Microsoft Display Dock Review & Continuum

What is Continuum ?

Continuity. The idea of moving between screens, still get the same experience, start from where you left, and imagination of using your phone just like your PC comes alive with Microsoft Display Dock. Microsoft calls this technology Continuum.

All you need is plugin your Lumia 950 XL or any future phone which supports it, and get a Windows like Desktop on your TV or a Monitor. You can use a keyboard, a mouse or just the phone for type, and touch.

What is Microsoft’s Display Dock ?

It’s a hardware which transfers display from your supporting Windows 10 Mobile to a secondary screen. This version comes with 3 USB ports, HMDI Out, Display and Power Input.  Using these ports, it allows your phone to access USB drives, connect to bluetooth enabled devices like keyboard, and mouse, and access external hard drives.

Continuum Display Dock Setup

Check out unboxing, and first impressions here.

How different is Continuum from Miracast ?

Miracast on a very basic level is a wireless display standard designed for mirroring another display which could be coming from a PC, Tablet or even Smartphone. The best part of this standard is that its cross-platform.

When it comes to Continuum, it’s not mirroring what you see on phone. Windows 10 as an OS is built for screens. It can adapt itself to different screen sizes, and this is what happens in Continuum. You see, experience, and use a trimmed down version of Windows 10 Mobile in Continuum. The only condition of using apps, is they need to be Universal Apps.

That cleared, a lot of you think that the  “Wireless Adapter option” that is available with Continuum is Miracast. It’s not the case. When you connect Lumia 950 XL using a Wireless Adapter, it delivers the same experience like you get through wired dock, just that in this case you aren’t connecting to a display dock.

Lastly, if you ever wish to mirror your Windows 10 Mobile screen, the advance settings in the display, has option to mirror whats on your device.

Setting up Display Dock

This is the most crucial part for best experience with Continuum with your 950 XL. During my travel I had connected with TV most of the time, and once with monitor. So you should know how it set it up for the firs time, once you are done, connecting with any other display, would be easy.

Continuum Display Dock Setup

  • Your keyboard connects with bluetooth on the phone. In case you have bluetooth dongle with keyboard, plug it in the dock, and it will automatically connect.
  • Connect the mouse in the same way. In case mouse doesn’t get detected, change USB ports.
  • Next when you connect, you will have to adjust the display so it fits the tv screen.
  • Once done, chances are that your text will be small. Here is what you need to do, either through the phone or on the Continuum.

Continuum Wireless Display Option

  • Now go to Settings > Display > select Connected Display. Here you can choose size of text, apps and items on this display.

Continuum Connected Display Settings

  • Go to Settings  > Personalisation > Start. Here you have a new option that gets enabled, Second display. Here you can choose a background, and choose a fit. This way, you can have a different wallpaper than your phone.

Build & Design:

Its one solid device I have seen till now. Its heavy, the build quality is such that you could break or make a dent if you drop it on something. So when you carry it in your bag, make sure to keep it covered so it doesn’t hit anything else in your bag.

I talked about lot about it here, and to sum up this dock is only way to get your display from phone to next screen, and connects to USB drives, external HDD, connect over bluetooth devices. The best part is all the data drives are accessible from the phone or from Continuum.

Performance:

This is something we loved about continuum. There was no lag when using apps, browser and Office document. The outlook experience had been just great. I tested in many ways. Plugging it off abruptly when using office document, watching video and so on. The beauty is that the apps run on your phone, and is only getting projected on the screen, so even if you disconnect, it still keeps running.

Continumm Multitasking

So can you do multitasking? Kind of yes, but you cannot have two apps running side by side like you do it on Windows 10 PC. You an have one app on the display at a time, but you can have multiple apps running on it. The limit is around 8 which is same as on the phone.

How useful it is in real life ?

If you are kind of person who travel a lot, have a Lumia 950 XL, and use universal apps, this is a great device to ditch your Laptop once in a while.

  • Web Browsing on Full screen. You can watch videos on sites like YouTube, and anything that can be achieved through web browser.
  • It comes in handy if you want to showcase presentation anywhere on the run, all you will need is connection to the projector.
  • Microsoft is Offering Office 365 subscription for one full year if you have the display dock making it possible to edit documents on big screen super easy.
  • Access content on USB drives, External Hard disk and even perform file operation with it.

That said, as of now Continuum usage is limited, mostly because of limited number of Universal Apps. One such example is Netflix which doesn’t have universal app.

The real use of Continuum will come in handy when the support becomes available on low-budget devices on Microsoft devices, and on devices by other OEM.  If I get to use Continuum on small devices like the Lumia 435, that will be a real treat, because when you have it on bigger device, it is much easier to use it right there, without plugging in.

At the end I have to say that this is something Microsoft has done really, keeping in mind that is the first version. We hope the next iteration turns out to be even better.

[wp-review]
Buy Microsoft HD-500 Display Dock for Lumia 950/950 XL (Grey)

Continuum Keyboard Shortcuts:

  • Windows Key + Spacebar Switch input language and change keyboard layout
  • Windows Key + Print Screen Take a screenshot.
  • Alt + Tab Switch between open apps
  • Windows Key + A Open Action Center
  • Windows Key + C Open Cortana in listening mode
  • Windows Key + E Open File Explorer
  • Windows Key + I Open Settings
  • Windows Key + K Open the Connect quick action
  • Windows Key + L Lock your handset
  • Windows Key + O Lock device orientation
  • Windows Key + P Open display settings
  • Windows Key + S Open search. It opens Cortana, and you will need to enter text.
  • Windows Key + Tab Open Task view
  • Windows Key + Backspace Go back
A die-hard fan of Windows, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows Phone and Xbox, Loves to Do Video reviews on Windows Phone Apps, Games, Xbox Games, Xbox Tutorials.

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