Microsoft’s Surface range of products are, by and large, all excellent pieces of hardware but their slim design suffers from the same issues plaguing Apple’s MacBook Air and other ultrabook lineups. There just aren’t enough ports. Enter the new Surface Thunderbolt 4 Dock, which ramps up connection options with nine new ports.
It’ll do so at a price, however. The newly-announced Microsoft accessory will turn up in the American market, (makes sense) with prices starting at $300 (R5,350 — which only sorta makes sense). The big change? It’s designed for Microsoft (or any) computer hardware that supports Thunderbolt 4/USB-C.
The Thunderbolt 4 Dock connects to its target computer via USB-C. It supports high data and power transfer rates — Microsoft says that users can connect two 4K monitors at up to 60Hz, transfer data at 40Gbps, and charge the main device at up to 96W. There’s a slight caveat there — if you’re charging something else via one of the many (many) ports, those top out at 15W.
Up front — and you’ll know it’s the front because of the little Windows logo — is a USB-C and USB-A port. Around the back, two USB-C, two USB-A, an ethernet, and a 3.5mm jack are present. There’s also a security lock on the side, so nobody swipes your R5,000 dock off your desk (unless they also take the desk).
Do you need one of these? Not if you’re using older Surface hardware but from the Surface Pro 8 onwards, the Thunderbolt standard is supported. The company’s Dock 2 uses an older standard (and is priced about the same as internationally) but if you like everything shiny and new, this sounds like a good option.
And, according to the company, “Windows 11 also ensures that settings are retained when connecting, so even if multiple devices use the same dock, each of them will have the display and connection settings that let them get right to work”. So that’s all right, then.