7 best Microsoft Surface accessories: power up your Windows tablet!

Get more from your tablet/laptop device with these add-ons

As devices become more popular, accessory makers start to sit up and take notice, and so it is with the Surface. Microsoft now sells a less powerful budget edition in the form of the Surface 3, its more powerful Surface Pro 3, and its latest and greatest, the Surface Pro 4.

If you've taken the plunge on one of these hybrid devices and want to know what else you can use to kit it out with, then read on for a collection of the best accessories of the moment.

1. Surface Pro 4 Pen

If you've never seen the benefit of Microsoft's Surface Pen, now's the time to get curious. You can do tons of things using the new Surface Pro 4 pen, such as opening OneNote with a click, opening a screenshot in OneNote with a double click, and activating Cortana with a long press.

Purchasing a pen tip kit gets you a tip removal tool and four tips that can be used to draw or write more precisely. They are: 2H (very low friction), H (low friction), HB (medium friction), and B (high friction). The new pen features 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity (up from the Surface Pro 3 Pen's 256) and doubles up as a tool for selecting menus and icons instead of your finger.

2. New Type Cover

Pretty much essential if you want your laptop/tablet hybrid to actually offer the laptop part of the deal (you're not going to type out your essays on a touchscreen are you?). In fact it's a little sneaky on Microsoft's part not to offer these keyboards bundled in with the Surface devices in the first place, so buyers are sometimes caught aware with the extra expense.

They are pricey additions too, but on the positive side they're very well made and only a few millimetres thick. The new Surface Pro 4 keyboard has been completely redesigned to have island-style keys which feel closer to typing on a regular keyboard with slightly deeper travel, in contrast with the Surface Pro 3's ultra-shallow Type Cover keys.

The Surface Pro 4's Type Cover works with the Surface Pro 3 too, so you don't have to upgrade to Microsoft's latest tablet to use one.

3. Docking Station

Two models are available to match the two Surface models, and these Docking Stations really do add to the Surface's ability to mimic a laptop when you've got it fixed in one position on a desk - you can connect up a larger monitor, more peripherals, a wired Ethernet connection, speakers and more while charging up the device at the same time.

Surface Docking Station

You can use the Docking Station if you need to output something from your Surface to a nearby printer, for example, or if you need to plug in a couple of external hard drives to access files. The design of the dock changes depending on whether you're buying for the Surface 3 or the Surface Pro 3 but the price stays the same. [£164.99 from Microsoft]

4. Knomad Surface Portable Organiser

You don't want to spend hundreds of pounds on a Surface or Surface Pro only to see it damaged by the wear and tear of everyday life, so a case or carrying bag is essential if you want to keep your tablet/laptop looking as good as new. You've got plenty of choices to pick from but the case Knomad makes specifically for the Surface is one of the best of the bunch.

Surface Knomad Portable Organiser

Not only does the cotton canvas fabric Organiser protect your precious slate against accidental drops and knocks, it also provides space for a portable battery, smartphone, (paper) notebook, charging cable and more - you can even fit a passport and credit cards in here if you happen to be moving from place to place with your Surface. [£60 from Knomo]

5. 64GB SanDisk Ultra microSD card

Depending on the model and configuration of your Surface, you could find yourself with anywhere from 64GB to 512GB of internal storage space - in other words, not much at all, depending on how much you've splashed out to begin with. One way to make up for a storage shortage is to make use of the microSD card slot built into every model.

Surface 64GB SanDisk card

Of course your options are then wide open in terms of how much you want to spend - here we've picked a high-performance 64GB card from SanDisk (one of the more reputable brands) but you could easily buy several smaller cards or opt for a pricey 128GB alternative. You could also use an external hard drive as an alternative. [£16.99 from Amazon]

6. Arc Touch Mouse

If you think the Arc Touch Mouse looks a little unusual, it's because it's been specially moulded to fit the shape of your hand, or so Microsoft claims. It's "inspired by Surface" (make of that what you will) and is the ideal choice if you prefer the more natural action of using a mouse rather than spending all your time tapping away at the device's touchscreen.

Surface Arc Touch Mouse

There's a distance of 30 feet (about 9.1m) on this mouse, so you don't have to worry about going out of range, and because it works through Bluetooth there are no cables to get tangled up in either. The traditional scroll wheel is replaced by a haptic touch strip that responds precisely to the speed of your finger movement. [£59.99 from Microsoft]

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