Customer Review

80 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Plugable UD-3900 and Surface Pro 2 go great together, November 7, 2013
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This review is from: Plugable UD-3900 USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Universal Docking Station with Dual Video Outputs for Windows 8.1, 8, 7, XP (HDMI up to 2560x1440* and DVI / VGA to 2048x1152 / 1920x1200, Gigabit Ethernet, Audio, 2 USB 3.0 Ports, 4 USB 2.0 Ports, 20W Power Adapter) (Personal Computers)
I recently bought a Surface Pro 2 (running Windows 8.1) with the hopes of using it as my daily driver. The Surface's lack of ports is a real problem when used as a desktop machine especially to a guy like me that measures his manliness by the number of monitors he's using. There is the official Surface Deck, which is a sexy piece of machinery, don't get me wrong, but it's $200, not available right now, and itself has frustrating ports. For instance, while you can connect two monitors to the Surface dock, you have to do it by daisy chaining monitors off of the DisplayPort. Who has time for all that? And my existing monitors don't have DisplayPort connections anyway. What's a fella to do?

And in walks the Plugable UD-3900.

While the UD-3900 wasn't built specifically for the Surface Pro 2, it works beautifully. Even with the incredibly snappy Amazon Prime shipping Plugable sent me an email before I got the unit with a link to the latest drivers and contact information in case I had problems. Being impatient like I am, I installed the drivers right away and anxiously awaited the package.

When the UD-3900 showed up it took no time to hook it up and start using it. Everything just worked. Mostly. But I'll get to that later. I've used USB monitors in the past, and they've always disappointed me. They were always a little laggy and sluggish. I was worried the UD-3900 would suffer the same disappointment. It definitely did not. I was able to drive both of my 23" monitors with ease. The additional USB ports were very handy and the added network speed of the UD-3900's Gb Ethernet jack was extra icing on the cake. I can't explain how easy it was to get everything working flawlessly. It just worked. With one exception...

The UD-3900 was sending all its audio through the crappy, tinny little speakers on the monitor I had hooked up via HDMI. That wasn't quite the experience I had in mind. Even when I connected my regular speakers to the headphone jack on the UD-3900 the sound stayed on my monitor. I replied to the email Plugable initially sent me and told them my tale of woe. They replied in less than an hour, on a Saturday afternoon! They gave me a couple of things to try. When those things didn't pan out they immediately sent me out a replacement unit. I got the replacement unit today and it works like a champ.

A few of my friends are picking up Surface Pro 2s, and I'm recommending the UD-3900 to all of them.

tk
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Comments

Tracked by 8 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 22 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 9, 2013 4:59:19 PM PST
Great review Todd, can you tell us Surface Pro 2 users a bit more? Are you driving your two main monitors off of the DVI and HDMI ports from the dock, if so, does the Surface pro 2 screen stay on or can it stay on?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2013 5:20:36 PM PST
Todd Klindt says:
Glad you liked it. Like I said in my review, I think I have a deep seeded connection between my masculinity and the number of monitors on my desk. It's a good thing I wasn't a caveman. I'm driving two 23" monitors from the dock. I'm using the HDMI input on both of them. One is connected to the UD-3900's DVI port, so it required a DVI to HDMI adapter. I chose to leave the Surface Pro 2's screen lit as well, but I could have disabled it if I wanted to. I usually keep small things on it, like Task Manager or Windows Media Player. And because I'm addicted to monitors I also have a TV hooked up to the Surface's mini DisplayPort via an HDMI adapter. So during my regular day the Surface Pro 2 is running 4 displays.

Hope that helps,
tk

Posted on Dec 24, 2013 9:12:41 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 24, 2013 9:17:08 PM PST
Thanks for the reviews. Been juggling between the single vs. the dual with a SPro2. Have you tried using one HDMI and the other with what seems to be the included adapter to vga? Performance differences? Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 25, 2013 7:00:09 PM PST
Todd Klindt says:
I have not tried the VGA adapter. I'm sure it would work swimmingly. My advice would be to get the Plugable with two video ports. You can never have too many monitor choices, and I think it's only $30 more.

tk

Posted on Jan 9, 2014 10:26:59 PM PST
J. Ruppel says:
Hi Todd. I just got my UD-3900 today, and like you, I like monitors. :-) Right now I have one Dell 24" monitor, and I have a second one ordered. Anyway, my question is about the audio problem you mentioned. Once you got your new UD-3900, how did you hook up your speakers? I have a set of Bose Companion II, and I'm thinking I should just plug those into the headphone plug on the UD-3900. But will the USB connection between my computer send decent audio to the 3900, and in turn the 3900 to my desktop speakers? Like you, I have no use for the audio through the monitor. My desktop speakers sound great, though. Can you advise me on how you set yours up? Much appreciated!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2014 6:40:56 AM PST
Todd Klindt says:
J,
I just plugged my desktop speakers into the headphone jack on the UD-3900. It works like a champ. The USB 3 bus is wide enough to drive a semi through, so there's more than enough space for the audio to sneak through. I'm plugging the Plugable into a Surface Pro 2 tablet. I could plug the audio into either the Plugable's headphone jack, or the Surface's headphone jack. I chose the Plugable's jack so there was one fewer thing plugged into the tablet. Either would have worked, so use whatever works best for you.

tk

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2014 5:47:54 AM PST
Jombolo says:
Hi Todd, so i take it, because this dock states it is not a charger, you need to have your surface pro2 plugged into the wall the entire time?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2014 6:26:16 AM PST
Todd Klindt says:
I could have it not plugged it, but it would only last a few hours. :) Yes, I do have my Surface Pro 2 plugged into the wall and into the Plugable. To save money I bought a second Surface RT charger and that's what I use. The Surface Pro 2 will run fine on an RT charger.

Posted on Feb 20, 2014 6:59:15 AM PST
My local Microsoft store just called and said my Surface Pro 2 - 512gb tablet is ready for pickup. Before I leave home to pick up the tablet, I will order the UD-3900. Thanks for the review, it helped as it was related to the Surface Pro 2.

Posted on Mar 2, 2014 11:08:15 AM PST
Charles says:
Todd, Thanks for the review, im about to order mine as soon as i type this question. With your setup, are the additional screens just mirrors, or are they true add-on's? Or is one a mirror, and one an add-on'? Using the vga to hdmi and hdmi off the dock, are these screens daisy chained, mirror of each other, or fully separate?

Thanks mate!
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