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Uperfect X Pro 4K LapDock review: Lovely external monitor but keyboard issues detract

Samsung DeX is a powerful feature of Samsung phones, and devices like the Uperfect LapDock help turn your smartphone into a laptop. Unfortunately, the Uperfect LapDock attached keyboard limits the full experience.
matthew-miller
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributor writer on
Pros
  • Lovely, large display
  • Kickstand for multi-angle viewing
  • Solid aluminum construction
  • Plenty of ports
  • Solid battery life
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Trackpad isn't great
  • Weak speakers
  • No keyboard backlighting

Smartphones today are extremely powerful, and for those who don't run advanced applications, a phone can serve as their primary computing device. Despite the raw power of a smartphone, there is still a physical limitation of the display size that makes some work tough to complete on a phone screen.

There are options today for connecting your smartphone to an external device, and for the last month, I have been testing the Uperfect X Pro 4K 15.6-inch LapDock with a few phones, tablets, computers, and the Nintendo switch. There is a lot to like with this large portable display and keyboard, but it's not perfect, and it's an expensive accessory priced at $549.99.

If you want to get work done on the go or enjoy video and gaming content on a big screen that is hosted by your phone, then you may want to consider the Uperfect LapDock. We tested the 4K model, but there is also a 1080p model available for $449.99.

Specifications

Display size 15.6 inches
Resolution 3840 x 2160 pixels
Battery capacity/life 10,000 mAh for 4-5 hours of use
Brightness 300 cd/m2
Panel type LED
Dimension 355.2 x 221.4 x 9.9 mm

Hardware

The Uperfect X Pro 4K LapDock is a rather large device with a display measuring about 14 inches wide and a very large keyboard covering the entire display. The display is a 15.6-inch model with a 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution and 16:9 ratio. It is an IPS panel with solid brightness and a 60Hz refresh rate. Content looks great on the display, and it is a touchscreen so that you can interact with the connected device, in most cases, with the display. The top and two sides of the LapDock have narrow bezels, while a one-inch bezel is found at the bottom.

uperfect-x-pro-lapdock-1

Easy to use two apps at once with DeX

Matthew Miller/ZDNet

The LapDock is made with aluminum and has nicely beveled edges. The build quality of the display portion is great. Along the back, we find the lower third of the LapDock protruding out a couple of mm with an aluminum kickstand that hides the ports under the outer legs. The kickstand rotates through 180 degrees, so you can set up the LapDock for your preferred viewing angle. The kickstand design supports a very stable platform, too, and this design is one of my favorite features.

Under the right side leg, we find a mini HDMI port and two USB-C ports. The center USB-C port is used for connecting your external device, while the top one is only for charging up the LapDock and its large capacity battery. On the left side, we find a 3.5mm audio port, USB-C port, and a pulley button that presses in and moves up and down. This particular USB-C port is used to connect an external mouse and keyboard. It's important to keep the purpose in mind for the three USB-C ports as they are not interchangeable, and things won't work right without using the correct port. You can use both USB-C ports on the right side to charge up the LapDock.

Also: Using the wrong USB-C cable can damage your tech. Here's how to avoid that

We find speakers on the left and right sides on the top of the lower rear protrusion. The audio output from the LapDock is weak, and the audio playing from my attached Samsung phones was louder and richer, so after testing the speakers a couple of times, I made sure to not have the LapDock set as the audio output device.

uperfect-x-pro-lapdock-3

This looks good, but functionality is lacking

Matthew Miller/ZDNet

At first glance, the keyboard looks to be a compelling aspect of the LapDock. However, it does not live up to the promise. The connection to the display is weak and ended up being a constant source of frustration as it would fall off and then require lots of fiddling around to line it up and reattach it. With the flexible attachment from the connection point to the keyboard, the keyboard moves around all over and does not create a stable working platform. Stronger magnets and a more rigid connection are needed for me to ever consider recommending this device.

Also: Galaxy S22 Ultra review: Any more perfect, and it'd be an iPhone 13 Pro Max

The keys are large, well-spaced, and have a good tactile feel. The trackpad is large but also another source of constant frustration. The top half of the trackpad does not click like the bottom half, so you have to strategically place your thumb or fingers to manipulate objects using the trackpad. Inadvertent movement around the display is also a problem with the trackpad.

There is no keyboard backlighting, but also no charging required for the keyboard. There is an excessive amount of material on either side of the trackpad and below the trackpad since the keyboard covers the full display when closed.

The device has no operating system as it serves as a terminal for other mobile devices, computers, gaming consoles, and more. You can use the Uperfect LapDock with an Apple iPad, Chromebook, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox, or computer. I focused on using it with my Samsung DeX-capable phones as that is the primary use case for something like this when I commute or travel.

uperfect-x-pro-lapdock-4

Two USB and mini HDMI ports

Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Uperfect includes everything you need in the retail package, including a 30W USB-C PD charger, mini HDMI to HDMI cable, USB-C to USB-C cable, USB-A to USB-C cable, and a detailed Quick User Guide to help you sort out the ports and cables.

The guide lists many different laptops, Chromebooks, Samsung phones, and Huawei phones as compatible with the LapDock. Other devices that are not listed work too, as verified with my iPad and OnePlus 10 Pro phone.

On-screen display

Specific control of the LapDock is made through an on-screen display that appears in the lower right corner when you press in on the pulley button. You can tap or swipe on the display menu to make selections. Forward and backward buttons on the right will move you through the three available on-screen display menus.

Options are available to control the input signal source, volume, brightness, viewing modes, contrast ratio, HDR, RGB, color balance, free sync, language, eyecare, sleeping mode, and reverse charging. The LapDock has a large capacity of 10,000 mAh battery, so you can use it to keep your attached mobile device charged up while you use the external display.

Connecting with Samsung DeX

Simply plug the USB-C cable into your Samsung phone, and the DeX startup screen will appear. The full DeX interface will appear on the LapDock display while your phone can still be used for other things. You can also use your phone as a trackpad, but with the touchscreen on the LapDock there is no need to try to use the display for this purpose.

There are several icons at the bottom of the display with an app launcher, recents, home, and back buttons in the lower left. You can also designate apps to appear in the taskbar just to the right of the back button. Spend some time optimizing the LapDock for your most efficient usage needs. Samsung continues to improve the DeX experience, and it is now easy to drag apps to either side to have them snap to the right or left sides of the screen. You can use multiple apps at once, and with the lovely large 15.6-inch display, you can get a lot done with a connected Samsung phone.

Also: INNOCN PU15-Pre 4K OLED review: A portable monitor to improve your productivity

Connecting with other devices

Android now supports desktop mode as a part of the operating system. While testing out a OnePlus 10 Pro, I first enabled Developer Options. Then tap on Developer Options and scroll way on down to the Force desktop mode option. Without using this, the display of the Android device will be mirrored on the Uperfect X Pro LapDock, but we want a bigger screen experience than just mirroring.

With this option enabled, a pop-up will appear in the bottom right corner of the Lapdock. Tap on it and then select an app to work with in full-screen mode. It works well for most apps, but I have yet to find a way to switch to another app without unplugging the USB-C cable and plugging it back into the phone, so if you find a more efficient way, then please share it in the comments.

uperfect-x-pro-lapdock-6

The large stable kickstand is one of the best features of the LapDock

Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Huawei phones have an Easy Projection desktop mode, but with Huawei phones no longer supported in the US, I have not had a chance to see if this functionality is present in modern Huawei handsets. LG is also no longer making smartphones, so its limited Desktop mode is irrelevant at this time.

You can use the LapDock as a big screen for the Nintendo Switch, with compatible mini-HDMI cable, and with the minimal side bezels and massive display; this means one can truly enjoy the Switch while traveling. Microsoft Xbox Cloud gaming is available on Android smartphones and the iPhone so that you can enjoy this large display for gaming on a big screen. The Uperfect X Pro LapDock is a nice second display for other computers and tablets too.

Daily usage experiences

VMware Horizon is solid on smartphones like the Z Fold 3, but a bigger display is necessary to get work done on the go. I reviewed and created Microsoft Project plans, ran my vessel hydrostatics software, accessed our full timesheet software, and more with this software running from a Galaxy S22 Ultra that was connected to the LapDock. I love the big screen experience and preferred to use the display while the S22 Ultra was connected to a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. This is a solid solution on the go, but it requires you to take a lot with you and plan in advance. The keyboard and trackpad are so terrible on the LapDock that I did not like it for more than a screen cover.

Samsung apps are designed to work well with the DeX software, but there are also many third-party apps that are optimized for the Samsung DeX experience so you get multiple columns and extended views over what a smartphone format would typically show. I found that Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, Nest, Spotify, YouVersion Bible (two translations side-by-side on the display), and Telegram work wonderfully with the big 15.6-inch Lapdock display.

I am glad I had the chance to try out the Uperfect X Pro LapDock since it seemed like it could be a perfect companion to a Samsung smartphone. However, it is very large, the keyboard does not stay connected reliably, the trackpad is poor, and it is very expensive. While the trackpad isn't great, I prefer carrying along my NexDock 360 Touch when I want to use DeX on the road or the Innocn PU15-Pre 4K OLED portable monitor that offers a better display experience.

Alternatives to consider

Given that the Uperfect X Pro LapDock did not live up to its potential due to the imperfect keyboard, here are some alternative to consider.

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