Microsoft’s Surface Pro, whether it’s the new Pro 7, the 2018 Surface Pro 6, or one of the older versions, straddles the line between laptop and tablet by offering users a full-featured computing experience in a compact package. It’s a powerful device, but right out of the box it can seem a little barebones. Without a keyboard or Surface Pen, it’s just a Windows-based tablet.
With that in mind, we put together a list of the best Surface Pro accessories to help you get the most out of Microsoft’s detachable 2-in-1 PC.
The Surface Pen is such an essential part of the Surface Pro experience that previous versions just included it in the box. Unfortunately, Microsoft now opts to provide it only as an optional accessory, but it’s such a killer creative tool that it’s definitely worth the price.
Without it, the Surface Pro is a powerful Windows-based tablet. But with the Surface Pen, it’s a mobile sketchpad, notebook, and professional-grade artistic suite.
Surface Pen Tip Kit
On its own, the Surface Pen is a versatile tool for note-taking or artistic endeavors, but it’s still not quite as tactile as a real pen or pencil. With the optional tip kit, however, it comes remarkably close to the real thing. Plus, it’s a handy kit to keep around just in case you lose your Surface Pen’s tip.
These optional tips allow users to customize the friction and drag of their Surface Pens, based on use or just personal preference. One emulates the frictionless glide of a ballpoint pen, while another provides the crisp and slightly resistant drag of a number two pencil.
Have you ever adjusted the volume on a high-end stereo system and experienced that ever-so-slight resistance and smooth scrolling action? Microsoft had the crazy idea to put that kind of user experience into a unique peripheral designed its high-end Surface Studio desktop.
The Surface Pro doesn’t have the same screen real estate, but the Dial is still a worthy companion for Microsoft’s 2-in-1 PC. On its own, it can be used to adjust system volume, rotate images, and scroll seamlessly through options in professional creative suites like Adobe Photoshop.
Sure, this thing might not be for everyone, but it’s both really weird and really cool.
Surface Arc Mouse
Even if you spend most of your time using the Surface Pro as an artistic tool, now and then you might need to use it as a standard laptop. That’s where the Surface Arc mouse comes in, as sometimes you just need a mouse to easily navigate browser tabs or all those fiddly little options in Microsoft Word.
To make sure it’s always with you on the go, the Surface Arc actually bends to a flat position, so it’s easier to toss into a messenger bag pocket than a typical wireless mouse. When it’s time to work, just snap it into mouse mode, with a comfy little curve for your hand. From there, just pair it up with Bluetooth and start clicking through those browser tabs.
Surface Pro Signature Type Cover
The Surface Pro is pretty versatile with just the on-screen keyboard. Try typing your way through anything longer than a quick email, though, and you’ll start to feel the touchscreen limitations. Naturally, Microsoft developed its own ultra-fancy keyboard cover for the Surface Pro that turns an ordinary tablet into a portable — and super-soft — workstation.
Clad in luxurious Alcantara material, the Signature Type Cover will set you back about $160. But for usability’s sake, it’s definitely worth the cost. Microsoft markets the Surface Pro as an alternative to a standard laptop, but we beg to differ. Without an external keyboard like the Signature Type Cover, it just doesn’t get the job done.
Outback Solo Case for Surface
Now that you have all this extra stuff to turn your Surface Pro into a mobile workstation, you probably need something to carry it. Finding a messenger-style bag that fits the Surface Pro well enough isn’t tough, but we simply prefer the looks and versatile nature of Waterfield’s Outback Solo.
With it, you can easily cart around your Surface Pro (with or without the Type Cover), an external mouse, and a few other everyday carry items. But what we really like about this messenger bag is that by removing the strap, the bag converts to a luxurious Surface Pro sleeve. You won’t find that kind of versatility in most other options.
If you’re considering the Surface Pro as a potential laptop replacement, it might need a little help. The Pro is lightweight and easy to carry around, but it has a notable lack of ports. The Surface Dock device aims to remedy that.
Sure, $200 is a lot for what amounts to a USB hub, but this thing is more than that. The Surface Dock sits on a desk and plugs directly into the Surface Pro to charge it. But it also offers extra USB ports, two Mini-DisplayPort plugs, and an ethernet jack. Long story short: The Surface Dock can turn your Surface Pro into a complete, portable desktop workstation. Just add an external monitor, mouse, and keyboard, and you’re ready to set up shop (well, office) anywhere.
Whether you got a Surface Pro as a laptop replacement or tablet-only device, the right accessories make all the difference. Especially if you want laptop functionality, though, you’ll need most or all of the accessories on our list.