Microsoft Audio Dock review (2023) great features and performance

a decent USB hub and speaker

Microsoft announced the Microsoft Audio Dock on Wednesday. It is a new USB-C dock that will connect to the Microsoft Surface Pro 9, Surface Laptop 5, and Surface Studio 2+’s Thunderbolt 4 ports. Along with the fact that Microsoft no longer sells the Surface Dock on its website, this is another sign that the Surface Dock is dead, just like we said it would be. Microsoft has adopted a different strategy, contending that you would prefer to have a desk speaker.

Microsoft Audio Dock: Description

In 2021, Microsoft will replace the Harman Kardon Invoke’s compatibility with Cortana with enterprise speakers that are focused on Teams. Now, it looks like Microsoft is making the Modern USB-C Speaker work on your desk. Microsoft seems to be trying to make a speaker dock that can be used for both work and play. It is 6.6 x 3.16 x 3.19 inches and has a 54 x 48 x 41.5mm woofer and a 25.9 x 11.6mm tweeter inside. The matte-black dock doesn’t just work with Thunderbolt, though, so it can connect to a wider range of devices. By using DisplayLink, Microsoft is also not trying to get the best of both worlds.

The different types of data and capabilities make things more complicated, but here’s what matters: The Audio Dock can connect directly to a 4K60 display with an HDMI cable. A second USB-C cable can also connect to a different display, but it will split the upstream USB-C cable connection, which might mean it can only support a 1080p display or two 4K displays with lower resolutions. The other USB-C and USB-A ports can only be used to send and receive data, like for connecting peripherals.

Microsoft Audio Dock: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Premium design
  • Great sound quality
  • Universal support via USB-C

Cons

  • No Bluetooth
  • Needs more ports
  • Pricey

Design and Ports

Microsoft Audio Dock review

One of the more stylish PC docks on the market right now is the Microsoft Audio Dock. Most docks are square plastic or metal boxes, but the Audio Dock is in the shape of a round pill and is covered in a modern mesh fabric that hides the speaker drivers that come with it. Along the top, you’ll find your volume and microphone controls, as well as a button that’s just for Teams. When you have a meeting, you can use this button to quickly open the Teams app.

When a meeting starts, the Teams button will even flash to let you know. The buttons for “Teams” and “Mic” are round and have a tactile feel to them. The media and volume buttons are cut into the soft rubber fabric that runs along the top of the dock. This makes the buttons a little less tactile because you have to push on the soft rubber to make them work.

Around the back, you can find an HDMI 2.0 port that can output 4K 60Hz video, a power connector, and a USB-A 3.2 port for data. I wish there were a couple more ports, like another USB-A port and an ethernet jack. That’s my only complaint. The bottom of the dock is made of a rubber that grips, so it won’t move around on your desk even if you plug in a lot of wires and accessories. Also, the rubber on the bottom acts as a hidden lip for the USB-C cable that comes with it. This cable can be wound or unwound up to 1.5 meters.

The Microsoft Audio Dock isn’t just made for Surface PCs like the Surface Dock 2, so it uses USB-C as a universal standard connector. The USB-C plug has a small white LED on it that lights up when it’s successfully connected to a PC. It works with any PC with a USB-C port, including Surface devices. Your PC can get up to 60W of power from the Dock, which should be enough for most Ultrabook laptops and office tasks. If you’re using something more powerful, however, you may find that your battery slowly dies throughout the day.

Microsoft Audio Dock: Features

Microsoft Audio Dock review

With an omnidirectional speaker and a noise-canceling microphone built in, it’s clear that Microsoft wants this unit to be used in all conference rooms. It works with Teams, Google Meet, and Zoom, but companies and professionals who use Meet, Zoom, or other software for video conferencing might be turned off by the Teams logo on top and the dedicated button that can’t be changed.

Teams is used by a lot of businesses and organizations, which is good for Microsoft. we might be overestimating how much this would hurt the company’s bottom line, though. The Omnisonic speaker has 5-watt tweeters and a 15-watt woofer, which promise a good sound quality. There is a volume button on top, and the unit has a mute button that can be used to control the two omnidirectional mics. There is no smart-speaker functionality in the Microsoft Audio Dock, which is almost a sure sign that Microsoft is quietly getting rid of its voice assistant Cortana.

Microsoft Audio Dock: Audio Quality

The Audio Dock has one tweeter and one subwoofer, which make for a good listening experience. Those who use it for conferencing won’t be able to find anything wrong with it. But if you want to use this device to listen to music most of the time, there are better ways to do that. To make sure, the sound is good. It’s clear, and for such a small speaker, it has a lot of bass. If you turn it up to more than 70%, it will definitely shake your desk, but you can find much better audio solutions in this price range that will let you listen to music better.

This is a great solution if you are looking for something to give a medium-sized meeting room full of people a little more clarity and bass. This is where the Microsoft Audio Dock really shines. The only big problem with this dock is that it doesn’t have Bluetooth. If you want to use the speakers for anything, you have to always connect them via USB-C.

Through the Microsoft Accessory Center app, you can change a few things about the Audio Dock. The prompt tone is a sound that plays when you press the microphone button. You can turn it on and off. You can also change the volume of the prompt tone if it’s too loud or too soft.

Performance

The Microsoft Audio Dock isn’t bad. In fact, we liked it better than the speakers on the gaming laptop we used most of the time we had the dock. When we couldn’t use headphones, we would switch to the Audio Dock as my music playback device, even though the device is mostly, if not entirely, made for video-conferencing and simple talking.

The 15-watt woofer gives the sound surprising bass, and the range is wider than most, if not all, of the conference speakers we have heard. Speech is also clear, and the mics pick up my sometimes-mumbled voice very well, much better than the ones on Microsoft’s Modern Webcam, which we also used at the same time.

Its lack of ports, on the other hand, makes it less useful as a dock. Yes, we could hook up a monitor to it, but we had to use the two ports on my laptop to connect my external keyboard and mouse. Also, the passthrough port can only deliver up to 60W of power, which is fine for regular office work. However, when we asked my laptop to do something more demanding, like use image-processing apps or play games, it either struggled to charge it or just couldn’t keep up, and the battery level slowly went down, so we just plugged it into the wall.

The dedicated Teams button worked as promised, bringing up Microsoft’s video-conferencing app when pressed. This is a tool that can be more useful in conference rooms than at a desk, which is what I have, but I can see how it could be useful there too.

Price and availability

Microsoft Audio Dock review

Here’s the bad news. The Microsoft Audio Dock costs £244.99/$249.99. I hope you’re sitting down. Even if the speaker is very good, that’s a lot of money for a small dock and speaker. At the time this review was written, it was on sale in the US for less than $200, which shows that Microsoft is already willing to make concessions. This is a sign that the unit will be on sale often.

Final Words

The Microsoft Audio Dock is made for people who use Surface laptops and desktops. With only a few USB ports, it won’t be appealing to people with MacBook Pros or other laptops with a severe lack of ports, and the speaker, while surprisingly good, won’t be enough to get you to pay £200 or more for it. But if you use a Surface and want your setup to be as unified as possible, the Microsoft Audio Dock looks good and works well.

FAQs

What is a audio dock?

A sound dock is a device that holds an MP3 player or other type of audio player. When the player is “docked,” they can get a power charge. Most of the time, the sound dock has speakers or is connected to a stereo system, so the player can be used while it is docked without headphones.

What is a Microsoft Surface dock used for?

You can connect your Surface to full-size monitors, an ethernet connection, external speakers, and more with the Surface Dock. It also keeps your Surface charged. Go to Identify your Surface Dock and features if you don’t know which dock you have.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staffhttps://www.bollyinside.com
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!

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The Microsoft Audio Dock is a smart all-in-one solution that lets you dock your laptop to an external monitor with additional ports, while providing an enhanced audio experience and team controls. It's ideal for offices and meeting rooms.Microsoft Audio Dock review (2023) great features and performance