Recently my colleague Loryan Strant aka The Cloud Mouth wrote a post about using one of the Targus USB 3.0 docking stations with his Surface Pro (purchased in the US during MVP summit, and before you ask, nobody from Microsoft Australia is discussing a local release date yet…). This is the type of usage we normally expect from various docking stations, but the ever shrinking number of ports on devices has made these more of a must have than a nice to have. I had previously used a Toshiba Dynadock both at work and at home, which I wrote about on my old TechNet blog. These were USB 2.0 based, so there were obvious bandwidth limitations to work with.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been involved in a number of events with an ever changing range of Windows 8 laptops, tablets, convertibles, and Ultrabooks. Part of the event was showing Windows 8 and Office 2013, which initially was easy due to one of the machines being a Toshiba Portege Z930 Ultrabook, which includes a full sized HDMI port and a full sized VGA port. This is pretty much as good as it gets when you have to present – two choices, and no adapters required.
Things took a turn for the worse over the next few events, as different devices were swapped in and out of my device kit, none of which included a VGA port, and the rest including a mini or micro HDMI port. Of course I didn’t have the required adapters or cables, nor did the staging company. Not the situation you want to be in with 5 minutes until your session starts.
Thankfully Targus had a booth at this event, and Aditya Soehono supplied me with one of a USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Dual Video Docking Station to use for the duration of the event. With full sized VGA and HDMI ports it was able to get me up and running in a very short time. To say it saved me from disaster is an understatement, so a very big thank you to Targus for their assistance. For anyone looking for these capabilities, as well as something that more devices are missing – a wired Gbe port, as well as two more USB ports, definitely take a look at this.
For anyone looking at buying a Surface Pro or other Windows 8 device with limited ports, the chances are that something like this is going to be a part of your future at home or the office. It’s probably not something you really want to travel with, that’s where the right adapters and cables have their place, but as a docking solution I highly recommend it.