The NexDock Wireless is a device that looks like a convertible notebook with a 13.3 inch touchscreen display. But it’s not a standalone laptop. It’s a smartphone accessory that lets you run your mobile apps on a bigger screen.
And unlike most other smartphone docks that Nex Computer has shipped since running its first crowdfunding campaign in 2016, the NexDock Wireless is a wires-optional device. You can either plug it into a compatible phone with a USB cable or use it wirelessly thanks to Bluetooth and Miracast technology.
Miracast handles the wireless display functionality, allowing you to beam content from your phone to the 13.3 inch display, while Bluetooth allows you to use the keyboard and touchpad as wireless input devices for your phone.
If the NexDock Wireless looks familiar, that’s because it’s nearly identical to the NexDock 360 that launched a few years ago. It has the same 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS LCD touchscreen display with up to 300 nits brightness, the same 1-watt quad speaker system, and the same set of ports (including a USB-C charging port, a USB 3.0 Type-C data port, a microSDXC card reader and a headset jack).
The difference is that the original NexDock 360 lacks wireless capabilities and can only be used with phones or other devices that support video output over a USB-C connection. That includes many Samsung, Huawei and Motorola devices as well as Linux phones like the PinePhone and Librem 5. But it excludes many phones including Google Pixel devices.
Adding support for wireless connections should make the latest NexDock laptop dock compatible with a wider range of phones, while also freeing you from a mess of cables.
Nex Computer is now selling the NexDock Wireless for $349. Folks who’d rather save a few bucks can still pick up the NexDock 360 for $299.
Reminds me of Superbook. I believe they had trouble shipping all the units (see the kickstarter comments).
Never heard of it before. Also, a lapdock for $100? Best of luck with that. Even a standalone portable monitor can cost more than the entire NexDock 360 or NexDock Wireless while having the same 1080p 60Hz screen.
Didn’t ASUS try something like this a long time ago? Seem to remember they had a laptop that you would dock your phone into.
I think Moto did. A long time ago.
Yeah, that was the Atrix phones and their Lapdocks. Although they trademarked that name, I’ve still been using “lapdock” to refer to any portable monitor with an attached keyboard and trackpad because it’s a convenient shorthand. ASUS never made one as far as I know.
I’m really not getting the appeal of this if you own samsung phone.
As long as both laptop and phone are on the same network dex can work exactly the same. If samsung didn’t release this mode few years ago then probably nexdock could still be relevant. But now id rather have 2 separate devices, makes no difference during travelling even if you use nexdock since you also need to carry 2 devices as well.
Well, for some one thing that could appeal to them is precisely that. They don’t need a network for it to work. Miracast creates an adhoc connection between the two devices without relying on an established network.
This means that 1, there SHOULD be less lag and 2, you can do it anywhere. I agree that there is not much need for this nowadays in many situations, but there are still situations where it can be of benefit/use
For this situation direct dex with usb cable works better, but at the cost of being wireless of course.
But yeah i get your point maybe this is more beneficial for non samsung users.
If you meant to say DeX on PC, I can understand what you are trying to say there. However, DRM-protected apps won’t work on it, so I won’t dismiss this kind of solution.
Todd, great point, but not all Samsung phones have Dex. But as I note below, I’m not sure this device actually expands the number of phones that will work. But yeah, if your phone already does Dex, I don’t get the point.
Some Guy, yes DRM is the issue, but I believe USB-C and Samsung Dex will let you avoid that, including the specific phones mentioned for the original model. What I’m saying is I’m not sure this expands the number of phones that work. I’d want a good refund policy before buying.
I wouldn’t assume this will widen the phones available until the device is in hand. I’ve found Miracast does not work with all forms of video (e.g. Netflix) if the device does not support video over USB-C (e.g. Pixel devices.
I’d put the blame on the DRM in the video stream first.
Yes, it’s because of the DRM, but it’s industry standard DRM. As long as both devices support HDCP it will work (and yes, Miracast supports HDCP so it depends on whether the phone maker and Nexdock bothered to implement it. You’ll find HDCP on any tv you buy (at least when using HDMI, wireless varies) so you can’t blame Netflix for wanting HDCP when it’s the de facto standard for video DRM. If they were using weird stuff that broke compatibility easily with devices or upgrades (as happens sometimes with other DRM) then it would make sense to complain. While I personally don’t like Netflix (don’t even have an account personally), I wouldn’t blame them for the device makers not springing for basic standards.
As this is not true convergence and is also Android, I highly approve. Hopefully Android remains the annoying garbage it is. If this is the future of operating systems it looks bleak.
Have you seen Phosh, Sway, Plasma, Gnome Shell etc. on PostmarketOS, Mobian, Maemo Leste, NixOS etc?
Yes, the Gnome on PureOs isn’t too terrible a user interface but the Librem 5 itself hardware is overpriced garbage. The Pinephone is also terrible. The hardware kill switches are the only good things going for these two devices.
Gnome is ok so long as the Linux distribution supports ALL of the third party extensions and are available in the repository. PureOs kind of, but not nearly as polished as Nobara Project which allows for any style of work flow, instead of just the official Gnome workflow, which only makes sense for large multi-monitor display… In which case a tiling window manager like even Sway would be superior.
How are the differences between the aspect ratio and resolution of the phone and laptop display accounted for? Is there a mode or button to reformat the video output when in laptop mode?
If you’re using the wired connection, AOSP 11+’s desktop mode has the option to use the external display as a separate monitor and will use it at the detected resolution, so that’s basically taken care of. Wireless DeX I would imagine has ways of doing that, too. Other phones may have their own options buried somewhere. If you’re stuck with wireless screen mirroring with no help from your phone’s particular android distro, you can use the app “Better Screen Mirroring” which does require root but will let you change the resolution of your display to match the display you’re trying to mirror it to.
While I’m glad that wired connectivity is still there in case if I want to use cable, I’m not sure about going wireless as reviews of this particular lapdock pointing out that it can only run 30fps when going wireless. So while I can understand the flexibility of cutting the cable, I think I’ll wait for its future successor where it has a Miracast wireless protocol that can support up to 1440p/60Hz.
They better be using true Miracast with an ad hoc connection directly between three two devices. It’s the only chance there for lag to be totally (and even then it depends on the two devices being used). It’s one of the reasons why Chromecast kinda sucks for desktop modes
I still think the idea of convergence is cool even if lapdocks as a whole are just not well suited for the world in which we actually live. But having mostly eliminated the connectivity barrier and clumsiness of mounting the phone, this one is better suited than most.
Just keep in mind that miracast is a screen mirroring protocol and you’ll have to have your phone screen on while using this, so you’ll be limited by your phone’s battery life first and foremost while using it wirelessly, unless you’ve got the phone hooked up to a wall. Also, it might lag a little.
I’d think it’s worth considering if I didn’t already have a laptop, and I was just okay with or ignorant of what Microsoft and Google are trying to do to people. Then I could use it with a windows PC around my house, or use it with a Pixel running Nestbox while out. Unfortunately, desktop Linux has had little development on Miracast support and my Teracube running /e/OS is a perfectly adequate phone but just doesn’t have the resources to be a desktop too.
Actually some phones/tablets slow you to turn on the device while caring and keep the cast going. If the software is good it can sorry this feature when caring a video or using a desktop type mode. Most don’t, but a few do, thereby extending the phone’s battery life.
Samsung DeX desktop mode (and other solutions like Motorola) works just fine while keeping running Android apps in parallel as usual, so you can use both independent or turn the phone screen off. There is plenty of videos online showing it. Battery usage is about the same as for normal phone use (video is encoded by hardware). But lag is a bit too big on wireless mode for my opinion. For that price it makes more sense to just buy cheap windows laptop and cast phone to it over WiFi or USB cable (DeX and Windows 10/11 support it).