Each passing year, more laptops come with built-in touch screens. However, good laptops still come without touchscreen capabilities. So, what if the model you have or seek doesn’t have a touch screen? You may want to turn your laptop into a touchscreen laptop. That’s where the Neonode Airbar comes in, and it definitely sounds like a steal. The slender sensor wand attaches to any laptop or standalone monitor and enables touchscreen gestures. Typically, native touch screen displays add about $100 or more to the cost of producing a laptop. So this could be a good alternative rather than buying another laptop because of one feature.
To be honest, a genuine touchscreen is more precise and offers more flexibility in terms of multi-touch capabilities. But for those who need a touchscreen alternative, the Airbar does the job.
The Airbar works by emitting an infrared light field over that laptop that senses a finger touch and commands an immediate response.
How to set it up
The company promised a great level of simplicity. The box copy says “Attach. Plug in. Touch,” which says it all. It really is a plug and play peripheral. No need to download drivers, a task which might be complicated even for some computer literates.
The Airbar is typically mounted at the bottom of the screen. It attaches itself by a pair of small magnets with a sticky backing that sticks to the screen’s bezel, and which grab unto the magnets on the Airbar itself. However, these magnets are semi-permanent which could give potential buyers cause to pause.
It is also necessary to point out that your laptop’s bezel should be sizable, about 0.667 inches wide since the Airbar is about 0.2 inches thick. This is important, so you don’t place the magnet on the screen or close your laptop with the Airbar still mounted inside of it.
The Airbar is a sleek, thin and lightweight at only 1.76 ounces. It comes in 3 variants, the 13.3”, 14” and 15.6” options to fit your display perfectly and fits perfectly against the bezel of the screen.
It comes with a 9.5 inch USB cable that protrudes from the right side of the device to attack to your laptop. Note that this USB cable is non-detachable, so of you damage it, you’ll have to buy another Airbar. This also means that you have to use a USB port on the right side of your device. This could be a burden for some, if you have to change your set up.
The Airbar is the real definition of plug-and-play. The device starts working immediately it is place on the screen and plugged it. The Airbar only supports two finger gestures, which is more than fine for windows 8 and windows 10 functions. But don’t expect to be able to activate Cortana by using the three finger gestures.
The Airbar also works on both Windows 8, Windows 10 and Chromebooks. For the Mac OS it’s really more of a toss-up because most models are not made with touchscreen capability in mind. It works best with the MacBook Air, mainly because of its thick bottom bezel.
The Neonode Airbar goes for $69 for the 15.6” variant. The 14” variant cost a little less at $63.
- Does what it says – provides touch capabilities
- Accuracy is very good if sized correctly
- The price is fair
- Always on sensors
- USB cable only on the right
- Magnetic strip set up can be tricky and or semi-permanent
- Only comes in three sizes
- Windows and Chrome OS compatibility
A touch display is not for everybody but is definitely nice to have. The device can be a little pricey if you don’t particularly need the touchscreen capability. This shouldn’t be your first choice for a touch display but if you already have a laptop without one and you need it, by all means get one for yourself. Overall I will recommend this product if you wish to turn your laptop to touchscreen.