Surface Thunderbolt 4 Dock: Microsoft gives up proprietary connector
The days of Microsoft’s proprietary Surface Connect connector are numbered. The manufacturer has presented its first docking station, which uses USB Type C with Thunderbolt 4 or USB4 as the main connection. This means that the new Surface Thunderbolt 4 Dock can also be used with notebooks or tablets other than Microsoft’s Surface devices.
In a way, Surface Connect is to Microsoft what Lightning is to Apple. Although the connector on the Surface devices was convenient thanks to its magnetic mechanism, it limited users. At least: Alternatives can already be used via the Thunderbolt 4 ports of current models such as the Surface Pro 9. New generations like the Surface Pro 10 are likely to appear without Connect.
Lots of connections
The Surface Thunderbolt 4 Dock provides a wealth of connections, including three Thunderbolt 4 or USB4 in the form of Type-C ports. They all emit a display port image signal and charge connected devices with up to 15 watts.
Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 are technically identical, Thunderbolt 4 merely corresponds to an Intel certification with a guaranteed high range of functions. However, since Microsoft also stipulates a PCI Express mode and image output via DisplayPort alternative mode via USB4 for the Windows logo on notebooks, the docking station should work with many devices.
All connections summarized:
- Three times Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 Type C
- Three USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps, formerly called USB 3.0) Type A – with 7.5 watts charging per port
- 2.5Gbps Ethernet
- 3.5mm audio jack
- Kensington lock
What the Surface Thunderbolt 4 Dock lacks are dedicated video outputs. Monitors can only be operated via USB-C via Displayport. There is no HDMI at all, so it only works via the docking station with an active adapter.
The connected main device can supply the Surface Thunderbolt 4 Dock with up to 96 watts, which means that the total power supply of all USB ports is 163.5 watts. For this to work, Microsoft includes a 165-watt external power supply that is connected via a DC connector.
From the Microsoft world, the Surface Thunderbolt 4 Dock runs with the Surface Laptop 5, Laptop Studio, Surface Pro 8 and Pro 9. Microsoft sells the docking station in its own online store for 366 euros. The first dealers have also already started selling.
Adjusted text on connectors to avoid confusion.