InFocus made huge waves in the mini PC market last year when they introduced their teeny-tiny, ultra-portable Kangaroo Mobile Desktop. At roughly the size of a thick business card, this pocket-sized PC boasted the potential to actually replace hulking desktop rigs, and managed to do so for just under a hundred dollars. Now, less than a year later, InFocus is adding to the Kangaroo family with an interesting new take on conventional shared laptops. Announced just last week, the Kangaroo Notebook is being touted as “the world’s first modular laptop”. So what exactly does that mean?
The Kangaroo Notebook is an inexpensive, lightweight laptop system that offers two interchangeable Kangaroo mini PCs and a single laptop dock. Each of the interchangeable mini-PC modules is its own, completely self-contained Windows 10 PC. The entire system comes packaged together, and includes the laptop dock and two modules, each of which come fully equipped with Windows 10, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage (expandable to 256GB), and an Intel “Cherry Trail” CPU. The actual notebook is about what you would expect for the price – an 11.6-inch HD screen, full keyboard, and a Synaptics trackpad. Ports are minimal but functional, and include USB 2.0, USB 3.0, an SD card reader, and 3.5mm audio jack. Microphone and speakers also come standard with the modular laptop, but expect those to be on the low end of the budget spectrum as well. And of course, you’ll have Bluetooth 4.2 LE and 802.11AC Wifi to keep your dual-force mini PCs connected on the go.
There are a few downsides to this first-of-its-kind multi-tasker, but that’s to be expected when a company is trying to keep the price of a budget laptop within, well, budget. The most notable issue doesn’t actually have anything to do with the cost though, but with the system’s custom connectors. InFocus opted to equip the Kangaroo Notebook with special custom connectors, which eliminates the possibility of connecting the device to external hardware like separate monitors, keyboards or other extemporaneous peripherals. Not to mention that only one of the included modules can ever be used at a time. If you’re primarily looking at investing in one of these modular gadgets to keep your kids streaming separate from your work, or to simply better accommodate two people using the same laptop in your home, this will likely not be a deal-breaker. However, in my own humble opinion, the addition of a few additional ports to the modules themselves would result in the device being far more useful as a whole.
As is the case with most budget laptops, you can expect the battery life to be less than spectacular. Current estimates rate it for about five hours of life, although InFocus hasn’t released official specs yet. All in all though, it could be an ideal solution for a certain sect of the market. With a price tag of just under $300, it may be worth looking into when it hits shelves next month.
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