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Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 Docking Station and new Universal Mobile keyboard are key to my home office

The Surface Pro 3 is my constant companion and primary PC. Thanks to the Docking Station and new Universal Mobile keyboard, my setup has vastly improved.
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My Surface Pro 3 home office setup

Back in July I wrote about my being powered by a Surface Pro 3. I have since expanded that a bit with the Surface Pro 3 Docking Station, brand new (released yesterday) Universal Mobile keyboard, and a Dell S2240T touch monitor.

This new setup allows me to function with a dual display setup and seriously increase my productivity. I used to go upstairs to use my wife's iMac for heavy duty tasks, but haven't touched the iMac for at least a month. Let's take a closer look at the accessories centered around my Surface Pro 3.

Universal Mobile Keyboard

I tested out the new early last month and found it to be a decent option at $50. However, after testing out the new Microsoft Universal Mobile keyboard I would spend the extra $30, available now for $79.95, for this accessory instead. It is much more portable, has rechargeable batteries that last up to six months, and is a higher quality product.

The keyboard has a toggle in the upper right to let you switch between Windows, Android, and iOS. I connected and tested the keyboard with a Surface Pro 3, Huawei Ascend Mate 7, and Apple iPhone 6 Plus. It is rather ironic that my Nokia Lumia 1520 Windows Phone doesn't support Bluetooth keyboard connections.

You can connect with up to three devices and then easily toggle between them with the button. When you close the lid on the keyboard it shuts down and after opening it up the keyboard turns on and connects to your device.

There is a row to the left of the OS toggle switch that contains buttons for lock/unlock, volume controls, media player controls, and search. Below that are five rows of keys.

Writing shortcuts work fine with the operating systems, press and hold on Home launches Siri, and many other functions on the operating systems are supported. The escape button serves as a back button on Android and home button on iOS, the Home button goes to Start or Home, and the Cmd button works as Ctrl and iOS command. You can also use the function with the arrow keys to navigate quickly around pages.

The lid of the keyboard serves as a stand for your devices and can also be removed and moved around your work area. Everything I tested sat in the stand slot just fine. There are two ridges within the stand slot so you can angle your device in two different settings for the viewing angle you prefer.

While the button layout is tighter than a desktop keyboard, I find I am quite fast at typing with it and wrote this entire article using the keyboard comfortably.

Prior to this keyboard, I was using the Wedge Mobile keyboard. While the Wedge keyboard has larger keys and connects via Bluetooth, it doesn't have keys designed to function well with other mobile operating systems and is not as portable as the new Universal Mobile keyboard.

Arc Touch Mouse

Based on a recommendation, I bought an Arc Touch mouse Surface Edition several months ago and love using it with the Surface Pro 3. There is a new version, the Arc Touch Bluetooth mouse, that has a light gray finish with the same functionality as the special Surface Edition I already have. It is available now for $69.95.

I especially like that I can flatten it out and shut off the Bluetooth radio while popping it back up makes a flawless connection every time.

The Microsoft Arc Touch mouse is awesome for taking on the road as it folds flat for your backpack. It is very comfortable to use and precise for screen navigation.

Surface Pro 3 Docking Station

Microsoft sent along a Surface Pro 3 Docking Station for me to test out and it really serves as the as my Surface Pro 3 has completely replaced my desktop.

With five USB ports (three are USB 3.0) and a handy magnetic post to hold my stylus, the docking station couldn't be better. I have my TomTom GPS watch dock permanently connected to one USB port with a USB port to my new monitor connected to another (I explain why in the next section). Another port is used to transfer files with a USB thumb drive.

The Docking Station has a Mini DisplayPort, but there is no cable provided so I had to order one on Amazon for my monitor. It was fairly inexpensive, but I think a cable should come with a $200 docking station.

At first I angled my Surface Pro 3 into the dock to get the right side connector seated properly. It wasn't until my second week of use that I realized the two front post pieces slide out so you can drop your Surface Pro 3 into the slot and slide the front posts in to secure and make the connection. I guess sometimes reading the directions can be valuable.

The dock is sturdy, provides all the ports and connectivity I need, and is angled perfectly for my Surface Pro 3 to be used as a second display.

Dell S2240T Touch

At my engineering consulting office I have a two display setup and appreciate the efficiency of such a system. After the Surface Pro 3 Docking Station arrived I went out and purchased the Dell S2240T Touch Monitor for just $240.

While some people may not appreciate the touch support on Windows 8, I personally enjoy that method of interaction. At first I couldn't get the touchscreen to work on my new 21.5 inch monitor. I then found you need to plug in the HDMI to Mini DisplayPort cable as well as the USB cable to get the touch support.

It is extremely convenient for me to interact with both of my displays using touch and I am very happy with the monitor. You can even easily angle the monitor down to perform in a near tablet mode if you like, but I keep it fairly stationary in an upright position most of the time.

Microsoft has some excellent accessories to complement the Surface Pro 3 and I am very pleased with my updated home office.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Docking Station retail package

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Front view of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Docking Station

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Ports on the back of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Docking Station

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Universal Mobile keyboard and Arc Touch Mouse

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Opening up the Universal Mobile keyboard

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Top cover of the Universal Mobile keyboard

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Right side of the Universal Mobile keyboard

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Three OS toggle switch

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Left side of the Universal Mobile keyboard

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Wedge Mobile keyboard on top of the Universal Mobile keyboard

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Using the iPhone 6 Plus with the Universal Mobile keyboard

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Using a Huawei Ascend Mate 7 with the Universal Mobile keyboard

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Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

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Bottom of the Arc Touch Mouse

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My Surface Pro 3 system in a Star Wars office

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