The Surface and Surface Pro 4 devices that shoppers buy in stores receive a lot of attention from users looking for a Windows 2-in-1. That’s exactly what Microsoft wanted. Three years ago the company had barely a presence in the hardware space. It’s made software for users, but stuck to keyboards, mice and dedicated gaming consoles, fearing that a foray into hardware would trample over its partner’s efforts. The tablets receive the most attention because they’re tangible, they are physical embodiment of Microsoft’s efforts. You can’t touch software, but you can touch a slim, performance-driven tablet.
For Surface to be successful Microsoft had to deliver more than just tablets. It also had to deliver on an accessory ecosystem. Sure, the Surface Pro 4, Microsoft’s latest tablet is super-thin and light, but half the appeal of the Surface Pro 4 is the Surface Pro Type Cover.
With the Surface Pro 4 release date early next week Gotta Be Mobile went in search of great accessories that Surface Pro 4 buyers should plan on purchasing or pre-order. Like the Surface Pro 4 Type Cover, these add-ons improve the Surface Pro 4 experience on a grand scale.
Surface Pro 3 Docking Station
Microsoft always shows off the latest in Surface accessories as its revealing each year’s new devices. This year was no different, Microsoft staff couldn’t stop talking about the Surface Dock. This new dock is pretty cool, but the Surface Pro 3 shipped alongside another Surface Dock that — in my opinion — is an actual dock and not a box with cables sticking out of it.
Microsoft calls last year’s accessory the Surface Pro 3 Docking Station. It works like docks should. Place your tablet in the middle and then slide the arms in to lock it in place. The dock has its own power charger and includes three USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet Port, a headphone jack, Mini DisplayPort. With a spacer, the Docking Station for Surface Pro 3 fits the Surface Pro 4 like a glove.
There’s no need to invest in last year’s Surface Pro 3 Type Cover at the same time as you’re ordering last year’s Docking Station. The Surface Pro Type Cover introduced this year is a clear upgrade over what Microsoft offered last year, unlike the Surface Dock.
The Surface Pro 4 Type Cover has smaller keys and a bigger trackpad. It’s thinner that previous covers and has a fair amount of key travel. It still locks into place when used in the lap and automatically turns itself off when folded backwards. Microsoft also says it has upgraded the trackpad to support even more gestures for Windows 10. This time, its trackpad is made of actual glass.
The Surface Pro 4 Type Cover comes in Black, Blue, Cyan, Red and Teal for $129. This is not to be confused with the $159 Surface Pro Type Cover that comes in black and includes a fingerprint reader.
Microsoft mercifully dropped the Surface Pro configuration that only came with 64GB of storage. Surface Pro 4 has a minimum of 128GB of storage now, and Microsoft has kept the option for users to add even more with a MicroSD Card.
Amazon carries an array of SanDisk MicroSD cards. Pick one up and add even more storage to your device. Some cost as little as $12.99.
Say you don’t want a large dock taking up your desktop. Instead of getting a dock, you can buy a decent tablet stand that lets you reposition it without using the kickstand.
The Oenbopo tablet stand has a place for the Surface Pro 4 to rest. Users can adjust its angle without removing the device, plus there’s a hole for running the Surface Pro 4 power supply through the stand for better cable management. The Oenbopo Portable Stand sells on Amazon for $18.99.
At $59.99, the Waterfield Surface Pro 4 Dash Sleeve is sort of like a padded envelope for the Surface Pro 4. It’s made of nylon and has lining to keep the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Pro 4 Type Cover safe. A band stitched to the top of the sleeve keeps everything inside. There’s also a pocket for any needed accessories.
The Zagg Slim Cover for Surface Pro 4 has a pretty disingenuous name. Yes, it covers the device’s display, acting as a barrier between the Gorilla Glass 4 that covers the front of the Surface and anything that might scratch it. Also, it’s a full capable Bluetooth Keyboard that locks into the Surface Pro 4 like a Microsoft-made Type Cover would.
The device can also be paired with other devices like smartphones running Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system. Switching between the two is as simple as a button press. Smartly, Zagg added different brightness settings for the cover’s backlit keys.
Zagg says the Slim Cover for Surface Pro 4 will launch sometime this November.
Every Surface Pro 4 comes with a Surface Pen that can sense 1024 levels of pressure when drawing or taking notes. On stage, Microsoft revealed that these pens also come with interchangeable tips that let users get different thicknesses. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t include the extra tips with the Surface Pro 4 itself. The Microsoft Store sells these tips separately for $10.
A small black box with a Surface Connect cable attached, the new Surface Dock includes 2 MiniDisplay Ports 1 Gigabit Ethernet port, 4 USB ports, 1 headphone port and an included Surface Power Supply. Because it doesn’t have arms, it won’t lock the Surface Pro 4 into place, but it is compatible with the Surface Pro 4, Surface Book and Surface Pro 3. Early reports are that it can drive displays without any strain on the Surface Pro 4’s processor.
The Surface Pro 4 only has a single USB 3.0 port. Previously, you’d have to plug-in a microUSB cable to that port to use Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless controller with the device. No more, the $24.99 Xbox Wireless Adapter lets Surface Pro 4 owners play games on their device without any cables.