Magic Touch

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - TEST BENCH -

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

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