Skip to main content

A Tablet or Handset Could Power Your Next Laptop

When you get a load of the new NexDock, you may feel like it's 2011 all over again. Similar to the old Motorola Atrix 4G, this new laptop uses a smartphone as its brain. Though the product was first-announced in February, the company recently surpassed its $300,000 funding goal on Indiegogo.

The NexDock includes a 10,000-mAh battery, keyboard and a 14-inch, 1366 x 768-pixel display for $149 (though early backers were able to get it as low as $99 ), which is cheaper than most laptops. When you plug in a Windows 10 smartphone into its mini HDMI port, you can use Microsoft's Windows Continuum feature to use your tablet or phone as a full-fledged laptop.

MORE: Smartphones with the Longest Battery Life

Continuum allows all Windows 10 devices, such as tablets and smartphones, to expand onto larger monitors. This Microsoft operating system feature allows Windows apps to resize gracefully, based on what the OS recognizes as the largest screen size available. Essentially it makes the monitor and phone or tablet into dual monitors, where screens and data can be moved back and forth. 

As PCWorld points out, the choice of mini HDMI is curious when more and more phones use USB Type-C, which supports video output. NexDock has plans for future USB-C devices, but they weren't part of the current Indiegogo campaign. In a hands-on, ,PC World used a USB-C to HDMI adapter (they found the keys to be mushy and encountered trackpad bugs, but it has yet to go into full manufacturing.

In addition to running off of Windows 10 smartphones and tablets, NexDock also claims their shell can connect to mini PCs, as well as Android and iOS devices. Of course, without Windows 10, you will only have one window. The Motorola Atrix 4G combined a specific Android smartphone with an 11.6-inch dock for $299, so the NexDock has more versatility and value right out of the gate. 

The company claims supporters will receive their docks by June 2016, and as of this writing there are four days left in the campaign. Will you be throwing your money in the ring?