The great 2-in-1 Microsoft Surface Pro 3 makes for a nice tablet and laptop replacement, (no matter what one thinks about the recent news that the Surface cost Microsoft almost $2 Billion in losses). So, we wanted to put together our list of 5 Essential Surface Pro 3 Accessories, which will make the Windows 8.1 computer/tablet even more enjoyable for users.
Surface buyers can use the tablet fresh out of the box by itself by loading their favorite apps and software. But like most devices, grabbing a few extras adds to the enjoyment and productivity.
Pen Loop Stylus Holder for the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 – $4.99
Calling the Surface Pro 3 Pen Loop Stylus Holder an “essential accessory” makes me cringe, but thanks to Microsoft’s horrible design choice, the crappy holder is essential.
If a Surface Pro 3 owner chooses not to buy the Surface Pro Type Cover (see below), she won’t get any mechanism for holding the Surface Pro pen with the tablet. We hope some third-party manufacturer will fashion a better option than this little loop, like a case that holds the stylus snugly and securely in place. Until then, this $5 piece of cloth and adhesive unbelievably offers the best option.
Since the Loop only connects to the tablet or Type Cover thanks to some weak adhesive, and because the pen dangles off the tablet, users will certainly snag the stylus on something and rip it off. Let’s hope no one loses their Stylus, since a replacement costs $50.
Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse T630/T631 – $50
While Surface Pro 3 owners won’t want to use the Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse T630 as their primary pointing device due to its size, they will like that this thing takes up almost no space in a bag or pocket. It’s only 6.9 ounces and 1.7 inches thick. It measures 5.4 inches long and 4.1 inches wide. That’s small, which is why it made our list.
The Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse comes in two colors, black for Windows (T630) and White for Mac (T631), but they work interchangeably with both operating systems since color’s the only difference.
The mouse connects via Bluetooth and, thanks to a toggle switch on the bottom, the owner can connect to two computers. Pair it with the Surface Pro 3 and a second machine. Flip the switch to use with the other device.
As an alternative, consider the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition for $69.99 direct from Microsoft. Our own Travis Pope swears by it.
The Arc Touch Mouse will work better for those who prefer something a little larger than the Logitech. A touch strip gives users some touch capability for a scrolling gesture. It flattens to fit in tight spaces. It connects using Bluetooth 4.0.
Despite feeling larger than the Logitech above, this mouse only weighs 2.29 ounces and measures 2.25 x 5.12 x .57 inches. Instead of charging with a micro-USB cable, like the Logitech, the Arc Mouse uses two AAA batteries.
Waterfield Designs Outback Solo for Surface Pro 3 – $128
A nice device like the Surface Pro 3 deserves the best protection, and that’s what the Waterfield Designs Outback Solo for Surface Pro 3 gives buyers. The bag looks rugged and attractive at the same time.
Waterfield Designs makes their bags from high-quality materials and hand stitches them in the USA.
Buyers can get an Outback Solo with or without a shoulder strap. Use it as a satchel or sleeve without the strap. Dangle it off the shoulder for convenience while holding other belongings.
The Outback Solo comes with an outside pocket on the back that fits a notepad or another tablet. The leather flap folds over to cover the inside where the Surface Pro 3 fits snugly inside. Two front accessory pockets will hold a mouse, some wires or other accessories. The pocket on the right fits larger items while the left will hold something smaller, like an iPhone, earbuds or a few personal items.
The Surface Pro with the Type Cover attached is a bit of a tight fit. If the user puts thicker accessories in the front pocket, they may struggle to snap the button at first. However, the bag will loosen up after some use and should fit the Surface Pro 3 even with the Type Cover just fine.
Surface Pro Type Cover – $129.99
Surface Pro 3 owners can enjoy it without buying the Surface Pro Type Cover. To use it as a laptop replacement, users can connect any USB or Bluetooth keyboard. However, the Type Cover offers the best option for a couple of reasons. First, it’s fitted to the size of the Surface Pro 3 and snaps into place thanks to the magnets in both the tablet and the keyboard. The nice fit means the screen gets protected by the cover.
Second, the tablet itself doesn’t come with the pen loop. Buyers can get one for $5, as recommended above. For some reason Microsoft put the loop in the Type Cover package instead of the Surface Pro 3, as they should have done. It’s silly to suggest a buyer get the Type Cover because of the Loop, but together, these reasons make it essential for those who want the best keyboard for the Surface Pro 3. The Type Cover comes with a usable integrated trackpad. It’s not as nice as laptop trackpads, but the touchscreen of the Surface Pro 3 makes the trackpad almost unnecessary. Users will want to turn down the sensitivity, since it registers errant touches too easily.
The keyboard comes in Cyan (pictured above), Purple (pictured below), Red and Black. People with money to burn can get all four to match their outfits, but the Purple Type Cover matches the Surface Pro 3 pen.
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Docking Station – $199.99
While the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 makes a decent tablet and a really nice thin and light laptop replacement, users can also use it as their primary desktop thanks to the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Docking Station, available for $199.99 direct from Microsoft. It ships on August 15.
The docking station holds the Surface Pro 3 at a good viewing angle. Slide the tablet into the fitted channels and the peripherals instantly connect to the dock’s ports.
With the dock we get a Mini DisplayPort that can power up to 3840×2600 resolution screen. A user can connect multiple monitors in a series by hooking up one monitor to another via a Mini DisplayPort. Then hook that one into the dock in series.
In addition to the Mini DisplayPort, the dock has a Gigabit Ethernet port for faster and more reliable network communications. There’s also three USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports. Hook up a mouse, keyboard, printer, fast external drives or a camera to offload images or videos, to name a few USB accessories. There’s also a headphone jack.
The 48-watt power supply will recharge the tablet and power all the ports and accessories.