Announced over a year ago, Microsoft’s utterly pointless Surface-branded USB-C dongle will reportedly ship this Friday, beginning with business customers. The bulky contraption costs $80. And you do not need it.
Microsoft first announced the dongle in May 2017, joking that it was for people “who love dongles.” The device is simple enough, if overly-large: It features a single USB-C connector in a box connected to a Surface Connector port on a non-detachable cable.
So what’s the point of this thing?
Because the Surface Connector port is used for power on all portable Surface PCs today, this dongle, combined with a USB-C-based power connector or dock could replace the power cable that comes with your PC. For some reason.
One might also use it to connect with USB-C-based peripherals while on the go. In the most awkward manner possible.
Also note that it only works with Surface Pro (2017) and Surface Laptop.
Regardless, you don’t need it. Any USB 3.0 to USB-C adapter would let you connect to those peripherals now at far less cost and with less size and weight. And since the Surface adapter provides only USB-C capabilities, and not Thunderbolt 3, it has no advantages when it comes to docking and expansion. Surface PCs remain limited to what you can do over USB 3.0. (The Surface Connector port is just USB 3.0 with a different, proprietary plug.)
Recent Surface PCs, like Surface Book 2, include both a Surface Connector port and USB-C, which tells us two things: Owners of these PCs especially do not need this dongle. And Microsoft will never drop Surface Connector, for what I assume are backward compatibility reasons. Our only hope for the future is that it adds Thunderbolt 3 capabilities to the USB-C ports on coming Surface PCs.
Tagged with USB-C