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Sunday, June 16, 2024

This AR laptop gives you infinite screens while having none

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One of the biggest banes of trying to get work done on a laptop is the single screen setup. If you’re used to dealing with multiple monitors, being reduced to one can be incredibly limiting, having to switch apps constantly rather than immediately having all the information required on screen. The rise in work from home has seen solutions to this problem start cropping up, but the AR screened Spacetop has got to be one of the coolest ones yet.

The Spacetop is arguably a new kind of laptop. Instead of boasting a screen and keyboard in clamshell configuration, the Spacetop is a full sized keyboard and glasses set up that gives you as many screens as you can want. It feels a bit like science fiction, but Wired recently went hands on with the device and it looks to be one that’ll work very nicely with our current reality. 

The setup weighs less than 1.5 kgs and is by no means a gaming laptop, but the technology could be great for PC gamers further down the line. In its current form the Spacetop’s keyboard has good connectivity including two 10Gbps USB Type-C, both of which support 65W fast charging and DisplayPort 1.4 for connecting an external screen. That’s in addition to a 3.5 mm headphone jack, Bluetooth, 5G, and Wi-Fi 6 connections.

But the idea is you probably won’t need to do that with the included AR goggles. While a bit silly looking, these give you 1080p resolution per eye and let you have basically as many screens as you like. It’s reportedly pretty intuitive and easy to configure and move them around, as well as clear enough to easily read text and the glasses are said to be comfortable to wear. You can even get them with prescription lenses, which is a huge relief for daily glasses wearers like myself.

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But the Spacetop itself is a fairly bare bones machine. It’s running a bespoke OS, which sounds a bit like a Chromebook in action. Basically any webapps should work just fine which makes it great for things like emails, working in Google Docs, YouTube, and reading your favourite articles on PC Gamer. I’d love to see it try out some game streaming or actual gaming too, but it looks like the XR augmented glasses prototype we tried may still be a better pick for that.

The package is being developed by Sightful with help from AR glasses makers NReal and Wistron, a brand known for working on Dell and HP laptops. Currently, Spacetop is only available to purchase through the invite only program and will set you back $2,000 for the privilege. Sightful is looking to target enthusiastic early adopters who can help shape the product with feedback, so if you get in, tell them we want this for gaming, please.

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