Why Microsoft's new Surface Pro doesn't have a USB Type-C port

Microsoft announced the all-new Surface Pro for 2017 today in Shanghai, China. The fifth generation of the "most versatile laptop" is impressive thanks to many new improvements. Like other new devices, though, there seems to always be at least one controversial decision. This time around it's the lack of a new USB Type-C port, which is quickly becoming the darling of tech enthusiasts.

What was Microsoft thinking? We sat down with Microsoft's Vice President of Devices Panos Panay and asked him to explain the decision.

What do people use USB Type-C for?

USB Type-C is poised to be the ultimate all-in-one port for devices in the future, but its status is still opaque for consumers.

Microsoft did research on why people want USB Type-C. Panay said that "by far" the number one use for Type-C is charging. Data and external hubs are a distant second, he said, with external GPUs (eGPUs) falling squarely in the niche enthusiast category.

The problem for Microsoft is consumer confusion. The company tried before with a standardized power port with the Surface 3 and micro USB. "Many customers complained about their Surface 3 not being able to charge," Panay said.

The problem was that customers were not using the included Surface micro USB charger, but regular phone chargers – which are also underpowered for the task. While prosumers know this, your average Joe is befuddled at trying to figure out A/C output for a micro USB wall charger.

Microsoft's magnetic Surface Connect power port.

Microsoft's magnetic Surface Connect power port.

Panay shared the following analogy. "Imagine you have just one pair of socks. You always know where those socks are. Now suppose you have ten pairs of socks. Suddenly it's now not so important to know where they all are as you always have a backup."

The comparison is interesting. According to Microsoft, people tend to lose their A/C wall chargers when they assume they can use any similar charger. (Confession: I have lost my micro USB Surface charger and have experienced the "under charging" effect of using a phone charger as a replacement. Analogy confirmed.)

What consumers do not do is lose their Surface Connect A/C Charger. After all, they only have one.

The same problem exists for USB Type-C. While many Type-C phone chargers will fit into a PC's port and even light up the charging indicator, they rarely meet a 45W or 65W output to charge a Core i7 laptop.

Grabbing your Type-C phone charger and Surface Pro for a road trip sounds amazing, but that moment you realize your laptop is not being charged can be devastating.

Microsoft is not against USB Type-C

Panay insists that the company is not against using USB Type-C in its products. However, when building for the average consumer, the design and engineering team is adamant that it is still too early and perplexing.

Take, for instance, Thunderbolt 3. While USB Type-C can support Thunderbolt 3 for 40Gbps data throughput, most Type-C ports are not configured to do so. Part of the reason is cost – it's more expensive to implement. Another reason is hardware engineering – it's harder to make thin devices with full Thunderbolt 3 because the PCB board needs reconfiguration. (This is partially solved by Intel's "Kaby Lake" processors, however.)

Even then, Thunderbolt 3 is a confusing mess. Dell infamously supports the standard but only uses two PCIe lanes versus the recommended four. As a result, it can do some Thunderbolt 3 things but falls behind on eGPU support. Toss in the different USB Type-C chargers and their outputs, and suddenly this magical port is a nightmare for your average consumer (who may not even know why it's there).

Microsoft and the Surface team say they will adopt the technology when the time is right.

Help is on the way thanks to Surface Connect Type-C adapter

During our conversation on the topic, Panay asked one of his engineers for an adapter. Although it was just a prototype, this adapter plugged right into the Surface Connect port. That proprietary port is used for charging all the current Surface Pros and Surface Book in addition to being used for the optional Surface Dock.

The forthcoming adapter from Microsoft converts the Surface Connect to a USB Type-C port. It works with power and data, too, while keeping the Surface Connect's magnetic abilities in place.

Although such a conversion dongle won't satisfy everybody's yearning for a native Type-C port, it should mollify many.

The Surface Connect/Type-C converter gives people who want to charge their Surface via Type-C an easy solution. Likewise, for those who want to utilize Type-C hubs. Surface Connect – via the Surface Hub – already supports two high-definition video ports, a gigabit Ethernet port, four USB 3.0 ports, and an audio output, so any Type-C conversion should be similar.

The takeaway

Some potential Surface Pro buyers will not find solace in any of the above rationales. The dream of a Surface Pro with full Thunderbolt 3 support to power dual-4K displays or an eGPU is out of reach. Still, from a pragmatic perspective, the decision by the Surface team makes some sense. Panay told us the company prototyped the Surface Laptop and new Surface Pro with USB Type-C but thought the Surface Connect charger is currently a better solution for the masses.

Whether or not that statement is true for you will likely vary. A conversion dongle for Surface Connect to Type-C is liable to go a long way to fixing the problem, but for now Microsoft is forgoing the nascent technology.

From my personal experience, much of Panay's reasoning rings true. I have Type-C on many of my laptops, but admittedly I only use the port for charging. Occasionally I plug in a Type-C hub, but it's not a common usage scenario. I can't say that the lack of Type-C is a deal-breaker for me. But it'd be good to have.

Update 5/24/17: Intel just announced that starting in 2018 it is dropping royalty fees for Thunderbolt 3 usage and is integrating the technology into the CPU. Both moves should streamline and increase adoption by companies like Microsoft for future products.

Luckily, many of Microsoft's partners are adopting USB Type-C in their convertibles, giving consumers even more choice. Whether the conservative bet on Type-A pays off for the new Surface Pro remains to be seen, but at least you now have a clearer idea of why Microsoft made the decision it did.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • I understand not wanting to ditch the Surface Connect port, it's great and easy to use. But why not ditch the Mini DisplayPort for USB-C? Mini DisplayPort only carries video, while USB-C carries video (using a DisplayPort signal), data and power. That's the part that I'm upset about, and nothing in this explanation answers that question. 
  • Well pretty simple, because a lot of people use the mini display port, more than those who use usb-c video. It's not about a port being better than the other, it's just which is needed by most people.
  • By that logic, we should still be using USB-A 2.0 ports. We'll never progress if users aren't at least given the option. USB-C simply makes far more sense than keeping mini-DP around.
  • That logic did not hold. Regardless of whether it's 2.0 or 3.0 its still a USB A port. All accessories that use USB A will work
  • That wasn't the point. His logic was that, because "a lot of people" use the mini-DP port, USB-C isn't needed. So, by that logic, none of the modern ports should exist and we should all be using computers with nothing but USB-A 2.0 (or 3.0, for your sake) ports.
  • Got it
  • Very different please. USB 3.1 is fully backwards compatible both physically and electronically with all prior generations down to version 1.0. The so called average consumer does not even know the difference since it will typically always work at some speed
  • Wow... That's not even the point.
  • Do you think they would not use a type C port if the transition was as seamless as that of type A between 1.0 and 3.1? Your analogy is not valid here because the reasons stated in the article have a lot to do with use cases and usability as well as associated benefits vs shortcomings at present rather than a simplistic stubborn refusal to advance in technology. You can see all the thought and research that went into the choice is you actually read the article.
  • I'm not concerned about what the article says. I'm talking about Azizelh's comment.
  • WHY is there no USB-C?
    Because Microsoft wants more money so they will offer you an ADAPTER and YOU will buy it :) thats why
  • Yes i will buy it!  Because it means that I will not have to replace my Surface Pro 4 to get a USB-C port!
  • Unless you're poor I don't see the problem. Also, if they did Type-C they'd still make you a Type-C adapter/Hub to sell you, so your argument is dumb.
  • There are plenty of direct USB-C devices (phones, flash drives and displays are the obvious examples) whereas that's not really the case with mini-DP. I'm also leaning on the side that this is just a money grab from Microsoft.
  • Every conference room in my building has a Mini DisplayPort connection. It's used by our Surface users, our Mac users, and our Dell users. Not one of those rooms has a USB-C connection, even though our CIO has a MacBook. It will change over time, but for today and the next year, it's more likely that the business world is going to be more weighted toward MDP than USBC.
  • Wow Daniel. I'm not poor but I still won't buy a Surface Pro to replace my Surface Pro 4. Even with all the considerations Microsoft explained, I'd just want them to fully implement USB-C. Especially given the price didn't go down and the pen is now an additional $99. Perhaps the best bet is a dock with USB-C for my Surface Pro 4. Though as I sit on my tiny little boat at the marina this summer, crying about my abject poverty I'd like to have a Surface Pro for it's longer battery life. Also it would be less of a load when I'm riding one of my 8 motorcycles. Nope I'm not rich, but I"m too poor to upgrade from the Surface Pro 4 to the Surface Pro (unless my 14yr old daughter, tells me she is ready for my Surface Pro 4 to replace her Surface 3).  Well back to rubbing my two pennies together.  btw: take what I said in jest. Though there are probably some who are poor that really love technology and all angles of value have to be in play before they would upgrade. No offense intended.   
  • The Surface Pen isn't included anymore?! Given Microsoft's stance towards USB-C and their apparent nickel-and-dime approach, this isn't surprising.
  • It is exactly the opposite of what you are saying. They are not forcing people to purchase a pen when they don't want one or already have one (or previous version of the pen). What they are doing is consumer friendly, and what you are proposing is anti-consumer. Also, why are you spamming this article with nonsense comments?
  • They took the pen away yet are charging the same price for a comparably-spec'd product that previously included the pen. That is not consumer friendly. What nonsense? Seems like it's only considered nonsense if people don't agree.
  • A sarcastic sense of humor. Well done,sir. Well done, indeed.
  • @pineapple, the article explains it perfectly...please read it.
  • The fact is,  that the vast majority of users use USB A and not USB C.   Please see apple for dropping of ports...they ditched all USB A ports for only usb C.....dumb idea since now many users DO have to buy adapters...unlike microsoft users who pretty well all have usb A devices like HD's, printers card readers etc....
  • when Apple has been doing this for ages we dont complain so why complain when MS does it?
  • They're actually changing for the better, it seems. Microsoft is going backwards in this respect.
  • How exactly is it going backwards when it's the status quo?  The mentioned adapter takes you forward while you get to retain all of your USB type A devices.
  • Apple went straight for USB-C while Microsoft is holding onto an older port for the sake of making money from adapters for at least another year.
  • Microsoft aleardy have a magnetic port that soes everything the USB-C port does (and you get a USB-A port as well). The reality is that Apple removed the Magsafe port and replaced it with charging by USB-C because large numbers of peoplle will break the port by tripping on the cable and Apple will sell/repair millions of computers - making hundreds of millions in extra profit.
  • Instead of giving you the new, forward-thinking port, they retain the old one while the rest of the industry is already well ahead. No justifying it.
  • Apple has been doing this for years,  nothing new really,  Microsoft just jumped on the same bandwagon of $39.00 and $49.00 adapters.   I for one would prefer to see a USB-C port and get the appropriate adapter to connect to whatever I need.  
  • @besweeet, one of my rules in product development is, "Don't give your customers something they can misuse and then hold against you, because they absolutely will." From the article, it's pretty clear that's the rule MS was following here. They don't want customers getting angry because their new Surface won't charge from the same USB-C charger that works fine for their phone. Customers would understandably blame MS for that. I was originally in the camp that MS was screwing up by not including USB-C, but after reading this article, my pointy blame finger redirects itself toward the USB consortium for not defining a clear standard. Confusion slows adoption, exactly as we're seeing here.
  • So based on that, any manufacturer relying solely on USB-C (examples: Spectre x360, XPS 13 2-in-1) is doing so with the risk of being blamed for customers' phone chargers not working? Seems like a relatively small reason to avoid the port altogether.
  • Agreed. The majority of people have never even heard of USB C. Most people who want USB C want it so they can charge all their devices on a single cable. However, people will be extremely frustrated when the USB C tech they happen to have doesn't provide what they expect. USB C is still very wild-west. I personally prefer having a USB A type port and the Surface Connecter cable and no adapters. Well, except my mini-dp adapter. But a USB C would not solve my port needs unless there was more than one of them ...and I had adapters because, as ubiquitous as some in this discussion are trying to make it sound, most peripheral devices still us USB A, not USB C.
  • Not exactly true. The thing is, Microsoft isn't PERMANENTLY keeping away from usb-c. Sure, they need to help promote it, but at the same time, they don't need to over push it either. Right now, it's not cost effective and worth the price for them. They are using usb-c for their Surface Go, so they are still getting it with their consumers, but for their Pro model, they want to keep what is more viable and fitting with everyone. They are choosing what is most needed by the most people for their largest product. But that doesn't mean they are just ignoring it entirely. Leaving it off the biggest product helps them save cost that isn't worth it yet. But they are still pushing usb-c, with their Go line, and other products are also pushing it. At the same time, usb-c still needs some work with governments pushing a standard for all the cords and chargers and devices that use the port (*cough*Nintendo*cough*). It was too much to put both ports in, so they put in the one that is more necessary.
  • That's false. Most just use adapters to convert to more common HDMI and VGA standards. Mini DisplayPort is barely anywhere to be found on today's TVs and monitors, you'll have to look specifically for a monitor/TV woth it to find such, just like you would a USB Type C port-eqipped one today.
  • Issue can arise with dual-powering the device i.e. plugging in type-c to charge and Surface Connect; but yeah, I'm in the "rather have it than not" camp, but in the end Microsoft feels this layout, while conservative is the safest and clearest for the average consumer.
  • Mr. Rubino, wouldn't you agree that these giant tech corporations are the ones that should be pushing new technology though? I'm not exactly sure who or what they're waiting for when they say "when the time is right," as smaller companies adopting type C will have minimal impact.
  • They need to agree on it though, so there's a standard that's an actual standard. Otherwise, if each company interprets it differently, that's chaos, market confusion, and angry customers. In other words, the solution is for the USB licensing consortium (I don't know, but I assume MS is a member or at least has some pull) needs to issue a clear, well-defined standard. The fact that we're having this discussion is, sadly, possible evidence that USB-C is not the future, because they failed to make it a clear standard with an explicit functoinal definition. Perhaps it will go the way of Mini-USB.
  • Hmmmm. Had not thought of (or read) about it from that angle. Though maybe a diode or two could help in that regard. Then of course MS could engineer in the proverbial kitchen sink and we could have a 10lb Surface Pro...
  • I never find USB C to be a very reliable connection unfortunately. I like the idea behind it but my admitedly limited experience with it on my 950 was a long way from positive. 
  • Kinda off topic, but by that statement, all your excuses of the Surface Laptop being more for "average consumer" whereas the Surface Pro is more for "professionals" are further debunked...
  • Yes it does. He specifically mentioned that people will get confused and attempt to power their Surface using USB-C.
  • Then in that case, they could just not enable charging over that port. If someone tries to plug a power only device into the USB-C port, display a message saying that the port doesn't support power.  Despite my rant, I am glad they include the adaptor. 
  • There research was correct that I would only be using the USB-C for charging.  My L950 also uses USB-C.
  • Opps.  "Their..."
  • But i always charge it with usb A-C cable. Never once i used usbc to c. Maybe for the lumia continuum dock, but i now use the Elite x3 dock which is better. The lack of usb c ports are everywhere. Look at airplanes, buses, public charging stations. To bad they can't squeeze in a type c too. But isn't a deal breaker. The dongle for Surface connector sounds like a ok compromise.
  • I was thinking of the reverse scenario. I would probably not think of charging the Surface Pro with the type C, but I'd want to connect my cell phone there to charge it (Lumia 950xl, Type-c connector)
  • Well, the 950 xl has Type C to type A cable in the box. You can charge it using that cable.
  • I know, but it doesn't charge as fast as a Type-C to Type-C cable.  Type-A is limited to a max of 2.4 Amp. But I got the Continuum Dock which have a Type-C to Type-C cable with it to plug the 950xl to the dock.
  • Actually you talking bout USB connector or USB version? USB connector is Type A, B, C and mini. USB version is 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 3.0, 3.1 Gen1, 3.1 Gen 2 and thunderbolt3(?).
  • Even the top USB version on a Type-A connector is limited in Amps it can carry.  USB 3 is much better than USB 2, but neither can match a Type-C connector on USB 3.1 for amps.
  • Do people really get confused though? I don't see that issue with other laptops that have both type C and regular power connectors, or the Macbook Pro which just has multiple type C ports. Besides, I'm pretty sure the device won't even allow that to happen.
  • The problem is as stated, most consumers will just plug their USB C cable to any wall plug with a usb slot to charge and find that it is not charging. They do not realize there are difference between the Surface one and the regular phone one.
  • I'm still confused though. Then isn't the only solution for customers to learn the difference? If they keep thinking their phone charger will charge any type C device, you can never put type C on any large device, no matter how long you wait.
  • When I got my 950xl, I went out and bought a ton of type-c cables, adapters, chargers, a card to plug into my desktop, all to be type-c ready because it was supposed to be happening. Know what I use all my type-c stuff for 1.5 years later? Charging my phone. Type-c is great, it offers a lot of potential, but there's are no devices for it. External HDDs do not spin fast enough for it, SSDs do not transfer fast enough. There are a couple monitors that let you connect through it, most of them output 50W which is not enough to charge devices. The stuff is not there, and I feel they used type-c we would be in an Apple situation where we need to carry dongles everywhere. if the year have this adapter to allow type-c, hat would be great for those who really want it. AN update dock that has a couple type-c ports would be great, too. But I am not worried about it.
  • @nohone, I did the same thing, and years later only use it to charge the phone (950XL and Galaxy S8)
  • I have an Eve V 2-in-1 on preorder which has USB-C and USB-A ports, and I'm gonna get a flash drive that has both USB-C and USB-A ports. Coupled with my USB-C HDMI hub and my Lumia 950XL, things are finally starting to fall into place. I've been in the same boat as you for the last year or so, it's irritating that phone manufacturers, even Apple, are already adopting the standard but companies like Microsoft insist it's not ready. I'm sorry, but this reminds me all too much of the way Ballmer laughed at the iPhone and then it came back to bite him later. I am a huge Microsoft fan but they need to start leading the pack on this stuff.
  • Has any of those devices even shipped? A year ago this site was flooded with the Eve collective (a lot of those threads were cleaned and then the Eve web site referenced those articles) telling us that we were foolish for buying non-Eve devices when the Pyramid Flipper was just around the corner. Then it was delayed, and delayed again. But we were supposed to hold off buying anything else because the PF was going to be the best thing ever. Then they reduced the specs, the battery life was cut, and so on, and so on. It was supposed to be so much better than a SP, but was on par with any cheap device. Doing a search on this site, the preorders for the V 2 in 1 went up back in September. That is 9 months ago. And people are complaining that Microsoft announced the new SP, and it will not go on sale for 3 weeks, but 9 months is OK?
  • I bought a Logitech BRIO 4K. That has a Type-C port and includes a USB 3 cable... but the included cable is actually Type A on the other end (that plugs into your computer). So even the device that includes a USB-C assumes the computer connecting to it will be from a Type A port (still running USB 3.0, of course).
  • I am in the same boat but originally thought no USB Type-C was an gaffe.  In reality, I have far more Type-C cables than uses for them.  I have a 950 XL and a Continuum Dock - that's pretty much my big swath of cable usage.  I bought an XPS 9560 and a dock -  but had to read the fine print to know which dock would actually power/charge the laptop (read more $$) .  But funny enough, the dock has a hardwired Type-C cable hanging off of it.  I assume it's because they (Dell) didn't want to risk folks buying a questionable Type-C cable and either damaging the dock/laptop or just not powering it.  I totally get where MS is worried about the mis-use/mis-understanding of this.  And as they can provide a passthru with the dongle, seems like they are approaching this wisely. 
  • When I got hold of my 950XL, I had a hard time to obtain an extra USB C cable and the few shops that had them sold it overpriced. Even now I still have to go around carrying the USB C cable for my phone because no one is using it, I cannot simply use my friends one to charge like other phones.
  • Mini-display port is a pain because projectors and monitors don't accept it.  I have to carry around an adapter with me all the time. Do wish they would settle on a standard across the board for this so public displays (used at conferences, universities, office presentations, etc) could be standardized as well.  
  • The irony is they want to market this as a device for creators. Well, my family is in the video production business, and all of our gear uses Thunderbolt 3. Video capture, playback and storage. Surface is unusable for me. This is why I will continue to buy HP products, such as the newly announced Spectre x2. They are superior in functionality and cost less. At the ridiculous Surface price premium, not getting real functionality is unacceptable. None of the arguments Panos makes are valid in my opinion. And the fact is, Microsoft is an anti USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 company.
  • Surface pro series is not the right computer for serious video editing.
  • The Surface Studio is the creator device. This is the PC on the go. On top of that, there's the adapter...
  • Surface Studio doesn't have TB3 either...
  • Dell XPS and HP support Thunderbolt 3, I agree this should have been added to Surface Pro 5 instead of Mini Display Port.
  • USB Type-C is not going to replace miniDisplayPort or ThunderBolt 2 / 3 ports for video out.  The reason USB Type-C was launched is for transfering data at faster speeds and allow charging your device.  But USB Type-C is inferior than Thunderbolt 3 for video signals, so why should OEMs care about supporting video output on a port that cannot match Thunderbolt 3?
  • You're confused. USB 3.1 (Gen 2, if you want to be really specific) is the protocol, USB Type-C is the port. Thunderbolt 3 uses the USB Type-C port, though Thunderbolt is still not widely supported. DisplayPort also can use the USB Type-C port, and most devices I've seen support this. USB-C devices that support video aren't using the USB 3.1 protocol, they're using DisplayPort that supports the full throughput of DisplayPort 1.3
  • Thanks, that's a good point, all smartphones that have USB-C are still using USB 3.1 Gen 1 so there is no such thing as USB 3.1 Gen 2 on a smartphone. So to be clear, Microsoft should have added USB 3.1 Gen 2 on Surface Pro 5 (aka Thunderbolt 3) as HP did with their 2 in 1 and adding not 1 but 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports.
  • I have use for the mini-display port. I have NO use whatsoever for USB-C. So that really depends on the consumer. Only geeks care for USB-C. The transition is still very very in the beginning and without any assurance it will actually happen.
  • Well everything in the article answers your query. I am not trying to defend the reasoing mentioned in the article but just using it to assuage your concerns. The minute an average user see's a USB-C port he would know that I can use it for charging the laptop. And then the same analogy sets in. You misplace your main charger, you start using some under powered chargers and face issues of charging. A better way of solving this issue was to display a message on the screen in case someone is using an under powered USB-C charger or may be a message to ensure that he is using the right specifications (wattage) to get proper charging.
  • Does the converter support thunderbolt 3 tho? Presumably it supports charging, docks and multiple monitors, but what all the geeks will wanna know is if it does eGPU... If the surface connect can do two graphics outputs, some usb 3 ports and a gigabit conector, surely it ain't far off.  
  • I'm not sure, but my gut tells me no. Nonetheless, it should support multiple monitors especially with the Iris Plus graphics in the Core i7 model.
  • they said it supports 2 4k monitors but dint mention the size
  • Is that capable fo running Oculus RIft? I wiould love to have a single Surface device capable of doing work (VR programming) when docked and being mobile as well. I don't consider gaming laptops to be truly "mobile"
  • Putting TB3 to please enthusiast is not a bad idea. What happens after enthusiasts found out that using Surface Pro with eGPU resulting in 2 hours of battery life in AAA games?
    They complained.
    For my analogy, Surface Pro is not made for gaming.
  • The TB3 eGPU dock would be charging the Surface Pro at the same time, so it wouldn't matter.
  • As mentioned, most setup that included the USB C did not utilized the full potential of it. If would like to fully utilize it, will require another type of design of the board which subsequently bump up the cost. Not a good choice currently for the mass to pay the extra just for charging with USB C.
  • There you have it folks, bet you are still going to get the moans saying this is a deal breaker...
  • You are right. There will be moans. I get that, people populating tech web sites like us want products that meet their specific, even niche, needs. And if you are commenting on Windows Central, complaining is what you do. OK. Microsoft is making products for the masses not tech website readers and they do lots of research. I was called by Micorosoft a couple of months ago on a survey of my tech useage. I couldn't discern a specific subject they were asking about so it might not have been about the Surface Pro, but there were questions about how I use my Surface Pro 4, where I take it and so forth. This call was probably about something else entirely, but I've been called or contacted by email before by them. As for the new Surface Pro, I'll be buying, probably the new fanless I5 model, given how I use my I7 SP4. The new pen and kickstand, and fanless, make this a whole new product as far as I'm concerned.   
  • Great explanation.
  • But what about all the other devices that DO have a native USB-C port? Like the Macbook? I do not hear people complaining about that, or even be "confused". Microsoft wants to release it's devices with USB-C "when the masses are ready for it", but all the other OEMs already released it to the masses for a while now.
  • Have you really experienced when your phone's type-c charger is too underpowered to charge your laptop? Can be frustrating when that's all you have with you. This is a legit point.
  • That's why you bring your laptop charger and leave the phone's charger at home. 
  • Initially, this probably is confusing for consumers. "Both chargers are USB-C. Why is one so damn slow?" It's not hard to figure out, but I guess this is what Microsoft wants to avoid.
  • Is it confusing? On phone chargers you already have to look "Does that one work with QuickCharge version X? Or with Samsungs own fast charge...or something completley different" and some may wonder why that phone chargers charges faster on my Samsung phone than the other. Still not that big of a deal...you see it, you learn it one time and carry on with the fastest charger you have. The USB Standard watches over to only draw as much energy as it needs.
  • Yeah, QC 2, QC 3 and even Dash Charge are all Type-C; kinda confusing already especially if you have a non-QC Type-C charger.
  • Great write up Daniel!!
  • Besides lets just remember a note that seems to be present in pretty much every micro-USB charger around: "You're supposed to use the charger privided or the <brand name>'s charger. Any different charger may not have the same power requirements and could (not necessarily will) void your warranty (this warranty part if a suggestion from me)". And done. Problem solved. We would all charger the SP with chargers provided by Microsoft (either USB-C or the connector) or chargers with specific requisites. That would be the classic response from Apple to anyone trying to charge their new Macbook with an underpowered/inadequate charger...
  • I call myself a geek but I still cross charge my devices with different plugs. Especially while travelling, I tend to limit myself to bring as little plugs as possible.   As a geek I do understand why some of the charging is slow but I doubt the average consumers will know the difference and blame it for faulty then go ahead buying new cable or plug while cursing the company for low quality goods.
  • But you will also need to charge your phone no? I get what peoples think, one cable, one charger to charge all devices, and yes to transfer data and so on... if this idea works for Mobile Device, laptop need more power and stability during charge. So peoples want their laptop to last more longer than their phone now, but they want to use the same cable and charger as their phone to charge their laptop. And when they realize after charging their laptop battery last less longer, they complaint. I suggest we use the cable and chargers that come with the device and there won't be any problem, like he said is about user experience, if i can use my laptop for about 12/13 hours on one charge, i don't care if it's type C or other connectors, if i need to transfer files, i will use USB 3, and voila. Why making things so complicate, it's just a connector, it's not the end of the world. It's more important for me to have a fanless laptop...
  • Yup. There are plenty of examples such as HP's Spectre x360 and various ASUS & Lenovo laptops.
  • USB-C cable nightmares http://blog.fosketts.net/2016/10/29/total-nightmare-usb-c-thunderbolt-3/   
  • Also a great way to sell overpriced chargers, should you lose or break one. Is there a reason why they keep insisting on mini displayport? How many people actually use them?
  • > Is there a reason why they keep insisting on mini displayport? Because of the reason you just mentioned: "Also a great way to sell overpriced chargers." They're pulling a page out of Apple's old playbook, though they said "screw it, let's go all-out on USB-C in our new laptops because it actually makes too much sense for everyone."
  • Wait, so Apple put all Type-C ports on to sell you dongles. Now, Microsoft is not putting Type-C on to....sell us dongles? So there are no other arguments/views on this, just conspiracy? lol, k
  • > Now, Microsoft is not putting Type-C on to....sell us dongles? Seems like it. They know people want USB-C, so they'll then sell you hubs and adapters that have USB-C instead of just giving you a port or two.
  • I really don't get your point, how many peoples use a Type C Hub? I have many friends, no one use Type C Hub, the one who use a Type C cable don't even know it's a Type C Cable, for them it's a Micro USB Cable, they don't even know it is call Micro USB, for them it's just a cable. It's not because you think what you use or need is also right for everybody, go out there, take 100 peoples ask them about Type C cables, perhaps 10 peoples know what it is and i'm generous saying 10. If you want a Type C port so bad, just don't buy Microsoft, it's simple...
  • People might not know what USB-C is because of companies like Microsoft simply avoiding them. It'll never get anywhere if you don't support it.
  • You can pick up an aftermarket charger for pretty cheap.
  • I do. My boss do. Boss of my boss do. Well, seems like many people in big corporates do.
  • And would it be worse to use DisplayPort over USB-C? I doubt it...well I guess you have to buy onetime new adapters...
  • Not mentioned is the fact that the Surface 4 is immensely popular in businesses and they do not take kindly to having all their purchases of docks, video/Ethernet, display, charging adapters, etc. suddenly obsoleted and they now have to go out an purchase MORE stuff to support just the new Surface Pro systems. This is a "Big Deal" with IT departments that users never think about (until they are screaming that their old adapters/setups don't work anymore and they want one that does RIGHT NOW!)
    FYI - the Mini Display port also supports an Ethernet adapter, not just video.
    Consistency among the Surface Pro and Surface 4 is highly important to IT departments everywhere.
  • Fair enough, but even HP and Lenovo are moving to Thunderbolt 3/USB-C for their chargers and docks in their enterprise machines. 
  • I wouldn't be surprised if we see the situation reversed with the next release, i.e. a USB C port with an adapter for Surface Connect peripherals. That way, existing docks and chargers would still work.
  • Valid point, but I'm sure MS could make a small and cheap adapter for that. Unless they act like apple of course.
  • Honestly doesn't bother me at all. I only care about USB-C in regards to my 950XL. And apparently not all USB-C is equal. Some docks don't work correctly, some do. Some only partially work. Seems like an irregularity common consumers would get frustrated with.
  • It's because most of these accessories are made in China, if they can do it cheaper, it's good for them, it's why you have a lot of difference between these cables, but we will never know because they look the same, but if you cut the cable, you will see the difference, but who is stupid enough to buy a cable and cut it right? Many peoples think Type C equal Quickcharge, it's not true, not every Type C cable and port can enable Quick Charge. The most important is not the plug, it's the little cables they use to make a Type C cable. They're right Type C is a little messy now, it will become the standard, it's jut not now, many peoples still use old cables and ports and it works, so why everybody should use Type C now?...
  • where was this reasoning whe they put micro USB on the Surface 3.0.  I teseted this extensively with a USB power meter inline when it was released and concluded it was a bad move and users would have no idea it wasnt working or why.  They could have and should have done the same and just said, we hear you but believe us this micro USB charging in a BAD idea.  I can see how this translates to USB C... not all chargers will have the power fequired but everyone assums they are all 100W capable.  At least they learned a lesson amd didnlt make the same mistake. 
  • Microsoft can easily come up with literature educating users on how to find USB-C devices / accessories that are correctly compatible.
  • Much like they did with Windows RT?
  • That was set up for failure from the beginning unlike USB-C.
  • I'm talking about Microsoft's ability to educate consumers.  Albeit some will never understand...
  • @besweet, that's not gonna work. How many people read the manual?
  • Surely a small 5x7 card in the box won't go unnoticed.
  • Haha, a small 5x7 card will only be easier to throw away.
  • But you'll obviously notice it, right? Increases the chances of actually reading it.
  • I admitted I am in that forced situation often even I am considered myself enthusiast. It does not work at all and very frustrating. I am relieved today that MS admitted it was the mistake for Surface 3.
  • USB-A takes up space, thats the biggest problem. It basically limits the Surface Pro to go thinner. USB-C would solve this.  Phone chargers far from 65W output will always exists, bad argument.
  • There is no such thing as "future-proofing" a device. Standards come and go. 3.5" disks used to be ubiquitous on all machines. LPT ports on laptops, and now even the venerable USB 3.0. Also, take a look at the Wiki on USB-C cables. It made my head spin all the different types, capacities and limitations of various cables.
  • Frankly, this is hardly an issue for me. I appreciate the display port and standard size usb. I only charge my surface pro overnight anyways
  • Expanding on this: Apple has its "Made for iPhone" line for third party accessories that meet certain criteria. I get that logistics and testing take time, but it might not be a bad idea for Microsoft to have their own "Made for Surface" line for compatible third party USB-C chargers. 
  • Is there an updated dock? Because the current one can't handle 4k@60, only possible through SP4 port.
  • In other words, Microsoft is saying consumers are confused and stupid, and therefore shouldn't even be presented with USB-C. Yet, Apple went all-in on USB-C on all their laptops. > Some potential Surface Pro buyers will not find solace in any of the above rationales. Pretty much :D.
  • Most consumers ARE stupid (or at least ignorant) and confused, when it comes to tech. Not sure that's a controversial opinion.
  • You're right. So I guess Apple thinks their customers are just a little less stupid than their PC competitors.
  • @besweet, if you are citing Apple without saying they have been hit badly by this decision (same as headphone jack), you are not telling the whole story.
    Right now, MBP users who need their ports and don't need dongle life all go for MBP2015. Stop the APPLE reference if you don't tell the whole truth please.
  • They apparently haven't been hit badly as people are buying their AirPods, adapters, and are living with the iPhone 7's just fine. They got away with it with no problems. Anyone with a USB-C-only MacBook is in the same boat and are dealing with it.
  • Not as you said. No. They do not like it. The sound quality is terrible for the Airpod.
    For MBP, they buy 2015.
  • Yet AirPods have a 98% satisfaction rating and have sold way more units than anyone would've guessed. Okay.
  • I'd take the magnetic charger over USB-C any day. Saved screens of more than one device (Apple or Surface) disconnecting instead of pulling the whole thing down to earth. Which doesn't mean that I would't embrace a USB-C port for occasional charging from a battery pack. But NOT for regular charging, please.
  • Maybe because they have "geniuses" helping them out.
  • I can understand the point about charging with USB C. I'd rather keep the surface connect charger anyways. Something that no one seems to mention is that the reason more average consumers don't have a need for a USB C port (other than charging) is that they don't have any USB C accessories. Why don't they have any accessories? Because they don't have any devices to use them with. The PC manufacturers need to take the first step in a wider adoption of USB C. I personally would love to get a USB C flash drive for improved data transfer speeds. But why bother if I can't plug it into any of my devices?
  • Every other manufacturer has taken the first step. Microsoft is the only OEM without a device with USB-C. 
  • Wrong.  My Lumia 950 that I bought two years ago has a USB-C.
  • Your Lumia 950 is not a laptop. 
  • "Every other manufacturer has taken the first step. Microsoft is the only OEM without a device with USB-C. " Where in your comments does it say laptop?
  • @Sono Exactly, but peoples don't seem to understand that, the peoples who are aguing here are the one who will buy a Surface devices anyway, if not they won't arguing on something that doesn't concern them, right?...
  • They're right when they say that USB-C is actually a mess. Many products include it but not always is clear if they're 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, Thunderbolt, how many PCIe lines, what capabilities, ect. There're almost zero USB-C peripherals on the market and dongles are a mess on their own. External GPUs sound terrific, but really, you could count with your fingers how many people are going to use it. Be realistic, it's the standard of the future but it's not ready for the masses yet.
  • Microsoft can likely create easy educational collateral so that consumers can know what to look for when buying USB-C accessories. If it wasn't ready for the masses, we wouldn't have phones and computers with USB-C. Companies are going all-in for a reason: it's obviously ready for the masses.
  • THat won't work. period. Bad idea, sorry.
  • When executed properly, it can work.
  • Give me example. We're talking about 1 million device per quarter sale, and the standard keeps changing. Not to mention people do not read manual, like, never!
  • But this wouldn't be in a lengthy manual. This could, for example, just be a small card placed in the box with some basic information about USB-C peripherals.
  • What peripherals are you looking for? I have an external battery pack and external hard drive that carry data over USB-C, and the battery pack is powerful enough to charge my laptop. USB-C flash drives have existed for years (more on this in a second), and USB-C monitors that deliver power to the laptop and carry the video back to the monitor have been available for more than a year. I appreciate that all of this would be a lot for a person or company to replace at once, which is why USB-C to USB-A and USB-C to DisplayPort (and HDMI) cables exist.  On the flash drive topic, I actually use a Micro-SD card inside on of these adapters for my flash drives. This way, I can use the drive with either a USB-C or USB-A port https://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-USB-C-MicroSD-Reader-113506/dp/B00YQM83...
  • I suspect that in addition to the type-c dongle, there will be a new Surface dock with type-c, charging, and thunderbolt 3 -- stay tuned.
  • I kind of want USB-C for data, not power. Or if they ever replace the Surface 3, put USB-C on that. And wireless charging. Running windows on arm. Thwn it's right in line with USB-C phones
  • I kind of want USB-C for data, not power. Or if they ever replace the Surface 3, put USB-C on that. And wireless charging. Running windows on arm. Thwn it's right in line with USB-C phones
  • Should the takeaway be that this USB-C Connector would work for both the (new) Surface Pro and Surface Laptop or is there a limitation with the latter to be able to leverage this?
  • Surface Connect is standard so it should work on all Surface Pro/Book products.
  • Nice article Dan. Most enthusiasts like my self want a sexy gaming laptop 💻 that light an have all the features. There is currently non, so the need to use an external GPU is great, hence the cry 😿 for type c port. But if it doesn't support full thunder bolt abilities then what's the point in putting it in right 👉.
  • Wow. That reasoning is terrible. If i plug my phone into a low-current charger, my phone warns me. So should my Surface. It is true there aren't many hubs out there for it, but all they means is that they will wait for their competitors to do it; sweet...... The different USB-C chargers out there is true. However, there only acceptable choice is USB-PD. It will be the only choice now or later. It is unfortunate they made this decision. I'll be replacing my SP3 with something else. Maybe that HP tablet yesterday that had USB-C
  • When i had my Surface 3 it never really warned me of low current charging.  You would've had to hover your mouse over the plug icon to see the "device not charging" message.
  • I agree with you 100 percent man. Its as easy as showing a notification on the screen! His reasoninig so stupid. This device is marketed towards high end consumer anyway. I am sure they will go out and buy a legic type-c charger if they ever lose one. And please I dont need that stupid display port. HDMI or type-c man!
  • HDMI? Well, I'll let you fight it out with the commentor that needs SP to be thinner then.... :D
  • Mini-HDMI for this one but I am not buying a stupid display port. And I meant in general that I'd prefer/buy a device with a type-c or HDMI port.
  • "Their reasoning is stupid."
    Maybe, but they did try this with micro USB and Surface 3 and it was a bad experience for them. You can't just wave your hand and say their experience there did not matter. It's their device, they have to service it and deal with customers. You're a prosumer, so none of that applies.
  • Its perfect sense. He explained to so obvioulsy I don't know why all you techheads don't get it. The rest of the world doesn't read and obsess over every bit of info. If you've worked in tech support EVER you would be stunned at what regualr folks assume. It makes perfect sense they would plug in any micro USB for example and expect it to work. The tech blog world and what MS has to deal with are to opposites. MS doesn't make money appealing to just the techies who real this website.
  • @Beckerjr1, the problem with some tech enthusiast it's they think how they use their device and what kind of cables or chargers they use are the standard. They don't understand thant among 1 000 peoples, only 10 know what a Type C or USB C is, even peoples who know what a Type C is, for them is for CHARGING ONLY. So who cares, we are arguing about not the Surface Pro, but a Port, a Cable or a Charger, it's crazy, so nowadays you buy a device because it has the port or the cable you want.  Woaaaaaa, i'm amaze...
  • Whats confusing is the lack of a # 5. A dongle for USB C will be FINE with me, I want faster transfer rates to the Surface Pro FIVE.
  • Actually, i think the Surface Connect to USB-C adapter is the perfect solution.  Everyone get's their USB-C charging functionality and still retains the breakaway magnetic (snagless) connection.
  • As soon as Panos showed it to me I chuckled and said "OK, that'll shut up like 90 percent of the pro USB-C crowed". Doing data and power is a big deal. It's not TB3, but it's something.
  • No usb-c, no surface for me
  • I prefer the route they are going. They can add USB-c functionality through the connect port and not mess with peripheral comatability.
  • The USB-C / Thunderbolt dock market is a bit of a mess. For example, take the new HP Spectre x360. As far as I know, there is no USB-C dock that supports the both the fast charging and Thunderbolt 3 features of the 2017 Spectre x360 models, which by the way, are excellent laptops. Thus, to drive one or two external desktop monitors and charge your new Spectre, you will need to use both of its USB-C ports, one for the charger that comes with the Spectre, and the other for a USB-C/Thunderbolt dock. Also, from a convenience point of view, I prefer the magnetic Surface connector to USB-C. So for now, I have no problems with Microsoft's decision to stick with the Surface connector solution over USB-C, especially if MS upgrades the Surface dock to include a USB-C port and give it the ability to drive two 4k, 60 Hz monitors directly via its two mini displayports.
  • I'm happy they retained the magnetic connector for charging. It saved the life of the Surface's of my daughters more than once, disconnecting when someone stumbled over the cable..... An option would have been to put in an USB-C _in addition_ to the Surface Connector. Sometime it could be cool to charge the Surface with an accu pack.
  • Someone correct me if i'm wrong but i think only one port can be configured to charge.
  • Good reasoning.
  • I am with MS on their decision.
    USB-C is less popular so let's people who need it use a dongle, not the other way round. I am against the dongle life.
    People are still buying MBP2015 like crazy because they do not need dongle life.
    This way, MS has just made it possible for SP4, SL owners to make their device compatible with type C if needed > just buy a dongle. A Win-Win for me.
    When it is more standardised, then implementation will be seamless. By that time, people who use USB-A will need a dongle, and that's fine for me.
    Also, with this decision, MS will please their enterprise customers when they want to upgrade their device and not having to buy the whole new set of accessories.
  • I was pretty vocal about this issue with the Surface Laptop, especially since they talked about it being a four year device. That said I'm not offened by the adapter idea. At all. In all honesty I'd rather have that than a C to A adapter. I could pack it away and forget it until I needed it for a device or an emergency power connection when my AC adaptor dies (although the new ones are WAY more durable than what shipped with SP1-SP3...) This is a much better answer than was given with the Surface Laptop launch.
  • My decision to go with HP Spectre X-360 instead of Surface is looking better every single day.
  • This is why Apple crushes Microsoft.  When they went to the new Lightning connector, they went whole-hog.  They committed.  They made it work.  They said to people, "Hey, this is the future, you're going to have to get on board."  People whined at first, but that's over.  The lightning connector is actually much nicer than USB Type C.  But USB Type C will never happen because Microsoft won't commit to it.
  • I seriously doubt USB-C will fail because Microsoft has not implemented.  All other OEM's have already adopted this.  I have no doubt that Microsoft will implement USB-C, but only later on when it has matured.
  • On a wider note, commenters here were breathlessly expecting something 'new', as they couldn't believe Microsoft would have a special Shanghai event, just for a Surface iterative update. Which it was, along with a newer pen and Windows 10 Chinese government edition. Aaaaand scene.
  • I really don't mind... It's not at all a deal-breaker for me... I might buy the converter though - if it is fixed and not top big, that is... 
  • I thought it would have something to do with Apple and Intel controlling Thunderbolt with an iron fist.
  • Nope, and here's why:   1. First there's this: "What consumers do not do is lose their Surface Connect A/C Charger. After all, they only have one." No, we still lose them (I have). And when we do lose them (or break them, or our toddlers throw them into the dog's water bowl, or perhaps we just want an extra one), we MUST BUY THEM FROM MICROSOFT at whatever prices Microsoft sees fit to charge. This is my number one argument for Type C, and why I won't buy another computer that doesn't charge via Type C. I'm old enough to remember when nearly everything used a proprietary port, and the maufacturers all made arguments very similar to what we see in this article. This is why the original USB spec was deveIoped, and I don't want to go back to the old ways.    2. Microsoft think we're too stupid to figure out proper type C charging specs, but Google and Apple don't. Type C is now the defualt on most new Chromebooks, Macbooks, and Android phones (~cough~IPHONE!~cough~), and they don't seem to be having any problem selling them.   3. Type C enables portable external battery packs. This is huge for travelers. I can now get a fairly cheap power brick the size of a paperback book that will charge my phone, tablet, and my Not-a-Surface PC. This frees me from having to hunt down a crappy wall outlet at an airport, hotel lobby, or back seat of a car. It also lets me charge a device while its sitting in a bag not being used. The Surface is a wonderfully portable and versatile device, but when I run out of juice I STILL HAVE TO ATTACH IT TO THE BUILDING. This just seems primitive.   In conclusion, No Type C = No buy (for all the things).  
  • re-read the article. if it means that much to you, you will be able to buy the adaptor... and charge your surface pro with USB type c.
  • Buy a likely-pricey adapter, just to charge. That's exactly what Microsoft wants.
  • How about we wait to see what the price is first?  Regardless, i'll be buying one to use with my SP4.
  • By all means, don't buy a Microsoft device then. There are enough other good devices with W10 around to satisfy different wishes. It's not like Apple, where there is only Apple...
  • does this mean I'll get to use my display dock as a one cable docking station for my surface book with this adapter?
  • Mhhh... The article has a point but Windows can warn the user if the charger is not the right one, like every USB-C phone does. In a first step they could change the mini dp to usb c. Actually in my office most people don't know what a mini dp is. They always asked me what the small port at my Surface is because it is not so comment where i live.
    The company I am working in, they exchanging the laptops (HP) to newer models and HP includes the usb c port. In the beginning I had to explain to coworkers what this port is but they love this port now because it easy to use and now they know what it is. And by the way, most of them are older users (50+) and not so familiar with newest tech but see Microsoft, they were able to learn what it is, how to use it and they like it. I found it a bit weird that a big IT company is "afraid" to introduce new tech. People can learn and adapt!!!
  • > People can learn and adapt!!! Microsoft doesn't think so. We're all cavemen still to them.
  • While this "reason" makes sense, its still not a good excuse. It's the same thing as saying since consumers are dumb we can't release new technology for ports cause they will get confused. Microsoft: Consumers can't learn if you don't implement it. That's why you providr both usb-a and usb-c for both options to reduce confusion during the transition. So I don't but this as a legit reason.
  • I am on Microsoft's side this time. Power cables need to be related (not exact but at least close) to the power they are supplying. If you are posting here then you probably know to look at the converter but most don't.  On the safety side -- I love the magnetic release on the tablet. I charge my phone on my nightstand but my tablet has to be charged at coffee shops, sitting at trainstops, on trains, in the classroom (often attached to an extension cord to reach the power from my desk) etc. --- All places where lots of people are walking around. This easy release power cord has already saved my tablet once and I have seen several other laptops (which are far heavier and more stable than my tablet) hit the floor or saved only by quick responses of the owners.
  • Understanbale! But Now the hardwares are announced. Will there be any Microsoft event in October?
    From book to studio, October is what I wait for the whole year. What will be next???
  • If changing the mini-dp to C will allow the running of more powerful monitors then I am all for that. Please keep the SurfaceConnect power port for the sake of keeping my dock.
  • How many people and companies have displays that use USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, not many I would guess and most would need an adapter from Mini-DP anyway.
  • Hogwash. These are not "explanations" but excuses. Micro-USB charging on the Surface 3 was a kludge to begin with because even their adpater was a SLOW method of charging - if you wanted any reasonable charging time you need the S3 dock. PERIOD. And now we get an adapter to their proprietary port in order to get USB-C? That's even WORSE than Apple's adapters from USB-C to current standard ports - at least Apple begins with a port standard (USB-C with Thunderbolt 3 support). With each iteration Microsoft drifts further and further into the Apple-sphere of higher prices, more (necessary accesories) and incremental feature addition - sort of their BMW to Apple's Mercedes. The BIGGEST complaint against the Surface line, from DAY ONE, was charging extra for the absolutely essential keyboard, so what does Apple - oops, fruedian slip there - Microsoft do - it doubles down and eliminates the pen from the box, then charges an identical $99 for it (ala the Apple Pencil)...
  • Was there any mention about the surface pro dock? I know the SP4 and SP3 used the same dock. Will the surface pro be able to slide into my existing SP3 dock if I upgrade? Or will I have to buy the brick dock that connects to the surface connect port?
  • Wait, so can we use the Surface Connect/Type-C converter to connect an external GPU to the Surface Pro?
  • I doubt it will.  My guess is only thumb drives, charging and monitors.
  • No. The converter will not support Thunderbolt 3, so there wouldn't be enough bandwidth to support an external GPU. 
  • TB3 is also lacking in bandwitch for proper gaming. TB3 is rather for static images or low Hz movies. For eGPU gaming over USB Type-C, really we have to wait for TB4/USB Type-C Gen3.
  • If that is true, how is Razr doing it across TB3 in a USB-C port?
  • Do some research on the Razer's implementation.  There's been talk about a 5-10% performance loss compared to a video card directly connected to the motherboard.
  • Yeah, but that's hardly a dealbreaker, is it? As far as I can tell, all the reviewers remark how great it is to actually be able to have 1 machine that's thin and light, and does intense gaming. Of course it's imperfect. Whenever people are building ultra small form factor devices, there's millions of compromises to be dealt with. It still beats any Nvidia GTX 9XXm solution built into a laptop though.
  • The surface 3 had problems charging with a phone charger? It's Atom based and my Asus charges just fine unless I'm dumb enough to use a 4 year old 1.0A charger.
  • Thanks for the article.
  • Well, I am not sure about all the fuss here. The only time I plug anything in my SP3 is when I dock it to my monitors or charge it. On very rare occasions, someone hands me data on a USB stick and then it is USB A. my data lives in the cloud, my accessories are wireless, I really don't get the whole port discussion.
  • USB-c is too complicated?! PPL use wrong charger and complain? MS made yet another very lazy and complacent decision.  Just make Windows/Surface say a clear message whenever a wrong charger is being used = issue solved. And if MS feels that time is not right for thunderbolt, then I feel time is not right for spending my money, period.  
  • If you want to fix confusion between cables capacities... They need to define a color code.... Just a dot on the plugs and next to the port.... Problem solved... This stuff people will learn fast
  • Recently in 2017 I've seen that in hardware forum posts, people are talking more about I/O ports than the hardware device itself. I'm not against that, but since then are I/O ports so important for tech enthusiasts. I'm still living with HDMI, USB 3.0 on my laptops and micro USB on my smartphones and I'm not going to upgrade my hardware anytime soon just because new I/O ports are out there.
  • Well, that's no surprise here, right? I mean, this story is about the ports.
  • Just curious - how is it all the positive/MS defending posts are being voted up, and negative comments voted down, oh wait, forgot where I was...
  • They could have done usb 3.1 gen 2 type A instead of 3.0 type A. Give people the 10 Gbps speed with the familiar type A connection.
  • Yeah, I am disappointed, but for no reason other than it could have helped future proof the device a little more. Some people look for this.  Panos is right though, I can definitely see how the port would get confused.  I'm not sure it really is an issue with just a little bit of education. But I can see how this could create a nightmare support issue.  If I often forget which adaptors I have and their varying outputs, I can see how expecting any USB-C charger to charge a Surface could be a problem for a careless user.   I just feel they could have included the Surface power connector and not use USB-C for charging.  People can be trained.  Not a deal-breaker. Just a very interesting omission for a very specific reason.
  • I don't think this is a big deal yet.
  • "...your average Joe is befuddled at trying to figure out A/C output for a micro USB wall charger."
    Wall chargers take AC input and convert it to DC output, therefore this should read the DC output of a micro USB wall charger.
  • Finally!!! A Surface Connect dongle! I've been confused from the beginning on why they don't leverage the data prowess of that connector on my Surface Book. It essentially has the throughput of Thunderbolt, being that the Surface Dock and the keyboard GPU run through it. It semed a no-brainer to simply make some clver dongles for it. A USB-C to Surface Connect will be great! Not sure if they can do the 40gbps since Skylake processors don't have native capabilities for Thunderbolt (though the Surface Book and Pro4 can cram a lot of data though to the dock). Kabylake does though. If it's faster than it's standard USB-3 port I'll be grabbing one pronto! 
  • I doubt very much it'll have the perf. of full-blown/properly-implimented, latest-spec TB, but as you say; if it's better than USB3, I'll be getting it!
  • Doesn't have a CD drive included? Deal beaker. 
  • Thanks for setting up the interview with Mr. Panay. For an issue that is this contentious (at least, as contentious as it is here), asking  Mr. Panay himself seems to be the best way to address it. Let Microsoft speak for themselves. Any explanation you might have offered, no matter how logical, or how well argued, would have been shot down by the nay-sayers. 
  • We are now firmly in the realm of "Too much bullshit". Really. Even considering all the thing Panos said, the Surface is a manifesto-product and should INNOVATE and SOLVE the problem in an intelligent way, not stay back and do nothing. Even more back than other competitors. Really. I think Microsoft should be more respectful of the intelligence of its audience. I do not buy anything Panos said in this interview. This is something that makes me really sad, sad and angry. I invested economically and emotionally a lot into the Microsoft ecosystem to be treated like a fool in this way.
  • Bullshit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Thanks for the article Dan. I was gonna ask you or any of the windows central editors if you could, write more indebptly on USB-C. Particularly its different types and uses, its prospects and limitations, its developement stage in standards of the cables, and the risks, if any of the port.  I personally feel, since Apples adoption of the single port of USB-C on its Macbook, and the particular release of the Macbook pro refreshes there became a sudden rush to this port. I know Microsoft adopted this port first even, with the surdace pro 3 and with the Lumia 950. And I love the the USB type C on my 950, I just dont get the urge for "future proofing" anything that isnt mainstream. I remember the old wars of HD-DVD and Bluray DVD, even though its not the same, but no one should rush to an unstandardised tech or stand the risk of "future exticting" oneslef. I am fine with the current state of ports and would love to see more adoption of type C port though i know it will take its sweet time. So I'd love to see a review of USB-C so I may understand if all this Type-C is really an Apple hype, or if it really has full future proofing and user demand.
  • Surface Pro 3 does not have USB C.
  • Tech is always changing. There is no such thing as future proofing in tech. The next best thing is always a quarter or two away. Get the best tool you can afford to get the job done you need for today. USB and wifi, bt standards are changing almost as fast as the weather. You can't keep up. If you need USB C, don't get this device. Or wait and see if the new dongle can serve your needs.
  • I'm sorry but I don't get why some people are saying mini display port isn't compatible with stuff, how hard is it to look up a mini display port to hdmi/dvi adapter? Some people even said it doesn't do sound lol. You people clearly have no idea what your on about. Display ports do the same thing as HDMI ports including sound. The fact that quite a few people saying this are the ones complaining doesn't make me want to give you any sympathy because of how ignorant you are and seem to be complaining about something so pointless as well as not being true. The only thing people use usb-c for is charging there just isn't even many devices using it as people think that makes it justfied.
  • Does the SP3 Dock works with New SP? They could add Thunderbolt port on the dock
  • Gonna pass on this. Expensive and no USB-C. Gonna wait till there's a good 2in1 with all USB-C/Thunderbolt. At least 2 + a dedicated charging port, hopefully USB-C also, so that I can use it as a 3rd USB-C
  • One thing that my surface 3 does really well is, I bought a xiaomi power brick, 20,000mah and it makes it really easy to keep the surface fully charged all the time. I've almost doubled my portable battery life onl by carrying the power brick around. This becomes somewhat more difficult with the surface pros. However, it is annoyingly true that phone chargers just won't charge the surface, however, even the supplied charger doesn't do a really great job either. At least with Type C, you'd be able to get fast charge.
  • Still think they should have done a USB 3.1 type A, and a type C gen 2 port. :/
  • I consider myself tech savy but I was far from clear about how all the different ports worked and what their benefits were until reading this article. How would Joe Average have any hope.
    I think MS are on the right track here, clearly the standards are a complete mess and the user experience for the majority could easily be ruined.
    IMO, the dongle sounds like the best and easiest solution for the most amount of people.
    Makes a lot of sense, the problem lies with the awfully muddied USB standards.
  • The root cause of no usb-c is a clash between Microsoft and Intel. Now to be fair, why is a usb-c needed? I have a Lumia 950xl. I needed another cable and charger. The new cable costed me 15€, the charger was not available.... That was the reality of usb-c and still in many shops today... So, am I angry or upset of the decision of Microsoft? No. I am happy they have common sense...  
  • A little off topic, but why not make the current USB-A port leverage the USB 3.1 protocol (which is what USB-C uses)?  As it stands the USB-A port only uses USB 3.0, which is half the speed (5GB vs 10GB).  I believe it would still be fully compatible with all USB-A connections.
  • What happens when the supplied charger breaks. I bought a Surface RT with magnetic charger and I'm on my third.
  • Real reason: MS has become arrogant (copying Apple here) and does not really consider what the people out there think. If buyers of your products get confused about ports, it is your responsibility to design and communicate better. They will eventually leave you... Anybody remember Compaq? IBM?
  • I am also not against Ms "C". But it seems to be over-rated, literally too: increases the price of the product! Please do not differentiate between "consumer" and what you called "prosumer", especially, with regard to Ms "C".
  • i sort of like the idea, of a seperat charging port, but  it would have been nice to add the type c port.  i never use the mini display port, but i guess that there are many that do...i think i will see what they come up with next. like a super surface book.  i am still ok with what i have, so i am not in desperate need.  
  • Microsoft sounds WAY too much like Apple here defending its decisions. So, Microsoft's customers aren't smart enough to figure out which charger to use? Seriously? And USB Type-C is more than just the plug. There are performance improvements which I'm guessing the USB 3.0 Surface Connect dongle isn't going to help out with.
  • As a surface 3 owner, unfortunately what went wrong is that they didn't really advertise the fact that phone chargers wouldn't actually charge the device. Micro USB charging was being touted as a feature to charge it with any sort of charger, but it wasn't strictly true. Additionally, with the supplied charger, it was really slow, but that's because of limitations to the micro usb spec. The bottom line is, it's better than nothing. With the proprietary charger, you have a different situation where you're forced to carry the charger. With the micro usb, I bought a power brick, making sure that it's sufficient to charge the surface, and I generally don't carry the charger with me, just use the power brick.
  • MS is not like Apple. Windows pc is made by many vendors. You have a choice. Go buy what you like. SP is not the only premium 2-1 anymore.
  • And I'll note: HP's machines with USB Type-C charging capability just pop up a notice if you're using the wrong USB Type-C charger. It's really not something that's insurmountable. I don't get it.
  • Assuming the machine is on. What if it is already drained?
  • I love my fast-charging USB-C port on my Android phone, but I don't have a single use for it on my Surface (I have a SP3, and use USB-A audio/midi interfaces). The thing I most wanted to see in the new Surface was better battery life without compromising the extreme light weight. I'm waiting to see independent evaluations of the battery life, and I'm also waiting to see what a Kaby Lake Surface Book looks like this fall. But this refresh of the Surface Pro looks really good to me.
  • Microsoft is right on this one. I thought I would like a standard USB charging port for Surface 3, but ended up hating it. Surface 3 USB charging is a bad design compared to the proprietary surface 1, 2, 4, S, Pro designs. Micro USB ports are too small and wear out. They stick straight out of the device like a weird frankenstein cord. Surface 1 and 2 had proprietary power port. It is WAY BETTER than any micro usb port. Because: - It is flush/flat against your device, cords do not stick out - It is magnetic, and self-attaches - It is reversable, can go up or down. - It is triangle shaped, for easy gripping and easy identification of the computer side - Surface 1 & 2 power are exchangable. Owning both meant I have backups (even though in 6 years, I never lost one.) Only the me-too, cool-kid mentality seems to drive usb-c. It's not that useful to consumers. USB sure does make your surface look weird, with a cord sticking out of the side when the rest of the device is elegant.  
  • The world of home users are not yet prepared and so little connected to lose this feature.
    It may be that in 1 decade, when cloud stores are more accessible (and I think this is the intention of Microsoft), then they can think of taking this feature.
  • So you're saying we can't have the prioprietary power port AND USB-C? You don't think it would be useful to be able to connect a display using Thunderbolt 3 port? You don't think it would be handy to be able to use one cord that could be used to connect a phone, or peripheral, or connect to a display without carrying a bundle of cords with you or having to buy more cords? The only reason why I think USB-C isn't quite ready is because its implementation doesn't seem standardized yet.
  • You are talking about a supposed PRO device.  People expect, and rightly so, that it will support the best of the technology currently on the market.  This means one or more USB-C ports that support Thunderbolt 3.  Considering the price of the Surface Pro and the fact that that price does not include the type cover or the surface pen, it's beyond comprehension why they did not at least include one or more USB-C / TB3 ports. I need to replace my Surface Pro 3, but I will not replace it with the new Surface Pro because of these things.
  • I have an Acer and a phone with USB-C and yes... Not for the average user right now. Took months and forum asks to find a battery which supports usb-c at 20v. Same with a charger. Usb-c to HDMI... trial and error plus cost and finding an adaptor. Maybe you get 1080 maybe 720. Hubs... Maybe the pass through charging works... Maybe you fry your devices.  That said... I dont see a $1000 surface as an end user device. Microsoft can sell usb-c power, hubs, and HDMI adaptors next to the devices... Same as the Microsoft hub, pen, keyboard.  
  • it is sad to hear, microsoft prefer to blame customers for not able to differentiate between phone charger and notebook charger.
    rather than admitting , microsoft hardware engineer no longer innovative, complacent thinking they are on the top of the world. Do you know how hard it is to buy surface pro charger in the market? if surface pro use USB C , and for some reason i lost the charger, i can just walk in to apple store and buy the new Macbook pro charger and use it to charge Surface Pro, or i can just buy HP or Dell charger which already start to use USB C connector. If i travel to Europe and i lost my charger, nobody can help me since microsoft is using a proprietary charger.
    Seriously how much monies can microsoft made by selling proprietary charger.
  • Surface chargers are very easy to find in Europe. You can buy one at  MediaMarktSaturn stores. And if that isn't enough, just buy the dongle to charge via USB-C
  • Would a 950xl charger plus this dongle be able to charge the surface pro at all?  Even if overnight?
  • No. USB-C supports a variety of voltage and power levels. 950xl (and most cell phones) use 5V at 500ma, 1A, or 2A -- 2A being quick charging. A laptop like the Surface uses 12V, 19V, or 20V at several amps. USB-C supports any of these up to 100W. Now... you could get a USB-C wall charger (or battery) which accepts higher voltages -- typically they have smart-chips which will detect and supply power at the neccessary voltage. You'd need something akin to (https://www.amazon.com/Innergie-USB-C-PowerGear-45-Intelligent/dp/B0188PAD00). There are also a few battery packs which support USB-C at various voltages. It would technically be possible to feed a 5V charger into the battery and then feed the battery into the USB-C laptop. The battery would discharge faster than the 5V charger could recharge it, but it would work. Of course... if you have a USB-C laptop supporting charging (I have an Acer Switch 12), you just get an more powerful wall charger (like the above) and use it. Same USB-C would work with the 950xl (I have one) and would auto-detect that it only uses 5V and only give it that much.
  • **** you Windows and your apologists. Why don't I buy iPad pro instead which is a lot cheaper and has better user experience when you don't even have a usb type c port? When you want to be greedy and hook up on that cheap accessory market, just say it. The reason people buy non-Apple products is that freedom. Nobody wants another Apple and sure as hell Surface Pro won't be the new iPad Pro.