Today, most new laptops, especially hybrids and convertibles, come with touchscreens. It’s the new order. Sure, touchscreen is a quicker and more intuitive way to interact with your computer, but should you discard your perfectly fine laptop for it? Not when you can add the touch functionality to your existing laptop.
Enter AirBar – a plug-and-touch solution that actually works. All you have to do is plug it into the USB port and your laptop’s non-touch screen will start responding to touch. You can launch programmes, close windows, minimise apps, navigate through web pages, draw and paint, among other things, with a finger touch. Since it allows twofinger touch, pinching and zooming also work.
It responds well when touched using nails and fingers, unlike other touchscreens, capacitive screens, for instance, that respond only to finger touch. The company claims that Neonode’s optical sensing technology makes it work smoothly when fingers, gloves, paintbrush, stylus and finger nails are used. However, don’t expect it to be as smooth as the touch functionality on your smartphone or iPad; you won’t be disappointed either. Moreover, AirBar does not guzzle power, so the laptop will not run out of battery sooner.
Installing AirBar was easy. The thin aluminium bar needs to be appropriately placed on the bezel below the display of your laptop – which has to be at least 20-mm wide – using sticky magnets (provided in the box). This has to be done in a way that there is a 3-mm gap between the display and the AirBar – which has a width of 17 mm – for it to work smoothly. AirBar comes with a small USB cord on the right that has to be plugged into the laptop’s USB port. Once attached, the AirBar emits an invisible light field that senses touch and prompts the screen to respond. AirBar can be removed easily when not in use or while closing the laptop.
AirBar was first designed for laptops that work on Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, and has now been launched for MacBook Air as well. We tested the 15.6-inch AirBar on a laptop running on Windows 7 and it worked smoothly. AirBar is available in three sizes – 13.3 inches, 14 inches and 15.6 inches. Choose one that works best with your device.
The 15.6-inch AirBar is priced at $79 abroad. While the official India launch is awaited, it is retailing on Amazon India for `6,696 through Amazon Global Store; the e-tailer is shipping the product from the US.
Bag it or junk it: Many gadgets claim to offer similar functionality, but AirBar is by far the best