Microsoft’s USB-C Dongle Surfaces

Posted on March 27, 2018 by Brad Sams in Hardware with 17 Comments


We knew it was coming, eventually, and now we have the first look at Microsoft’s upcoming USB type C dongle for its Surface family of devices. While we don’t know the release date quite yet, whispers around campus say that it should arrive sooner rather than later.

Spotted by Walking Cat, the image speaks for itself but one thing we don’t know is if it supports Thunderbolt? Considering the Surface Book 2 does not with its type C port, I’d bet that this is just a connector and that’s it.

Which begs the question…why is it so big? The connector to the Surface Connect port looks to be about the same size as the one used for its dock which means this single USB-C port block is quite large.

For those that need the functionality, this will be a welcomed addition but it still goes back to the fact that this port should have been included in the hardware as this is the future of the USB standard.

The other question that should naturally be asked is when will we see a revision to the Surface Pro? While I haven’t heard anything recently, seeing as the LTE version was just released, I can’t imagine a major overhaul anytime soon. We may see a revision of the CPU but I don’t think we will see any major form-factor changes as the Pro line has matured nicely into a mobile computing platform.

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Comments (17)

17 responses to “Microsoft’s USB-C Dongle Surfaces”

  1. wright_is

    You can't just magically add Thunderbolt with a dongle, the originating port has to support Thunderbolt. As there are no TB ports on the Surface, it is a forgone conclusion that TB won't be supported.

  2. North of 49th

    On my Surface Pro, the power brick has a USB type A port (for charging while the Surface is plugged in). Are we sure this is a dongle or is it a replacement power brick with a UPS type C port instead of the type A port?

  3. robincapper

    I think it is just a matter of perspective...

  4. t1618

    Just astonishing. Is USB-C made of unobtainium, or what!!?

    How long exactly do we have to wait before this little start-up company manages to incorporate this technology into its hardware.

    Or perhaps they feel their customers enjoy being 4 ****ING YEARS behind the curve.

  5. William Kempf

    The "brick" on the end looks huge in this picture. But, consider the real world size of the USB-C connector end on the other side to this picture as well. When you do this you realize the "brick" end is about the size of a matchbook. Not large at all.

  6. Winner

    I saw that photo and wondered if it was a monolith that was found on the moon.

  7. Silversee

    It's very unlikely to support Thunderbolt 3 (or even USB 3.1 Gen 2 for that matter) since no current Surface device does. No point in adding something like that the connector if the host hardware can't use it. Unless Microsoft is building it to be forward-compatible for some reason, but that's unlikely too.

    I do think that a lot of people are confusing this with a type of simple USB-A / C adapter. That's not what this is. It's a "smart" adapter that translates the signaling from USB-C docks/chargers/displays (data, video, and power) to/from the Surface Connect interface. It almost certainly contains its own internal chipset and logic to protect the Surface from the random deluge of non-standard crap that people are likely to plug into it.

  8. hrlngrv

    How unkind to refuse to acknowledge MSFT for providing a paperweight.

  9. jimchamplin

    Does it have passthrough for power, or does one have to disconnect the mains to use a USB-C device? If so, that’s pretty lame.

    But then it IS USB-C we’re dealing with here. It’s like it was intended to be a boondoggle.

  10. skane2600

    Kind of a misleading picture. It makes it look like it's the size of desktop CPU unit. And who knew you could send digital data through a garden hose.

  11. Smidgerine

    Would it pass Thunderbolt if the Surface connector had it?

  12. derylmccarty

    The immediate advantage I see to a USB-C form-factor Surface power supply at this juncture is as a second source of power during gaming. As I recall, during the SB2 release some reported that the 1060 in full gamer mode drained the battery even while the SB2 was on the supplied Surface Connect charger. During that discussion some reminded us that the USB-C connection did allow for some power level additive. True? False? Indifferent? Down the road I can see a new Surface Dock that uses the USB-C form factor, with or without TB3 specs (I would hope "with") as well as "updated" Surface Pro, Laptop and Book connections. I don't know about the internal dimensions, but on the surface (pun intended) it would seem USB-C takes up less space than the USB-A or the Surface Connect form factors.

  13. PurpleDisciple

    Highly unlikely to support TB, and it's large because it probably has a PCI-E splitter and USB controller inside

  14. Polycrastinator

    It won't support Thunderbolt: the Surface Connect connector is USB based, can't go from one to the other.

    With that size, it looks like the only use for this will be to allow businesses to buy USB-C docking stations and then attach a dongle to connect to Surface. I guess it lets you future proof, but it's not what I'd expected or hoped for.

  15. MightyGorath

    I'm going to go ahead and assume that tech companies are just trolling us at this point.