After all those trials and tribulations, I finally have everything working and my mobile setup is a success. For a moment I wasn’t sure if this would work out. But it seems to work pretty darn well. I do lament the loss of a 1080p monitor but compared to any other mobile monitor, the Motorola Atrix Lapdock is really the only option.
Now for my thoughts and a mini review on the Motorola Atrix Lapdock as a portable monitor solution. I have seen quite a few reviews on the Lapdock but none that really quantify it’s use as a monitor/keyboard/trackpad/etc. But of course, this isn’t to be unexpected since it is a peripheral of a phone. But before I go into that, a quick overview on the Motorola Atrix Lapdock Specifications.
- 11.6 inch 1366×768 resolution display (hdmi)
- Keyboard and trackpad
- 2 usb ports
- Internal battery rated at 8 hours
The lapdock is quite a beautiful little thing. Nice brushed aluminum everywhere, very little plastic at all. Although this contributes to it’s relatively hefty weight of 2.6 lbs, it feels extremely solid in my hands and I’m not worried about it’s durability (although I won’t be throwing it around carelessly). Functionally, this is a nearly perfect device. The viewing angles on the monitor are quite decent with minimal colour shifting. I’d approximate about 90 degree range of viewing angle. The screen is very bright and colours are decent. The monitor does not have the greatest contrast, blacks are not the darkest but that’s me comparing the screen to my note 3 which has an amoled display. The hinge is extraordinarily solid and a very nice thing about it is that when opening the lapdock, you don’t require to hold both ends and open like a book. You can simply take your finger and life the screen to open the lapdock. For those who have laptops with decent quality build, this isn’t a particularly new thing but my experience in using cheaper laptops, this is a welcome thing. There is minimal flex on the screen itself, requiring quite a bit of force to actually get it to twist at all. Overall, build quality is very nice. Keyboard and trackpad are fully functional, although the trackpad lacks multitouch functionality and any gesture’s that you might want for windows 8. The most important thing about this though, is it’s battery life and it is impressive. Although I have not fully discharged the battery yet, I have generally gone 7 hours without having to recharge the device and there is still much more to go. Battery life is really no concern at all. But if you’re paranoid and want to bring the charger with you, it’s not a hassle as it’s very small and will fit in your pocket.
But the issue with the lapdock are a bunch of little problems. Problems that really don’t matter but you certainly will notice using the lapdock. The first issue I come across is that the screen does not open very far back. It probably only opens about 100 degrees and stops there. Although I can understand to a certain degree why Motorola didn’t design it to open up much further, it is something I wish they did. Next is the keyboard. While it is certainly much nicer to type on than a phone (I’m typing this up on the Lapdock’s keyboard now), the keyboard dimensions are a bit unfortunate. If you have a netbook and are used to small keyboards, this may not be too much of an issue. But as I use a mechanical keyboard for most of my time, using this keyboard is a bit uncomfortable. I will say that I am fine with the removal of the “f” keys and assigning them as function keys on the numeric row. Even the action/depression of the keys is ok, not as nice as a mechanical one but generally enough for me to register that I’ve actually depressed the key. My problem is the “width” of the keyboard (esc to ctrl, not esc to backspace). I don’t thing I have very large hands but when typing I expect some more space for my fingers to move so I keep overshooting the position of my finger. It’s incredibly awkward at times. But I suppose that is some of the sacrifices if you use a device this small. And finally, darn fingerprints. This thing is a fingerprint magnet. Well, perhaps not fingerprints but the oils and sweat that our skin secretes. It gets everywhere and it shows. Right now I have a paper napkin under my palms so that I don’t get this too dirty. It’s unfortunate as it’s such a beautiful device yet so easily gets dirty.
So that’s what I think of the device, wonderfully functional but is held back simply due to design constraints and it’s small size. Perfectly functional as a mobile monitor and probably better than any other solution out there considering it’s price to features ratio. And at 65 dollars (including shipping) for a new one, it’s a steal.
My current mobile setup consists of the Zotac en760, Motorola Atrix Lapdock, and my trusty Logitech g400. In the photo above, I do have the Logitech f310 gamepad but that’s not something I will bring with my on a daily basis.
In my next post, I will probably talk about Monster Hunter and how it’s a pretty darn good game.