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Microsoft Display Dock Turns Your Smartphone Into A PC With Windows 10 Continuum

In April 2015, when Microsoft showed off Windows 10 operating system to the world, the most talked about upcoming feature was Continuum for Phones. Continuum for Phones would help Windows 10 smartphone owners to use their devices to enjoy a full-fledged desktop experience. Back then Microsoft had kept the device under wraps but it has finally unveiled the gadget by christening it as Display Dock. As predicted, the Microsoft Display Dock won’t work with every smartphone that runs Windows 10. Newly unveiled powerful smartphones such as the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL which have hardware support for Continuum can be used with the Display Dock. So how does the Display Dock make your smartphone into a PC? Find out in the following paragraphs.

Microsoft Display Dock (2)

In order to use the Continuum feature on your Windows 10 smartphone you need the Display Dock obviously, along with an external monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse. There aren’t any restrictions for the keyboard and mouse though, any USB 2.0 compatible mice and keyboards can be plugged into the Display Dock. The problem here is finding a USB-C connector supporting DisplayPort video output and a display with a DisplayPort or HDMI connector or a compatible adapter. Although you get a USB-C cable with the Display Dock it is used to provide the power supply for the device. Once the setup is complete you can either run a PC-like experience or scale up Office apps such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint on a bigger display.

The Good

Microsoft Display Dock (1)

Unlike those ASUS Transformer Books where you had to dock the smartphone part and have it sitting idle in the back, you can use your Lumia 950 or 950 XL even when it’s plugged into the Display Dock. You can take calls and click photos even it’s plugged in. Businessmen won’t have to carry their work laptop every time they want to give a presentation at another office. They can carry the Display Dock which measures 64.1mm x 25.6 mm x 64.1 mm and weighs 230 grams in their pockets. You can use Microsoft Office that’s on your smartphone on a larger display with the ease of a mouse and keyboard. Before we forget, we have to inform you that you can also plug in USB 2.0 equipped storage devices on the Display Dock. This means if the price is right you can have a HTPC for your HDTV on which you can connect your external drive that is mostly filled with pirated movies and TV shows and watch them on the big screen.

The Bad

Microsoft Display Dock (3)

Microsoft isn’t saying when the product will arrive and what shall it cost. If the price is a bit steep then this would be a sour deal for customers. Our second concern is that a setting where you already have a display, a mouse and a keyboard must have a PC attached to it. So why not send your file to that PC and edit it on the much more capable Windows 10 desktop version. When the folks at The Verge tried out the Display Dock for themselves they found out that quintessential desktop features such as typing into Start Menu, splitting apps side-by-side, and minimizing windows do not work in Continuum. Yes, you do get keyboard shortcuts and mouse functionality. Another problem here is that you can’t have the same app running on your phone and external display simultaneously. Different apps on smartphone and display will work though. Finally, you can’t use a Display Dock with a laptop for obvious reasons.

So is the Display Dock an essential accessory for your brand new Lumia 950 or 950XL? Well no. Surely you could buy this for fun but just like other products in their first iteration it’s a good idea but it will take years to perfect. Software upgrades might make it better but that is for a later time.

Source: Microsoft Display Dock [Product Page]
According to Amazon India the Microsoft HD-500 Display Dock (Continuum Dock) costs Rs. 5,999. The device is up for pre-order and will go up for sale on 11th December 2015.

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