Bucking the trend of a thousands wannabees currently jumping on the Apple iPad bandwagon, Taiwanese tech outfit Gigabyte is having a punt at swivel screen convertible laptops.
The concept - which has been tried by many, and has failed for all - adds a 180 degree swivel screen to a conventional clamshell laptop allowing the display to be flipped over, laying flat against the keyboard.
What you should get is the convenience of a tablet combined with the functionality of a laptop. What you get in reality is a really fat tablet and a highly vulnerable and eminently breakable physical connection between the display and keyboard components of the device.
Undeterred by historical lessons, Gigabyte has outed the T1125 Der Kavalier 'Booktop' (bigger than a netbook, more portable than a notebook, more confusing than string theory).
The $1300 device is powered by an Intel i5/i3 ULV processor, Nvidia Optimus graphics and has the latest superspeed USB 3.0 ports. For multimedia support it has HDMI out and pumps THX-certified, optimised sound through four dual-channel stereo speakers which seems a bit like overkill for a lappie.
Following Apple's lead, Gigabyte have decided not to have an internal optical drive installed in the T1125, electing instead to include it in the gadget's dock, which is an intriguing idea, if not particularly well implemented in this instance.
We'll confess that we haven't seen 'Der Kavalier' in the flesh, but Gigabyte's publicity pics suggest that the PC sits in the DVD-equipped dock upright and in portrait mode, which might make using it in any meaningful way a wee bit awkward.
"The slim and agile appearance, combined with the vertical design, allows T1125 and the docking station to stand upright on the desk like a book that does not take up much space, to act as a stylish household decoration, to recharge the battery and to install a removable DVD," is the way the company puts it.
Gigabyte describes the T2115 as a three-in-one design that will enable you to everything done in one device. We suspect that trying to be all things to all people may be a compromise too far.
Apart from that, having a 180 degree twisting screen fills us with dread for the time when, addled by beer or lack of sleep, you try just a little too hard to twist the thing 181 degrees.
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