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Microsoft’s new Surface Dock 2 is made for the USB-C era

Along with the slew of other Surface-related announcements Microsoft made today — including the Surface Book 3, Surface Go 2, and more — the company is also introducing a new Surface Dock 2 docking station and a standalone USB-C travel hub.

The Surface Dock 2 is not much of a design departure from Microsoft’s original model, which launched a handful of years ago; it’s basically a minimalist black slab. That said, it’s absolutely packed with USB-C ports — four of them, to be precise. Two replace the previous pair of Mini DisplayPort ports for transmitting video to a monitor, while the set on the opposite side of the Dock 2 can be used to connect or charge any other USB-C devices you have.

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In addition to its fleet of USB-C ports, the Dock 2 also has an Ethernet jack, a headphone port, two USB Type-A ports, and a Kensington lock. The circular port near the Ethernet jack is for the Dock 2’s own power supply. When it’s plugged in, not only can it provide enough power to connect a bunch of devices to your Surface, but it also enables fast charging for any Surface device in Microsoft’s current portfolio. Additionally, Microsoft claims that the Dock 2 can deliver higher data transfer rates.

The Surface Dock 2 only works with Surface computers, as its cable connects via the Surface Connect port. Robin Seiler, an executive with Microsoft’s devices team, told The Verge that, compared to the previous-generation Surface Dock, the latest model has increased cable length so that you won’t feel tied down as much.

Microsoft’s new Surface Dock 2 costs $259.99 and, according to the company, will be released in certain markets on May 26th.

If the Surface Dock 2 is a little pricey or big for your needs, Microsoft’s new USB-C Travel Hub also launches later this month for a more reasonable $99.99. It has five ports, including one USB-C port, one USB Type-A port, and an Ethernet, HDMI, and VGA port. (That’s one we don’t see often these days.) Unlike the Surface Dock 2, the Travel Hub plugs in via your Surface’s USB-C port. This means that it excludes most older Surface devices that don’t have that type of port.

There are other USB-C hubs with more ports available for far less than the travel hub, but if you want something light enough to take with you, along with VGA video input and the good build quality that Microsoft’s hardware usually brings, this seems like a nice solution.

Lastly, Microsoft has debuted two new affordable keyboard and mouse kits: one wired and the other wireless. The wired combo, the Microsoft Ergonomic Desktop, is one of the company’s signature ergonomic keyboards, with an extended wrist rest and a curvy layout that allows for a more natural hand posture. In addition to being a full-sized keyboard with a number pad and a function row, it also has a row of media keys, a dedicated Microsoft Office key, and an emoji button. Also included in this bundle is an ergonomic wired mouse that has two side buttons. This bundle costs $89.99.

The wireless Bluetooth-ready bundle is cheaper at $59.99. You’re still getting a mouse and keyboard, though it’s a much simpler (yet still fully featured) offering. On this more straightforward keyboard, Microsoft has merged the function and media keys on the top row, but there’s still a number pad. The wireless mouse has two buttons and a scroll wheel. Like all of the other accessories announced today, it has a clean, minimalist look.

This Article was first published on theverge.com

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