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Opinion | It's time for Microsoft to drop the Surface Connect port

It's time for Microsoft to drop the Surface Connect port
It's time for Microsoft to drop the Surface Connect port
There is no need for a Surface Connect port now that Thunderbolt 3 is becoming ubiquitous amongst mid-range to high-end laptops and tablets. There is nothing that Microsoft can't do with the more universal Thunderbolt 3 port that they are already doing with the expensive proprietary Surface Connect port.
Allen Ngo,

Microsoft introduced the current Surface Connect port back in 2014 with the launch of the Surface Pro 3. The proprietary solution would allow for power, adapters, and docking solutions all via a single port instead of requiring individual specialized ports. The move made sense at the time especially for a tablet form factor where port options can be a luxury. Similar multi-functional docking ports on business laptops like the E-Port on Dell Latitude systems or the Lenovo Side Dock were also prevalent during this time.

Fast-forward to 2020 and we can begin to see why these proprietary ports are slowly becoming nonessential. The advent and proliferation of USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 can accomplish everything the Surface Connect or Dell E-Port can do in a smaller and more universal manner that consumers can appreciate. Buying a Surface Connect docking station that can only work on Surface products is far less useful than a USB Type-C or Thunderbolt-based docking station that can work across various OEMs. It's already possible to charge, dock, and daisy chain external monitors on most newer Ultrabooks via Thunderbolt 3 and there's no reason why the Surface Pro series can't do the same. Dropping the Surface Connect port to make room for something more useful like additional USB ports, SIM slot, or an SD card reader would be a boon to the Surface Pro series.

Unfortunately, it's likely that Microsoft will want to hold onto its proprietary Surface Connect port for as long as possible to squeeze out as much money as they can from the overpriced Surface Dock and $80 Surface Connect to USB Type-C adapter. They may also want to keep the port alive for the sake of legacy support, but we're willing to bet that most users would be eager to switch to exclusively USB Type-C where cables and docks are just a fraction of the price.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 on sale now at Amazon

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 12 > It's time for Microsoft to drop the Surface Connect port
Allen Ngo, 2019-12-20 (Update: 2019-12-22)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.