Oct 31 AT 9:45 AM Taylor Wimberly 63 Comments

Samsung Smart Dock turns your smartphone into a desktop

galaxy-note-ii-smart-dock

We already know that Android is on the path to taking over desktops and laptops, and this new Smart Dock accessory from Samsung proves that point. The Galaxy Smart Dock allows your phone to provide a desktop experience by connecting an HD monitor, external storage device, and USB keyboard and mouse.

The $99 dock features three USB ports, one HDMI port, and 3.5 mm stereo out. This specific dock was designed for the Galaxy Note II, but it appears to also work with the Galaxy S III. We just got a couple Galaxy Note IIs in house to play around with, so we will be sure to pick up this dock and let you know how it performs.

As cool as this dock is, the latest smartphones running Android 4.2 should be able to connect to most devices without wires. The Nexus 4 for example rest on its wireless charging station, send video to a Miracast-enabled display, and connect to a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. This concept has been around awhile, but we are finally approaching the point where an Android phone is “good enough” for basic desktop computing.

Are you ready for your phone to replace your desktop computer?

Source: Samsung

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Judas

    It’s gonna be compatible only with Samsung device or any Android with microUSB port?
    Thanx

    • sandyradeon

      only for samsung galaxy s3/note2, cause samsung use different pin defination other than standard mhl.

  • YellowDucati

    I do this with a MHL adapter and a bluetooth keyboard. The phone displays nicely on the tv. I think this is a great step to simplify what I am currently doing.

    The price is a bit steep.

  • Philippe Miron

    Can you still have your phone charging with the external display on the MHL adapter? And is it possible to have a keyboard and a mouse connected by bluetooth?

    Thanks :)

    • NoteGuy

      I have an AT&T Galaxy Note (i717), a MHL adapter ($15), and a Motorola Tablet bluetooth KB ($30 from Woot). Yes, the MHL adapter actually REQUIRES that you have the power cord attached, so the phone will charge, albeit slowly.

      Yes, you can use a bluetooth keyboard/mouse when the MHL adapter is attached. My Motorola keyboard has a slide out trackpad that works wonderfully with the phone.

      The only benefit I can see from the Smart dock are the extra USB ports. Otherwise MHL and Bluetooth keyboard/mouse are a much more cost efficient solution.

    • sandyradeon

      mhl display should provide power supply to the phone, this is the most different between mhl and hdmi. But most display can only support hdmi, so basically you need an external power supply.

  • Scott Eppler

    I like the general idea but I’m still wanting the Ubuntu for Android option if I’m going to use my phone for desktop computing.

    • shadhussain

      u seem to be able to get ubuntu running on a nex7 already. however, until i can get a desktop-identical experience of chrome on android, i’ll keep my laptop.

  • Varemenos

    Not really, unless it can load either GIMP or Photoshop and sublime text 2

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      Photoshop has been on Android for a long time.

      • http://clarklab.net Clark Wimberly

        sort of*

        • stenzor

          Photoshop * 0.1 more like

  • Mikes_phone_and_tab

    It is a little pricey, but being that it’s optimized for Galaxy phones we know it’ll work well, it has 3 USB, an hdmi and a 3.5 out. That coupled with a quad core device capable of split screen apps, pop up play and browser and Android multitasking, productivity, and gaming… you have a pretty capable device on your hands.

  • crnkoj

    well motorola had this more than one year ago with the atrix 4g, sadly it didnt put enough effort into it, for it to succeed, lets see what samsung manages to do and hopefully the ubuntu for android or a general way of running another linux distro next to ubuntu will be developed

  • Thomas Biard

    I don’t know if it is possible, but I would prefer a “Standard” dock for high end phones. The placement of the MicroUSB and HDMI should be consistent for all phones so that a common dock can be used and we can start the transition to one main device for home and mobile.

    I know this won’t replace high end machines and work stations, but it will replace the average laptop for people who just use it for email, music, document creation and facebook.

    If there was a standard that i know would work for many devices to come, I’d def fork over the $99

  • J3R3MY_H

    When using MHL or Miracast, does Android switch to a tablet/large screen mode? If not could an NFC tag be used to to change the dpi setting when mirroring to a larger screen?

  • Ben

    Pricey but fantastic. With something like the Exynos 5250, and perhaps the future ability to bump the on-screen res to higher than that of the physical phone, this would allow for the very novel ability to carry around a fully productive PC in the pocket. Even in this state it is still tremendously useful.

    I’d love more devices to support something like this. It would work well with the Nexus 4, though I suppose USB keyboard, mouse, and slimport HDMI will be able to tide me over for the moment.

  • Ted

    This plus Ubuntu for Android http://www.ubuntu.com/devices/android would be awesome. When using your phone as a portable device its android, plug it into the dock and its a full ubuntu desktop with access to all of the phones services.

  • Nate B.

    It would be sweet if it bring up the Chrome OS like the Chromebook

    • shadhussain

      haven’t we been dreaming of that for a couple years now? are andy rubin and sundar pichai not friends? or are they simply milking us for as long as they can?

      until then we can keep imagining, a wireless-bluetooth-dockable-dual-booting android/ chrome OS phrook (phone-chromebook) for $500 …

  • ondore

    Right now I am thinking if Nexus 10 can replace my Windows notebook for most common office tasks. Maybe after Microsoft release Office for Android it will be possible, do you have any experience using Android tablet as working tool guys?

    • shadhussain

      i have a transformer prime, which i think is as good a tablet produced targetting productivity. it while i use it 90% of the time, it still isn’t quite there in terms user experience to act as a desktop replacement. google drive on the tablet doesn’t offer the complete features the web version does and MS office replacements are limited at best. photo editting, publishing applications are limited and virtual computer options are still laggy.

      however, having said that, the wireless display standard on 4.2 to use extended displays coupled with bluetooth peripherals (i.e., keyboards) hold much promise. the apps will no doubt get better. i’m hoping they’ll all take advantage of multi-input of stylus pens, touch, mice and keyboard whereby all devices are optimally used.

      • ondore

        Thank you for sharing your experience, Nexus 10 will be available somewhere next year in my country and I give it try…

  • perlowin

    I like the idea of a dock since it is quick and easy to attach/detach your phone. Kinda expensive though (as others have noted).

    Too bad they didn’t use NFC and make it wireless!!!

    Hmm, Google could come out with one for the Nexus 4 with NFC and wireless charging!!!

  • austinmills

    Unfortunately, it looks like they used a similar flip-up lid design for the dock as was used on their previous desktop dock for the GS3. I bought it, and ended up returning it for a third-party dock because the one-size-fits-all nature of the dock meant that it never fit my phone well (the space for the phone was deeper than my phone when it was docked), the phone was a pain to seat in the dock because I had to make sure to get the alignment just right, and it just felt flimsy overall. Plus, I’m not the kind of person who’s going to flip down the cover of their dock every time they take their phone out. I’m sure those people exist.

  • afranci703

    Saw this on the Sammy website, but it didn’t say it could be paired with the Galaxy S III? Can anyone confirm?

  • MyMilan

    This is a nice idea, but primarily for emergency purposes like when you lose AC power during a storm and need to communicate with the outside world until the power is turned back on. Not sure how often you would use it, but nice to have in your toolkit if you have extra money to blow.

  • Snowman81

    I want to see a video of this dock in action….could be kinda cool if done right.

    • Bryan Stoner

      Your welcome: http://youtu.be/9nh2NSLgaII He does a pretty thorough play-through of the dock and device. Quite impressive XD

  • yankeesusa

    This is definitely something I might buy. Although I have to have the phone first. If no black friday deals come out that include the note 2 then I will just pay whatever the price is but hopefully someone will lower the price from the $300 it is now then I’ll think about getting accessories.

  • Sean

    I need a real tablet!

  • Stephan

    It would also be great if games could be played on it as well!

  • dileepg

    Crome os integration on and5.0

  • mephusio

    nice dock. Good to see some innovation in this department.

  • sails

    $12 dock from eBay does what I need on the HTC Desire HD and when I upgrade will search eBay again.

    For God’s sake it is just a cradle to hold and charge your phone with extras that can be found elsewhere at a cheaper price.

  • MisterWeary

    I turn to my desktop/laptop when I need to tinker with Photoshop or spend some time researching something on the Internet and/or feel more screen space and peripherals would be beneficial. In the back of my mind I’ve been waiting/hoping for something that could simply dock my phone and act as my desktop. I’m not sure this device allows quite the freedom I’m after but it’s definitely getting closer!

  • thechad

    that is one cool docking station

  • AzDayton

    Looks like this would be perfect for my office at work. Might not have to take my laptop in every day! Just hope it fits the phone with the case on it… must docs I’ve tried don’t. :-(

  • giorgos32

    samsung is the future .. all the best products are coming from samsung

  • smeghead68

    seems a bit pricey for what it is.

  • 03cobravert

    I think this will make a nice addition to my Note 2

  • Dirge

    Would it only work for Galaxy phones? Or would the Galaxy Nexus benefit from this?

  • citizenlee

    *waits patiently for cheap eBay HK version* :-)

  • killerbee000

    love to see a dock like these for htc one x ±O

  • Nathan J

    I’ve got the Motorola Sunfire (Photon 4G/Electrify) version. It’s… not so great. I mean, it’s awesome for what it does. You can connect a keyboard, mouse, and TV, and they just work. The problem is, these devices are designed to lock you into one device; they’re generally not compatible with other devices. The article says Sammy’s works for GS3 and Note II, but that depends on the plugs being in just the right spot (it’s more likely Samsung just used the same ports for both devices, as well as the drivers, resulting in the dock being compatible with both. But when the GS4 and Note 3 come out, you should not expect compatibility.

    Basically all this is, is an adapter. You should not pay $100 for one, especially since it’s not going to support your next phone (like a Bluetooth keyboard/earpiece or charger will). I’d say it’s worth $20 tops. Maybe more if it comes with a remote (mine does).

    Oh, and hooking it up to the TV is not as cool as it sounds. On a stock Electrify, you get webtop, which is slow, laggy, and generally crappy (Firefox plus a “phone view”). Running CM10, it just mirrors it. 960×540 blown up to your TV’s size (1280×720 or 1920×1080). Mouse is extra sensitive because it’s working with a smaller desktop. Otherwise works like you’d expect.

    My experiences should translate mostly to Samsung’s dock. Hopefully Samsung made it a little smarter than Motorola did, but it’s essentially the same. And it’s white. WTFBBQ, this isn’t the ’90s or an Apple product (but alas, I repeat myself).

  • Leo Young

    While it would be nice to see a larger screen, the apps are just not there yet.

    Where is a decent graphical page layout app? Even something that will format text well would be nice but a proper desktop publishing app would be nice. Until then, I will keep my computer and the phone will only be a satellite.

  • marko.sandalj69

    Is there the same dock but for samsung galaxy tab’s

  • tylerfoy

    This is a bit of a game changing idea. Imagine having a powerful device you can carry in your pocket, pop into a dock at home or work that will take care of all your wireless and gaming/processing needs.

  • parthpatels007

    bought it and am loving it

  • kookeetree

    Looks like a good way for having everything organized.

  • dcortright

    A Note II with Ubuntu would make this accessory almost necessary! Literally a portable computer.

  • melan26

    Wish Motorola would make a dock.

  • sweet

    cool.

  • omprsingh

    Sounds good but I am not game for it mainly because these kind of devices are generally incompatible with others. More I would be more than glad to use my phone as a phone and not as a computer.

  • old note

    Is it compatible with old note?

  • old note

  • cuteandrew21

    ;

  • thr970

    Might try this with my S3

  • melan26

    I’d like a dock for say like a Nexus 7.

  • LUCKY

    I do believe that it will work with my S3
    One of my friend had bought and its cooool. ……

  • Kake Yun

    And this smart dock also works with the Note 3! Demos are here if interested:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCPCY9PSfSk

  1. JudasGuest 3 years ago

    It’s gonna be compatible only with Samsung device or any Android with microUSB port?
    Thanx

    • sandyradeonGuest 2 years ago

      only for samsung galaxy s3/note2, cause samsung use different pin defination other than standard mhl.

  2. I do this with a MHL adapter and a bluetooth keyboard. The phone displays nicely on the tv. I think this is a great step to simplify what I am currently doing.

    The price is a bit steep.

  3. Philippe MironGuest 3 years ago

    Can you still have your phone charging with the external display on the MHL adapter? And is it possible to have a keyboard and a mouse connected by bluetooth?

    Thanks :)

    • NoteGuyGuest 3 years ago

      I have an AT&T Galaxy Note (i717), a MHL adapter ($15), and a Motorola Tablet bluetooth KB ($30 from Woot). Yes, the MHL adapter actually REQUIRES that you have the power cord attached, so the phone will charge, albeit slowly.

      Yes, you can use a bluetooth keyboard/mouse when the MHL adapter is attached. My Motorola keyboard has a slide out trackpad that works wonderfully with the phone.

      The only benefit I can see from the Smart dock are the extra USB ports. Otherwise MHL and Bluetooth keyboard/mouse are a much more cost efficient solution.

    • sandyradeonGuest 2 years ago

      mhl display should provide power supply to the phone, this is the most different between mhl and hdmi. But most display can only support hdmi, so basically you need an external power supply.

  4. I like the general idea but I’m still wanting the Ubuntu for Android option if I’m going to use my phone for desktop computing.

  5. VaremenosGuest 3 years ago

    Not really, unless it can load either GIMP or Photoshop and sublime text 2

  6. It is a little pricey, but being that it’s optimized for Galaxy phones we know it’ll work well, it has 3 USB, an hdmi and a 3.5 out. That coupled with a quad core device capable of split screen apps, pop up play and browser and Android multitasking, productivity, and gaming… you have a pretty capable device on your hands.

  7. crnkojGuest 3 years ago

    well motorola had this more than one year ago with the atrix 4g, sadly it didnt put enough effort into it, for it to succeed, lets see what samsung manages to do and hopefully the ubuntu for android or a general way of running another linux distro next to ubuntu will be developed

  8. I don’t know if it is possible, but I would prefer a “Standard” dock for high end phones. The placement of the MicroUSB and HDMI should be consistent for all phones so that a common dock can be used and we can start the transition to one main device for home and mobile.

    I know this won’t replace high end machines and work stations, but it will replace the average laptop for people who just use it for email, music, document creation and facebook.

    If there was a standard that i know would work for many devices to come, I’d def fork over the $99

  9. When using MHL or Miracast, does Android switch to a tablet/large screen mode? If not could an NFC tag be used to to change the dpi setting when mirroring to a larger screen?

  10. BenGuest 3 years ago

    Pricey but fantastic. With something like the Exynos 5250, and perhaps the future ability to bump the on-screen res to higher than that of the physical phone, this would allow for the very novel ability to carry around a fully productive PC in the pocket. Even in this state it is still tremendously useful.

    I’d love more devices to support something like this. It would work well with the Nexus 4, though I suppose USB keyboard, mouse, and slimport HDMI will be able to tide me over for the moment.

  11. TedGuest 3 years ago

    This plus Ubuntu for Android http://www.ubuntu.com/devices/android would be awesome. When using your phone as a portable device its android, plug it into the dock and its a full ubuntu desktop with access to all of the phones services.

  12. It would be sweet if it bring up the Chrome OS like the Chromebook

    • haven’t we been dreaming of that for a couple years now? are andy rubin and sundar pichai not friends? or are they simply milking us for as long as they can?

      until then we can keep imagining, a wireless-bluetooth-dockable-dual-booting android/ chrome OS phrook (phone-chromebook) for $500 …

  13. Right now I am thinking if Nexus 10 can replace my Windows notebook for most common office tasks. Maybe after Microsoft release Office for Android it will be possible, do you have any experience using Android tablet as working tool guys?

    • i have a transformer prime, which i think is as good a tablet produced targetting productivity. it while i use it 90% of the time, it still isn’t quite there in terms user experience to act as a desktop replacement. google drive on the tablet doesn’t offer the complete features the web version does and MS office replacements are limited at best. photo editting, publishing applications are limited and virtual computer options are still laggy.

      however, having said that, the wireless display standard on 4.2 to use extended displays coupled with bluetooth peripherals (i.e., keyboards) hold much promise. the apps will no doubt get better. i’m hoping they’ll all take advantage of multi-input of stylus pens, touch, mice and keyboard whereby all devices are optimally used.

      • Thank you for sharing your experience, Nexus 10 will be available somewhere next year in my country and I give it try…

  14. I like the idea of a dock since it is quick and easy to attach/detach your phone. Kinda expensive though (as others have noted).

    Too bad they didn’t use NFC and make it wireless!!!

    Hmm, Google could come out with one for the Nexus 4 with NFC and wireless charging!!!

  15. Unfortunately, it looks like they used a similar flip-up lid design for the dock as was used on their previous desktop dock for the GS3. I bought it, and ended up returning it for a third-party dock because the one-size-fits-all nature of the dock meant that it never fit my phone well (the space for the phone was deeper than my phone when it was docked), the phone was a pain to seat in the dock because I had to make sure to get the alignment just right, and it just felt flimsy overall. Plus, I’m not the kind of person who’s going to flip down the cover of their dock every time they take their phone out. I’m sure those people exist.

  16. Saw this on the Sammy website, but it didn’t say it could be paired with the Galaxy S III? Can anyone confirm?

  17. This is a nice idea, but primarily for emergency purposes like when you lose AC power during a storm and need to communicate with the outside world until the power is turned back on. Not sure how often you would use it, but nice to have in your toolkit if you have extra money to blow.

  18. I want to see a video of this dock in action….could be kinda cool if done right.

  19. This is definitely something I might buy. Although I have to have the phone first. If no black friday deals come out that include the note 2 then I will just pay whatever the price is but hopefully someone will lower the price from the $300 it is now then I’ll think about getting accessories.

  20. SeanGuest 3 years ago

    I need a real tablet!

  21. StephanGuest 3 years ago

    It would also be great if games could be played on it as well!

  22. Crome os integration on and5.0

  23. nice dock. Good to see some innovation in this department.

  24. $12 dock from eBay does what I need on the HTC Desire HD and when I upgrade will search eBay again.

    For God’s sake it is just a cradle to hold and charge your phone with extras that can be found elsewhere at a cheaper price.

  25. I turn to my desktop/laptop when I need to tinker with Photoshop or spend some time researching something on the Internet and/or feel more screen space and peripherals would be beneficial. In the back of my mind I’ve been waiting/hoping for something that could simply dock my phone and act as my desktop. I’m not sure this device allows quite the freedom I’m after but it’s definitely getting closer!

  26. that is one cool docking station

  27. AzDaytonGuest 3 years ago

    Looks like this would be perfect for my office at work. Might not have to take my laptop in every day! Just hope it fits the phone with the case on it… must docs I’ve tried don’t. :-(

  28. samsung is the future .. all the best products are coming from samsung

  29. seems a bit pricey for what it is.

  30. I think this will make a nice addition to my Note 2

  31. Would it only work for Galaxy phones? Or would the Galaxy Nexus benefit from this?

  32. *waits patiently for cheap eBay HK version* :-)

  33. love to see a dock like these for htc one x ±O

  34. I’ve got the Motorola Sunfire (Photon 4G/Electrify) version. It’s… not so great. I mean, it’s awesome for what it does. You can connect a keyboard, mouse, and TV, and they just work. The problem is, these devices are designed to lock you into one device; they’re generally not compatible with other devices. The article says Sammy’s works for GS3 and Note II, but that depends on the plugs being in just the right spot (it’s more likely Samsung just used the same ports for both devices, as well as the drivers, resulting in the dock being compatible with both. But when the GS4 and Note 3 come out, you should not expect compatibility.

    Basically all this is, is an adapter. You should not pay $100 for one, especially since it’s not going to support your next phone (like a Bluetooth keyboard/earpiece or charger will). I’d say it’s worth $20 tops. Maybe more if it comes with a remote (mine does).

    Oh, and hooking it up to the TV is not as cool as it sounds. On a stock Electrify, you get webtop, which is slow, laggy, and generally crappy (Firefox plus a “phone view”). Running CM10, it just mirrors it. 960×540 blown up to your TV’s size (1280×720 or 1920×1080). Mouse is extra sensitive because it’s working with a smaller desktop. Otherwise works like you’d expect.

    My experiences should translate mostly to Samsung’s dock. Hopefully Samsung made it a little smarter than Motorola did, but it’s essentially the same. And it’s white. WTFBBQ, this isn’t the ’90s or an Apple product (but alas, I repeat myself).

  35. While it would be nice to see a larger screen, the apps are just not there yet.

    Where is a decent graphical page layout app? Even something that will format text well would be nice but a proper desktop publishing app would be nice. Until then, I will keep my computer and the phone will only be a satellite.

  36. Is there the same dock but for samsung galaxy tab’s

  37. This is a bit of a game changing idea. Imagine having a powerful device you can carry in your pocket, pop into a dock at home or work that will take care of all your wireless and gaming/processing needs.

  38. bought it and am loving it

  39. Looks like a good way for having everything organized.

  40. A Note II with Ubuntu would make this accessory almost necessary! Literally a portable computer.

  41. Wish Motorola would make a dock.

  42. Sounds good but I am not game for it mainly because these kind of devices are generally incompatible with others. More I would be more than glad to use my phone as a phone and not as a computer.

  43. old noteGuest 2 years ago

    Is it compatible with old note?

  44. old noteGuest 2 years ago

  45. Might try this with my S3

  46. I’d like a dock for say like a Nexus 7.

  47. LUCKYGuest 2 years ago

    I do believe that it will work with my S3
    One of my friend had bought and its cooool. ……

  48. Kake YunGuest 2 years ago

    And this smart dock also works with the Note 3! Demos are here if interested:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCPCY9PSfSk