I would like to welcome you to my latest project, which is very focused on using Microsoft’s services in a budget-oriented work environment. The purpose is to showcase the current generation of mobile computing in real-world case scenarios and give insight to consumers that using Microsoft solutions is a very viable choice. Examples of such situations could vary from the business professional in many different positions, from customer account management, a job seeker, a website designer, blogger and I’m sure I’ll find other use case scenarios applicable ( I am open to requests). Lastly, I will be writing from a perspective of a budget oriented professional, whose personal or company budget prohibits them from purchasing a laptop, or desktop solution, but rather focusing on a two in one solution like the Microsoft Lumia 950/ 950XL.
What is Continuum?
Continuum is a feature on Microsofts latest flagship mobile devices that allow them to be connected to a monitor or tv and output a desktop like an experience without compromising the features of the phone itself. In simpler terms, the phone powers two screens, the first being the phone screen, and the second the external monitor or tv. This is made possible through a dock or Miracast compatible receiver. Using a docking method allows connection of USB peripherals like a mouse, keyboard or thumb drive while using a wireless method through Miracast relies on Bluetooth connections for keyboards and mouses to work. Also, the dock accessory has a latency advantage over a wireless adapter. This is very apparent when you use the built-in wireless Miracast capabilities of a tv, versus a recommended wireless accessory.
Setup – The hardware used for this series
During the duration of this series, I plan to test out different types of configurations to cover as many use-case scenarios as possible. This will be made possible through suggestions from readers, so please feel free to give me your feedback! I am going to list the hardware I have access to at the moment and the associated costs.
- Phone: Microsoft Lumia 950 (black) AT&T ($589.99 USD full retail)
- Mouse: Logitec Ultrathin Touch Mouse for Windows ($56.99 USD)
- Keyboard: Logitec Tablet Keyboard ($30.00 USD)
- Connection: Microsoft Display Adapter (First Gen) ($49.99 USD)
- TV: 50” Samsung Series 7 4K SmartTV (approx $1,100 USD)
The first scenario – Grammarly on Microsoft Edge
I figure the best way to showcase Continuum is in a real-world use scenario. Which in my case, writing the first portion of this series is the best fit. I am acting as if I was a tech blogger, who may or may not have a full computer available to work on, and need the big screen and full keyboard functionality. As any blogger know first hand, the initial draft of their work is usually proofread, and maybe perhaps returned with a lot of criticism from the editor. In most cases Microsoft Word is great for drafting up articles, it’s very distraction free in comparison to WordPress’s environment with the kitchen sink toolbox hiding/showing itself at random times (frustrating). However, Word doesn’t always pick up all the spelling errors and mistakes, which can cause a high amount of work for your editor. That’s why I choose to use a service called Grammarly which helps reduce the amount of stress on those poor editors, and it helps educate writers and improve grammar.
In my case, I have written this article up to this point with Word, and I am going to upload the file to Grammarly so it can help proof the article further, and I can get a better proofing environment going forward.
Saving a Word document on your phone with Continuum
Saving a Word document on your phone with Continuum
Grammarly overview (please excuse the recording)
Grammarly Continuum Conclusion
In conclusion, Grammarly’s web-based app is very friendly to Microsoft Edge and runs without any problems, even with multiple tabs opened. I had Skype web app opened and was actively messaging a client to test out if functionality breaks with a demanding web app in another tab. This all is possible because Grammarly is an actual HTML5 app, which Edge excels at handling. From a blogger’s perspective using Continuum as a primary way to writing articles, it can be done quite well. Also, you could enhance your productivity doing so with a permanent desk setup which could include a monitor, a Microsoft Ergonomic keyboard, and the recommended Display dock that is optional with the Lumia 950/950XL. I would give the Continuum compatibility for Grammarly a 10/10.
Last Thoughts: Microsoft Display Adapter
Using Continuum on the Microsoft display adapter outputs 1080P video to my Samsung 4K TV. It upscales really well and looks great. I had no difficulty reading text or navigating around. There was very little or noticeable lag while using the device, in my experience typing was smooth, and apps opened relatively fast considering the Lumia 950 is running two screens at once. I am interested in seeing if there is a difference in speeds when you use the recommended Display dock accessory, but I currently do not have access to one at the moment but plan to purchase one soon.