Microsoft Surface Dock vs Surface Dock 2: What’s the difference?

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New and improved

Surface Dock 2

Supporting legacy

Surface Dock

The Surface Dock 2 packs in modern ports, faster speeds, and can power any Surface device.

$260 at Microsoft

Pros

  • Has four total USB-C ports
  • Supports up to 10Gbps transfer speeds
  • Supports higher power delivery (Up to 120W to a Surface device)
  • Can drive two 4K displays at 60Hz or two 5K displays at 30Hz.

Cons

  • Only works with newer Surface devices
  • More expensive

The original Surface Dock still has plenty of ports, but it falls short of the Surface Dock 2 unless you’re on older hardware.

$200 at Amazon

Pros

  • Works with older Surface devices
  • Has Mini DisplayPorts

Cons

  • Slower transfer speeds
  • Lower resolution cap
  • Lower power output can leave devices draining while plugged in
  • Expensive for old hardware

The Surface Dock and Surface Dock 2 are accessories that allow you to connect multiple devices and peripherals to your Surface. You can attach devices like keyboards, mice, and webcams and push your Surface device’s display output to multiple monitors. Both docks also have Ethernet ports, allowing you to have a rock-solid connection to the Internet. The idea is that you can set the dock up once with all of your devices and accessories and then just plug the dock into your Surface using the Surface Connect port.

Finally, a refresh

The original Surface Dock was left without an update for a long time. After years of having just the original dock, Microsoft announced the Surface Dock 2. The Surface Dock 2 has USB-C ports to work with modern devices, has better charging capabilities, and better support for external displays. It even has a longer cable than the original dock to make it easier to connect your Surface to the dock.

The Surface Dock 2 can power two 4K displays at once at 60Hz or two 5K displays at once at 30Hz. It also has a total power delivery of 199W, and 120 of those Watts can charge your Surface device. The remaining 79W can help charge accessories attached to the dock.

In contrast, the original Surface Dock has a much lower set of specs. When pushing to external displays, the original Surface Dock caps at 4096 x 2160 at 30Hz or 2960 x 1440 at 60Hz. It also has a lower 90W for power delivery. As a result, the Surface Book 2 can sometimes drain power even while charging.

Surface Dock 2 Surface Dock
USB-C ports 2x front facing
2x rear-facing (video enabled)
No
USB-A 2x rear-facing USB-A 3.2 (Up to 10Gbps) 4x USB 3.0 (Up to 5Gbps)
Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet
Audio 3.5mm audio in/out Audio out
Mini DisplayPorts No 2x Mini DisplayPorts
Security lock slot Yes Yes

In addition to its better transfer speeds and port selection, the Surface Dock 2 has enterprise management tools that allow admins to allow access to specific sets of ports depending on authentication.

The downside to the Surface Dock 2 is that it only works with certain Surface devices. To use a Surface Dock 2, you need a Surface device made in 2017 or later. Based on this Microsoft support document, the following Surface devices are supported by the Surface Dock 2:

  • Surface Book 3
  • Surface Book 2
  • Surface Pro 7
  • Surface Pro 6
  • Surface Pro (5th Gen)
  • Surface Pro X
  • Surface Laptop 3
  • Surface Laptop 2
  • Surface Laptop (1st Gen)
  • Surface Go 2
  • Surface Go
  • Surface 3

The Surface Dock 2 improves upon the original Surface Dock in just about every way. It’s faster, has more modern ports, can push more resolution to external displays, supports audio in and out, and has more management tools. The Surface Dock 2 is pricey, but it’s only $60 more than the original Surface Dock right now. For that price difference, you’re getting quite a few improvements. The only reason to grab an original Surface Dock is if you use a Surface device that can’t work with the Surface Dock 2 or if you need to use MiniDisplayPorts.

Dock on demand

Surface Dock 2

USB-C heaven

The Surface Dock 2 brings much-needed updates to the original, adding in four USB-C ports alongside the usual Ethernet, USB-A, and 3.5mm jacks.

Supporting older devices

Surface Dock

Premium dock from Microsoft

This is Microsoft’s original Surface Dock. It features plenty of ports and makes it easy to connect older Surface devices to peripherals.

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