My New favorite Use for Expansion Cards

I never knew I needed phone dongles until I had some that were designed for my laptop! Both the Micro SD card reader and USB-A cards work. I don’t know about the storage card. I couldn’t get HDMI to work, at least not in a couple minutes of trying. Sadly I cannot attach a SNACK drawer.


The HDMI would require your phone to support DisplayPort Alt Mode over USB-C, some phones do (Samsung I’m fairly certain) but some do not, the Google Pixels in particular want you to “Cast” your phone to a bigger screen, not plug one in directly…

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Looks like I got lucky with my S10e, but is there any way to see if a phone supports or does not support DisplayPort Alt Mode over USB-C?

Google Pixels do NOT, almost every other phone does, but those offering any kind of HDMI accessory or dock almost certainly do.

There is also DisplayLink as an option if you are stuck with a phone that doesn’t support DP Alt Mode but almost every DisplayLink dock is pretty large and requires a wall plug.

The most flexible one I’ve found is the Dell D6000 that can be powered by their 7.4mm plug Power Companion 45w or 65w output battery packs, since a phone draws way less than the 45w-60w laptops normally pull.

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Unfortunately I have not found a reliable listings site that consistently has this data correct. (which has really detailed specs about everything else about phones) and don’t specifically list dP alt mode capability. I think it needs USB Type C 3.1 at a minimum to have wired displayPort alt mode, but I could be wrong about that.

USB 3.0 is the minimum for displayLink (totally different technology), IIRC. I have a displayLink dock, and I was not thrilled with the frame rate or latency from my PC (Miix 700 that runs an external monitor over HDMI just fine) or from my phone with the DisplayLink app (OnePlus 7T). Fine for looking at a spreadsheet, slide deck, or something fairly static, but even scrolling a webpage is a nightmare of tearing…

Also, just because you get dP alt mode doesn’t guarantee you get an “extended desktop” experience like Dex, or whatever the equivalent is called from Huawei and moto. Most of the time it’s just a mirror of the phone’s main screen. If it is a second screen there’s often serious UI issues that prevent it from being controlled and used as a true second screen or desktop (shaking my fist at you, OnePlus!). I hate to say it, because Samsung is on my permanent blacklist for not honoring their own warranty, but they’re way ahead of the competition with wired and wireless Dex…

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Yeah, I’m not buying another Samsung after this for multiple reasons (no more headphone jack or microSD slot on S and Note series, Qualcomm vs. Exynos models being priced the same but performing differently, etc.), but it’s hard for me to pick what phone to buy once my current one kicks the bucket. If only there was a RTR and consumer friendly company to purchase a phone from…