You may recall when we wrote about the Kangaroo Pro Desktop last year. Now, the Irvine, CA tech company wants you to stick their special machine in a notebook form factor.
First, let’s talk basic concept. If the idea is to have one computer that you swap into Desktop or Notebook mode, then Kangaroo needs to work on that. The current Pro cores are different shapes (same dock, though). Really, there needs to be just one meta-device. Until they got on that, I’m not comfortable recommending as a general one-size-fits-all solution.
Still, for a notebook user in a shared environment, the Kangaroo Notebook is still a possible purchase. You get 2 Kangaroo Pro units, as seen above, and one netbook dock for them. You can theoretically get as many Kangaroo Pros as you like, and just keep swapping them. What’s the point? I’m picturing a shared environment, like a dorm room or family, where each user has their own machine instead of an account on a shared machine. That means you don’t have to worry about the persons other than you mucking the machine up. Your Kangaroo Pro is your machine, the Dock is just a workspace.
Let’s talk about the dock. The 11″ plastic fingerprint magnet of a shell reminds me of a netbook more than anything. Remember, this is not actually the computer–the Intel Atom chip is in the Kangaroo Pro, not the dock. The dock itself has an okay screen for basics, but not high-end gaming (not that you’d want to do that on the Atom chip). The trackpad is basic, with no multi-touch, and the keyboard has a lot more “give” than I’m used to. When typing this review, I could feel the chassis giving way to my fingers–but I tend to pound. The lack of a caps lock indicator light is a glaring omission in 2017. Honestly, the entire laptop experience is like being back in 2007, muffled sound and all. Fine in many respects, but we’ve moved on.
Battery life on the KPN is alright. Nothing fancy. I kept my charger close at hand. The 32 GB of internal storage can be supplemented by an SD slot, USB 2 or USB 3 stick (there’s one of each type) to the dock, or a MicroSD card in the Pro unit itself. A few people online complained about heat or fan noise, but I had no such issues.
One issue I did have was with turning the darn thing on. The Pro unit button has to be held for 2-5 seconds, and the indicator light is under your finger, so you don’t see that it’s live until you let go. That’s poor design.
I really wanted to love this. Heck, at $289 (before additional coupon code) I still kind of like it as a friend. It’s fine for data entry or homework. Still, I am more intrigued by its potential. If Kangaroo can come out with a Kangaroo Pro unit that fits both desktop and laptop editions, and a dock that’s more solidly built (maybe metal?), then I think we could have a real relationship.
Note: Kangaroo provided a review unit and time to test it. This is how I repay them. I’m a bounder and a cad… but honest.