WHATEVER INTEL'S ENGINERS HAVE BEEN DRINKING we'd like a sip, as they've come up with a unique dual-screen gaming laptop that the chipmaker showed off at Computex.
Dubbed 'Honeycomb Glacier', which sounds more like a hipster ice cream than gutsy hardware, the laptop effectively places two displays on top of each other, rather than popping a secondary screen on the keyboard deck as seen with Asus' efforts.
The main display is a 15.6in Full HD display, with fairly chunky bezels for a 2019 laptop. But rather than be plonked in the laptop normal position, it sits on top of a secondary 12.3in 1920 x 720 screen. And yes, it looks as bizarre as that sounds.
The secondary screen sits on a hinge in the middle of the laptop rather than towards the back, but is orientated in a fashion so that the primary screen above it, which is also sat on a hinge, sits at an angle one would expect from a laptop, only elevated more into the user's eye-level, sort of like an external monitor would.
To keep the screens in place, Intel has designed a hinge with a mechanical one-way roller clutch that locks the displays in a selected orientation until a button is pressed to disengage the lock.
The idea of Honeycomb Glacier is that the bottom display will act as a companion screen, showing things like gaming stats and Discord chats, or give Twitch streamers info on their stream.
Having a secondary screen more in the users' line of sight than other dual-screen prototypes looks like it could be more useful than having one down on the keyboard deck, as most people are likely to be looking at the gaming action in their field of view rather than down at the keys.
Under the reasonably chunky chassis sits a fairly run-of-the-mill high-end gaming laptops spec, with the Honeycomb Glacier at Computex sporting a Core i9 processor and Nvidia's GeForceGTX 1070.
But then the laptop is but a prototype and a rather early one at that. If Intel ends up pushing Honeycomb Glacier out to hardware makers like Asus and MSI as a reference design, we could see dual-screen machines with all manner of specs, likely leaning on the very latest Intel CPUs and cards from Nvidia's GeForce RTX line-up, if OEMs produce such a machine this year.
Given we haven't seen Honeycomb Glacier in the metal, we can't say much about how it performs or feels.
But a variety of reports suggest it's a pretty decent prototype given its early days for such a machine. And from what we can see, it looks like dual-displays in this format might actually be properly useful for a deeply involved gaming session or using creative software tools while on the go.
It's certainly a more elegant and neat prospect than Asus' ROG Mothership, which looks like a Surface Pro has mainlined PC gaming steroids. µ
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