ThinkPad USB 3.0 Dock makes for an awesome unofficial Surface Pro docking stationWritten by Ron on April 13, 2013 - 05:35AM @ronwinbeta
With limited on-board ports and connections, a small screen, and limited battery life, Microsoft's Surface Pro is pretty much begging to be plugged into a docking station of some sort. Unfortunately, Microsoft has not created or released a docking station for the device. But there is one great device that will solve this problem for you. Check out the Lenovo ThinkPad USB 3.0 Dock. This dock was designed for Lenovo ThinkPad devices, but also works flawlessly with the Surface Pro. It offers three USB 3.0 ports on the rear of the device, two USB 3.0 ports on the front of the device, two DVI ports, one Gigabit network port, and one Audio connector. "The ThinkPad USB 3.0 Dock provides a quick and easy connection to all the workspace peripherals you use every day. Simply plug in a single USB 3.0 cable into your Lenovo PC for instant access to up to two external monitors, Gigabit Ethernet, headphones/speakers, USB printers and scanners, keyboard, mouse, and up to 5 Gbit/s access to external storage (over 10 times faster than USB 2.0)," the product description reads.
However, the most important feature is the ability to charge your Surface Pro via USB. "The USB 3.0 connector with battery charging function enables you to charge USB devices even when the computer is in sleep or hibernation mode, or the dock is disconnected from the computer," the docking station's description reads. "Most of the mobile devices can be charged by the USB 3.0 connector with battery charging function, but some devices with special configuration might not be charged. The charging time varies depending on the device configuration and the environment," the description adds further.
This docking station is pretty neat as it allows you to have a mouse and keyboard connected to the Surface Pro, as well as have a large monitor plugged into the device. Just make sure you snag the latest Lenovo USB 3.0 dock driver.
It runs for about $179.99 on Lenovo's website, but we are sure you can find a better deal elsewhere. You can check out the product guide here. While it would be nice for Microsoft to offer an official docking solution for the Surface, this unofficial solution will have to do for now. Have you tried out this docking solution or do you recommend another product?
Update: Sorry guys, looks like the Surface Pro cannot be charged via this Dock. It should, but it doesn't. Thanks Microsoft!!