Have you ever wished your MacBook could have a touchscreen? Well your wish has just come true with the release of a new product called AirBar that turns a regular laptop display into a touchscreen.
AirBar comes in three sizes – 13.3 inch for the MacBook Air and a 13.3-inch, 14-inch and 15.6-inch versions for Windows laptops.
There are a lot of Windows notebooks that already have a touchscreen on board.
But what if yours doesn’t? The answer is AirBar.
It can allow you to scroll, pinch, zoom and swipe on your laptop screen to make it easier to navigate your content and manipulate your documents.
And it works with your fingers, even if you were wearing gloves, and other objects like a stylus or paintbrush.
So how does it work?
The AirBar fits on the bottom bezel of the laptop display and is held in place with small magnets.
From here it projects an invisible light field over your screen and reacts when your finger, brush or pen breaks that light and interprets the movement or action on the screen.
Fitting the device to the laptop takes seconds and only requires that you line up the markers on the AirBar with the edges of the display and press it firmly in place.
This will position the small magnets that will then hold AirBar in place whenever you need to use it.
On the end of the device is a USB cable that connects to a port on the right side of the laptop.
The next step is to then download the firmware for your computer and enable it in your settings.
The whole process takes just a few minutes before your laptop display becomes a touchscreen.
There is no need for any complicated calibration, it just works right out of the box.
At this stage, the 13.3 inch MacBook Air is the only Apple laptop it will work with because there is enough room below the screen to fit the AirBar.
The latest models of the MacBook Pro have hardly any room below the screen so a product like the AirBar won’t fit.
If you are a Windows laptop user, however, there are a lot more choices and possibilities to find an AirBar that fits your device.
And if you’re running Windows 10, it’s a good idea to add touchscreen functionality with the AirBar because the operating system was built for touch. AirBar will also work with laptops running Windows 8 as well.
For our review, this we installed the AirBar on a MacBook Air and a 15.6-inch Windows laptop and it worked flawlessly.
The touchscreen interaction was instant and as responsive as it would be on a purpose-built touchscreen.
And the good news is, AirBar hardly uses any power so it’s not going to dramatically drain your battery.
These laptops luckily had spare USB ports along the right edge.
If your computer doesn’t have a port on that side, you can use a USB extender cable to connect it to the other side.
It would have been good if you could detach the USB cable from the right side of the AirBar and just plug it into the left side which would ensure it works with any laptop out of the box.
The AirBar for the MacBook Air (13.3-inch) is priced at $149. The AirBar for Windows (13.3-inch, 14-inch and 15-inch) are priced all this at $119 and can be purchased from www.nexttech.com.au
The AirBar is an excellent new product that’s easy to install and does exactly what it sets out to do – turn a regular display into a touchscreen. This is particularly attractive to MacBook Air users who want to interact with their screen – with AirBar that’s now a reality instead of just a wish.