that's going to sit on my desk as an eye sore. I like how the SP3 station is so clean and you can't see the wires.

    Any thoughts? What else should I be considering for my home office?
     
  2. tuxnjeans

    tuxnjeans New Member

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    I have both the SP3 and SP4 docks, both used with SP3's. The SP3 dock is at my home and the SP4 dock is at the office. Of the two, I prefer the elegance and simplicity of the SP3 dock. I have a dual monitor setup at work and the IT guys had to come around more than once to get the SP4 dock to properly drive both monitors. It took some fiddling but they eventually found the right setup. I don't have dual monitors at home yet so I can't comment on the SP3 dock's ability to handle dual monitors. It sure is nice though to just drop my SP3 into it's dock at home after I've been out and about with it. Esthetically, the SP3 dock is just a cleaner-looking installation than that ugly brick of the SP4 dock. The SP4 dock, as you've mentioned, does have the future compatibility aspect going for it if you ever decide to go up to an SP4 unit. One other thing to consider though is if you want to use the SP4 Type Cover on an SP3 unit, I've read that the fit using an SP3 dock is just slightly off and you can only use the SP4 Type Cover in flat rather than tilt mode when the SP3 is in an SP3 dock. I have no personal experience with this but that's what I've read on this forum. Personally, that alone wouldn't be a deal breaker for me and I believe the upgraded features of the SP4 Type Cover seem to more than offset the non-use of tilt mode. Hope that helps.
     
  3. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well it sort of depends on other devices... if you dock other devices then you don't want a Microsoft Dock at all because the Pro Docks only work with Surface 3/4 or in the case of the new dock maybe a SP5 but they don't work with nonPro Surfaces or any nonMS devices. With a USB 3.0 Dock I can dock my Surface 3, Surface Pro 3, Or Lenovo Laptop. Otherwise Id need a Surface 3 Dock, a Surface Pro 3 dock, and a Lenovo Dock and switches to connect keyboard/mouse/monitor/USB devices ... talk about a mess, that would be a Supermassive Nightmare.
     
  4. mickjf

    mickjf New Member

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    My Device:
    SPro3
    I've got an SP3 and SP4 in the house along with an SP3 and SP4 dock so I've tried all combinations to see what works best.

    The display port connectors on the SP4 dock are definitely more finicky. If you use DVI you'll need an active mini DP to DVI connector. I also find that with either the SP3 or SP4 using the mini DP to DP connection it refuses to allow the monitor to sleep with the SP4 dock. This isn't a problem with the SP3 dock.

    The SP4 dock is more portable, has more USB3 ports and I like that my son can use it without having to take off the UAG case on his SP3. I've got my SP4 with the SP3 dock. The Microsoft supplied spacer works well and it is just a cleaner installation that doesn't take up as much space.
     
  5. Jay Marino

    Jay Marino Member

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    Thank you all for the feedback. One of my I figured I would look at non-microsoft docs and they are just as expensive. I was pretty suprised that any of the good ones were also $150-$200. Granted, I could use it for a future device, but I'm going to stick with the SP3 for as long as I can. I dont' really need higher specs than an i7 and 8GB ram so hopefully I won't be upgrading any time soon.

    one of my biggest concerns was looks. I don't want an ugly brick on my desk with a bunch of wires hanging out. That's not very appealing nor do I have a lot of space on my desk. I just love the plug and play an drop in ability of the SP3 docking station. I think I might order that. Thank you so much for helping me with this decision. This community is a great part of being an owner of a SP device. Great to be a part of it.
     
  6. Chuck_IV

    Chuck_IV Member

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    I agree Jay. To me a docking station should allow the Surface to actually "dock". I would definitely prefer the SP3 version. The SP4 version just looks like a glorified USB hub.
     
  7. ChiGGz

    ChiGGz Member

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    The SP4 "hub" is what I've opted for. The power cord from the SP4 hub to the SP3 is long enough that you can hide the unsightly hub out of sight. However, the biggest pro for me was having two mini Displayport connectors that I can output to external UHD + QHD screens. The displayport connector on my SP3 is starting to show wear so the hub helps alot.
     
  8. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    I like the SP4 dock because I can still use the device as a Tablet and ink notes at my desk...
     
  9. sharpuser

    sharpuser Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I own an SP3 dock, and two SP4 docks, one at home and one at the office.
    I much prefer the simplicity of the SP4 dock, the magnetic blade connector, and the flexibility to use it with my SP3 or SP4, the Surface Book base or the Clipboard, and the smaller footprint.
     

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