Turn your smartphone into a laptop with the $250 Casetop dock

Casetop

Most modern smartphones are more powerful than your first-gen Pentium computer: they can already do everything from surfing the Web to editing basic office documents. In fact, mobile processors are already powering tablets like the Surface RT and laptops like the $250 Samsung Chromebook. So why carry both a laptop and a smartphone when your smartphone can technically do the trick? To be as useful for work as a laptop, your phone only needs a bigger screen for editing large documents, and a physical keyboard for fast typing.

The Casetop by Livi Design sees the potential in turning your smartphone, which most people already carry everywhere, into a laptop for the occasions when you need the convenience of the clam shell form factor. (With this dock, at least you won’t have to buy a brand new device plus a dock, like with the phone-in-tablet Asus Padfone.) At just 0.8-inch thick when closed, with an 11.1-inch 720p LCD non-touch screen, and a “Frontbar” (see the blue bar in the photo) that slides neatly into the keyboard, the Casetop is a compact dock for your smartphone.

Unlike the Motorola Atrix and its Webtop laptop dock, the Casetop uses whatever platform that your smartphone is running so it will work with most mobile devices with a full-sized HDMI-out or other video outputs like MHL for the screen, and Bluetooth to pair with the chiclet-style keyboard. In addition, the dock packs the equivalent of a 6-cell battery so it promises to triple your phone’s battery life and charge it at the same time. It even offers a charging USB 3.0 port that lets you plug in other devices that need juicing up, in addition to a micro-USB and an audio jack for your headset.

As you can see in the demo video from Livi Design, it’s pretty easy to hook up your phone to the Casetop. You simply slide out the Frontbar, plug in your phone via HDMI, place your phone between the Frontbar and the keyboard, and you’ll be able to enjoy your mobile operating system on an 11-inch screen. Not only does your phone become the brains of this make-shift laptop, it also doubles as the touchpad so you can navigate your apps through your touchscreen.

From making the polycarbonate bars in various colors, to embedding a full Android computer into the so-called AndyBar, Livi Design is already brainstorming a bunch of different Frontbar designs for different purposes that users can swap in and out. But before it can realize its Frontbar fantasies, it needs some Kickstarter backers to help get this first-generation Casetop off the ground. If you want to get a basic Casetop with a standard Frontbar for your phone, you need to pledge a minimum of $250 (the $220 early bird option is all sold out) by June 2, and hope the project meets its funding goal of $300,000. 

 

Does the Casetop stand a chance?

Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.
Mobile

Apple iPad Pro 11 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: Which top-tier tablet reigns supreme?

If you're in the market for a new tablet and you want something that can double up as a laptop in a pinch, then you owe it to yourself to check out the 11-inch Apple iPad Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. We compare the two here.
Computing

These laptop bags will keep your notebook secure wherever you go

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.
Product Review

It's not the sharpest tool, but the Surface Go does it all for $400

Microsoft has launched the $400 Surface Go to take on both the iPad and Chromebooks, all without compromising its core focus on productivity. Does it work as both a tablet and a PC?
Computing

Is your PC slow? Here's how to restore Windows 10 to factory settings

Computers rarely work as well after they accumulate files and misconfigure settings. Thankfully, with this guide, you'll be able to restore your PC to its original state by learning how to factory reset Windows.
Computing

The Titan RTX graphics card is nearly here. Here's what you need to know

The Nvidia Titan RTX is arguably the most powerful consumer graphics card ever made, even if it's not really aimed at consumers. It bridges the 2080 Ti and RTX Quadro cards with boat loads of power.
Computing

Leak reveals that Nvidia’s RTX 2060 gaming chipsets will be headed to laptops

The latest leaks of Nvidia's upcoming RTX 2060 have given performance benchmarks and further detail about the future chipset and its capabilities, while a RTX 2060 Max-Q variant has also been discovered for thin and light gaming machines.
Computing

Looking for an Apple MacBook below $900? Woot has you covered

If you're looking for a great deal on an Apple MacBook, then Amazon's Woot may just have what you have been seeking. It has Macbooks available for only $810 with Intel M3 CPUs, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSDs.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Computing

New rumors say the Pixelbook 2 could show up at CES 2019

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Google hasn't announced it, but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.
Computing

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.
Computing

You could spend $1,000 on an iPhone, or buy one of these awesome laptops instead

Finding a decent laptop is easy, but finding one under $1,000 is a bit tricky. Luckily, we've taken some of the guesswork out of picking out a budget laptop. Here are some of our favorites, the best laptops under $1,000.
Computing

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.
Computing

Here’s how to install Windows on a Chromebook

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so, just in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only…