Science and Tech
By Liyo Kikon
Having just one device to take care of everything from work to play is the future and many companies are trying to bridge the gap between cell phones and laptops and if we can somehow manage to merge the two, it would make many people have the convenience of depending on just one device for everything. But like most futuristic devices, we are all just waiting for an innovative product to appear and sweep us off our feet. Until then, the closest thing to a union between cell phones and laptops would be a Laptop Dock.
If you use just Microsoft Office for your work or maybe you are a writer or journalist or perhaps you just want a device to surf the web and watch videos, then all you need is either the Superbook by Sentio (Black) or the Mirabook by Mirateam (Gold). Both the Superbook and Mirabook look like a laptop, but neither one of them have any computing power. The way they work is that you plug in your smartphone and the laptop dock will use the smartphone’s engine to come alive. The laptop docks come with their own in-built battery which can charge your phone while connected and since they are both slim and light, weighing just under 1kg, it is easy to carry it with you wherever you go. The Superbook has a display of 11.6 Inch and the Mirabook has a 13.3 Inch screen. They both use Usb Type-C for charging, along with a standard Full sized USB A for attaching devices such as pen drives and hard drives and other peripherals along with a full QWERTY keyboard and a multi touch trackpad. Both devices are very well built and they both look beautiful with minimal design. While the Mirabook offers HDMI output for connecting an additional display or TV, the Superbook does not have that option and the Superbook does not have an SD Card slot either and it comes with just one USB-A connector whereas the Mirabook has two USB-A connectors. But when it comes to the performance of the laptop dock, both of them performs admirably since the performance is directly dependent on the power of your smartphone and the best bit is that when you buy a new phone, it will be like buying a new laptop since the docks are compatible with all android devices or PC Sticks. And speaking of compatibility, the Mirabook is also compatible with Windows Phone, Ubuntu and it also has the option to work with Raspberry Pi if you want to use it as a stand alone device. The Superbook on the other hand can also work with Windows Laptop or PC which is great if you have a guest and both of you need to use computers at the same time.
The advantages of having a Laptop Dock are rather high, but like all products, they have their flaws as well. One big issue with these docks is that they are not fully fledged laptops and what this means is that you are dependent on an external device to make them work and this hinders the performance quite a bit. It will obviously not affect anyone who is going to use these devices for light weight tasks, such as typing, web surfing or watching videos, but it is certainly not designed for heavy users. One fascinating claim is that the new Galaxy S8 is more powerful than the Macbook Air and if you pair that phone to either one of these docks, the theory is that you will have a laptop which is more powerful than a Macbook Air, but that is yet to be proven.
The biggest advantage for these laptop docks would be the price, The Mirateam is running a campaign on Indigogo right now and you can catch the early bird pack for $199 (Approx. Rs.12,800) or you can pre order the Superbook from their official website at www.sentio.com for $129 (Approx. Rs.8,300) and since both products deliver to India, you can order it directly without any issues. Another big advantage would be the connectivity since it uses the phone’s data for browsing the internet, you just need a good data plan and it will work out of the box without the need to fiddle with tethering like ordinary laptops. And now, the question remains, is it worth it? I guess the answer depends on the type of user you are. If you need a laptop simply for basic work, then these docks will be a great choice mainly because you will never have to buy a new laptop everytime it becomes outdated, all you need is to keep upgrading your phone which most people do anyway. But if you are a power user who needs desktop applications to work, then this may not be the right choice for you. One undeniable fact is that both these devices look beautiful and since they are both extremely affordable, it will certainly make a great addition to your gadget collection.