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Surface 3 docking station unboxing & hands-on

I love the size and weight of the Surface 3. It feels just right when holding it while I'm in the sofa, browsing the web or watching videos. But there are times when a bigger screen and a mouse on the side can provide a better experience. Fortunately, there's an accessory that can help. The Surface 3 docking station can transform the tablet into a complete desktop workstation. Watch our unboxing and hands-on video for a closer look.

Surface 3 Docking Station specifications

CategoryFeatures
Dimensions12.24 x 5.51 x 3.74 inches (311 x 140 x 95 mm)
Weight1.76 pounds (800 grams)
PortsPower supply input, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet port, 3.5mm audio input/output connection, Mini DisplayPort video output, Security lock slot
Additional featuresPen storage

What's inside the sales packaging

  • Surface 3 Docking Station
  • Power cord
  • User guide
  • Warranty information

To use the docking station, move the sides away from the center and place the Surface 3 in the middle. You can then move the sides back towards the Surface 3. The docking station lets you attach more accessories and more importantly, a bigger screen. For example, I can have Twitter and email on the Surface 3 display, while watching Netflix on the bigger monitor.

The Surface 3 Docking Station costs $199.99. It's not cheap, but you're also not required to buy it to use the Surface 3. If you want to connect several peripherals like a keyboard, monitor, mouse, external hard drive, and more, this is going to make things easier for you.

What do you think? Will you get this with a Surface 3? Let us know in the comments!

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

59 Comments
  • Love the Logtech Mouse shown in the photo.
  • Which model is it? BT?  
  • It's the Logitech Performance Mouse MX. There's a newer one that I'm interested in.... Logitech MX Master
  • Love the Logitech MX, I've been using one for 4-5 years now, all other nice suck compared.
  • That is an incredibly naive statement.
  • According to every popular youtuber/reviewers the Performance MX And its successor MX Master is the best mouse ever.
  • Best mouse you can buy
  • Perfect review of the dock. Clear demo.
  • Couldn't a usb hub accomplish the same task for much less?
  • To some extent maybe. But this allows for more screens to be attached, more overall connection's, nice pen solution and LAN cable.
  • http://www.amazon.com/Cable-MattersAE-SuperSpeed-Universal-Ethernet/dp/B00H2WBXQO/ref=sr_1_19?ie=UTF8&qid=1431732952&sr=8-19&keywords=usb+ethernet+hub ^ Check that out. Plus it doesn't require a mini displayport adapter. $100 cheaper too.
  • But it does require displaylink software to do the video to USB conversion and then there is the electronics in the box to pull all the stuff off the USB 3 stream out into the USB hub/ports, audio, ethernet AND video. The video to USB does task the Surface processor, while the dock just passes through the existing displayport.  I believe the displayport soluton also allows daisy chaining so you could support two monitors, though not at full resolution. You could also go cheaper getting a non-video USB box that does extra ports and ethernet, and just hook the other monitor up via the existing displayport on the Surface. In that case you connect, power, video and USB cables. So yes, there are somewhat cheaper, and way cheaper ways to do this, but not as elegant. This is a simple drop in, lock in, and you are ready to work. Pull the sides out & grab the Surface you are ready to go. There is something to be said for the convenience of the dock solution.
  • As a heads up, the Surface 3 does not support Daisy Chaining through its DisplayPort adapter. You need the SP3 to support more than one external monitor.
  • The wear and tear of having a Hub hanging off of the side of the Surface 3 would be enough for me to seriously consider getting the Dock, not to mention all the extra USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports.  I have a Surface Pro 3 and curently have a USB hub and Mini DisplayPort Hub hanging off the side of the SP3.  I have them propped up with a small box to take the weight off of the ports.  When I get back to the States I will have a Dock for my SP3.  I wish they could have engineered the ports to be near the bottom of the SP3 / S3 when its standing up. just my .02    
  • Picked one up running at 2560x1440. Wired Ethernet. Works just like a desktop computer.
  • If anyhow relevant, I'm in love with my surface pro 3 docking. Really awesome stuff that and worth the buck.
  • Love my surface pro3. Do I need a docking station
  • If the Surface is your only PC, or your primary PC, then I think you would benefit from the dock. (The Pro 3 dock is down to about $150 at Amazon). If you have a desktop, and the Surface is primarily your travel/portable device, then you probably won't use a dock enough to make it worthwhile. Additional consideration is if you have a PC in a den or something and often want to hook the Surface to a larger display in a secong location, the dock makes that very convenient. Saves digging out the charger, finding an outlet, and connecting the video cable.
  • Can you connect the Surface 3 to its docking station as easily if you don't have the keyboard attached to it?
  • Yes.
  • I was under the impression the docking station from the pro would also work on the 3....
  • No, the Pro 3 is wider and the ports are different, and in different locations. Before we go into a 'they lied about peripherals' rant this is a different 'line'. It is still expected (promised) that the Pro 4 will work with the Pro 3 dock. I would even expect a Surface 4 (whenever) to fit in the Surface 3 dock. 
  • Ooowh so we never get usb type c ... damn ... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Is this Surface 3 did factually different than the Surface Pro 3 doc?
  • Yes, The Pro dock allows all the extra ports to be supported from the additional connections on the single power connector connection. One thing that allows is the Display Port and USB on the Surface 3 Pro can still be used while in the dock. The Surface 3 dock, uses the USB and displayport on the side as the dock connectors, so they can't be used while docked.
  • put all of this together and it costs a fortune :(
  • Go the Apple way..... That's a fortune for less
  • And you still have to buy their adapter to be able to charge the new MacBook and connect peripherals at the same time, but it is much less elegant than a dock. It's a dangling thing. Very irritating. Sorry, no.
  • and if the purpose is only Netflix or Streaming.. go Amazon Fire TV way!
  • Yes, the surface 3 and pro 3 are different, and so are the docking stations... They are sized appropriately to the respective devices (the surface 3 is slightly smaller than the pro 3)
  • Somehow I remember Microsoft stated that all accessories would fit all devices from the pro 3 and later
  • Yep, that's what they said but, the context was for future Pro models - SP4, for example.
  • It's al about How to package right!?
  • This. Pro is for Pro. Surface 3 is not the same as Surface pro 3 and neither are the docks.
  • thanks Daniel for making that clearer  (I assume I am not the only one confused), like I said, I was under the impression that all accesories would fit on all, sorry my mistake! I have no dockingstation yet but it is good to know right?   Love everything i have from MS btw. From xbox to the 1520 and the 3 is next :-)....
  • Kinda weird that you set it up on your couch.
  • The new world working from home?
  • So expensive.... My SP3 gets along with an HDMI to displayport cable and a 7port USB 3.0 hub for like 1/16th of the price. Not as elegant though, but not sure if that's worth it
  • Agreed, but that's not how I sell it to my boss capice?
  • Bought 10 RT'S for my office the month they came out because I believed in the vision and the product, see where we are, about 3 years later. The same product but way more improved (WAY MORE) for less money, keyboards we have already (many of us), pretty fair trade in value about 100 bucks after 3 years of use and then being treated with what you wanted from the beginning :-o....... I think we are on a roll.... Microsoft is making the right moves lately. Good for us :-)
  • It's expensive but one time buy. Use it for years.
  • A little too expensive IMHO.   If it drops down to the $120-130 range like the SP3 dock is now I might pick one up.  
  • Did I miss the actual Surface 3 review?
  • I love my surface pro 3 dock, I bought it refurbished to lower the cost
  • No Surface dock review is complete without mentioning the Surface keyboard Bluetooth adapter.
  • Do they still sell those?  Personally I would juast get a regular BT keyboard and mouse and leave them with the dock. The convenience of leaing the type keyboard on the Surface is that you can just grab the assembly and go. With the adapter you remove the Surface, pull the BT adapter off the type keyboard, click the keyboard back on the Surface and go. Petty problem but convenience is convenience.
  • What is the wireless solution for this type of screen sharing?
  • Not sure what you mean. You could have a Miracast receiver, like Microsoft's, on the monitor and just send the video over that. One thing the dock does make convenient is using something like a Logitech keyboard and mouse that uses their Unified Reciever. You just leave the little dongle in the dock, and it connects whenever you dock.
  • That's what I do with my laptop. Don't have a Surface, wish I did. But just one satisfying plug and click, and I've got my wireless Logitech Mouse and Keyboard and Dual 24" Monitors and speakers ready to go, along with the cooling base, DVD Burner, 2TB external storage, and multiple USB 3.0 and 2.0. Yeah, forgot about the Gigabit Ethernet, which I don't use because I use the wireless. Don't feel like wiring the house, since my internet wouldn't get any faster doing so. I would love to get a Surface Pro, but we're too close to a 4 for me to buy a 3 now. I may stick with the laptop I have and go with a new flagship phone, though...  get to use Office on the big screen that way. ;)
  • Does it have speakers that enhance/take over the SP3 speakers?
  • No, it does not. However, it does have the audio in/out connector so you can hook up some nice external PC Speakers and keep them set up with the dock. That would sound much better than anything you can get out of such a tiny dock, and you can pick and choose the quality/price ratio you want.
  • Still waiting for them to release the surface pro 1 dock here in Sweden...
  • Nice demo. I have never needed a surface (pro) docking station so far. I never use a mouse on the surface. It's a touch and pen device and its natural to use this as a mouse replacement. The type cover works well. Thus there is no need for me to use a seperate keyboard. For larger screens I could see a usecase, but then again the surface has mini hdmi port. It would be cheaper to buy an mini hdmi to hdmi cable for a larger screen. Lastly windows 8 offers screen mirroring to couple to a smart tv over wifi. I've tried it a couple of times with netflix over the surface pro and other on demand video apps and it works wonderfully. I think for me the only reason I could think of using the dock is if it somehow could boost the devices performances. Things that come to mind: 1. faster charging of the battery 2. being able to throttle the devices hardware processing safely in docked mode 3. being able to charge with other cable types other than proprietary (example charing over regular power cord built into the dock, or charge over usb charging). A proprietary charger is often a problem when you're mobile, especially when you lose the charger! 4. If the dock could provide extra supported productive in a mobile enviroment. Example would be that if you're doint business in a rural area and energy use is at a premium but you want the productivty power, the dock has a slot for a bigger battery for extra juice, so you device can run longer with needing a power cord. 5. If the dock provided better protection of a docked surface. It would encase, water and dusttight if possible, the surface. Only the screen and windows key would be exposed. For work in a wet, dusty, or messy environment. I would consider that a worthwhile dock for a surface device.
  • It's funny cause the executives at my work are already using Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 tablets with docking stations for their meeting that's right behind where I work. It seems that my company is going pro-Microsoft for everything since we're also rolling out Microsoft Dynamics CRM to assist customers better. We're already using Outlook for our e-mails, Windows Servers, I'm supposed to start my training on the CRM software next week, I just hope that it lives up to it's promises. Because so far the preview that we saw was.... questionable. I haven't asked them if they like the Surface tablets yet but I probably will next week once they come back. And yes the executives at my place are friendly and down to earth.
  • Must have been a lefty that decided the pen should be on the left. Why not on both sides?
  • I have one for my SP3 and love it. Highly recommend!
  • THIS DOCKING UNIT IS NICE IF A PERSON HAS A USE CASE FOR IT. THE SURFACE 3 WITH 4 GIGS OF RAM PLUS IT'S BUILT IN OFFICE SUITE IS A KILLER DEVICE  FOR LIGHT BUSINESSES PORPOSES PLUS IT CAN RUN DESKTOP SOFTWARE MOST COMPANY USE UNLESS IT'S HIGH LEVEL COMPUTER AIDED DESIGN PROGRAMS OR MAKING HIGH LEVEL VIDEO GAMES. MICROSOFT HAS A WINNER IN THE MOBILE WORLD AT LAST WITH IT'S 2015 SURFACE LINE OF TABLETS BUT DOES STILL NEED A CHEAPER SURFACE TABLET DEVICE THAT COSTS IN THE SWEET SPOT FOR HIGH VOLUME TABLET SALES WHICH IS 200 TO 450 DOLLARS. A 200 TO 450 $$ PLASTIC CASE 8 OR 10 INCH SURFACE TABLET WITH WINDOWS 10 ONBOARD WILL MAKE MICROSOFT HAVE A STRONG FOOTPRINT IN THE MOBILE SALES WORLD.UNFORTUNATLY WINDOWS MOBILE SMART PHONES WILL HAVE TO FIGHT IT'S WAY FROM THE BOTTOM BUT MICROSOFT'S NEW WINDOWS APPS UNIVERSAL APPS WILL HELP BECAUSE DEVELOPERS CAN SCALE DOWN AN APP TO WORK ON A WINDOWS  MOBILE SMART PHONE. WHICH MEANS MORE GOOD APPS FOR WINDOWS MOBILE SMART PHONES. IN THE END WINDOWS MOBILE SMART PHONES WILL BE THE BEST SMART PHONES FOR THE BUSINESS WORLD BECAUSE THEY WILL WORK BETTER WITH A WINDOWS 10 PC THAN ANY OTHER SMART PHONES BECAUSE THEY USE THE SAME TYPE OF APPS THAT WORK ACROSS MANY TYPES OF WINDOWS 10 DEVICES   
  •   If Surface is available worldwide offically by Microsoft instead of grey markets ..... If the Price is within reach....  Regret that I bought Surface RT at that time for 680USD just for Netflix, Youtube, Email & Facebook.
  • Thank God I don't need to call NASA in case of faulty or burnout charger... oh wait I need 199$.  bought Surface RT in Middle East (Premiume Price paid) for my father from largest electronics market.. charger got burnt and they were unable to fix it.. no new charger were available in the entire continent. Called Microsoft too and they failed to help since the product was not officially lanched in the region.  Finally retailer refunded me after deduction of 25$ due to missing box (lol) and I bought Sony Xperia Z.. father didn't like Xperia Tablet and wanted Surface only... I bought used for less than half price.. again charger got faulty and this time I found it someone selling on a local (again paid premium price).