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Dock to Go

U342-HGU3-FRONTMicrosoft’s Surface Dock is a great way to turn a tablet into a mini-desktop, but at 1.5-pounds it isn’t exactly portable and the current dock doesn’t work with older Surface systems. That’s where Tripp Lite’s USB 3.0 Docking Station for Microsoft Surface comes in. It works with every Surface system made, from the first through the current fourth-generation systems and should work with next year’s upcoming fifth-generation Surface family.

It starts by providing all the ports you’ll need but does so at only 5-ounces. Unlike the Microsoft device, the small black Tripp Lite dock clips onto the Surface’s pull-out kick-stand, creating as close to an integrated whole as you can get. It also makes sure that the dock isn’t dropped or left behind.

On its sides are a good selection of the ports you actually use every day. While there’s a trio of USB 3.0 ports, it adds the luxury of a plug-in RJ-45 port for a 1Gbps wired Ethernet connection.

A big step forward is that rather than the Microsoft dock’s mini-Displayport video connection, which generally requires an adapter to be connect with a display or projector, the Tripp-Lite device has a full-size HDMI port. It can handle resolutions from all the way up to 4K imaging and is unlikely to become obsolete anytime soon.

U342HGU3-OTHER01-XLAfter plugging the Tripp-Lite dock into the Surface’s USB port and its included power adapter into an AC outlet, the system makes the connections and takes a second to set itself up. If you want to use the dock’s HDMI port, you’ll need to use the included Mini DisplayPort cable as well. The best part about Trip Lite’s dock is that there’s no software to load and it worked on the first try with a Surface 2 Pro, Surface 3 and a Surface 3 Pro. Since everything is automatic, it’s a great addition to school desks where teachers and students connect and disconnect all day long.

Using the Surface dock was like a breath of fresh air for my work. I used it with everything from USB thumb drives and a DVD drive to a Brother printer and a Philips monitor. About the only thing it doesn’t do is charge the tablet. To do that, you’ll need the full-size Surface Dock.

Even at its list price of $187.50, Tripp Lite’s dock is a bargain that can help a variety of Surface tablets to make their needed connections. If you shop around a little you can find it for less than half that amount at places like CDW, making it a must-have for any school that has a lot of Surfaces to cover.

 

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U342HGU3-OTHER06-L

Tripp Lite USB 3.0 Docking Station for Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro, USB-A, HDMI and Gigabit Ethernet Ports

$80

+ Small and light

+ Clips to Surface stand

+ Has HDMI port

+ 4K resolution

+ Works with all Surface tablets

+ No new software needed

 

- Doesn’t charge tablet

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