Microsoft starts taking orders for Surface Pro 3 docking station

New dock adds more USB ports ahead of shipping in August.

Microsoft is now taking UK orders for its new Surface Pro 3 docking station, which it claims will turn its tablet into a "full-blown desktop PC".

The dock is due to go on sale on 15 August in the US priced at $199.99; in the UK it's priced at £164.99 and goes on sale on 12 September (UK Surface Pro 3 buyers will also have to pay more for the tablet itself compared to US shoppers). The first version of the dock went on sale in October last year.

US shoppers have been able to order their dock for a few weeks already.

The 12.9-inch x 3.8-inch x 4.4-inch docking station gives users of Microsoft's tablet PC access to external monitors, keyboard, mouse, printer, speakers, and other USB connected devices.

The 650g dock features three USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports so when the Surface Pro 3 is docked, there's a total of six USB ports available.

The dock also features a Gigabit Ethernet port, 3.5mm audio input/output connection, and a security lock.

  Surface Pro docking station Surface Pro 3 docking station
USB 3.0 ports 1 3 (plus accessible USB 3.0 port on Surface)
USB 2.0 ports 3 2
Ethernet port 10/100 10/100/1000 Gigabit
Mini DisplayPort One on dock One on dock (plus one accessible on Surface)
Security lock slot None One

The Mini DisplayPort connection delivers high-definition video resolution of up to 3840x2600 dpi. The dock supports up to three screens (the Surface itself plus two external monitors), while the 48W power supply recharges the Surface battery while it's docked.

For daisy-chain compatible monitors, no additional equipment is needed if they have Mini DisplayPort connectors. If screens have full DisplayPort connectors, an adaptor will be needed from DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort. For monitors with HDMI, VGA, or DVI two adaptors will be needed.

The Surface Pro 3 is due to go on sale in the UK at the end of August. Microsoft has been marketing the latest version of Surface as a laptop replacement in what's seen as an effort to go head-to-head against the MacBook Air .

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