In brief: Japanese publication PC Watch recently profiled a device from HTL Corporation that turns your Android or iOS smartphone into a laptop. The HTL WitH Laptop Display (model SY-1238FT) looks like an ordinary laptop at first glance. It features a 13.3-inch IPS touchscreen (1,920 x 1,080 resolution) that can also be flipped back for tablet-like use.
Inside is a 5,000mAh battery that can run the system for more than six hours as well as a host of ports for connecting phones or a game console. There’s even a microSD card reader for expanded storage.
The chassis measures 311mm x 210mm x 14.9mm and weighs 1.2kg, or around 2.65 pounds.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a hybrid laptop / smartphone concept. More than a decade ago, Motorola tried something similar with its Atrix 4G smartphone and Webtop concept but it never gained traction. Asus was thinking along the same lines with its Padfone, a smartphone / tablet combo. Razer came up with something comparable – albeit a bit more advanced – in 2018 with Project Linda but like most of Razer’s wild CES creations, it never made it past the concept stage.
HTL’s offering differs from these earlier examples in that the companion smartphone doesn’t physically dock directly to the laptop but rather, connects via a cable. This addresses the proprietary hardware limitations and is more in line with Samsung DeX, but that still doesn’t mean it will be successful.
¥61,380 (around $450) for a machine that’s essentially a laptop shell is a tough sell, especially considering how far that budget can go when shopping for a full-fledged laptop. For example, Best Buy currently has a Lenovo Yoga 13.3-inch 2-in-1 with a Ryzen 5 5500U processor, 8GB of memory and a 256GB solid state drive for $449.99. I dunno about you, but I’d rather have that than an empty shell that has to connect to my phone to be useful.
If you’re dead set on the WitH device, Amazon Japan currently has them in stock and appears willing to ship them worldwide.