Microsoft Continuum - Display Dock Review along with Lumia 950XL

Unknown 12:07 PM
Is it a Smartphone, or is it a PC? No, It is the Lumia 950XL with Continuum Display Dock on Windows 10

Microsoft has taken a unified multi-device platform approach to bringing all devices under one umbrella with Windows 10. One of their awesome features is the – Continuum – allows you to bring out a PC-like environment on your Windows10 Mobile Device without any extra hassle. Think of a case that you started a small word document on your phone, but you need to make it bigger and more attractive? 

With a Microsoft Display Dock and a Lumia 950 XL in hand,  I decided to give it a test for an in-depth review.

Plug and Play like USB

Setting up the Display Dock is quite straightforward and easy, all you have to do is - connect the smartphone to the Display Dock using the bundled USB3 Type-C to Type-C cable, which also doubles up as a charging point for the phone.

Microsoft Display Dock - Continuum

Inside the Box: USB C to USB C Cable, USB C Charging Wire & Dock

Matt Finish - Metal Body, feels Premium and sturdy

Front USB C Type - Connecting Port: Connects to Port

The rear part of the Display Dock comes with some of the standard ports you’d find across laptops, desktops or a PC like the USB, HDMI, and DisplayPort along with standard power outlet. You can connect PC peripherals like keyboard, mouse, Printer (Only HP support so far) via the USB port or can also connect them via Bluetooth with the Lumia phone. 

The moment you plugin your Lumia 950 or Lumia 950 XL into the front of the Display Dock, and a monitor via HDMI Cable into the back, a message pops up on your phone asking if you want to switch into Continuum mode. [It's a Yes, by default].  Choose yes, and your phone's screen becomes a touchpad so you can hover the mouse on the extended display on the big screen to show up documents, or play music or video and much more. It becomes more powerful when you connect a keyboard or a mouse along with. The third USB port can accept USB Flash Drives, supported Hard Drives, Memory Card Readers, Supported Printers, etc.

The Output at the extended screen is a 1,920 X 1,200 resolution with 60 frames per second. That really looks sharp and clean but the fonts in Windows 10 Mobile's white-text-on-black interfaces (such as in Outlook) sometimes look a little thin. Having said that, Office Suite Apps, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint and Excel are just terrific.

In Continuum mode, you're restricted to Continuum-compatible apps for now, of course, which include the Office suite, the built-in music and video apps, the file manager, and a few others. The browsing via Edge Browser is great, and loading websites, emails or heavy websites like YouTube is a easy task.

Just like a PC? 

Just plugging the Lumia phone into the Dock, and the monitor powers up with a desktop interface with no desktop icons. On the bigger screen, it’s the standard background image, along with familiar taskbar and the Windows Standard Start button. There is no lag or slowdown when navigating on the bigger screen or incase of switching from Mobile View to Extended Display View.

A big plus point is the ability to  to connect storage devices as well. My own experience with my 1TB USB Drive & a Flash Drive was a easy open up once connected via File Explorer. You can open up the File Explorer and easily browse the files stored on the USB drive.

If you expect that while using the bigger screen mode, your phone is a waste, then you a hugely mistaken. You can use your phone as normally as you do. If you open an app on the phone that's currently displayed it will minimize on the monitor and resume on the phone. Advantage is that you can send some SMS messages while you work on a Word or PowerPoint document on the bigger screen. Similarly, if there is any app which is not supported in the Continuum Mode, there is a prompt on the screen that the app would be opened up on the phone instead - that's the power of Windows10.

Our Observation

One of the best features in Microsoft's new Windows 10 Mobile operating system is the - Continuum, the ability to scale your phone up into a full-on desktop PC. It brings out the ability to carry your computing power with you and adapt to the form factor you need at real time.

Though with a little drawback over limitation of applications available which are compatible in Continuum Mode, Display Dock is currently limited to a fewer apps. While more and more developers invest into UWP with Continuum Support, the future of the Dock looks very bright. 

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