Having recently acquired both the Surface Pro and RT tablets at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, I’m now fully prepared to bring you a variety of Surface accessory reviews. The first of these is the Microsoft Surface 5-in-1 Adapter from Juiced Systems. The 5-in-1 Adapter is designed for the Surface Pro and RT, though it could also be used with other Windows 8 tablets that have standard USB ports.
The Surface Pro and RT have only one such USB port, so you’ll need to use a USB hub or the extra USB port included on the Surface Pro’s power supply if you want to connect multiple USB devices to either tablet. Juiced’s 5-in-1 Adapter plugs into those tablets’ lonesome UBS port, giving them a second port and a lot more functionality to boot.
We’ve got an exclusive coupon for our readers and video review after the break!
Plug it in, plug it in
The 5-in-1 Adapter includes the following ports:
- Two USB 2.0 ports: Double the number of ports included with the Surface. The Surface RT's USB port is USB 2.0 but the Pro's USB port is USB 3.0. This adapter would downgrade transfer speeds when using USB 3.0 devices with a Pro.
- One SD card slot: The Surface doesn’t have one of these, so the adapter allows you to read a standard SD card without the use of a separate adapter. Huge boon for camera users.
- One microSD card slot: The Surface already has a microSD card slot, but this lets you keep that slot filled with a card for storage while inserting another card to download images, etc.
- One micro USB port: Unfortunately neither Surface tablet can charge via USB, so you won’t be using this port to charge them. Technically, it still allows your Surface to power or interface with other devices that use a micro USB cord. Not a likely scenario, I know.
I noticed some reader confusion about the micro USB port, so I'll try to make this point more clear. Remember, this accessory can work with non-Surface tablets too. Virtually every other tablet out there CAN charge via USB. So if you plugged this adapter into a non-Surface tablet, you could then plug into a micro USB charging cable and charge that tablet. When using the 5-in-1 Adapter with a Surface, you probably just won't use the micro USB port.
Not too big, not too heavy
The 5-in-1 Adapter is made of lightweight black plastic that matches the Surface’s appearance extremely well. The plastic feels a little thin – probably unavoidable in order to keep it from adding any significant weight to the Surface. I wouldn’t smash it into anything, but that’s probably good advice for the entire Surface tablet as well.
This accessory measures only 73×22.9×9.5 mm. In American terms, it sticks out just under an inch from the edge of the Surface. Its small size and weight makes it super easy to transport. I expect you’d mostly plug it when using your Surface with a touch or type cover in a laptop orientation. You could also plug it in specifically when you need to read an SD or microSD card.
The adapter also has a tiny blue light on its front (best seen in the top photo) that lets you know it's working.
Built for Surface?
Convenient as the 5-in-1 Adapter is, it does suffer from one significant flaw: no matter which Surface you use it with, it blocks something. On the Surface RT, it blocks the micro-HDMI jack. Probably not a big deal for most users. With the Surface Pro, however it covers up the volume down button. You can still adjust the Pro’s volume in desktop mode, so I don’t find the blockage terribly inconvenient.
The Surface Pro and RT have their USB ports on different sides of the tablet, hence the adapter covering up different things on both units. Considering the 5-in-1 Adapter is designed to work with all Surface tablets and not just one or the other, it HAS to block something on either the Pro or RT. But the unit should have been designed longer in one direction or the other so that it would only cover the RT’s micro-HDMI jack (best solution in my opinion) or the Pro’s volume down button instead of blocking both things.
Get your adapter now
Despite that issue of being slightly too long in both directions, the Juiced Systems Microsoft Surface 5-in-1 Adapter is still a very handy accessory. One USB port doesn’t go very far these days, so your Surface is bound to need a second one every now and then. You could use any number of USB hubs, but Juiced Systems’ solution will match your Surface better aesthetically and take up less space than practically anything else. The SD and microSD card readers are a great bonus too.
The Juiced Systems Microsoft Surface 5-in-1 Adapter sells for $29.99 at Amazon, where it’s eligible for Prime shipping. You can also buy it directly from Juiced’s website at JuicedSystems.com. Juiced offers super cheap domestic shipping, so that ends up being the most affordable option. They also ship internationally.
To make it an even better deal, they’ve provided us with an exclusive coupon! To get 15 percent off the 5-in-1 Adapter (currently a $3.75 discount), enter coupon code WPCENTRAL after adding the adapter to your cart. The coupon only applies to this product but it can be used on multiple units. Leave a comment and let us know if you use it!