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The best accessories for Surface Pro don’t all come from Microsoft

A few months ago, I wrote about how my Surface Pro (v1) had become the only device that I travel with (blog).

Since then, I have streamlined optimized even further, with a few other gadgets.  In my travel bag:

Portable DVD/Blu-Ray from Buffalo ($85)

This ultra-portable Blu-Ray player/burner is barely larger than two blu-ray plastic cases stacked, with two USB cables that are easily hidden away within the shell itself. One cable provides connectivity to my Surface. The other is for supplemental power by plugging into another USB port. It appears that the Surface Pro sends enough power that the supplement isn’t needed, but you could make use of the USB port on the Surface Pro charger block, if you wanted to reduce battery draw on your tablet.

Wired USB Xbox360 controller ($35)

If I am not watching movies in my hotel room, I am gaming. And the selection of Windows 8 games is growing by the day, including some that allow for use of a standard USB-wired gaming controller. My favorite this month, Halo: Spartan Assault, which is a tween-friendly top-down shooter in the great Halo tradition.

Check out my review of Halo: Spartan Assault (and other games) at XboxDad.com.

HDMI adapter cable ($12)

Playing a game or watching a DVD/Netflix are all very good on a Surface Pro, but so much better on a hotel TV screen … try a combination HDMI adapter and cable.


At Home – the only thing I need is my Docking Station from Pluggable.

A docking station for a Surface? YES!!! ($99)

If you read my earlier accessory blog, I had a mix of Ethernet/USB hub, video adapters, sound connectors, etc. I have replaced all of it with a very nice little device from Pluggable that connects via a single USB 3.0 (5Gb/s) connector. After that, I enjoy:

· Video via HDMI / DVI / VGA port. Technically, it’s a DVI port, but hats off Pluggable for including DVI/HDMI and DVI/VGA adapters. It probably adds a buck or two to the package price, but the easiness of having exactly what you need when open the box more than makes up for it as a rounding error. Frankly, it is a tiny example of a vendor doing ‘the right thing’ and not the absolute minimum.

The docking station also includes:

· Audio-jacks on the front

· Gigabit Ethernet port on the back

· Two forward-facing USB3 ports for devices, like my DVD player/burner

· Two more USB ports in the rear for connectivity (like to my keyboard/mouse)

This docking station really is perfectly suited for a Surface or other ultra-portable device. Honestly, if it worked any better, it would have Microsoft branding on it and likely cost twice as much.

However, because it isn’t a “Surface Accessory”, I am thinking about getting two more – for members of my family that have a Surface and a netbook, respectively.

None of these devices or their discoveries are earth-shattering, but I hope that this gives you some ideas of how to make your ultra-portable techno-life even better. If any of the devices are interesting to you, here’s some easy links to them on Amazon (yes, though I don’t do consumer-oriented posts often, the few-cent click-kickback from these helps pay for my websites).
 
As always, thanks for reading.

DOCKING STATION

Blu-Ray & DVD

GAMING Controller

HDMI Adapter/Cable

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