The Mainboard Terminal is the brainchild of computer modder Penk Chen, who drew inspiration from old sci-movies, which imagined a future a lot cooler than it actually is. The all-in-one computer uses a Framework Mainboard (which, unlike a Rasberry Pi, is capable of running x86 operating systems) running a version of Ubuntu 22.04 LT that’s been slightly modified to account for the round display. Commander, an enemy ship just appeared on our radar! God, I love playing space rangers.
The Mainboard, which replaces a traditional motherboard and most other hardware (it’s basically an Intel-powered, single-board computer), sits inside a custom 3D-printed case, which also houses a OLKB Preonic mechanical keyboard, perfect for complementing the computer’s retrofuturistic style. I love retrofuturistic style. Maybe that’s why I spend so much time playing Fallout. Plus, you know, it’s a great escape from real life.
Now Penk just needs to make it run off an onboard battery instead of AC power so it’s portable, and I’ve got myself a new mobile workstation! Are people going to stare at me on the subway? Of course, but is it the computer they’re staring at or my space suit? Who knows!
A detachable multimonitor setup that reduces clutter on your desk – bringing the multitasking capability of a triple screen setup while having the flexibility of shifting back to a single screen setup without much hassle.
Multiple monitor setups are high on productivity for professionals while looking absolutely stunning in a geeky desk setup. Be it at the office or at home, a multi-monitor PC setup has become more or less a staple for anyone who has to sit in the front of the screen for an extended duration of time for focus-oriented tasks. A major chunk of users go for a dual monitor setup, while some even go all the way up to a three monitor setup. Just imagine gaming on that multiple arrays of screens for a more immersive experience.
So why am I delving so much in-depth into a multiple monitor setup, and its inherent advantages? Because there is a chinch in the armor when multiple monitor setup’s not so palpable disadvantage is brought to light. It takes up a lot of space, and if you need to decrease the number of monitors you’ll be working on (just on that odd occasion) the only option is to pick up the high res screen away from your desk. This leaves me with a question – why not have ultra-portable slim screen attachments that can fit the existing screen, as and when the need arises?
The Flux by Loughborough Design’s graduate student Kester, addresses my long-burning query for good. It is a bezel-less monitor with rounded corners that comes with the flexibility of adding modules, or I should say additional displays, to the main monitor and creating a customizable multi-monitor setup. While the user reaps the advantages of the traditional multiple screen setup, the disadvantage of eating up more space on the desk is simply not an issue with this concept design.
Those extra displays can be attached in a jiffy to the main screen to the left, right and the top – depending on the user’s needs. This idea is somewhat similar to the Compal Airttach laptop we came across last year, but the Flux is more about bringing flexibility to your desk setup. Any point in time if this concept meets fruition, I just want that large eye-sore stand to be slimmer and compact.
Online learning and work from home have tremendously kept people busy the past two years of the pandemic. Of course, millions of people worldwide struggled initially, but after hundreds of hours in front of the computer doing virtual meetings and classes, we are already used to this setup. As they say, it is the New Normal, and we believe the virtual lifestyle will go on because of the numerous advantages.
There are plenty of ways how to improve your home office. We are always on the lookout for solutions, devices, and accessories to make things better for everyone. Those work-from-home designs give us ideas on how to meet different needs. The latest on our radar is the Marses Gen1 Table.
Designers: Aman Yadav, Mrinal Tirkey, Saksham Agarwal, Sonal Dhan, Riya Negi, Era, and Susil
The Marses Gen1 is a concept PC table designed by a team. The designers said this table is the future of desktop PCs. It is not just an office desk but is everything you want in a powerful machine, whether for work, school, business, or gaming.
The idea is that the Marses Gen1 features the latest-gen hardware, including a next-generation interactive surface with touchscreen goodness. The table’s surface can be a regular computer keyboard or a piano keyboard when you need to play or score music. It can also be a turntable, but when not in use, the surface turns into a plain desktop that is clean and clutter-free (unless you put other stuff on top).
The Marses Gen1 is not like any ordinary PC table. It offers an interactive surface that can follow touch commands. It can also be a work table to draw digitally on the surface. It has a Full HD monitor that is sleek and slim for a minimalist look. When not in use, the monitor can be hidden as it can go inside the main case. The PC table can also charge other mobile devices.
For an immersive audio experience, there are premium speakers with Dolby Atmos. The Marses table goes beyond the clean aesthetics as it is meant to arrive with high-quality specs and offer top-notch computer performance. With hardware customization and premium technical requirements, the possibilities are endless.
Marses Gen1 is only a concept design by students from the Indian Institute of Information Technology. It is one beautiful creation that combines form and function and an intelligent solution to end the clutter on your work table. We know someday something similar will become a reality in the future. But, for now, we will settle on computers, laptops, and tablets getting slimmer and thinner by the day.
Cooler Master has done the unthinkable this time. Going over and above its image of designing contemporary utility PC cases, the company for its 30th anniversary has created a very unusual case in the shape of a sneaker. Wait… what?
Called Sneaker X, this custom-designed case mod is developed after a design submitted by modder JMDF for the company’s Case Mod World Series in 2020. A perfect delight for the eyes, this PC case with all the LED lighting and computer innards will really appeal to all the sneakerheads out there irrespective of their Nike or Adidas bias.
Breaking the bounds of a traditional PC form factor, the Sneaker X is a blistering entrant in the sneaker culture that every fan would want to flaunt. But sadly, this sneaker is not for the feet – instead, it’s for beefing up your blockchain, adventures in the metaverse, or maybe a safe journey in burning millions on a seemingly useless (crypto miners don’t get offended) NFT.
Cooler Master has shared little information about what the Sneaker X will be compatible with. Moreover, the images don’t do enough justice to explain the size of the case, which if we believe is in tune with the JMDF’s design, should be sizeable enough to accommodate all the fancy innards you have to throw at it. As Cooler Master gives out, the custom-designed case would be able to accommodate some of the high-end GPU and CPUs to maybe allow gamers, crypto-maniacs, or a sneakerhead in you to design the PC as you’d want. After all that geek adventure, you still have the immaculate shoe shining under the desk!
There are no details yet about how the Sneaker X will be priced, but it is going to go on pre-order in Q3 of 2022. For now, just stack it against the super sexy GeForce RTX 3080 powered sneakers by NZXT, and decide for yourself which one is cooler out of the two!
The sleekly designed iMac is a classy desktop computer boasting security that is far superior to a Windows PC. Still, it has certain loopholes such as high price, limited upgradability, and software restrictions. That said, Windows-based workstations have also made the wiser move towards a slimmer profile. Rather than expanding in size horizontally won’t it be great if a cool-looking workstation is there which makes use of the vertical space?
Meet the WS1 Workstation concept designed by industrial design expert Chris Granneberg. This desktop inspired by the Sonos’ unique form is a power-packed computer to run software applications like SolidWorks, KeyShot, or the odd gaming session on the weekends. Just like an all-in-one iMac workstation, this Windows 11 PC has a very clean geometry and cool military green color, The 27-inch monitor is positioned adjacent to the rig holding the powerful hardware inside and the ports are placed to the side. The idea of a peppy desktop is something akin to the Xbox S-inspired all-in-one mini Windows PC.
The WS1 Workstation has a bit bigger volume than the one designed by New Land Design, but that’s understandable because of the high-end graphics card, cooling system and other components. The distance between them has to be optimal for enhanced cooling and performance – so a designer, digital artist or gamer won’t have any complaints about the slightly beefy proportions on the backside. The all-in-one PC has a height-adjustable screen to get just the right ergonomic as well as eye comfort for stress-free working for long hours too. The designer promises to add more ports and connectivity options to the PC in future iterations. Personally, I would like to see someone design such a PC with more color options and a slightly slimmer profile (if that’s possible with high-end hardware) to spice things up and take the challenge head on to Apple!
The old school computers may have faded in our memory thanks to the high-end Macs and PCs but if you’ve watched Marvel’s Loki, streaming on Disney+, you may have been treated to some retro-futuristic tech, some of which resembles the TVA Multifunctional Computer here.
We have come a long way in time, where computers have evolved to the size and dimension you’re probably reading this on at the moment. But in the mysterious halls of Time Variance Authority, there’s a different setting that ushers in a memorable era of cathode ray tube-like monitors combined with other gizmos to amicably track speech in real-time but not really play you Disney+ to watch the God of Mischief being interrogated.
In the Universe where time defines the odds, the rare possibility can be lived provided JK Captain’s TVA Multifunctional Computer could see the light of day. The retro-futurist tech-styled in the series should have fueled some designer imagination alright, and this multifunctional computer design reminiscent of orange globe-like computer connected to TVA Holoprojector during Loki’s interrogation is drop-dead gorgeous.
Most of the tech innovations appearing in the show built around Loki are custom-made. And for the real world, a designer has enhanced that orange bubble monitor with gizmos evocative of the onscreen adaptation and some more with the white keyboard. Accents of yellow and the gimmicky orange are seen through the contraption, that in may or may not work essentially as the remote control of the Holoprojector.
The reel tape recorder, the volume toggle buttons, microphone, forward, rewind, play, pause, record buttons, and full-scale qwerty keyboard with more knobs and buttons on this multifunctional computer concept is incredibly detailed. In fact, the exquisite detail to which the designer has rendered this in 3D is really worth a sci-fi bloke to appreciate!
The perfect hybrid machine that’s just as good a tablet as it is a laptop still doesn’t exist. But, in 2021, companies like Microsoft, Apple and Google continued to improve their operating systems for machines that do double duty. Windows 11 has features that make it friendlier for multi-screen devices, while Android 12L is on the horizon and promises an optimized experience for larger displays. Plus, with the rise of ARM-based chips for laptops, especially Apple’s impressive M1 series, prospects for a powerful 2-in-1 with a vast touch-friendly app ecosystem is at an all-time high.
These machines still have their limits, of course. Since they’re smaller than proper laptops, they tend to have less-powerful processors. Keyboards also tend to be less sturdy, with condensed layouts and shallower key travel. Plus, they’re almost always tablets first, leaving you to buy a keyboard case separately. (And those ain’t cheap.) So, you can’t always assume the advertised price is what you’ll actually spend on the 2-in-1 you want.
Sometimes, getting a third-party keyboard might be just as good, and they’re often cheaper than first-party offerings. If you’re looking to save some money, Logitech’s Slim Folio is a cheaper option, and if you don’t need your keyboard to attach to your tablet, Logitech’s K780 Multi-Device wireless keyboard is also a good pick.
While we’ve typically made sure to include a budget 2-in-1 in previous years, this time there isn’t a great choice. We would usually go with a Surface Go, but the 2021 model is too expensive. Other alternatives, like cheaper Android tablets, are underpowered and don’t offer a great multitasking interface. If you want something around $500 that’s thin, lightweight and long-lasting, you’re better off this year looking at a conventional laptop (like those on our best budget PCs list).
When you’re shopping for a 2-in-1, there are some basic criteria to keep in mind. First, look at the spec sheet to see how heavy the tablet is (alone, and with the keyboard). Most modern hybrids weigh less than 2 pounds, with the 1.96-pound Surface Pro 8 being one of the heaviest around. The iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7+ are both slightly lighter. If the overall weight of the tablet and its keyboard come close to 3 pounds, you’ll be better off just getting an ultraportable laptop.
You’ll also want to opt for an 11-inch or 12-inch screen instead of a smaller 10-inch model. The bigger displays will make multitasking easier, plus their companion keyboards will be much better spaced. Also, try to get 6GB of RAM if you can for better performance — you’ll find this in the base model of the Galaxy Tab S7+, while this year’s iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 8 start with 8GB of RAM.
Finally, while some 2-in-1s offer built-in LTE or 5G connectivity, not everyone will want to pay the premium for it. An integrated cellular radio makes checking emails or replying to messages on the go far more convenient. But it also often costs more, and that’s not counting what you’ll pay for data. And, as for 5G — you can hold off on it unless you live within range of a mmWave beacon. Coverage is still spotty and existing nationwide networks use the slower sub-6 technology that’s barely faster than LTE.
Best overall: Surface Pro 8
There’s no beating the Surface series when it comes to 2-in-1s. They’re powerful, sleek tablets running an OS that’s actually designed for productivity. The Surface Pro 8 is Microsoft’s latest and it addresses most of the issues we had with its predecessor. It’s thinner and looks more modern, borrowing the design of last year’s Pro X. Plus, it has a 120Hz display that makes scrolling endless spreadsheets or emails feel much faster. Just remember to drop the refresh rate to 60Hz if you want to get respectable battery life out of this thing. Windows 11 also offers a better split-screen experience for on-the-go multitasking.
Like most of the other 2-in-1s on this list, the Pro 8 doesn’t come with a keyboard cover — you’ll have to pay extra for that. That’s a shame, considering it starts at $1,099. Microsoft offers a variety of Type Covers for its Surface Pros ranging from $100 to $180, depending on whether you want a slot for a stylus on it. But at least they’re comfortable and well-spaced. You can also get the Surface Slim Pen 2 ($130) for sketching out your diagrams or artwork, and it also features haptic feedback for a more responsive experience.
If you’re already in the Apple ecosystem, the best option for you is obviously an iPad. The 12-inch Pro is our pick. Like older models, this iPad Pro has a stunning 12.9-inch screen with a speedy 120Hz refresh rate, but this year it uses mini-LED backlighting to deliver greater dynamic range. Apple’s M1 chipset is impressively fast too, and more than good enough for most tasks. Plus, the latest iPadOS is superior to older versions thanks to widgets and quick notes support.
Apple’s new Magic Keyboard provides a satisfying typing experience, and its trackpad means you won’t have to reach for the screen to launch apps. But it’ll also cost you an extra $300, making it the most expensive case on this list by a lot. The iPad also lacks a headphone jack and its webcam is awkwardly positioned along the left bezel when you prop it up horizontally, so be aware that it’s still far from a perfect laptop replacement. Still, with its sleek design and respectable battery life, the iPad Pro 12.9 is a good 2-in-1 for Apple users.
While Windows is better than iPadOS and Android for productivity, it lags the other two when it comes to apps specifically designed for touchscreens. If you want a tablet that has all the apps you want, and only need it to occasionally double as a laptop, the Galaxy Tab S7+ is a solid option. Though it was released last year, it’s still the best Android-powered 2-in-1 around. You’ll enjoy watching movies and playing games on its gorgeous 12.4-inch 120Hz AMOLED screen, and Samsung includes the S Pen, which is great for sketching and taking notes. The Snapdragon 865+ processor and 6GB of RAM keep things running smoothly, too.
Thankfully the company significantly improved its keyboard case over previous models, with more comfortable and responsive keys. You could type for hours on this thing and not hate yourself (or Samsung). The battery life is also excellent, so you won’t need to worry about staying close to an outlet. The main caveat is that Android isn’t great as a desktop OS and, while Samsung’s DeX mode offers a somewhat workable solution, it has plenty of quirks. Still, with Android 12L on the horizon, a simple software update could ease some pain.
Android might suck as a desktop operating system, but Chrome OS doesn’t. If most of your tasks take place inside a browser, the HP Chromebook x2 will serve you well. It has great battery life, an excellent 11-inch screen and looks nice, to boot. HP even includes the keyboard and stylus with the tablet, which almost none of the competition does.
Chrome still isn’t a great OS in tablet mode, and the Chromebook x2’s Snapdragon 7c processor sometimes struggles if you rack up too many tabs. It’s also a little pricey at $600, but you can often find it for $400 when it goes on sale at sites like Best Buy. That makes it a solid choice considering everything HP includes for the money.
While Apple has a pricey proposition for buyers who can’t resist the mini form factor of the iMac, a new Windows all-in-one computer ignites hope for ones who have always liked the freedom of the world’s most-used PC.
The 2021 iMac with the M1 microchip on-board is the powerful all-in-one PC for all kinds of users – and of course – the funky color options to match the modern interiors. Although the limited ports and no upgrade option is a bit of a downer. That leaves most of (including me) craving an option that’s spiced up in Windows flavor. New Land Design seems to have caught onto the idea of an all-in-one Windows desktop PC – bringing another option for users who prefer the more open-ended OS and hardware environment.
The compact PC is inspired by the Xbox Series S design, and it’s fairly evident from the all-white theme. There are plenty of ports up-front (courtesy of re-rerouted IO) to satiate the need of power users who possess a lot of gadgets. The big Xbox-like housing in a Mini ITX has all the hardware components including the RAM, graphics card and more. The designers have crafted the mini PC in a manner to assist the bottom to top airflow for active cooling.
New Land Design has kept the dimensions of the mini Windows PC well within the practical realms and has not tried to outsmart the slim iMac design with an even slimmer profile. The screen has a modern bezel-less look and the height-adjustable movement hides away the ports when brought down to the lower end. Now, the only question remains unanswered – will you want to put this up on your desk anytime soon?
The visual intrigue of this sci-fi PC case is such that it promotes long hours of productive sitting at the desk sans any distractions. That’s how cool this futuristic machine looks and feels.
A desktop PC case is akin to a spoilt geek’s obsession that needs to look and function like the absolute best on the planet. Isn’t that what all we content creators long for? A computing machine that houses a monster performer on the inside and on the outside, looks absolutely badass to the core. Designer Alex Casabo gives me more than one reason to crave a PC case for my desktop setup that’s as geeky as his creation.
He calls it the Crystal PC Case Concept, and I wish it could adorn my desk one day. The USP with Alex’s design is the sublime combination of computing power with futuristic aesthetics that will escalate any workspace into a productive den. Such is the magnetic ambiance of the concept. All the internal components like the motherboard, RAM, GeForce RTX 3090 graphics card, SSD, etc. are immaculately arranged in a distinct pattern for a clean look. The four heat-dissipating fans – two on top and two on the rear – designed to operate with minimal noise without compromise in active airflow give the innards depth perception.
Keeping with the sci-fi theme of the PC, the designer includes a built-in display on the CPU to keep a check on temperature and clock speed. The Crystal PC Case in part attributes its namesake thanks to the crystal clear case covering with cut-out vents for airflow on the top and rear – in line with the fans. The matte back and gray color scheme is contrasted by the uber-cool blue, green, orange and red LED lights adorning the telemetry display, component indicators, and fan lighting. Just imagine how cool it will look with a blue and green bias light setup for the accompanying monitor in conjunction with color-changing LED lighting for the home office setup!
Area Flip is a refreshing mobile office desk PC with a multi-screen setup that is designed to emphasize seamless workflow, interaction, and flexible private working zones.
In a typical office setup with desktops as workstations, your portability is limited by the partitions and the wires that clutter but keep you connected. This also leads to a standardized working environment which can get monotonous with time. This problem demands a solution like the Area Flip which maximizes the mobility of the work environment. The Area Flip does this by transforming into a portable desktop, a presentation screen (vertical), or a flat (horizontal) screen for a lying board/screen that allows the people to collaborate better.
This thoughtfully designed office computer gives us a glimpse into the future of ultra-flexible work environments where your work is not limited by the equipment at your disposal. Rather it is mobile and tailored for any creative process that takes place in the organization. For example working together on projects, instant presentations, or brainstorming on a priority problem. It merges the portability of the laptop with the real-estate of a PC – giving you the best of both.
Designer SangWoon Kim imagines Area Flip as a computer and a desk space into one ergonomic form – capable of being moved like a suitcase to wherever desired.
This versatile desk can be used in different configurations. First is, of course, the completely folded mode for easy mobility. The second is a general desk mode without exposure to any screen space whereas the third mode opens up the screen, allowing you to make use of dual screen orientation. The fourth option lets you open presentation mode by aligning the two screens for a bigger real estate, great for addressing a group of individuals. And the last two modes allow for an improved ergonomic angle and flat-lying board configuration that reminds me of the Microsoft Table!
Area Flip comes with the promise of expandability and versatility of use as the internal hardware like graphics card, CPU, RAM, and internal storage can be easily upgraded. Thus, the system can be used for years to come without going obsolete. SangWoon’s motive of innovating the office desk space is something I would love to use – and why not – it brings limitless possibilities when it comes to creating a coworking space when desired while respecting your privacy. It truly is a flexible futuristic office setup that improves upon the flaws of the open office layout.