Surface 3 Dock & Surface laptop dock

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I bought a surface 3 way back as I wanted a PC that fitted in a large inner jacket pocket. This is a 10″ screen and does so. It has been handy and transportable. It only has 4 gigglies of Ram but otherwise is a good workhorse, I even have Revit on it, but it does run slow.

At some point I was out on my bike, ended up at a talk and saw my screen was smashed. As its been such a good PC I took it to a mobile phone place and asked f they could replace the screen. It cost $400 and took a long time, the first time the screen came it was for a surface 3 Pro, so too large, but eventually it came back.

In the meantime I got a Lenova Yoga Book with a Haptic keyboard, 4 gigglies but not a patch on the surface 3 .

When it was finally returned I went right back to using it. I find it a very versatile PC. The one issue I constantly have is the microUsb charger that is wobbly, and if not having sufficient power (4.8v) then it doesn’t charge reliably. In comes the surface dock.

Amazon Surface 3 Dock

When they first came out they were about $150US , and as I was scrolling and looking for stuff on Amazon I saw the were being sold for $25 US, which I thought was reasonable, and could solve my power charging issues.

I’m not a great one for Docks, I like PC’s in their raw state and am not even nowadays keen on double screens as I get a crick in my neck.

But I wanted to see if I could have a steady power charge for the battery, as the Surface 3 is currently my main workhorse as I wait for a replacement of the Surface Book (see previous post).

By the time Postage/packing was added to deliver to NZ it came in at $64NZD which was a bit higher than the 25$ number.

After quickly unboxing it (what a lot of ridiculous packaging from MicroSoft) I quickly plugged it in and slotted the tablet into the Dock. I was rushing out for a talk so did not have much time to play with it.

4 USB ports

One thing, the power connector is for the US so I had to use my Camera Battery Adapter to connect it to the plug board, other than that I’ve now plugged in 4 different USB’s and they are all showing up on File Explorer, so that is cool.

Ethernet connection

I was having issues with connecting the Surface 3 to wifi, several times I’ve had to reboot. At the other end of the house I have a wifi extender and it was having trouble connecting to that. I tried using the Ethernet connection and it sort of buggered up the settings for hte wifi so I had to run the trouble shooter to reset it for wifi. Now maybe I can use the ethernet at the other end of the hose. It works fine with ethernet at the main area, so that is good.

There seem to be 2 USB 3.0 and 2 USB 2 posts as well as ethernet. I’ll need to remember to use the 3 over the 2 as they are faster.

End comments for Surface 3 Dock

The Surface 3 is my standby computer and one I use in the morning for simple work (a bit of programming, research on the web, checking emails and browsing the interwongle) and its done that job for quite a few years( easily about 4-5 years, I’ll need to check that). If this extends its life for a bit more I’ll be very pleased.

The original price was around $158 , and if you added post/packaging then all up in NZ it would have worked out to be in the region of $270, so it is about 24% of the original price.

For all the connectors and a steadier charger the $64 does not seem that bad. Especially when you think the ethernet connector (ethernet to USB) costs around $99 at Noel Leeming and this has a direct ethernet connection as well as 4 USB ports and a thunderbolt 2nd screen or projector connector also, definitely value for money, although I do think MicroSoft peripherals are overpriced for what they are and I’ll try and get an equivalence to do the same job from Ali Express.

Surface Laptop Dock

After doing a bit of research I realised that I’ve bought a Surface laptop (SL), not a surface Pro, so it has a keyboard on it. You cant open it flat and it only has a single USB connection as well as a mini Display conn and a Power connection. I’ve been running the Surface Book on Ethernet rather than by Wifi, it’s a bit faster. So if I have an ethernet/usb connection then I cannot use it for anything else. So I went on a bit of a search for a Dock of some sort for it. After a lot of research looking at Amazon, Ali Express & PB Tech for NZ price comparisons I whittled down what I needed the dock for.

I wanted an ethernet connection to the computer, I waned to be able to easily put in MicroSD cards, or SD cards (with Microcard within SD card) and some USB’s. The port is a USB 3.0 which is good on the S . A lot o stuff is on USB-C , I had that on the Surface Go but am happier with the normal USB which I have on all my other devices (or MicroUSB) .

After looking at all of the different options, just a USB 3.0 to ethernet was about $45 NZ at PB Tech, so when I went into Warehouse Stationary and saw the bar for $70 (25$ more than the basic conn) It was on special and I thought it was good value as it has the SD card readers and independent power as well as USB ports that can charge other devices. Since I’ll generally only need this at home I thought , although it is a bit cumbersome, it met all my needs. It has 4 USB3.0 outlets that you can charge from, as well as another USB 3.0 as well as a USB 2, so enough other things to plug into.

The Microsoft one is $136US (down from original $199) and with delivery would be about $225NZ and I’d need to wait for it to arrive, so I’m happy with my purchase. There were cheaper options, but factoring delivery costs and delays I thought this will meet all my needs.

I also got from the Asian 123 Mart for $3.90 a USB 2 to 4 outlets which is good if I’m out and about. It will be slower, but small enough to travel around with. So all bases covered.

End comment

Once I got a dock for the Surface 3 I realised that they are handy, I do need to transfer information across devices. For the SL I need to load up a mass of software to set it up from scratch and this will make the task easier and quicker, and it’ll help in the future. I think the SL cleared customs today , so hopefully courier will pick up and bring it to me soon as I’m struggling with running BIM on 4 gigglies. It is such hard work, it really breaks the thought process.