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Our thoughts on the Microsoft Surface Dock 12 in 1 Triple Display (2024)

Our thoughts on Microsoft Surface Dock: connectivity, multi-display support, data transfer speeds, and portability for professionals.
Walter Biggs

Cartesian Mathematics Foundation


January 9, 2024


At the office we recently purchased the Surface Dock 12-in-1 to enhance the Surface device’s functionalities. I have been testing it out for a while now. (I travel quite frequently and need connectivity for many different devices). More on my thoughts on the dock below.


Property Value Property Value
Brand UTAKY Color 12 in 1 Surface Dock
Hardware Interface USB Compatible Devices Surface Pro3/4/5/6/7/8/9/X, Surface Book 1/2/3, Surface Laptop go/1/2/3/4/5
Total USB Ports 4 Number of Ports 12
Total HDMI Ports 2 Wattage 60


Click on photos to enlarge them:

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Essential Connectivity Expansion

Microsoft surface dock 12 in 1, black 1

The Surface Dock 12-in-1 has been a vital accessory for turning my Surface into a feature-rich desktop setup. The range of ports and features are quite impressive. Here’s what stands out to me:

  • HDMI: Two HDMI ports offer versatility for video output when juggling multiple projects.

  • USB Ports: With two USB 3.0 and two USB-C ports, I can connect a variety of devices, from hard drives to mobile devices, without any hassle.

  • Ethernet Port: The inclusion of an Ethernet port ensures a stable internet connection, crucial when Wi-Fi is sketchy or for large file transfers.

image- SD/TF Card Reader: “microsoft-surface-dock-12-in-1-triple-display-black-26”

  • Audio Jack: The 3.5mm jack is perfect for when I need private listening without bothering others.

This dock’s ability to support 4K and 1080P output simultaneously is remarkable and boosts productivity with an extended display setup. The magnetic surface connect cable simplifies the connection process and provides a secure link to the dock, minimizing wear and tear on the ports of my Surface.

Despite the host of connectivity options, there are a few drawbacks. One of the USB ports feels a bit loose, and this intermittency can be an annoyance. I’ve also noticed that keeping the Surface charged while using the adapter is essential, especially for longer use, as the battery drains rather quickly and the unit does get warm. But with a 72W power supply included, this isn’t much of an issue as long as I have access to an outlet.

The simultaneous SD/TF card reading advertised doesn’t hold up in practice, with one card slot taking precedence over the other, requiring manual switch if both are needed. Additionally, while this dock expands connectivity greatly, some users have reported signal degradation with certain USB devices, although I haven’t personally encountered this issue.

On the plus side, the plug-and-play functionality can’t be overstated – no fiddling with drivers or settings, it’s ready to go straight out of the box. Also, the design caters well to the Microsoft Surface range, though it’s worth noting that it won’t fit every model.

Reflecting on my personal experience, the Surface Dock 12-in-1 offers an essential expansion of connectivity for any Surface user. It has transformed my tablet into a more capable work and presentation tool, just what I needed for my travel business. Despite a couple of hiccups, the pros heavily outweigh the cons, and overall, it’s been a reliable accessory in my daily tech arsenal.

Display Options and Quality

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When I first got my hands on the Microsoft Surface Dock 12-in-1, my immediate thought was how it would fare with display outputs, given its promise of a Triple Display setup. Here’s a breakdown of what went through my mind:

  • Multi-Monitor Support: The idea of having dual HDMI outputs both capable of delivering 4K at 30Hz, plus a VGA port for additional 1080P display, seemed impressive. You expect to enjoy crisp, clear visuals whether you’re working on spreadsheets or streaming media.

  • Extend or Mirror Mode: Having the option to either extend the desktop across multiple screens or mirror the display is great for productivity and presentations. It’s a versatile feature for professionals who need to multitask or show content to a larger audience.

However, there are a few nuances I observed:

  • There’s a slight limitation as when you use three screens simultaneously, you’re advised to turn off the Surface screen to optimize performance.

  • Some users might find 30Hz at 4K a bit underwhelming for video-heavy tasks or gaming, where a higher refresh rate is preferred.

One of my key observations was that the connectivity was truly plug-and-play, which means I didn’t have to deal with driver installations or compatibility issues. This is increasingly important when you’re looking for a reliable dock that just works straight out of the box.

On the downside, while the dock supports a broad range of Microsoft Surface devices, it’s worth noting that some models like the Surface Go series are excluded. Always double-check compatibility with your specific device to avoid disappointment.

Despite the minor drawback of not supporting newer iterations like the Surface Go, I feel the dock provides substantial value for those in need of a desktop experience from their Surface tablet or laptop. It transformed my workspace efficiently and expanded the capability of my device.

The easy setup and comprehensive port offerings overshadowed the small hiccup of limited support for certain Surface models. The Surface Dock 12-in-1 is a gadget that delivers on its promise of making your work and leisure time more efficient and enjoyable, so long as your device is compatible and you’re aware of its few limits.

Data Transfer Speed Analysis

Microsoft surface dock 12 in 1, black 3

In my use of the Microsoft Surface Dock 12-in-1, what stood out to me immediately was the data transfer speed. With its advertised USB 3.0 and USB-C 3.1 ports, I anticipated quick and efficient moves, especially when transferring large files for work. Here’s what I noticed:

  • The USB 3.0 ports are billed to support data transfer speeds up to 5Gbps, which is a standard expectation for USB 3.0.

  • The USB-C ports also claim the same speed, but they are not for charging devices, which is something to keep in mind.

  • When using the SD/TF card reader, transfer speeds seem to peak at 104Mb/s, which is decent but not top-tier by modern standards.

When moving large image files from my camera’s SD card to my Surface, the speeds seemed satisfactory but not groundbreaking. The transfer time for a 10GB folder was notably longer through the dock than when I used a direct USB 3.0 connection to my Surface.

To frame it up, I could move that same folder to the desktop in about two minutes using a standalone USB 3.0 card reader, but through the dock, it took closer to nine minutes. That’s a significant dip in efficiency—something to keep in mind if time is of the essence.

Remarkably, when using the hub’s SD and microSD slots simultaneously, it is necessary to prioritize one card over the other. I found this constraining, as my previous dock allowed both to be active, which I used for additional storage.

I also detected that one of the USB ports feels a bit loose, which sometimes results in a less stable connection. This inconsistency is something I need to monitor, as it could affect long-term reliability.

Despite these drawbacks, the dock has been performing well overall in terms of data transfer, with the hitch of slower speeds and the need to use one card slot at a time. It comes across as a trade-off between convenience and peak performance.

The absence of an external power option for the USB ports is a notable downside, particularly if you plan to use devices that require more power. This limitation means careful planning for peripheral use, especially when dealing with external drives that might need more juice.

So, while the dock offers a wide range of functionality and the prospect of streamlining your workspace, there’s a clear margin for improvement on data transfer speeds. If your workflow involves heavy data movement, these speeds may not be up to scratch. On the other hand, for everyday tasks and moderate file transfers, the convenience of having all these ports available might outweigh the speed limitation.

Portability and Power Considerations

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In my experience, the portability and power aspects of the Microsoft Surface Dock 12-in-1 are noteworthy considerations. This gadget is a boon for someone like me who’s often on the move but needs the connectivity of a full workstation. Here’s my take on the dock’s portability and power-related features:


  • Compact Design: It’s sleek and not overly bulky, which means I can slip it into my bag alongside my Surface without feeling weighed down.

  • Simple Connectivity: The magnetic surface connect cable is a game-changer – it declutters my workspace and makes setup a breeze when I’m hopping from one location to another.


  • 72W Charging: A significant upgrade from the standard 44W, which means faster charging for my Surface device.

  • Power Pass-through: This is handy for charging my device while using the dock, although I wish it had a separate power source for more power-intensive peripherals.

The compactness of the Surface Dock is a substantial advantage. When presenting in meetings or setting up a temporary workspace in a coffee shop, the last thing I want is lugging around a cumbersome accessory. Its 12-in-1 design ensures I have the flexibility to connect multiple devices, vital for the kind of multitasking my job demands.

However, it’s not without its drawbacks. The absence of a dedicated power source for the dock means that power-hungry devices like external hard drives can be a challenge to use without a direct connection to the Surface. Also, the underwhelming performance of the USB ports in terms of data transfer speed is something that I expected to be more reliable and swift in 2023.

Furthermore, while the dock’s HDMI output allows me to run presentations for about 45 minutes using the battery alone, I’ve noticed that it’s much better to keep the AC adapter plugged in for longer sessions to avoid interruptions. The dock also tends to get warm during extended use, which is typical for such devices but still worth noting as a minor inconvenience.

All things considered, the Surface Dock is a solid addition to my tech arsenal. It makes my presentation setup quick and reduces the number of separate adapters I would otherwise need. Despite the few points where it could improve, I appreciate the freedom it gives me to turn my Surface into a highly functional desktop setup with minimal effort. In sum, the Microsoft Surface Dock 12-in-1 is a compact and practical solution that nicely fits the mobile lifestyle of a professional, although it can fall short in power delivery for external devices.