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Deep-dive review: Microsoft's Lumia 950 phone introduces mobile Windows 10

Preston Gralla | Dec. 4, 2015
Both the phone and the OS have some interesting features, but neither is revolutionary.

Once you've made the connection, your Windows 10 interface switches to the larger display. Your phone display, meanwhile, changes to a simple touchscreen you can use to control the cursor. If, like me, you find the touchscreen cramped and difficult to use, you can connect a keyboard and mouse to the Display Dock (or to the phone via Bluetooth) and use them instead.

However, even though your phone's workspace has switched, what you see on the larger screen isn't the same as what you'd see on your phone. Instead, you see several features from the PC version of Windows 10: a taskbar at the bottom that gives you access to the Start menu, a button for launching Cortana, a button for switching between apps via Task View (it works like Alt-Tab on a PC or laptop), and icons for any apps that you launch.

Once you've got Windows 10 running on the monitor, click the Start menu button on the lower left. The Start menu that appears shows tiles for all the apps on your phone. It looks much like the PC version of the Start menu, although it doesn't have the left-hand portion with links to Most Used, File Explorer, Settings, Power and other features.

Click any tile to run its associated app. Apps runs full-screen only and can't be resized. When you launch another app, the first app minimizes to the taskbar and the second app runs full-screen. You can keep running apps this way, and switch between them either by clicking their icons on the taskbar, or else clicking the Task View button on the taskbar, which presents all of your running apps as icons against the Windows 10 background in the same way that Alt-Tab does it on the desktop. You can also minimize and close apps by hovering your mouse over the upper-right corner and clicking the appropriate icon.

microsoft display dock 03 
The Microsoft Display Dock uses Windows 10's Continuum feature to connect to a larger display. Credit: Microsoft

The phone-based version of Continuum is still a work in progress. The biggest problem is that, despite the fact that it looks like a full desktop version of Windows 10 on the larger display, it currently works with only a subset of Windows 10 apps -- those created by Microsoft. So, for example, you can't run Facebook, Netflix or countless other Windows 10 apps this way. Microsoft says it's working on increasing the number of apps, but there's no word about which ones they're working on and when they might be able to run. (You can, however, run the mobile version of Office, which worked on my display without a hitch.)


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