An Alternative for Surface Pro Docking Stations

I bought my Surface Pro 2 last November – third week after it was released in Australia. I only got it on the third week because I was on holidays in China when it was released and all the resellers ran out of stock when I came back.

I also bought a type cover 2 the same time. I really wanted to get the power cover and the docking station, but they weren’t released back then. I thought I’d get the type cover for now and get the power cover and the docking station when they became available in Australia.

Guess what, I was still waiting when Microsoft announced the Surface 3 release date. I sort of got the idea, they will probably never come to Australia.

For me, a power keyboard is a nice-to-have, but I really want a docking station! Therefore, I have to look elsewhere. I soon found 2 possible alternatives (USB 3 docking stations).

Toshiba Dynadock V.S. Targus USB 3 Dual Video Dock

Toshiba Dynadock U3.0

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Targus USB3.0 SuperSpeed Dual Video Docking Station

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Both of them have similar specs, The local retail price for the Toshiba one is around AUD $160 and Targus is around $180 (currently $1 AUD = $0.94 USD). I’ve decided to go for the Tagus one simply because the Toshiba dock is vertical with a stand, it will be harder to carry around (if I want to). The Targus dock seems to be more portable to me.

So instead of buying it in a retail shop, I managed to find a seller on eBay U.S. who accepts “Best Price”. After bargaining the price back and forth few times, I managed to get a brand new one for $85 USD. with international shipping, in the end, I paid AUD $118, which I’m very happy about the price!

Targus Dock V.S. Surface Dock

Here’s a specs comparison between the Targus dock and the Surface Pro 2 dock:

Targus USB3.0 Dual Video Dock Surface Pro 2 Dock
Video 1xDVI, 1xHDMI 1xMini Display Port
USB Ports 2xUSB3, 4xUSB2 1xUSB3, 3xUSB2
NIC 1xGB NIC 1x 10/100 NIC
Audio 1x 3.5mm speaker, 1×3.5mm mic 1x 3.5mm speaker, 1×3.5mm mic
Power Supply for Surface No Yes
Security Lock Yes No

The Targus dock also comes with a DVI-To-VGA adapter and a HDMI-To-DVI adapter to cater for different monitor connections. Based on the comparison above, the Targus dock is definitely more feature rich. Since I’ve already bought a spare Surface Pro 2 power supply from eBay, I didn’t mind the fact that I can’t power the Surface with this dock.

More Pictures

Here’s the back view:

Targus Back

Using it with my Surface Pro 2:

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Physical size comparing with Surface Pro 2:

20140724_212815

Drivers

I have no problems with drivers, all the drivers got automatically installed when I connected them for the first time.

Cameron Fuller wrote an article on his experience with Surface 2 RT: Using the Surface 2 RT like a Pro-fessional. In Cameron’s article, he listed all the hardware accessories that he has purchased for the RT device. I’m guessing RT devices would always face compatibility issues because of drivers, I haven’t been managed to find an RT device to test this dock with, so I’m not sure if it supports Windows RT.

Replacement for Other Devices

Down here in Australia, I looked up prices for a USB 3 video adapter. it is around $100 AUD (around $94 USD). By getting a docking station like this, it is equivalent of getting:

  • 2x USB 3 video adapter
  • 1x USB 3 or USB 2 hub
  • 1x GB USB NIC

So it is definitely a cheaper option to get the dock instead, not to mention you end up with only one device on your desk.

So now, even if Surface docking station has been made available in Australian market, I’d still stick with this Targus dock, simply because I can connect 2 external monitors.

The only thing I haven’t tried is testing PXE through the NIC port on this dock. If someone has already tried it, please let me know Smile.

2 comments

  1. Thanks for the great write up. I would also really be interested in the PXE option to possibly use at work

  2. Toddo97: For PXE, you could use a “USB to Ethernet” adapter that supports PXE and connect it directly to the Surface (or other tablet/ultrabook).
    Not all “USB to Ethernet” adapters supports PXE so you´ll need to look for it specifically.
    For me, I would not recommend going over a docking station from a different manufacturer than the hardware that I install since it would in most cases require more drivers other than the “USB to Ethernet” adapter.

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