Laptops

Droid Bionic Lapdock: Convert your smartphone into a laptop

Jack Wallen praises the cool factor of the Droid Bionic Lapdock, but is it worth the steep price?

I've seen some pretty incredible pieces of technology come my way before, but at the moment, the Droid Bionic Lapdock sits on the top of the heap for the coolest of the cool. With this piece of technology, you can convert that insanely powerful smartphone into a laptop. That's right ... a laptop.

The Droid Bionic Lapdock is a unique docking station for your Bionic that serves as a charging station AND means to view and interact with your smartphone with a standard sized keyboard, trackpad, and 11.6 inch display. There's a catch (isn't there always?) -- the price of the Lapdock is steep (approximately $300.00 USD). So, considering you can purchase a decent tablet at that range, is the Lapdock worth the cost, especially after you've already dropped the coin for the Bionic? Let's break it down and find out.

Remember this: You can get a fairly good business-grade laptop for between $500-$700.00 USD and a fairly good consumer-grade laptop for between $300.00-$600.00 USD. You can purchase a Kindle Fire for $199.00 USD and a Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi-only tablet for around $499.00 USD. So, after the standard 2-year deal and the Bionic phone coming in around $150.00 USD (along with a monthly data charge), you've already reached or (in some cases) exceeded the price-point of the competition.

Not so fast. Let's think about this in terms of business-oriented usage. Remember, you've already purchased that Bionic, so you have the means to connect to a fairly fast 4G network. Using a standard laptop (or tablet) would require you to either tether the laptop to the phone, have an aircard, or always be within range of Wi-Fi. Okay, tethering works well with the Bionic, so that argument is thrown out the window.

Portability? Nope. Sorry Motorola, but your Xoom is just as portable and more convenient to use.

Convenience? Now we're talking. Okay, so you could have any number of Android-powered devices and have them linked (in countless ways) to one another. But the idea of having a smartphone (with all your information, apps, and goodies) that can convert to a completely different form factor all of a sudden makes sense. We've all come to realize that smartphones (regardless of the platform) offer enough in the way of applications that we can pretty much do business from those little devices all day. In fact, trying to match, app for app, between a smartphone and a laptop today isn't all that easy. In many cases, the smartphone wins, hands down. Plus there's the issue of security. Unless you're rocking Linux or OS X on that laptop, you're going to be vulnerable to viruses, malware, and more.

That is where the Lapdock really shines. You have your smartphone, with all of its amazing apps and information. Instead of trying to match that on your tablet or your laptop, just stick that Bionic in the Lapdock and you have the best of both worlds. But does that offset the price?

The decision as to whether or not this device is worth the cost is challenging. Yes, the Lapdock is cool on an epic scale, but is having yet another cool gadget worth the cost? This might best be settled with simple pros and cons lists.

Pros

  • Cool factor
  • Powered by one of the most powerful smartphones on the planet
  • Access all those apps with a standard keyboard and trackpad
  • Very nice display
  • Security of Android in laptop form factor
  • No need for hotspot or aircard
  • Extremely portable
  • No need for tethering plan

Cons

  • Cost
  • Not quite as responsive as a laptop or tablet of the same cost

Well, if you're one of those people who tends to really place value on pros/cons lists, you can see the pros certainly outweigh the cons. So, if price is not a problem, the answer is simple -- you want a Lapdock. If price is an issue, you should wait to see if the price comes down. Should the price of the Lapdock drop to approximately $150.00 USD, the question as to whether or not the Lapdock should be purchased is tossed out the window. This accessory to the Bionic is an amazing gadget that's not just cool to have, it also makes working with your smartphone worlds easier.

What's it going to be? Will you drop the coin for the Lapdock? Will you wait to see if the price falls? Or is this an unnecessary toy that would only wind up collecting dust and have you feeling some serious buyers remorse?

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

4 comments
joe.stout
joe.stout

This seems like a cool idea, but why hasn't anyone come up with a simple 10 inch touchscreen that I could slide my android phone into and suddenly make it a tablet like the Samsung Galaxy? I'm not an engineer, but something like that doesnt seem that hard to do, and I would thing that a screen alone wouldnt be that expensive....

Stalemate
Stalemate

ATT is selling it new for 50$ right now, for the Atrix 4G model. I expect that if you wait 6 months the prices will drop accordingly for this model.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

If you look in your Task Manager you'll see that every process has four CPU's assigned to it.Only on Mars where they designed the computer do they know how this works.The rest of us have to figure it out.Is this four CPU's in a redundancy?Or is this four CPU's in a stress priority?In the new computers in the Task Manager you can see that they have everything running all at once.The disk writer is running but it still takes a minute to show itself.The four gig of memory is split up to one gig per CPU.So the new computers run at about the same speed as the old ones.So I raise the frequency in my old computer from 250 to 500.I'm overclocking!BLUE SCREEN!(Citizens for BIOS Freedom)