1 year ago

Dock a Raspberry Pi to create a laptop: NexDock

Dock a Raspberry Pi into a NexDock and have a fully-working laptop in minutes.

NexDock dock with Raspberry Pi 3 

Dock the Raspberry Pi for the best of both worlds. A Raspberry Pi powered laptop that also works with your smartphone. NexDock was an IndieGogo campaign that aimed to build a next-generation dock for smartphones, tablets and mini PCs.

You can dock a Raspberry Pi into a NexDock and have a fully-working laptop in minutes.

It’s fair to say that NexDock had a bumpy ride on its way to launch. Making hardware is tough.

After an initial launch with some reported hardware faults, and a fire in the laptop NexDock has finally delivered to customers.

Dock laptop: How to use the NexDock with a Raspberry Pi

The end result is extremely interesting to Raspberry Pi 3 owners. NexDock looks like a regular laptop, but there is no computer inside. Instead, you attach a computer via HDMI, sync the keyboard to the board using Bluetooth, connect the USB socket to the Raspberry Pi power input and start using it.

Thanks to the built in wireless networking of the Raspberry Pi 3, you can turn a NexDock and Raspberry Pi 3 into a laptop with just a couple of cables. All for a cost of $119 (£89).

A4 Computers has a good unboxing of the latest version of NexDock. While it’s not a substantial test, it does appear that the original hardware kinks have been ironed out and this is the final product.

Dock a Raspberry Pi with NexDoc laptop

Dock a Raspberry Pi with NexDoc laptop

It seems easy enough to set up, although they do report the built-in Microphone and Webcam will need additional setup. It looks spectacular, but the materials used reflect it’s price.

But it’s a great looking piece of hardware, and seems to us to be a great way to turn a Raspberry Pi into a laptop for working on the move. It’s also compatible with smartphones and other devices so can be put to multiple uses.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve bought a NexDock, and what you think of it.

 

  • Gregory Roberts

    I have had my NexDock now for 2 days and have been using it with a rPi model 3. For casual use I’m sure it will be ok, but I don’t see it being used as a dedicated machine primarily due to the poor keyboard and overly sensitive touchpad. I’m not a big lover of touchpads in the first place, so that may be me more than the NexDock. The Keyboard is poor though and ends up sending double characters at least 1 word out of ten, you gotta keep a close watch on the screen, and be ready to backspace often.

  • Gregory Roberts

    Also, with nothing plugged into any of the USB ports, when all 4 cores are running the under-voltage warning rainbow appears on-screen from time to time. Don’t plan on plugging too much into your USB ports, or doing a multi-core compile.

  • Stewart Watkiss

    I’ve only recently received mine so I’ve not had chance to do much with it.

    The screen is good. The keyboard and touchpad connect via BlueTooth, as a result a temporary keyboard / mouse is required to pair the NexDock keyboard initially.

    I have also noticed that sometimes the keyboard gets disconnected and then an alternative keyboard / mouse is needed to reconnect the NexDock.

    I have a palm-sized micro-keyboard which is sufficient, but would be better if there was a way that it could be connected without needing to carry that as well.

    I think it’s going to be useful when working on a physical computing project, rather than having to move the project to be near a TV, but I wouldn’t want to use it as say an alternative to a laptop.

  • wisguy

    got my Nexdock the other day 1st thing 1s i had to pay 60 extra dollars in bullshit taxes this should have been sent commercial sample and FedEx does not carry change so it now went up even more! Not happy 1 bit with that 1 the 2nd thing what is the Micro SD memory slot for? can’t get it to work fro the life of me. I still need a keyboard or mouse to get the bluetooth working it won’t start by it self. managed to hook up 2 raspberry pi 2’s running XBMC Kodi works flawless! Rasbain Enhanced flawless my Pi3 with Ubuntu Mate works flawless Galaxy S5 amazing! can’t get my chip or Pine64 working. I am impressed with the screen I think it’s cool it’s huge! The overall build quality is awesome. The battery I have not done any tests on it that is to come but it charges what ever I throw at it I’m surprised How many things I can hook it up to! A 9.5 out of 10 I am Liking this a lot! still Kinda pissed at the overall cost but What can you do!

  • Dan Baker

    For anyone wondering how to use the webcam, the trick is that the left-hand USB port is not a host port. I cut up a couple of USB cables, taking the power from the Nexdock’s port into a microUSB to power the Pi and the data pins into a standard USB/A connecter into one of the Pi’s USB ports.

  • Stuart Crouch

    I have had my NexDock for a few weeks now and am loving it. As others have reported, the initial setup is not for a complete beginner, but I now have a low cost, working laptop using Raspberry Pi, Pixel (which I love) and the NexDock. All of the following work very well: microphone, speakers, SD card slot (great for playing and storing extra media, as well as making backups), webcam. I am using VLC for music and the sound quality is good enough for easy listening.

    I bought a few extra cables (you can buy spiral cables that look great) and now have the Pi fixed to the back of the screen, using adhesive velcro strips, so that I can remove it when tinkering. The keyboard connects every time and the touchpad is ok – I today saw a tip from another user to edit the trackpad settings, which I’ll try later. The battery lasts for hours.

    A couple of things: there seems no way to check the battery level other than the blinking LED (perhaps one of you has an idea) and occasionally the whole setup freezes and needs to be rebooted.

    All in all, I am very pleased with this very low-cost laptop.

  • CTECH 9

    What you could also do is if you plan on using the raspberry pi with the NexDock permanently, you can by a case for the pi and glue it to the back of the NexDock with some epoxy.

  • Thecoloneltros PvP/Minecraft

    Hi how can i buy a Nexdock now?

  • Dylan

    You can’t buy one anymore. You can sign up to be on a list but there hasn’t been a peep from the company after they shipped the campaign units. Would love to be able to order some. Would also love to see their concept version 2 come to fruition.

  • Shayla

    I just got 2 shipped to me from their last offering. Arrived today. Can’t wait to play with them and see what the next versions look like.

  • Dylan

    Please post back and let us know your thoughts.