gScreen SpaceBook: Back to the Future with Dual Screens?by Kristian Vättö on July 17, 2011 7:30 PM EST
gScreen has released two SpaceBook-branded laptops that sport dual 17.3” 1080p monitors. That makes SpaceBook the laptop with the most real screen estate with over four million pixels. gScreen has achieved dual screens by making them sliding - the other screen will slide behind the other one to maintain a regular laptop form factor. The slide effect also allows SpaceBook to be used as a normal one-screen laptop.
|gScreen SpaceBook specifications|
|SpaceBook 17 i5 4G||SpaceBook 17 i7 8G|
|Screen size||2x 17.3"||2x 17.3"|
|Resolution||2x 1920x1080||2x 1920x1080|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-560M (2.66GHz dual core)||Intel Core i7-740QM (1.73GHz quad core)|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250M 1GB||NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250M 1GB|
|RAM||4GB DDR3 1333MHz||8GB DDR3 1333MHz|
|Hard drive||500GB 7200rpm||500GB 7200rpm|
|Optical drive||Super-Multi DVD drive||Super-Multi DVD drive|
|Wireless||802.11 b/g/n||802.11 b/g/n|
|Connections||Headphone jack, mic-in, Ethernet, 3x USB 2.0, eSATA+USB, FireWire, HDMI, memory card slot||Headphone jack, mic-in, Ethernet, 3x USB 2.0, eSATA+USB, FireWire, HDMI, memory card slot|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||16.5" x 1.9" x 12.6||16.5" x 1.9" x 12.6|
For a quick history lesson, gScreen was founded in 2003 and has solely concentrated on dual-screen laptops. They first revealed their plans in 2009 and originally SpaceBook was supposed to come out in early 2010, but it was delayed. However, after more than a year, gScreen is now taking pre-orders. They also seem to have some kind of promotion regarding to the pricing so the prices listed above are the original prices, not discounted ones.
Frankly, the specifications are straight from early 2010 as well. There is no Sandy Bridge, only Arrandale and Clarksfield, both of which are 18 months old (or more) by now. As for the graphics, gScreen offers NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250M with 1GB of VRAM (no word on the type, though DDR3 is likely) in both models and this GPU is roughly two years old. gScreen doesn’t even offer any BTO options so these are the only options you have; no Blu-Ray, SSDs, or anything like that (although you should be able to install them on your own). There is also no word on the panel type, only that they have LED backlighting. Given the high price and gScreen's aim at professional market, IPS displays would be a nice addition, but with outdated CPU and graphics, a TN panel seems inevitable.
Given the above, we have to ask: exactly what is the market for the SpaceBook? gScreen claims that they focus on filmmakers, photographers, designers and CAD engineers. However, who would pay over $2000 for a laptop with very out dated hardware and use it as a work machine? If you work with video or other intensive content, then you are going to want the fastest machine you can find, or at least a computer that offers good performance for the buck. Gamers won’t even take a look at machine like this considering its hefty price tag and relatively poor specs. Engineers likewise wouldn't even think about outdated hardware with no professional GPU features (e.g. Quadro or FireGL).
The only market for SpaceBook that I can see is people who really, really need a lot of screen estate while on the go and are ready to trade performance and portability (and a nice amount of $) for those features. That doesn't seem like a big market and it’s hard to see SpaceBook becoming a blockbuster. $1200 can easily get you a laptop with a quad-core Sandy Bridge CPU, decent GPU, and 1080p screen. That’s much more powerful and portable than SpaceBook while costing half as much. With the leftover money, you can grab two big desktop LCDs (even IPS panels!) and get more screen estate than SpaceBook, and still saving money. The only thing you miss out on there is transportability.
All in all, SpaceBook is an interesting concept but it isn't enough to justify the out dated hardware and high price. With 2011 hardware and some configurable options, it could potentially satisfy a niche market, but in its current state SpaceBook looks quite obsolete. We're curious, though: are any of our readers more forgiving of the design? Let us know.
Post Your CommentPlease log in or sign up to comment.
View All Comments
jkresh - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - linkI do not see this selling much with current specs, you could just buy 2 17" laptops each with better specs and they would take up a similar amount of space in a bag, and weigh a similar amount, you could then use some kind of kvm software to run the 2nd laptop as a 2nd screen for the first if you really needed to. If this actually had mobile workstation specs (ie sandybridge, one or two ssd's, some kind of professional gpu) then maybe it would fit a small market (even if the price was a bit higher) but as it stands it doesn't seem to have a target audience.
MonkeyPaw - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - linkOr just have an external screen that plugs in. They could save a ton of trouble and still be creative by merely building a portable, battery powered monitor that runs on standard video connections. Just build it to match size and Res of the laptop, and maybe make a way for it to dock so it can offer its battery to the notebook, a la Eee pad transformer dock.
mageslayer - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - linkPeople often connect their laptops to external monitors for additional screen real estate. I can't think of a scenario where "filmmakers, photographers, designers and CAD engineers" would need to do intensive work and not be able to access an external monitor. Workplaces and even some hotels have external monitors readily available for use. Coupled with its poor battery life and last gen specs, this product is targeting a non-existent market.
Rubinsson - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - linkOr you could buy two pretty decent laptops and dual wield... ;)
Seriously though the price and the hardware does not really capture me....
I would rather, as Kristian writes, take a laptop with good hardware
and two bigger professional IPS screens for stationary use and be
content with the smaller screen estate when I am on the move...
Impulses - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - linkIronically, two laptops would weigh less and cost about the same, with better hardware on each... Not as usable in terms of screen real estate (can't easily shift stuff from one to the other, etc.), but still...
web2dot0 - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - linkTo people saying that it's cheaper to get 2 laptops .... that's not the goal for this laptop .... to replace 2 laptops.
The ingenious idea behind the product is to allow extra real estate limited by current laptop counterparts in a PORTABLE format. That means you can carry 2 screens with you.
Do you carry 2 laptops with you? Are you going to find a monitor laying around everywhere you go? That's the purpose of this design.
I can totally see potential candidate for this type of laptop geared towards serious computer programmers ....
I would definitely consider getting one as a desktop replacement assuming the specs are more up to date and the battery life is reasonable (that extra monitor is going to suck the life out of the batteries). I'm ok with the weight because I'm more concerned about reclaiming my desk space and being able to lug it around to/from work, not using it in coffee shops or bring it to LAN parties with it ....
Solidstate89 - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - linkThis would be a portable workstation of my dreams if it weren't for the absolutely crap hardware. No Sandy Bridge? A 250m GPU? I mean, really? What are you going to do with two 1920x1080 screens with a 250m GPU?
Absolutely ridiculous. 3,000 dollars is insane considering the kind of hardware and screen quality I can get for just two grand in portable workstations from Lenovo, HP and Dell.
Now if you throw a Sandy Bridge Quad-core and a high-end Mobile Quadro in there, I would highly consider this notebook. As it stands, I don't see it selling.
CZroe - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - linkWhat they need to do is sell a portable, folding, dual-display using their designs which can be connected to anything instead of building a whole laptop around it. They could integrate a huge battery in the base to offset the weight of the panels or make a power pass-through so that you can plug your notebook into it with a universal DC cord and not have a tangled outlet mess
colinw - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - linkIt's rubbish on its own, and complete madness when price is factored in.
Iketh - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - linkI'm a computer programmer and immediately clicked this article to find out more. I frowned at the hardware, but that wouldn't have held me back. Only the price prevented me from purchasing this. With the current configuration, I wouldn't pay more than $1200.
With integrated Sandy Bridge graphics & 2.2GHz, I wouldn't pay more than $1500.