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Review: Microsoft HD-500 Dock

Review: Microsoft HD-500 Dock

One of the big features that we got to see with the newly announced Lumia 950 and 950 XL, was Continuum. After picking up my 950 I tried Continuum using wireless methods, and they worked pretty well, but with noticeable lag. Finally, I managed to get myself a Microsoft dock and took Continuum out for a real test drive.

I’ll admit, the results are ok, but until there are more apps supported, it’s not really worth the investment. The big problem, app support. For anyone who has stuck around with Windows phone, you already know that the platform doesn’t really get much support from developers, so I’m not holding my breath for anything to change with Continuum.

While using my phone on the big screen I found myself continually having to pick up my phone to use an application because it had no support. Continuum doesn’t even try to just scale it to the big screen, it just gives you the option to load on your phone. Granted, the Microsoft apps work amazingly well, Office for example is absolutely fantastic.

When I first started using the dock, I found it laggy, unresponsive, and just awful to use. Edge browser didn’t work, and most of the Microsoft apps were broken. After trying a full restore on my phone, I found that this fixed all of my issues (but it was a pain having to do a restore just to use my phone with a dock!)

So, I’ve said some not so great stuff about the dock, but it does have some great points. The dock itself is beautifully built, with a very premium finish. It’s heavy, so you won’t have to worry about it sliding all over your desk. A big win, it uses USB C to power the dock which means you’re not going to end up with multiple types of cables to carry around.

The experience is ok. The apps that work are fantastic and great to use. When hooked up with a mouse and keyboard Continuum almost fools me into thinking I’m using a full blown version of Windows, but then I click on an app that’s not supported, or try and multi-task, and I’m reminded it’s not even close. At this stage though, this is NOT a PC like experience, it’s a Windows 10 skin on a big screen that lulls the user into thinking it is more than it really is. As of right now you can’t really do that much, and to be honest, you’d be better off getting a cheap Windows tablet that runs a full version of windows and hooking this up to a display.

The overall experience is ok, average, but it’s not what Microsoft are bragging about. To be honest, getting an Android device and HDMI adapter probably works just as well, if not better than what Continuum can currently do, at least all of the apps scale to the large screen, even if they do look a little ugly. For the price, and the fact that you will end up carrying another accessory and more cables, I can’t really find it to recommend this. It’s a good experiment, and if Microsoft can actually get developers on side, then there is huge potential, but given their track record I’m not holding my breath.

About Author: shaundowdall

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