Images courtesy of Juiced Systems
Spare some cheer, then, for Juiced Systems and its handy Microsoft Surface 5-in-1 Adapter.
One of the advantages of the Surface RT and other tablets in the Surface family is the presence of a USB port that allows these devices to be directly connected to a variety of peripherals, including printers, flash drives, and a mouse. If you want to use two USB devices at the same time, however, you need a USB hub. That is effectively what Juiced Systems' Adapter is, but in a compact mobile-friendly form.
The adapter plugs into the existing Surface USB port and hugs the side of the tablet so it is not easily displaced. It only has two USB ports of its own (and both are USB 2.0 because it was designed for the original Surface RT), but it adds storage options through single SD and MicroSD card slots. Admittedly the Surface and Surface RT already have the latter, but it is hardly readily accessible. With the 5-in-1 adapter you can pop a MicroSD card in and out with ease.
When it is plugged in, the 5-in-1 Adapter is roughly two-and-a-half inches long and an inch wide. Because of its size and light weight, it can be easily carried in a pouch, in a backpack, or tablet carrying case when detached. Of course, it is not solely intended for use on the road but its principle flaw could be exposed in an office environment. In order to make it fit the form factor of a Surface tablet, the 5-in-1 Adapter covers the video out socket on the Surface RT when plugged in. This would be a problem for anyone who might consider using it with a device that is plugged into an external monitor.
Another feature of the adapter that is less a weakness and more a feature of uncertain utility is its micro-USB port. This is advertised as intended for charging other devices through the Surface tablet, but presumably that only works if you have a micro-USB adapter for your charging cable. Those adapters are cheap to buy, however, and if you own one there might be circumstances where this port could be useful. It's too bad that you can't charge the tablet through the USB, but that is something Microsoft is responsible for.
Notwithstanding the imperfections in its design, Juiced Systems' 5-in-1 Adapter could be a useful add-on for anyone who uses their Surface or Surface RT like a lightweight laptop with a USB mouse or keyboard. With its reasonable price and useful features, it should be a satisfying addition to any Surface user's accessory kit.