A Kangaroo In Your Pocket?

Category: Gadgets

Oregon-based InFocus has launched a $99 Windows 10 PC that fits in your pocket. The company says its new Kangaroo mobile desktop PC “goes anywhere and works with any screen.” Let's take a look at this claim, and what's included in the Kangaroo's pouch...

Kangaroo: A Pocket-Sized Windows 10 PC

At first glance, the Kangaroo looks like a smartphone without a screen. Think instead of this gadget as a tiny desktop PC, which needs a screen and some other pieces to become a fully functional computer. It's true that Kangaroo works with "any screen," but only if the screen happens to be Bluetooth compatible and touch-sensitive; otherwise, you’ll need the detachable dock which is included in the low $99 price tag.

The dock contains an HDMI port and two USB ports you will probably need to connect monitor, keyboard, and mouse to the Kangaroo. It also houses the AC power supply input port. You’ll need that external power supply because the Kangaroo’s battery is rated for only four hours of “casual use.”

So why is the Kangaroo designed in two pieces, neither of which is very useful without the other? InFocus says it plans future, swappable docks with more features. That might be code for "we hope to compensate for the low price tag by making money on upgrades."
Kangaroo Pocket PC

Together, the Kangaroo’s computing module and dock make a package 171 mm (6.73 inches) long, 80 mm (3.15 inches) wide, and only 13 mm (0.51 inches) thick. Granted, you CAN use the device without the dock, but a single chassis would be a bit shorter and there would be one less thing to lose, and one less connector to break.

The computing module contains an Intel Atom™ x5-Z8500 Processor (2M cache, up to 2.24 GHz); Intel® Graphics Gen8; 2 GB of RAM; a 32 GB hard drive (of which 18 GB is available with Windows 10 and nothing else installed); a microSD card slot for additional storage space; Bluetooth 4.0; a dual-band 802.11ac WiFi adapter; a fingerprint reader; and a microUSB port that can only be used to charge external devices.

Portability, Not Lugability

Does this miniature computer thing sound familiar? If you're an avid AskBob reader, you might recall that I've written about some similar gadgets. See also PC On A Stick; Would You Buy a $50 PC?; and Really, a $9 Computer?

The idea here is portability, so perish the thought of lugging around a 24-inch monitor, plugged into your Kangaroo's dock. You can use an iPad as a monitor for your Kangaroo, thanks to the free OSLinx Windows Monitor app. The app also supports multitouch gestures and a mouse.

The Kangaroo starter kit (computing module, dock, microUSB charger, and power supply) is available now from Newegg. Also available are extra docks at $39 each; I suppose the idea is that you’ll want to have docks at all of the locations where you expect to use the Kangaroo, rather than just plugging the included dock into the computing module and slipping the whole thing into your pocket.

Hands-on reviews of the Kangaroo report that its performance is surprisingly zippy for such a low-power platform. Windows 10 takes less than 30 seconds to boot, according to Emil Protalinski of Venture Beats.

The fingerprint scanner works with Windows Hello, the optional biometric authentication module built into Windows 10. Once Hello is trained to recognize your fingerprint, a simple tap on the scanner button on Kangaroo’s side unlocks your system.

One interesting note is that the Kangaroo can also function as a battery pack (to charge other devices via USB), or as an external hard drive (for file storage or as a backup drive).

The Kangaroo is a novel form factor that may appeal to people who want to take their desktop PC wherever they go. The $99 price is reasonable for what is essentially an entry-level PC with no input/output devices included. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "A Kangaroo In Your Pocket?"

Posted by:

John O
03 Nov 2015

Good article Bob. I read where it can be ordered without an operating system. Might be an interesting way into Linux and away from increasingly intrusive money grubbing Windows and their ilk.

JO


Posted by:

Charley
03 Nov 2015

Well, I always have a full PC in my pocket! I have a remote desktop app on my smartphone(I use Logmein but there are others). So I can always access my full PC at home including access to all my files, apps, etc. And if I happen to have one of my larger tablets with me, it's even better.

I just can't see carrying around a pocket PC that I then need to connect to a screen, keyboard and mouse that I probably won't have with me.


Posted by:

MmeMoxie
03 Nov 2015

Bob, interesting article and concept. The price is right, but, I would have no need for this.

What turned me off, is Windows 10. I have upgraded twice and still, do NOT like it. I understand the learning curve, for every upgrade in an OS. But, what happened the last time I upgraded to Win 10, which was just last week. I needed some help, with Win 10. I was trying to do something, basically import/export from a program. So, I typed in the information, I wanted.

I was sent to MS.com Support, no problem. I located the Q&A, for the topic I was seeking. As I read the article, it hit me like a ton of bricks -- Everything, the article was telling me was for Win XP and Win Vista!!!!!!!! I then, immediately recovered back to Win 7 Pro.

MS doesn't even have up to date information for Win 10???!!! Sorry, but, Win 10 is not ready for Prime Time, yet.


Posted by:

Robert Kemper
03 Nov 2015

Thanks for the information Bob, but definitely not
for me.


Posted by:

cal67
03 Nov 2015

I've got a HP tablet running Windows 10 with the exact same hardware specs that I paid $99 for. Oh, it has a touch screen included. This doesn't seem like much of a deal to me. I can get similar products running Android in the $30 range.


Posted by:

Chuck Martin
04 Nov 2015

Kangaroo, use your Ipad as a screen? What? Did I read that right? Why? Use your Ipad as an Ipad. If you want a Windows device that is portable get a Surface Pro and be done with it.

I like Microsoft Products. I find the ease of use and the no need for any other source for software an excellent one stop shop for things I want. Third party apps are available at the Windows Store both free and paid for. But that is for me, who is not an advanced hacker or software engineer. Microsoft has never let me down.


Posted by:

SandyJ
05 Nov 2015

Is anyone else old enough to remember the Brick?


Posted by:

Gwyn Dewey
07 Dec 2015

I have purchased one of these for the UK.
It comes with US power adapter
I assume I need a US/UK transformer to charge the device


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