It’s almost embarrassing, at least for Microsoft, that Apple would be at the forefront of pushing new standards like USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 while its premier flagship computers obstinately remain in the recent past. Admittedly, there are business reasons for doing clinging to USB-A and DisplayPorts but Microsoft seems to have intentionally missed the USB-C boat even in its latest Surface Pro and Surface Laptop. It promised to dangle a dongle in front of USB-C lovers and that promise is nearly fulfilled. USB-C lovers, however, would probably feel insulted rather than assured.
How large can a dongle be before you start calling it a brick? Apparently, at least for Microsoft, large. The Surface Connect to USB-C Adapter that Microsoft has designed has a body (not including the cord) that measures 82 mm x 40 mm x 20 mm. That’s nearly as large as the Surface Pro power brick, and that’s no accident.
The “dongle” connects to the Surface Pro and Surface Laptop’s proprietary “magsafe” port. While that leaves the regular USB port is free for other use, you’ll also have to charge the device via USB-C while also transferring data through it. In other words, if you want to charge the Surface Pro/Laptop while also connected to a USB-C device, you’ll want a USB hub or dock that supports both data and power passthrough.
Microsoft’s USB-C dongle is practically a dongle to connect another dongle or a hub or a dock. That may sound silly, but it will at least allow you to connect another external display. But there’s a catch. You’ll need a power source with a minimum output of 27W and 12V to do that.
Here’s the clincher: the Microsoft Surface Connect to USB-C Adapter will sell for $79.99. No word yet on when that will happen. With the price and feature requirements (plus the URL), Microsoft is clearly aiming this accessory at enterprise customers rather than consumers, leaving the latter set of dongle lovers lonely.