Short Review on Convergence

Today, I got the Librem 5 Convergence features working in my home office. I used a Lemorele 10 in 1 USB-C hub from Amazon, two HP 25f monitors, and a generic keyboard and mouse. Here is what I found. To continue relying on the phone screen when using a big monitor at the same time seems klunky and inefficient.

1.) Only one external monitor works. If you hook up two monitors, you just get the same thing on both monitors. There is no selection anywhere to add two external monitors,only one external monitor.

2.) My expectations were that I would have a high resolution desktop not unlike my Ubuntu desktop on my pc. But no, you just get a low resolution phosh desktop. Initially, getting control of the desktop is difficult. Go in to Settings/Display, select “unknown monitor” and set it to 1024x768. The default setting is 240x480. You can’t do much with that. You’ll need the phone to select your apps since the phone screen is the only place you can find the application icons. So the phone needs to be an active part of your Desktop user experience. To set the phone aside and just use the monitor won’t work. But you can use the mouse to click on the icons on the phone and then drag the open applications from the phone over to the monitor. But at 1024x768, it is only practical to have one open program on the monitor at a time.

3.) After you get used to using phosh rules on your Desktop monitor, things start getting easier. Swiping up (using the mouse) to close programs becomes very valuable because on many programs, you can’t reach the x in the upper right corner to close them…

4.) I opened the weather program. It looked good but filled the whole screen on the big monitor. I opened the Libre Office equivalent of Ms- Excel. I was able to use it in the upper left corner of the spreadsheet only but could move the window right and left by click-hold while moving the mouse left and right. I found it difficult to get to the exit button because only the upper left part of the program was accessible to show up on the screen. Even a terminal screen is too far zoomed-in. You can use it. But just the bash prompt takes up almost half of the screen. Multi-tasking of programs is not feasible for efficient use.

5.) So my opinion is that convergence has a good start, but is not ready for prime time. Fixing the screen resolution to allow 1600x1200 and higher would be a good start. Also, I think that the phosh rules need to go away and be replaced by normal Gnome desktop rules, when a big screen is plugged in to the phone. I want to be able to set the phone aside and open the programs from trays or start buttons that are on the same desktop that the applications run from.

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I think it depends on your USB hub (and maybe on your monitor - less likely, but still). I don’t have this problem with NexDock or with my noname USB hub.

Not necesarly. You can set the Display Mode to Mirror or Single Display (instead of the default setting - Join Displays) or set the external monitor to be the Primary Display . And, with NexDock/Lapdock at least, you can enable Mobile Settings > Convergence > Map built-in touch screen, so that you can launch apps (and more) by touching the screen of your NexDock.

If you like convergence, my advice is to dive in and buy yourself a nexdock/lapdock and read Kyle’s top 10 tricks.

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  1. I have never tried it with two external monitors but it may have something to do with your other concerns

  2. I have a 2K monitor connected to my hub and I am able to use the full resolution. You can also go into Display Settings and set the external monitor to “Primary” if you want to use L5 screen for idle mobile windows. You can also set it to “Single Display” to have everything only show on external monitor.

  3. The difficulty using the x to close windows is probably due to low res.

  4. Same thing, the problem is the low res.

  5. I would try a single external monitor connected to your hub to see if that fixes the low resolution. or like how @Jim suggested, try a different hub if you have one available.

I have a setup at home, at work and a Nextdock 2. Only with my nexdock 2 can my Librem 5 not detect (it shows up as unknown monitor) the native screen resolution. Not sure how to fix this myself.

It would be great if the Librem 5 remebered my screen resolutions settings though. It is annoying to have to switch my external monitor to my main screen every single time I want to use convergence.

Being 1440x720?

On my 2k monitor the full resolution is 2560x1440

Nice! I tried a hub, and it did work, but I only got a 1440x720 resolution. Since this is the L5’s resolution, I thought this was its max. But it was probably down to the hub then.

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I second that. Meanwhile, I’ve made a .desktop file that uses wlr-randr configure for my taste. I still have to click something every time I dock. Maybe monitoring udev or some bus can detect when the big screen is available and run a wlr-randr command.