Surface Pro docks and docking stations
The best Surface Pro 8 docks and docking stations can turn your Windows 2-in-1 into the centerpiece of a potent workstation. The Surface Pro 8 now features Thunderbolt 4, opening it up to the best TB4 docks on the market, including the CalDigit TS4. If you’re using an older Surface Pro, you can still get some great docks that add plenty of ports. We’ve rounded up the best of the best right here for all Surface Pro models.
Best dock for Pro 8: CalDigit TS4
Source: Windows Central
The Surface Pro 8 finally added Thunderbolt 4 ports, opening the Surface line up to a bunch of new docks. As it stands now, the best docking station for the Surface Pro 8 is the CalDigit TS4. It has a wide range of ports, it charges your Pro 8 while you work, and it’s built to last.
In my CalDigit TS4 review, I noted that the TS4’s 18 total ports offer the best connectivity of any dock currently on the market. It comes packed with three Thunderbolt 4 ports (one for the host), three USB-C (10Gbps), five USB-A (10Gbps), DisplayPort 1.4, 2.5 GbE, 3.5mm combo in/out, 3.5mm out, 3.5mm in, and UHS-II SD and microSD card readers that can be used simultaneously.
The ribbed aluminum chassis dispels heat, is durable, and can be used horizontally or vertically with included non-slip rubber feet. The dock can power a single 8K display at a 60Hz refresh rate, or dual 4K displays each at 60Hz. When the dock is attached to your PC, it offers up to 98W of charging power to keep your battery topped up. This dock is expensive and can be hard to find due to its popularity, but it’s the best Thunderbolt 4 dock on the market and will set you up nicely for the future.
- Most ports available in a TB4 dock
- Lock slot for added security
- DisplayPort 1.4 included
- UHS-II SD and microSD card readers
- Up to 98W charging
- One fewer TB4 port to make room for DP 1.4
- Spotty availability due to popularity
Best dock for Pro 8
Thanks to the Pro 8’s Thunderbolt 4 ports, you can add the best TB4 dock in terms of port selection and power delivery.
Made for Surface: Kensington SD5750T
Source: Windows Central
The Kensington SD5700T is another quality Thunderbolt 4 dock that I recently reviewed. Its sibling — the Kensington SD5750T — is essentially the same dock, but it’s certified to work with Surface products. If you have a Pro 8 with Thunderbolt 4 and can’t buy our top pick, this should also be a good companion.
The dock offers three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports, Ethernet, three USB-A (10Gbps), one USB-A 2.0, 3.5mm audio, and a UHS-II SD card reader. That’s one extra TB4 port, but it takes the spot of DisplayPort. As for charging, the dock can deliver up to 90W of power back to the host Pro 8. Display support includes dual 4K at a 60Hz refresh rate.
The aluminum shell gives way to plastic faceplates, and the dock works in a horizontal orientation. The build quality isn’t quite as high as our top pick due to the plastic, but it’s still a quality dock. It comes with a three-year warranty, and you can buy separate mounting accessories to get it off your desk.
- Certified to work with Surface products
- Sturdy aluminum shell
- Mounting accessories available
- 11 total ports (with host)
- Up to 90W charging
- No DP or HDMI
- Plastic faceplate
Made for Surface
The Kensington SD5750T is a Thunderbolt 4 dock certified to work optimally with Surface products that have a TB4 port.
Best dock for older Pros: Kensington SD7000
The Kensington SD7000 is undoubtedly the coolest dock on this list, but it only works with older Surface Pros (4, 5, 6, and 7). In his Kensington SD7000 review, Executive Editor Daniel Rubino says the dock is so good he wonders why Microsoft didn’t think of it first. It’s unique design essentially allows you to insert your Surface Pro and turn it into a mini Surface Studio.
While it’s a docking station first — complete with USB-C, four USB-A, Ethernet, DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, and a 3.5mm audio jack — the hinge design lets you pull the screen down and forward for easy inking or a different viewing angle. Add a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and you essentially have a desktop PC.
This dock is expensive and does have some blind spots (like no SD card reader or front-facing ports), but it’s pretty much the ideal accessory for Surface enthusiasts who like a bit of experimentation.
- Excellent build quality
- Articulating hinge for different modes
- Plenty of ports
- Perfectly matches Surface line
- Very expensive
- No SD card slot
- No front-facing ports
Best dock for older Pros
Want to turn your Surface Pro 4, 5, 6, or 7 into a mini Surface Studio? You need the Kensington SD7000.
Surface-branded docking: Surface Dock 2
The Surface Dock 2 doesn’t hold up well to many of the overall best docking stations on the market, but it has one trick that Surface Pro owners might want to check out. It connects via the Surface Connect port on your PC, leaving the other ports open. If you have an older Pro without USB-C, this might be your saving grace.
The Surface Dock 2 has four total USB-C ports (two in the front and two in the back), two USB-A 3.2, Gigabit Ethernet, 3.5mm audio, and a lock slot for a bit of extra security. The dock’s black finish looks good on a desk, and it’s used horizontally. If you have a newer Pro this dock isn’t really recommended, but it is a great pick for older hardware.
- Hook up with Surface Connect
- Great for older Pro models without USB-C
- Decent port selection
- Up to 120W charging
- Dual 4K@60Hz display support
- Outpaced by newer docks for USB-C and TB4
Surface Dock 2
If you’d like to make use of your Pro’s Surface Connect port, the Surface Dock 2 is your best option.
Best compact dock: CalDigit Element Hub
Source: Windows Central
If you’re looking for a hub that doesn’t take up much space on your desk, the CalDigit Element Hub is a top pick. When I reviewed it I found it to be a more affordable way (at least compared to high-end TB4 docks) to expand Thunderbolt 4 and USB-A connectivity.
The Element Hub has three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports as well as four USB-A 3.2 (Gen 2) ports with 10Gbps transfer speeds. If you’re working with modern accessories, that might be all the ports you need. You still get dual 4K display support with up to a 60Hz refresh rate, and there’s up to 60W charging power to the Pro 8. The dock is very small and might look good for traveling, but note that you will have to lug around the sizable AC adapter.
- Adds four USB-A 3.2 (Gen 2)
- Adds three Thunderbolt 4
- Durable aluminum design
- More affordable price
- Compact size
- No Ethernet
- No SD card readers
- Comes with a large AC adapter
Best compact dock
CalDigit Element Hub
Need something compact to go along with your Surface Pro 8? The Element Hub adds three downstream Thunderbolt 4 and four USB-A 3.2 (Gen 2) ports.
The best Surface Pro 8 docks and docking stations have now moved on to Thunderbolt 4 connectivity. For the latest device, I recommend checking out the CalDigit TS4. It has the most ports, the most charging power, and the best design. The Kensington SD5750T, certified to work with Surface products, is a great alternative if you can’t get your hands on our top pick.
For older Surface Pro models, the Surface Dock 2 or the Kensington SD7000 are both great picks. And if you’d like a hub that adds USB-A, Thunderbolt 4, and not much else, the CalDigit Element Hub is a more affordable alternative to the big docks in this roundup.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, accessory coverage, and the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
Daniel Rubino is the executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMEExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @Daniel_Rubino.
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