Price: From $399.99
Ports: 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen1, 4 x USB-A 3.2 Gen1, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort ++ 1.2, 3.5mm mic/audio jack, Gigabit Ethernet Port
Supports: Surface Pro 7+, Surface Pro 7, Surface Pro 6, Surface Pro (5th Gen) and Surface Pro 4
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 2-in-1 laptop is best known for its ease-of-use and portability, easily changing from a tablet to a laptop by adding the detachable (separately sold) keyboard. However, what if you could also turn it into a desktop? Kensington has an answer for that, and it's a very pricey one.
Kensington’s SD7000 Surface Pro Docking Station is the miniature answer to Microsoft’s Surface Studio, except this one can transform the Surface Pro from a tablet to a desktop. While this unique docking station (much like Kensington’s Apple-focused StudioDock) is more than just a placeholder for the Surface Pro thanks to its multiple ports, the price may not be worth it.
Some of the best docking stations around are plenty cheaper, and if you have an iPad, the StudioDock is the way to go. The SD7000 Surface Pro Docking Station does have its perks, but is it worth the price? Read on.
Kensington SD7000 Surface Pro Docking Station price and availability
Kensington’s Surface Pro Docking Station is priced at $400, which is pricey for a docking station. Considering the Surface Pro 7 is priced at as low as $749, it’s quite an expensive add-on. What’s worse, you’ll find certain retailers, such as Amazon, selling it at a budget-breaking $500.
On the flip side, those who already have a Surface Pro and a few 4K monitors lying about can now turn the 2-in-1 tablet into a full-blown desktop setup for an extra $400.
Kensington SD7000 Surface Pro Docking Station design
It’s clear Kensington has a knack for designing docking stations around the devices they’re meant for. Just look at the company’s StudioDock for the iPad; it screams “I’m made for Apple!” The Surface Pro Docking Station has the same vibe, and is reminiscent of Microsoft’s Surface Studio.
From its adjustable metal arms right down to its base and colour, the Surface Pro Docking Station is essentially a miniature version of the Surface Studio when the tablet is docked, except this has swift 2-in-1 capabilities.
Unfortunately, Microsoft’s signature grey colours don’t do the dock any favours. The docking station’s base and hinge mount look as if they're made of cheap plastic, especially the latter. If you’ve seen a generic grey container, you’ll get the idea. Take note, the base is actually metal. Even sticking a Surface Pro on the mount makes it look cheaper than it is, while its glossy metallic arms leave noticeable fingerprint smudges (not that you’ll be touching them often, but once is enough to leave prints).
The docking station also takes up quite a bit of desk real estate due to its wide frame, and seeing as it allows up to two 4K monitors, there won’t be much space left for other peripherals. That being said, this is a docking station through and through, which cleans up messy cable management, finds a place for stray USB sticks, and lets us store other peripherals under or beside our desk. Plus, its size and adjustable hinge make it perfect for drawing and photo editing, as it can be brought down to a comfortable, desk-height position to effectively use the Surface Pen on.
Being able to transition between an eye-level desktop display and “studio mode” is a huge advantage for professionals. What’s more, its 7.3-pound (3.32kg) weight means it won’t shift when scribbling away on it.
Speaking of which, the Surface Pen neatly has its own place on the docking station; a magnetic connection lets the stylus sit beside the Surface Pro, ready to be used in a pinch.
Kensington SD7000 Surface Pro Docking Station ports and connectivity
The Surface Pro Docking Station has many ports, especially if you’re in need of USB-A 3.0 ports. You’ll find all of the ports on the back of the docking station.
The Surface Pro convertible easily slots into the Surface Connector when placed on the dock, and charges it at the same time. Charging is fast, as the docking station is powered by a 90-watt Surface Dock AC adapter.
On the back, you’ll find five USB ports, four of which are USB-A 3.2 Gen1 ports, along with one USB-C 3.2 Gen1 port. However, the latter doesn’t support USB-C Alt Mode, which means it can’t be used to connect to other displays.
The rear also has one HDMI 2.0 output and one DisplayPort v1.2++, capable of either a single 3840 x 2160-pixel resolution monitor at 60Hz or dual 3840 x 2160-pixel resolution monitors at 30Hz. Finally, there’s an inconveniently placed 3.5mm audio/mic jack, a Gigabit Ethernet port and a power jack.
Kensington SD7000 Surface Pro Docking Station performance
Some might see Kensington’s Surface Pro Docking Station as a glorified charging holder, and even if it was just that, it would do it very well. Thanks to the Surface Connector charging the Pro and the easily adjustable hinge, the docking station effectively transforms your Surface Pro into a desktop akin to the Surface Studio.
That’s only made better with the ability to connect to up to two 4K monitors at 30Hz, or supercharge a single 4K monitor with 60Hz refresh rates. I like having both an HDMI 2.0 output and a DisplayPort v1.2++ available, giving me the option to use whichever is best suited for my setup.
While putting the USB ports on the rear is the best spot in terms of cable management, it’s puzzling there aren’t any front ports. A simple USB-C port for charging or USB-A port is always handy to have at the front of a docking station, so I don’t have to awkwardly fiddle with cables to plug in a temporary peripheral like my smartphone. The audio/mic jack is also weirdly positioned on the rear, and honestly, I forgot it was even there. Still, having to pick up and turn around the whole docking station isn’t ideal.
As for everything else, the docking station is perfectly suited for Surface Pro owners, made even better for professionals that often use the Pro but want to treat it more as a desktop. What some may find annoying is the lack of an SD card reader, especially at its price point. It’s a major turn-off for photographers or videographers who don’t want to live with dongles.
For Surface Pro owners, Kensington’s Surface Pro Docking Station seems like a no-brainer. With a dock perfectly suited for Microsoft’s 2-in-1, a sturdy frame with adjustable hinges that turn the Pro into more of a Surface Studio, and a fantastic number of ports with 4K support, this is the perfect docking station for anyone with a Surface Pro — from the Surface Pro 4 all the way up to the Surface Pro 7+.
That $400 price point is a real shame though, especially considering Microsoft’s Surface Dock 2 docking station offers dual 4K at 60Hz, four USB-C ports (with two front-facing), two USB-A ports, and a 199W power supply for nearly half the price ($259.99). It doesn’t, however, turn the tablet into an all-in-one.
Compared to Kensington’s StudioDock for Apple’s iPad, which comes with wireless Qi charging, the Surface Pro Studio Dock has aged. However, it does offer a snug home for your Surface Pro, giving you a proper all-in-one experience. If it’s a docking station calling out to you, you won’t be disappointed, but otherwise, you might want to check out some of the other best docking stations out there.