I purchased the Motorola Atrix Lapdock. For those that don’t know, Motorola created a docking station for some of their phones known as the Lapdock. One would dock their phone into the Lapdock and the phone would provide processing power to a larger screen with it’s own keyboard and trackpad. This essentially turned your phone into a laptop. A pretty novel solution. But this came at a cost. Initially, these lapdocks cost around $500. Although you could find rebates that would lessen the cost down to $300, you had to exclusively deal with AT&T and purchase a compatible phone for $200 and a 2 year contract. This was pretty expensive. So the phone and the idea flopped to a certain degree and the product line was discontinued. That’s when we step in.
About a year later, these docks are still circulating. But instead of $500 or 300, they are now selling for a paltry $80-60. That is an amazing deal. Why you may ask. Because for $80-60, you get a 11.6 inch 1366*768 resolution display, a keyboard, trackpad, two usb outs, stereo speakers (which are terrible but hey, they’re included), and its rocking a high capacity battery that gives it 8 hours of battery life. That is amazing.
Ever since purchasing the Zotac ZBOX EN760, I was looking for a portable monitor solution. And there are quite a few out there. But the downsides to most portable monitors are either, they are far too expensive (ranging from $500-200) or are limited to usb input (which is terrible for displays, at least in a more practical setting due to the high latency in pushing that much data over usb). So I’ve been scouring the internet for solutions. I was even tempted to rip out the display in my old laptop and jerry rig that to use as a portable monitor. But then I stumbled upon an article. These Motorola Lapdocks are being used in conjunction with Raspberry Pi’s to become portable Raspberry Pi laptops. Interesting. After doing a little more digging, I find that they can be used with computers as a secondary monitor. Even more interesting. Then I find that they can be used as stand alone monitors (by watching someone play a few wii games hooked up to this). Absolutely fantastic.
So I purchased the Motorola Atrix Lapdock variant and the required cables/adapters. The dock has two inputs, which are male micro usb and male micro hdmi and are very close together. This is a bit of a problem as there aren’t any female micro usb to male standard usb cables and the same for hdmi. So what I did was purchase micro usb and micro hdmi extension cables and female micro to male standard adapters. This is so that I don’t need to insert fat adapters next to each other, which would require shaving the plastic housing on the adapter in order to make both fit at once. All in all, this cost around $20 so the total cost for everything was only $80. A pretty good deal.
I’m pretty happy with this solution. Although it wasn’t strictly necessary for me to do this, as both the place I work at and school has plenty of monitors and keyboards I can just hook my computer up to. But there are places without such resources that I have to visit and I don’t want to lug my 22 inch monitor and mechanical keyboard. So this is nice backup solution that I’ve found. I’ll post more substantive results once I get the product, which should be in a week’s time.
One quick note though, there are three variants of the Motorola Lapdock. There is the 100, 500 and the Atrix variant (released 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively). But if you look at the specification for the lapdocks, one might ask, why not get the 500 edition instead of the Atrix. It has more usb ports, sd card reader, an audio out, kensington lock, ethernet, vga out, a fuller keyboard, a larger screen (although still 1366*768)… I’m almost convincing myself here. But I don’t need all that. I wanted something small and very light. Not to mention, the Atrix variant looks much nicer. But all that added functionality is really unnecessary for my uses as I’ll be plugging in my computer which already has all said functionality. Perhaps for those with a compatible phone or with a laptop might find that the 500 edition is more practical but that’s up to you to decide.