Dower’s Guide to Surface Pro 3 Must-Have Accessories

It’s the holiday season and maybe you’ve just purchased a Surface Pro 3; what next? It’s a wonderful multipurpose device, but even if you picked up a Microsoft Type Keyboard to go along with it, there are some things that you should also get to make it the best productivity tool you can use. I’ve been using my Surface Pro 3 since it came out, and it has now become my primary computer for all my work; which includes video editing, image work and development. Here are some of the accessories I recommend to go along with your Surface Pro 3.

Please note that these recommendations below are not limited to the Surface Pro 3, they will work fine for any Surface Pro tablet.

 64gb MicroSD Card

sandisk_msdcardStorage is always important, and for me, I never seem to have enough. This season 64gb MicroSD Cards have become extremely affordable. The smallest Surface Pro 3 comes with meager 64gb of space, and after Windows 8, you’ll only have about 40GB of space left for your stuff. That might be enough for some, but once you put tools like Visual Studio, Photoshop, and Office on, you’ll find yourself fighting for space. Luckily, the Surface Pro series of tablets all have a MicroSD card slot that can accept a card up to 128GB. There are many manufacturers, and types, but my choice is either Sandisk or Samsung, and I got for Class 10 cards, which ensure there is no lag in reading and writing files.

 

MiniDisplayport to HDMI / VGA / DVI connector

minidisplayport_to_vgaEven though the screen on the Surface Pro 3 is a generous 12 inches, doing Excel or development work on it for long periods of time can be tiring. The Surface Pro 3 sports a MiniDisplayport, similar to the ones found on Apple’s Macbook Pro’s. Now, for clarification, the MiniDisplayport looks exactly like a Thunderbolt port, but the Surface Pro 3 does not support Thunderbolt, so don’t expect to use this port to attach Thunderbolt peripherals. It’s only for hooking up an external monitor. You have a few choices of connector types and it will depend on your needs. I own 2, a DVI and an HDMI to MiniDisplayport adapter. In my home I have a 27″ Monitor which I attach through the HDMI adapter. At work, I have a Dell 24″ which hooks up through a DVI connector. You may want to consider a VGA version, if you do presentations on the road, since most older projectors should have at least a VGA port.

 

USB3 HUB and Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

inateck_usb_ethernetEven though the Surface Pro 3 has Wireless capability, sometimes it’s just not as reliable as a good old hard wired network connection. There are a number of USB to Ethernet adapters out there, but the problem is the Surface Pro 3 only has a single USB3 port. Luckily, Inateck is a company that makes a Gigabit Ethernet adapter that also combines a USB3 HUB expanding your ports to 3! Now, the device does have it’s limits, and you should not expect to run power hungry devices like an external hard drive and a DVD recorder. But you can easily pop in a couple of USB flash drives, all while still having access to fast network access. You can see my review here for more details.

 

Bluetooth Mouse

tecknet_bm306The Surface Pro 3 has plenty of built in input methods, if you have a Microsoft Type keyboard attached, you have a 10 point touchscreen, an N-Trig Active Digitizer, and the Type Keyboard’s Trackpad. But for some tasks, a mouse is invaluable (try doing 3D Studio Max with the touchscreen!). The problem is, most computer mice can be bulky. I primarily use two different mice; Microsoft’s own Arc Mouse Surface Edition and TechNet’s BM306 Bluetooth Mouse. The Arc Mouse is fantastic because of its extreme portability; It can fold flat, which is great for traveling. The drawback is it only has two mouse buttons. For more heavy work, I turn to a more traditional mouse, my TeckNet BM306. The TeckNet is a mouse I found recently, and I found it to be a great mouse. It’s very low cost, and feels (and looks) like my old Logitech VX Revolution, which, sadly, is not a Bluetooth Mouse. The BM306 has 3 resolution settings, a mouse wheel, and 5 buttons; the wheel can act as a fifth button. Of course, there many other options available, but these are two that I primarily use now. You can see my reviews of both mice on YouTube at the links below:

Bluetooth Keyboard

LogitechK810Lastly, even though Microsoft’s Type Keyboard is a handy tool, and an almost essential part of the Surface Pro 3, I find that I still work best with an external keyboard. For me, the keys lack spacing between them, so I tend to fall onto the wrong keys, so when I’m in my office, I have an external Bluetooth keyboard to rely on. There are two I currently use, the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard 5000 and Logitech’s K810 Bluetooth Keyboard. The Microsoft keyboard is a comfortable no-nonsense curved keyboard that has great battery life (running on 2 AAA batteries). The Logitech K810 is a little more exotic. Although it looks like a simple flatly laid out QUERTY keyboard, it has the special ability to sync with up to 3 devices. So, with this simple little keyboard, I can switch between one of 3 devices at the press of a button, so it’s handy for using it on an iPad, or Android tablet in conjunction with my Surface Pro 3. The K810 is very comfortable to type on and has long battery life thanks to its rechargeable battery. See my link below for my full review of the Logitech K810.

 

So there you have it, my list of recommended accessories to allow you to be the most productive on your Surface Pro 3. Thanks for reading, and if you have any suggestions, feel free to send me an email, or leave a comment on Google+ or my YouTube Channel.