We're going to test out Continuum with the Microsoft Lumia 950. In order to do that, you'll actually need one of these Microsoft Display Dock accessories which retails for about $100. Basically, it transforms your smartphone into a full-fledged PC by displaying content on a larger display from your smartphone. It's important to know that Continuum is only compatible with select Windows Phone devices right now so just the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL.
If you flip the box over, we'll find more details about the device and how it works. But let's not waste any more of your precious time. Let's see what's inside the box. We can get inside the box by slicing off the tape on top of the box and we'll see the first item in the box is the Display Dock itself wrapped up in its own protective sheet of plastic. There's a Microsoft User Guide which may come in handy when it comes time to set this thing up. We have a standard USB Type-C cable on the left hand side of this tray and on the right hand side of the tray, we have a wall wart to USB Type-C cord which will be used to power the dock. The standard male USB Type-C to male USB Type-C cord will be used to connect your smartphone to the dock. But the last item on the box is the manufacturer's limited warranty.
Now the Display Dock's super clever idea to transform your smartphone into a full-fledged PC. They've included obviously a USB Type-C port on the front as well as on the back of the dock itself. We have two USB 2.0 ports and a USB 2.0 high current charging port. In addition, we have a display port and an HDMI port; all of which can be found in a rectangular box that measures 64.1 mm x 5.6 mm. It's worth mentioning that this little square dock is beautifully built. It features an aluminum frame that wraps around all four sides. And there appears to be a little plastic top with an embedded Windows logo and then a soft touch rubbery texture on the bottom to help it resist sliding around on your desk. Overall, it feels extremely solid in the hand and looks pretty good on your desk.
All we need to do to setup the dock is insert an HDMI cord that connects your TV to the dock which then connects to your smartphone. Then, we can plug in the PC to USB Type-C cable into a wall charger and then into the back of the dock to power it up. Then we can use the other USB Type-C cable to connect your smartphone to the dock. It's all very simple, it's all very intuitive and it's nice to see both USB Type-C cables included in the box. The only cable that's missing is an HDMI cable but chances are, you have one laying around your home. If you want to attach a keyboard and mouse via a USB port, you can totally do that if you like. Wired or wireless peripherals will work.
Now we can navigate to the Continuum app on your Lumia 950 or other compatible Windows device and you'll see a basic Windows 10 desktop experience on your big screen. The Lumia 950 will actually turn into a touchpad for the mouse so if you don't have a separate mouse peripheral, then you can use your phone which is pretty cool.
So how well does it work? In my opinion, it works surprisingly well with all things considered. You get a dumbed down Windows 10 experience with a start menu and quick settings toggles. The major bummer is that some Windows apps and most third-party apps do not work with Continuum at this time. There is also no multi-tasking functionality as of yet. We might see an update to allow split-screen or snap features to Continuum in the future. But so far, we have none. The good news is that you can pull up pretty much any site using the edge browser and content will be presented in a large viewing format.
The apps that I think people will use the most include the Microsoft Office apps like PowerPoint, Word, Excel-- they all look great on the big screen. Obviously the edge browser will be used frequently but I can see people playing a lot of games through Continuum, granted not a lot of games work with Continuum at this time. Crossy Road does work and it's actually one of those games that really does benefit from being played on a large display.
Overall, Continuum runs surprisingly well. For $100, I think one can certainly justify buying a dock if they have a Continuum-compatible device and they want to use their phone to replace their dated PC. There are some minor bugs here and there that should get worked out in a future update since this whole functionality is relatively new. But the experience, as a whole, does work surprisingly well. It's only going to get better as developers further implement Continuum into their apps.