Anyone who has ever sat at a laptop for long periods or used one as a desktop replacement can attest to the discomfort of using a monitor stuck directly to the top of a keyboard. While this book-like configuration produces a compact and sturdy package, it can also produce neck strain from staring down at the screen for long periods, and lower back pain from hunching over. The Swiss company Dreamcom attempted to tackle this problem with a new laptop and base station designed to liberate the notebook screen from its hinges.
The Dreamcom 10 Series notebook is basically half notebook, half Transformer. While it might pass for a run-of-the-mill business notebook out of the bag, an unusual telescoping neck allows its 15.4-inch screen to crane nearly six inches above the keyboard when the additional height is necessary. Stranger still, when mated with an optional docking station, the computer can gain another 10 inches in stature by using its base and the docking system as a sort of bipod. Both functions are designed to alleviate the aforementioned ergonomic problems by raising the screen up to a more comfortable viewing position.
Image Courtesy of Dreamcom
To unlock the basic monitor vertical adjustment, users slide a switch at the base of the monitor, which releases the screen and allows it to glide up and down on a wide support rail that runs behind it. When the base station is available, its front can lock into the rear of the laptop, creating a pivot point that can move from 0 to 174 degrees. By raising both pieces until they resemble a triangular shape (from the side), the monitor gains even more height. Although the keyboard becomes unusable in this acrobatic act, the base station has been designed for use with an external mouse and keyboard.
Undoubtedly, the Dreamcom 10 Series’ physical flexibility is its main selling point, but it’s also quite competently equipped when it comes to computing horsepower. All variants of the laptop include Intel Santa Rosa processors, ranging from 2.2Ghz to 2.6Ghz, and it can be ordered with up to 4GB of PC-5300 RAM. Dreamcom also skips the usual integrated graphics chipsets and provides an ATI Radeon Mobility HD 2600 with 256MB of RAM for graphic-intensive applications and gaming. Other extras include a fingerprint scanner for password-less security, and a 2.0-megapixel webcam with dual digital microphones for video conferencing.
Besides acting as an architectural element to allow the laptop to morph, the base station also provides a range of other features that could come in handy when parking the laptop on a desk. In terms of video outputs, the base station supplements the laptop’s existing DVI output with VGA, HDMI, and S-video, making it suitable for use with a home entertainment system or additional monitor. It also attempts to rectify the common problem of tinny bass-less laptop sound by adding a five-watt subwoofer to the laptop’s existing stereo speakers. And if storage is an issue, the base station has room for dual 2.5-inch drives, and accommodates for SD, MMC, MS, MS-Pro and XD media cards.
So far, Dreamcom has kept mum on pricing for the 10 Series, although you can bet with other, ordinary laptops ranging from €649 ($998 USD) to €1,399 ($2,152 USD), the 10 Series is unlikely to come cheap. But for those who value comfort as much as performance in their electronic gadgetry, the Dreamcom 10 Series may be well worth whatever premium it demands. More information can be found at Dreamcom’s web site.