A handful of companies have been producing laptop docks for years, giving customers the ability to use their smartphones like notebook computers.
Now one of the companies that helped create this space is moving beyond the laptop dock and introducing two new types of docks. The NexMonitor is a new desktop dock from the makers of the NexDock that allows you to connect your phone to a 27 inch display for use like a desktop computer, while the NexPad is a 12 inch dock that turns your smartphone into a tablet. Both are up for pre-order now and expected to begin shipping in July, 2022.
With the NexPad selling for $249 and prices starting at $449 for the NexMonitor, these devices would probably be tough sells if all they did was act as extensions of your phone. Fortunately there are a few other ways to use them.
The NexPad, for example, has a removable kickstand that allows you to use it as a portable monitor for just about any laptop, tablet, or other device. And there’s a magnetic portion on the bottom of the device designed to hold your phone in place, but which can also be used to attach the dock to the back of any laptop with a metal lid, giving you a second screen that can rise above your primary display.
With USB-C and HDMI inputs and touchscreen support, the NexPad can work as a touchscreen monitor. When used with a phone that support Samsung DeX or a similar desktop-style environment, this lets you use your phone like a big-screen tablet (albeit one with a rather unusual design and an enormous bezel). But honestly, it might be better to think of the NexPad as a small portable display that also happens to work as a second screen for smartphones when you need it.
One thing to keep in mind is that the NexPad does not work as a standalone tablet. It doesn’t have its own processor, memory, or operating system and is really just an extension of whatever device is plugged in.
It also doesn’t have a battery, which means it will draw power from a connected device.
The NexMonitor, meanwhile, is a 27 inch desktop monitor that’s available with either a 2560 x 1440 pixel 100Hz display or a 3840 x 2160 pixel 60 Hz display panel. With HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB 3.1 Type-C inputs, you can use it as a display for nearly any modern laptop or desktop computer.
But there’s also a magnetic portion on the right side of the display where you can attach your phone to the monitor and support for wireless charging so you can charge your phone while it’s snapped in place. And, of course, you can run a USB cable from your phone to the monitor to mirror your screen or use DeX or similar software for a desktop computing experience powered by your phone.
This sort of dock can also be very useful if you’re using a Linux-powered phone or tablet like the PinePhone or Purism Librem 5, which are able to run desktop Linux applications as well as mobile-optimized apps.
Unlike the NexPad, which has no speakers (which means your phone’s speakers will have to do all the work), the NexMonitor has stereo 5 watt speakers. And with an SD card reader, Ethernet jack, USB ports, and a 3.5mm audio jack, it can also function as a USB dock or hub for your phone or other connected devices.
Here are some key specs for the new docking stations from Nex:
1920 x 1080 pixels
2560 x 1440 @ 100 Hz
3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz
|Input ports||2 x USB 3.1 Type-C|
1 x mini HDMI 2.0
|1 x USB 3.1 Type-C|
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x DisplayPort 1.2
|Other ports||1 x USB 2.0 Type-C||2 x USB Type-A|
1 x USB Type-B
1 x 3.5mm audio
1 x Ethernet
1 x SD card reader
|Other features||Removable kickstand|
Wireless charging for smartphones
|Audio||N/A||2 x 5W speakers|
|Dimensions||277 x 250 x 6.3mm|
10.9″ x 9.8″ x 0.25″
|71 x 51 x 20cm|
28″ x 21″ x 7.9″
Honestly, even after considering all of the things you can do with these docks, they still feel like a bit of a tough sell because it’s 2022 and most folks still aren’t planning to use their smartphones like desktop or tablet computers. But if you’re one of the folks who are looking to do just that, pre-orders are now open.
Note that Nex is asking customers to pay a $100 deposit up front, with the remaining balance to be charged a week or two before the devices ship. But the company promises that deposits are refundable if you change your mind before your order ships.
I was refering to this statement from the article for the use of the NexPad.
“But honestly, it might be better to think of the NexPad as a small portable display that also happens to work as a second screen for smartphones when you need it.” which is screen mirroring.
You can cast your screen to any size TV with Roku for $39.
Casting is just a fancy word for wireless screen mirroring. Desktop Mode is a completely different matter as they have their own UI.
Not sure about the NexMonitor since there are loads of choices out there, but the NexPad looks cool! This could be a worthy alternative to the UPERFECT X Pro and the Alldocube Expand X.
As one of a few that got their actual SuperBook order, I have wanted this technology to work, and it never quite has done it. I don’t blame the tech, but I do blame the phones, and Android. Android, natively doesn’t do this correctly. There is no option to “extend to 2nd display” or “turn off screen, use monitor 2 only”. This simply doesn’t exist. I’ll admit, I don’t quite even understand my desire to turn an $800 phone into a dumb terminal that I can use for RDP and emails…but it felt like the future.
Here is my current setup. It’s dual-screen on Android 11 (the second screen is the phone’s main display). I cannot use the mouse on both displays (the keyboard works), so usually it is for videos that I can control from the keyboard’s multimedia buttons. LG did it right, but nodody paid attention to LG because they were not Samsung or Google so they closed up shop. It is an LG V50s and it is such a versatile little device I want to write an article about it, it has a dual-screen case so it can be used as a tiny laptop, but pop it out and it is a regular sized phone, it has a stellar headphone jack (with quad-DAC), it has a microSD, waterproof, S855, 8GB RAM, it has literally everything. Pop it into an ipega controller and it rivals the switch (since it plays Wii and PS2 games), connect to the TV and it is a console, really they don’t make phones like this anymore. The only upgrade I would consider is a V60 that also has Wacom pen support and all of the above.
I picked up a V60 earlier this year. It’s a dynamite phone for the price and I can second everything you mention.
Correction: Last year. Forgot for a second that it’s 2022 now.
Couldn’t agree more about LG flagships. They are terrific value for money when it comes to flagship phones. Only people like popular sponsored YouTubers who wouldn’t care about their phones.
Forgot to mention one thing: People are looking more at foldable screen smartphones. They always tout it as “the future”. Well I used to own a Samsung Galaxy Fold and it was completely laughable. Forget the screen crease, I can’t have two apps work independantly. Since I first found out about the V50 with its much more practical detachable DualScreen case, I immediately returned the Samsung and never looked back.
That is why I never convinced that Android can be a PC replacement. Android is nowhere wise as Windows and Linux. Just look at PinePhone running Manjaro ARM mobile OS – you can even install desktop-grade GIMP software in it. That is something Android can never do. That is why if I really want a smartphone that can be a PC, I’d go Windows or Linux.
As someone that uses his phone’s desktop mode every day for extended period of time I would not buy either of these. For the screen you can get literally any USB-C equipped display (I use a Lenovo Thinkvision) that also works as a regular screen for any PC, and as for the tablet, maybe if it had an inner bay to hold the phone and have a full front screen. I’m also not particularly amazed at the connectivity option, we’ve had these for a long time, no innovation was done here. I recently used a Microsoft Wireless Adapter 2 and as a welcome surprise discovered it triggered my phone’s desktop mode upon connection with very little latency, so something like that paired with a bluetooth connection to transfer touchscreen input to the phone would mean a wireless connection to such a device so you could even leave your phone in your pocket (or on the charger) while using it. Mind you that would mean a separate SoC inside the screen/tablet, but a really cheap and very low power one (generally Miracast adapters run on a single core ~1GHz ARM A7 CPU with 128-256MB of RAM). As a proof-of-concept just try to stick a MS Wireless Display adapter in a screen and use bluetooth mouse/keyboard. It almost feels like the 21st century.
Absolutely agreed. There are better USB C monitors out there (I use a 49″ ultrawide with kvm functions) and the tablet isn’t as svelte as Asus’s… Transformerpad I think it was called back when dual core phones were new. Day to day I use DeX with a 22″ desktop touchscreen and that gives a great experience, although it’s not USB C and my dock is a bit dodgy. More reliable docks needed.
Asus Padfone, that was it.
I couldn’t comment on the tablet thing, but the monitor is particularly not an easy sell when you could just stick one of these magnetic side mounts on a regular monitor, provided the back is flat enough.
That being said, I can’t think of very many desktop monitors that size that have usb-c input. And at least it looks nice.
I’m not sure about that magnetic side mounts. I always doubt of its strengthness. It doesn’t look strong enough to hold a heavy phone. And what did you said about “provided the back is flat enough”? That’s the problem with such mounts since it wouldn’t work with curved monitors.
I mentioned that particular product because I use one to keep my pinephone attached to my Nexdock 2. It works comfortably, even though I actually put the metal disc it comes with inside my pinephone’s case. Jostling it too much will make it fall off, but that’s not a problem for desktop monitors.
Seeing the Nexpad though, I hope Nex makes a new, bigger Nexdock with a basin where the trackpad is with magnets in it, since that would be quite a bit less clunky. And as long as I’m dreaming, I’d like active stylus support, a 360 degree hinge, and wireless connectivity, too.
NexDock does currently have a new lapdock with a 360⁰ hinge called… the 360. Yes, really. I agree about active stylus support, it would be nice to have it when you have something that can be transformed into a tablet.
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