Microsoft is entering the highly crowded yet competitive audio and speaker market with its brand new offering called Audio Dock, which basically is a subtle amalgamation of a speaker and a laptop hub unveiled during the recently held Surface event. The product isn’t your usual off-the-shelf home speaker (although it can be used as one), instead, it sort of presents itself as a portable workstation device that can expand the number of ports on your laptop/PC and simultaneously act as a mini entertainment device suited best for your daily home office meetings/conferences.
Microsoft is calling the Audio Dock an “all-in-one speakerphone” which is compatible with Windows and macOS and comes with a wide array of docking options. The half laptop hub half speaker gets all its juice via the 60W USB-C port and comes with four connection slots at the back of the device, including two USB-C 3.1, a single USB-A, an HDMI input, and lastly a power pass-through to “keep your PC fully charged all day.” With this many ports, you can easily connect two external monitors while leaving space for a few other peripherals, such as a mouse or an HDD.
Connections and ports aside, one of the main appeals of the Audio Dock are the in-built powerful Omnisonic speakers that come fitted with a 15W woofer which comes in at 2.13 inches long, 1.92 inches wide, and 1.63 inches tall, 5 W tweeters measuring 1.02×0.46 inches, and side-firing radiators. The dock uses the same Microsoft Omnisonic speakers which are found on the tech giant’s other Surface products. There are even dual forward-facing, noise-reducing microphones, which Microsoft claims will help deliver “exceptional voice capture and reduced background sound.” The speakers can output at up to 90 dB, on par with the volume output of the Razer Leviathan V2 X soundbar.
To help you during your virtual meetings, the Audio Dock has an integrated Teams button, which can be used to perform in-meeting actions such as raising or lowering your hand. The hub also supports other online calling services like Google Meet and Zoom so that you won’t be locked into a single-device ecosystem. Well done, Microsoft! Alongside the usual volume/music controls, a mute/unmute control button with a status light is also present, allowing you to easily see if you’re muted.
All in all, Microsoft’s new dock seems to be a decent entry-level product for home office setup that aims to simplify one’s arrangement by providing them with a compact yet powerful all-in-one laptop hub that can be used for entertainment too. The Audio dock is priced at USD$250 and will become available in specific regions starting October 25, with currently no word on when the device will be launched globally.