HP has a clever trick to let you connect any Continuum-enabled phone to their Desk Dock. Here is how it works.
HP is selling the Elite x3 phone together with its superbly crafted Contiuum Desk Dock for $799. The HP Elite x3 Desk Dock is sold separately, but currently only through HP. It retails for $150, which is $50 more than what Microsoft charges for its Display Dock.
It's designed for the Elite x3, but can the Desk Dock work with other Continuum phones like the Lumia 950 or Lumia 950 XL?
The answer is a simple yes.
Any Continuum dock that uses USB Type-C is essentially just a USB hub. It's akin to asking "Does a USB Thumb drive work with my PC?" It's USB, of course it does. That's the beautify of standards.
The longer answer is that it works because HP was smart about how they made the Desk Dock. You might have looked at it and foresaw a compatibility problem — this is a dock, after all, and the Elite x3 is designed to slide into it, versus the Microsoft Display Dock that you'd simply plug into.
|Ports and Connectors||1 DisplayPort
1 USB Type-C
1 AC power
|Dimensions (w x d x h)||4.25 x 3.74 x 1.2 in
108 x 95 x 30.5 mm
|Power||45W (5.25V/3.0A) power adapter with 1.5m cord length|
|Security||Security lock slot|
HP solved this by including a few interchangeable shells for the Desk Dock. That is why you can put an HP Leather Folio on the Elite x3 and still slide it into the Dock. There is also a shell for the Rugged Case (our review is coming next week).
But what if you don't want to use the HP Desk Dock as a holder for your phone? There's an additional shell that extends the vertical dockable USB-C plug into a cable ending in a USB-C plug. So if you prefer to plug in your phone and leave it flat on the table (like with the Microsoft Display Dock), then you can. These shells are all magnetic, so swapping between them is a no-tools affair.
Update: Many have been asking if the Lumia 950 XL can stand in the Desk Dock. Yes, it can. It's a little shaky but it makes the Type-C connection just fine. While the Lumia 950 also fits for some reason the Type-C connection does not commit likely due to some the way the connection sits.
While HP intended this to be used with the Elite x3, you can just as easily plug in any Continuum-enabled phone whether it is the Lumia 950 XL, Acer Jade Primo, or NuAns NEO. I tested this with a few devices and just like any USB peripheral if it works on any Windows 10 Mobile device with Continuum. (Update: After trying with a few Lumia 950's for some reason that phone is not working with the Desk Dock, while the Jade Primo does).
So what advantage is there with the HP Desk Dock over the Microsoft Display Dock? That one is a little more complicated. Some of it is personal preference as the HP Desk Dock is flashier, heavier, and a bit nicer looking.
The HP Desk Dock also includes a built-in RJ-45 Ethernet Port, and it uses a Display Port for video instead of the more common HDMI port found on the Microsoft Display Dock.
If you do not have a Display Port connector on your monitor or TV, you can pick up a Display Port to HDMI cable. Here is the one I use, and it's 4K enabled to future-proof:
Overall, the HP Elite x3 Desk Dock is a very premium accessory, and it will continue to work with any Continuum-enabled Windows 10 Mobile handset.
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