6 accessories you should get for Continuum on the Lumia 950 & 950 XL

Continuum is a feature on the Lumia 950 and 950 XL that you might think is useless, but you'll probably change your mind after actually using it. Continuum lets you connect your Lumia 950 or 950 XL with a monitor, mouse and keyboard. You can then have a desktop-like app experience using the apps on your phone.

The big screen-optimized environment can make you more productive or simply let you enjoy videos and the web on a much bigger display. You can also keep using your phone at the same time. You can answer phone calls and send text messages without interrupting what's on the big screen.

We'll recommend some accessories to get you started with Continuum.

1. Microsoft Display Dock

The Display Dock is the easiest way to get started with Continuum on your Lumia 950 or 950 XL. It has DisplayPort and HDMI connectors for your display, and three USB 2.0 ports to connect other things like a keyboard, mouse, or USB thumb drive. You connect the Display Dock with the Lumia 950 or 950 XL with a USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable that's included with the Dock. The Display Docks also charges your Lumia your phone while it's connected.

The Display Dock has a 1080P HD output with a 60 FPS refresh rate.

The Microsoft Display Dock costs $99, but look out for promotions that offer it for free with a purchase a Lumia 950 or 950 XL.

Buy the Microsoft Display Dock (opens in new tab)

2. ScreenBeam Mini2 

If you want to use Continuum wirelessly, Microsoft recommends the ScreenBeam Mini2 Continuum Edition by Actiontec. You connect it via HDMI to your monitor or display, connect your keyboard or mouse to the USB input, and then plug in the power. It outputs at 1080P with 30 FPS, which is slower than the Display Dock. Keep in mind that your phone will not be charging like if it was connected to the Display Dock.

Other Micracast adapters work, but keep in mind, they still won't be as fast as the Display Dock. You may also want to consider the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter (opens in new tab).

Buy the ScreenBeam Mini2 Continuum Edition (opens in new tab)

3. Xbox One

If you already have an Xbox One in the living room, you do not need to get any other accessory. You can use the Wireless Display app from the Xbox One to use Continuum with the Lumia 950 or 950 XL. It's like turning your Xbox One into a PC! Unfortunately, the app is currently only available for those in the Xbox One preview program. Ask a friend to invite you in or wait until Microsoft releases the Wireless Display app for everyone.

Buy the Xbox One (opens in new tab)

4. USB Type-C to HDMI

HDMI Continuum

A low-cost way to get Continuum working is via a USB Type-C to HDMI adapter. Connect the adapter to the Lumia 950, and then use an HDMI cable from your monitor to the adapter. You'll get 60 FPS output which is just as fast as using the Microsoft Display Dock. Hook up a wireless mouse and keyboard and you're good to go!

The downside to using this adapter is that you won't be able to charge your phone via the USB Type-C port while using Continuum. The good news is that the Lumia 950 and 950 XL support wireless charging. Place the phone on a wireless charger while using Continuum.

Buy USB Type-C to HDMI adapter (opens in new tab)

5. Foldable Keyboard

Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard

There are plenty of options for wired or wireless keyboards, but the Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard stands out. It's thin, light, and compact. It's is great to use with Continuum. You can also simultaneously pair it with any two mobile devices—an iPad, iPhone, Android devices, Windows tablets, and Windows Phone—and then instantly switch between them with a single touch. It automatically turns off when you close it. You pair the foldable keyboard directly with your phone.

Buy the Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard (opens in new tab)

6. Bluetooth mouse

There are plenty of wired and wireless mice available, but let's keep it portable. The Microsoft Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse can be used on a surface, even on a rough wood or carpet, thanks to Microsoft BlueTrack Technology. Curve it up to turn it on, and flatten it to turn it off. You'll need to pair it with your Lumia 950 or 950 XL via Bluetooth.

Buy the Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse (opens in new tab)

Try Continuum

Lumia Continuum

Don't knock Continuum until you try it! You'll get the best results when using the Microsoft Display Dock, however you have other options available to try it out first. Have you tried Continuum on the Lumia 950 or 950 XL? How was your experience? Sound off in the comments!

News

Want all the latest news on these phones? Hit these topic pages for all that we got.

Support and help forums

Need to chat about the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL? Jump into our forums and ask others what they think or get help and advice on your new phone!

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

84 Comments
  • The Xbox One is a helluva expensive "accessory"
    Edit: Lol I just got around to reading this again. You people need to calm down lmao
  • Nobody is obviously buying One just for this. But millions of people already have it so it's a nice Icing on the Cake type bonus to have for those that do.
  • Yeah but its stated as a should have.
  • "If you already have an Xbox One..." - Directly from the article. Key word "If".
  • Just to contradict your point it also has a link to buy the Xbox one. So it kind of goes both ways
  • It's pretty clear that no 950/XL owner is going to buy an XB1 just for this. Nor is an XB1 owner going to buy a 950/XL because of this. The link to buy is there for consistency as every other device mentioned also has a link. I personally don't see any harm in raising awareness for a current or future XB1 owner to know that his/her device can serve as a cheapo continuum device without having to spend extra.
  • Plus it's currently one of the worst Miracast implementations out there.
  • Plus its not available outside of preview...
  • I'm assuming you could get the HDMI adapter and set it on a Qi pad and still charge. If so, continuum might be a pretty cheap option if you already have a BT keyboard and mouse around.
  • Genius! U are right!
  • I tred one, but couldn't get tfe audio.  So far, I haven't found the problem.  Dock is definitely the safe bet.
  • Try this one... It's on sale for about half the price of the one listed in the article. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0126Q2CME?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_...
  • But that one just supports 720p...
  • I did this with a Nokia Qi charger and it had trouble keeping up, the phone didn't die but the battery drained at a slow pace to near zero. Fyi
  • And, can we use a projector with continuum (instead of mirroring what you have on your phone, scaling up the apps)?
  • A projector is just a screen with hdmi.
  • Until remote desktop is a universal app that is supported with continuum, It's hard to recommend continuum at all.
  • Because everyone you would recommend it to requires Remote Desktop?
  • I think you miss the point of continuum
  • So far, we have been using Continuum TV with Dock extensively at home.  My wife really enjoys using Edge to visit all her favotite sites and programs on big screen.  She is amazed at the HD quality getting from the Continuum.  Sometimes we watched video programs for hours, the battery stays at 100% at all time.  With L950XL, we can pin all the favorites sites and programs on Start screen.  So just turn the power on and tap the tile, you are right there.  It is very simple and easy to use the Continuum TV.  Dock is the only way to go.  The performance, quality and easy access make Continuum pleasant to use.  We plan to re-work our cable contract with Comcast (phone, internet and cable) and cancel the Dish contract (International programmings) all because of Continuum TV.  That would save us around $70 per months.  My wife wants a L950 now, so Continuum actually did the selling.  Separately, I plan to make up a backup PC with the unused spare monitor/keyboard/mouse with a Dock.  In my house, getting L950 and 950XL are becoming sound investment with tangible savings.  I strongly recommend people to try out Continuum seriously and to discover the hidden values of Continuum for themselves.  Dock is a worthy investment.
  • lol, this sounds like it was written by a Microsoft marketing person.  ​I could see eventually not replacing a PC at home and just have family members connect their phones to the dock.
  • To be fair there is a significant amount of people who could get by with just Continuum...
  • Actually, the jokes on you...   I don't think there are any Microsoft Marketing people. No one, except MS and tech journalist/enthusiasts know this phone is out.
  • It's not news now but a month or two back they released a remote desktop that works excellently on my 950xl and continuum
  • will "USB 3.1 Type C to HDMI for Macbook Air" also work?
  • Yes it will.
  • Macbook Air doesn't support USB 3.1 Type C, so you may wish to check on that. MBA supports USB 3.0, but not the Type C connector.
  • No but the other 1 does. The ehm less powerful one.
  • The MacBook? It supports Type C, but the wiring is USB 3.0 not USB 3.1. Yep, Apple supposedly "invents" USB 3.1 Type C, they only give you the best "most advanced, magical" hardware, but then they cheap out and give you USB 3.0 and not USB 3.1.
  • Waiting the brazilian launch!
  • Continuum is really cool when you try it, works really good with the display dock. Was unsable for me with Roku 3 wireless connection, which sucks as I can use that at most family homes as they almost all have roku 3. Foldable keyword and microsoft wireless display adapter would be a good combo if they sold it as such.
  • They should offer like a Continuum starter pack of sorts. Bundle everything together and discount it slightly, will probably help boost the amount of people using Continuum as everything is therefore readily available in one nice little bundle.
  • That's a great idea. I could see that selling a lot for people that don't care to search for all the right things, or don't really know.
  • I tell you a very good use case for me. When I go to customer and a I need to present.something. So far I use mu surface but as soon as I get continuum dock, I will send PowerPoint to projector link to my phone and keep the surface for me, taking notes, checking things and so forth. Yes it doesn't happen every day, but it will be a nice case for me. I can imagine many more case like this....
  • My 950 should be here tomorrow can't wait
  • Got all of the accessories too!!
  • I love Continuum using the official Dock.
  • I have just tried continuum wirelessly with a 950 XL and it's brilliant. Facebook beta, the new Tripadvisor, Fitbit and all MS apps works great. Looking forward to see Plex or Synology Apps supporting it.
  • I'd recommend the Microsoft Wedge Keyboard, I think it's ~$40 and it is a nicely sized keyboard. It comes with this cool cover that doubles as a sort of kickstand to hold your tablet or phone. I tried the kickstand with the 1520 but have to admit it works better with a Surface or other tablet. The BT on that has never dropped connection once with either my 1520 or Surface 2. Overall, nice keyboard and much cheaper than that foldable one.
  • It is a little bukier, but I agree, the Wedge is an awesome BT keyboard. I also like the BT Sculpt Mouse.
  • I'm using the microsoft foldable keyboard but my old microsoft wedge mouse won't pair with my 950xl. I'm going to give the Sculpt Mouse as you suggest. Thanks!
  • The linked  USB Type-C to HDMI adapter says -- right in the product title at Amazon -- that the device is limited to 720 when used with a Lumia 950/950XL. One of the product questions asks why; the manufacturer says "Due to limitations of the Lumia phones, this adapter currently only supports up to 720p resolution." Does anyone know if this limitation is real or not and if it's due to a combination of this adapter and the 950's or if the 950's exhibit this limitation with any USB-to-video adapter?
  • Not sure but every adapter I've tried only works at 720p with the 950XL. Has anyone found one that works at 1080p?
  • The Microsoft Miracast adapter, although not wired, supports 1080p when connected to the Lumia 950.  
  • I have one it's just slow. Looking for a wwired adapter that supports 1080p. 
  • I've so far just played with it using the microsoft wda. first couple tries didn't pass the sound to my tv, but it's worked great since then. I have managed to crash the phone a few times after trying to launch non-continuum apps (and maybe when some notification was incoming). I've used mail, weather, calendar, an SSH terminal client, groove, video, and pandora. I like pandora on there a lot (way better than my roku or tv's app), though it'd be nice if you could keep its audio playing even when other apps use sound, and it needs a more screen friendly 'now playing' view so I don't get burn-in on my TV. Windows store really needs to create a universal apps section so I can easily see what else to play with. And continuum needs a screen saver.
  •   I don't understand the benefits. I'd have to unplug my laptop from the monitor,  so what does that gain me? If I'm elsewhere than home,  I'll not be carrying a monitor, keyboard and mouse unless they are in the bag with my laptop.  I guess if I didn't have a laptop with 500GB of files,  music and photos,  then plugging a phone with 128GB of storage into a bigger screen might have value. Most of my spreadsheets need the macros in the full Excel. When people buy phones to watch movies,  I suppose nothing should surprise me.
  • It doesn't work for you doesn't mean it doesn't work for everyone.
  • The idea isn't to get you to sell your laptop and use the phone. The idea is to turn your phone into a more productive device. How about this for an example. I could have a dock and work on spreadsheets at my desk at home, then bring it to work and work at them at the office, considering I don't have a laptop, and I do not need to invest in one, I am now more portable.
  •   I totally get that, but Mark Guim who wrote the article says that I'll probably change my mind about it being useless if I use it.  I'm trying to say the same as you do, that one size does not fit all. I could not currently benefit sufficiently to make it suit me. I look forward to the development,  and in 5 or 10 years time,  I doubt I'll need anything bigger than a phone to do everything.
  • I want to remove my laptop, and shutoff my PC. Continuum Dock is the 4th(?) step in consolidating ALL of my devices. Following MP3, camera, GPS. Today, I intend to keep my Android tablet, as I find having more than one OS available helps me troubleshoot. (Sometimes the WEB offers a different view/ functionality depending on my browser. Android Central works great on my Windows device, lousy on my Android. Windows Central works great on my Android, lousy on my Windows devices)
  • A lot of people avoid macros in Excel because various groups don't like them for security reasons. I personally stopped using them and other than the occasional need for equation editor in Word I get by fine on the new apps.
  • Indeed they do. I'd not like to go back to doing manually what my most used macro does for me several times a day,  about 20 times faster than I could,  and without errors
  • My point being, as previous commenters said, your use scenario is not universal. I am a college professor in the sciences and for most day to day stuff in class, meetings, and students' labs can be handled by the Modern Apps. I actually used an OG Surface RT for a year and a half with little problem. Only when I have to run the occasional small custom program do I need to go to a bigger device.
  • Right now, maybe not. Imagine your laptop gets old and eventually dies and you have this phone that can do everything you've been doing on the laptop if you dock it. Would you want to spend the money to replace the laptop. You might since you need the full office, but use if Excel macros is not that common. A lot of people could put their music and files in a cloud service or on SD cards, or even a removeable HDD and skip the laptop/desktop.  
  • Bummer that Xbox 360 won't work, I tried
  • I'm going to get a Logitech keyboard with a built-in trackpad. Seems like it would be more convenient.
  • I have three of them: K400r, TK820 and K830.  The K400r is cheap and cheerful.  Not bad, small and light but the trackpad plays up when it gets any sort of moisture on it and I have sweaty palms.  The TK820 is fairly big and reasuringly heavy with a very big trackpad.  Nice to use all up.  The K830 is a bit smaller and lighter than the TK820 and the big factor in its favour for me is that it has backlit keys.  The trackpad is smaller and it will grab and retain any spec of oil that might be on your fingers.  I have to wipe it down regularly.  It is also rechargeable via microUSB, where the others use standard batteries.
  • Thanks for the info.  It sounds like the K830 is the way to go.  The backlit keys and rechargable battery are a big plus for me. 
  • for continuum on the cheap, I'd suggest the Actiontec 1st, and then follow up with both of Microsoft's wireless display adapters and the netgear PTV3000. The xbox is lag city with miracast. Also, avoid the Firetv stick. it'll work, but lags as well. I noticed this, and with the exception of the xbox one (with a surface 3) the lests line up with my hardware as well. http://withinrafael.com/raw-wi-fi-display-dongles-and-associated-latencies/
  • This may be a stupid question but would it be possible to connect my phone through the chrome cast?
  • nope, Google's casting standard is a pain. while certain apps will work, screen mirroring or continuum will not from a Windows Phone
  • 6 or 5? Cause I don't see the need for both items 1 and 2.
  • Read it again. They're not suggesting you should get both...
  • Well duh!
  • I was hoping to get a Continuum Dock for free with a 950 XL but noone is offering that here in Australia.  I was able to get a 200 GB SD card though, which costs AU$300, so that's something.  I want to give Continuum a try but I don't see my getting enough use from it to warrant paying AU$129 for the dock.  I bought a Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter instead, as I can use that with my Surface 3 as well.  It's interesting that Microsoft are recommending a third-party product over their own.  I wonder what the differences are.  Maybe it's just that the ScreenBeam has a USB input.
  • See, I *Want* to like continuum, but I always have my SP4 in tow, and I never just have a monitor and keyboard/mouse/wireless dongle lying about. If they somehow made WM allowed to connect to a computer via mobile WiFi, and then connect/transfer files, I might see some use for it. Until then, I only see it really for use in business situations like hotel rooms or a small adaptable business. Though, TBF, I haven't gotten to use it outside of a BT mouse.
  • Can confirm the BT mouse works well, but since I don't have a keyboard (and one doesn't pop up automatically) you won't be able to enter in info into text boxes without one. A mouse can be used as a good remote shutter though! Just position the mouse on the virtual camera button, and walk away from you phone without letting the mouse laser move around. Then click to fire off a shot.
  • Can some people please post some Amazon links to USB-C to HDMI adaptors that work full 1080? The Cable Matters one this article links to in the Amazon description says it will only do 720p due to "limitations..." Also if anyone has tried any of the cheaper clones of the Apple USB-C to HDMI, that also has a USB-C and USB host port for further expanding and charging a link to that would be awesome! Thank you.  // Jason 
  • The Display Dock is soooo nice the weight and quality of materials surprise you... No brainer
  • My Logitech k450 works well in continium
  • K480 even
  • The Razer Orochi is perfect as you can connect via Bluetooth as well as plug into the dock...
  • i i would argue the Microsoft wireless charging plate DT-903 will be a great accessory.
  • The display dock is actually much cooler than I thought it would be.  I plugged it into a Vizio 32" TV and the picture quality was OMG beautiful.  All websites I visit render in full site instead of the mobile version. 
  • What about my old Microsoft HD-10, does that work with the 950?
  • For the Screenbeam you wrote "Keep in mind that your phone will not be charging like if it was connected to the Display Dock". It's a frickin wireless device, what's your point? If it was plugged in to the usb-c and DIDN'T charge then THAT would be a pain - as you pointed out for the usb-c to hdmi adapter.
  • BT mouse is a poor solution. I tried it and it doesn't work too well, the latency on the mouse is so huge that even using word or edge is difficult. A radio mouse with USB dongle + Continuum Dock is a solution if you are after a wireless solution, same for keyboard. Using both BT and WIFI at the same time on one chip always ends up with one signal being almost jammed because of the other one.
  • This reminded me to check on my free dock, which has been sold out since I received my 950XL.  They are back in stock, so hurry while you can still nab one.
  • Can someone please please explain to me why the Xbox to Win10 screen casting works so flawlessly and without loosing frame rates wirele