The NexDock 2 is a device that looks like a laptop — it has a 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 IPS pixel display, a full-sized backlit keyboard, a 51 Wh battery, and quad speakers.
But it doesn’t have its own processor, memory or storage. Instead you can connect it to a smartphone, Raspberry Pi, or other low-power mini PCs.
Basically the NexDock 2 can turn your smartphone into a laptop, or your mini PC into a mobile computing device.
The creators of the NexDock 2 raised nearly $500,000 for the project through a Kickstarter campaign last year. And while they missed the estimated ship date by a few months, the team started delivering laptop docks to customers in December. Now NexDock says all orders placed during the crowdfunding process have been shipped.
That helps set this project apart from some other laptop docks we’ve seen in recent years — the ill-fated Superbook, for example, only shipped to about three quarters of its crowdfunding backers before the company ran out of money, and some customers who did receive one were underwhelmed by the hardware.
So far it looks like the NexDock 2 may actually deliver on its promise — The Register has a fairly positive review that describes the laptop dock as a good solution for turning a Raspberry Pi 4 into a mobile, battery-powered computer with minimal fuss.
Penguin Tutor found that it works with all versions of the Raspberry Pi, and the phone also works with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and other Samsung phones that support the DeX experience, but you can’t use the NexDock’s battery to charge your phone while it’s connected.
It’s also worth noting that you may need to use a jumble of cables to connect the NexDock 2 to your device — it has a USB 3.1 Type-C input and an HDMI 1.4a input and comes with a bunch of cables and adapters that should help you run video and data from your phone and mini PC to the laptop dock.
It also has a USB-C PD charging port, USB 3.0 Type-A and Type-C data ports, a microSDXC card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. It comes with a 60 watt USB-C charger.
The NexDock 2 is about the size of cheap 13 inch laptop, measuring 12.4″ x 8.5″ x 0.6″ and weighing about 3.1 pounds. Carrying it around is going to feel a lot like carrying a laptop around… which means you have to at least consider whether this thing provides more value than a cheap Windows laptop or Chromebook.
But if you either like the idea of keeping all your apps and data on one device (your phone), or of turning a Raspberry Pi-like mini PC into a portable notebook, I suppose the NexDock 2 is one of the simpler solutions — and it’s nice to see that despite a delay of a few months, it’s a real thing that mostly seems to deliver on its promise.
Now that all of the Kickstarter rewards have been shipped, NexDock has opened pre-orders to the general public. You can order a NexDock 2 for $259 + shipping and it should ship March 1st.
Note that shipping isn’t cheap — rates seem to vary from around $15 to $65 depending on what country you want to have the NexDock 2 sent to.
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