My #SurfaceBook 2 video connections

I was tidying up my office recently, and came across an old magazine cover that I was on back in 1992. In those days, I was a consultant for a company called Isicad, and I am working on a £30,000+ Unix workstation. I have a small monitor for the Unify database on the left, and a large CRT monitor the CAD system, and a tablet with a stylus for interaction with the drawing. I also had more hair than I do now, which probably started going when I turned up to do some demos in Milan on a workstation that was supplied by the German arm of the company … only they didn’t leave a built one … just loads of boxes with parts, and that also included the circuit boards! I had to build it afresh whilst being instructed over the phone, and with my foot firmly hooked around the radiator because I didn’t have an earthing strap! Well, that picture started me thinking about my current workstation, which is a £3,000 Microsoft Surface Book 2, and how I have to connect to video displays nowadays!

IMG_2888 (Edited)

I have been through many Windows Servers, PCs and laptops since 1992, but I think I had my first real desire for a particular model when I was over in Redmond for a conference and tried the Surface Book 2. I wanted one, but I had to wait for it to become available in the UK months later, and then a further few months because I wanted the 15″ screen with a Performance Base. I convinced myself that I needed that particular specification because of my continuous use of graphics, particularly with Visio. I was probably correct about that, but I honestly don’t detach the screen very much at all. So, I have the Surface Pen for freehand work on the screen, which I do use now and then, and the Surface Dial, which I only use for scrolling web pages and the audio volume. Maybe one day I can use it Visio… I also have a Microsoft Designer Bluetooth Mouse, which I like because I am allergic to the rubber wheels on most mice, but this one has hard plastic.

The Surface Book 2 is supplied with a power adaptor that has another USB-A port to add to the two USB-A ports on the left, and one USB-C on the right of the base. Well, I couldn’t connect to any external monitor or to a wired ethernet cable, so I forked out for a Surface Dock, which is a monster with a power adaptor and a separate hub with 4 USB-3.0 ports, 2 Mini Display Ports, 1 audio out, and 1 Gigabit ethernet port. I have been stopped several times at the airport with this unit because it looks very suspicious to the border officers when it goes through the X-ray!

So, if I am traveling and want to connect directly to an external monitor, I have two choices. I can take the Surface Dock, a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI, and an HDMI cable, or I can take the Surface power adaptor and a USB-C to HDMI cable that I bought from Uni Accessories via Amazon! You can see the difference below, and I can feel it in my laptop bag too!

The USB-C to HDMI cable works well, has a good length, and a useful band to keep it tidy. Of course, I can’t attach two external monitors like I can do the Surface Dock, but then I can really only use two effectivley … and I can use my iPad for music.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I like the monitor on the left from LG, because I get more screen real estate than I do on my already quite large laptop screen. I initially bought a cheap Mini DisplayPort adapator to fit into the Surface Dock, but it causes screen flicker, so I ended up buying the more expensive Microsoft MiniDisplay Port to HDMI adaptor, which works much better.

I added to the complexity recently because I bought an Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset in anticipation of the forthcoming immersive experience in Visio. I tried connecting it to the Surface Dock but it looked like I was viewing a kaleidoscope. So, I immediately returned the headset to Acer saying it must be faulty … only to find the new one they sent me had the same problem. So, I did what I should have done initially and searched the web, and found that I needed to connect it to the USB-C port, situated by the power connector on the right-hand side … and also to one of the USB-A ports on the left-hand side. So, I needed a USB-C to HDMI adaptor, which works, but there is quite a stretch to get the other part of the headset cable into the opposite side of the base.



It does work, but it is not a longterm solution, so I have signed up for a soon-to-be-released USB-C hub from the same company. Then I should be able to connect both the parts of the headset cable into it, with ports to spare!


One Response to “My #SurfaceBook 2 video connections”

  1. Handy USB-C Hub for Surface Book 2 | bVisual - for people interested in Microsoft Visio Says:

    […] recently wrote about the video connections that I use with my Surface Book 2, and this included the almost impossible connection with my Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


O365 and SharePoint

Simplify Tasks

Want to learn the simple way?

Paul Turley's SQL Server BI Blog

sharing my experiences with the Microsoft data platform, SQL Server BI, Data Modeling, SSAS Design, Power Pivot, Power BI, SSRS Advanced Design, Power BI, Dashboards & Visualization since 2009

John Goldsmith's visLog

be smart, be clear, be visual ...

Mo's blog

Personal views on Dynamics 365 for Operations and Technical Architecture.

Chris Webb's BI Blog

Microsoft Power BI, Analysis Services, MDX, DAX, M, Power Pivot and Power Query

Azure Solutions for Office 365, and more...

Rob Fahrni



Life with Visio and other Microsoft Toys!

Nilsandrey's Weblog

Just another weblog

Things that Should be Easy

Every so often (too often in the IT industry) I encounter things that should have been very easy to do but turned out to be far too complicated. My favorite topics include SharePoint, .Net development, and software architecture, especially distributed systems.

Visio Guy

Smart graphics for visual people

%d bloggers like this: