The Kangaroo Mobile Desktop Computer is one of the most unique and interesting products to cross my desk (aka the hardware horde I guard like a materialistic dragon).
Before we go into any kind of analysis, the Kangaroo is a tiny, fully functional 64bit Windows 10 PC with an Intel Atom X5 processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GM of space. It’s about the size of a 5.5” cell phone (think iPhone 6+, Samsung Note, etc.).
The Kangaroo comes in two parts: the PC and the dock. You can’t buy the PC by itself but you can buy more docks. The dock is where the inputs reside — USB2 and 3.0 ports, HDMI and a power jack.
On the PC itself, there’s a micro USB for charging and a fingerprint reader for security. Aside from physical buttons, the Kangaroo has a feature called “OSLinx” (not OS Linux) that allows you to mirror your Kangaroo Windows 10 onto an iPad. Pretty cool.
Additionally, the kangaroo has a battery worth a good four hours of charge. We’ll get back to the battery in a second.
Finally, it’s only $99.
LET’S GET HOPPING
(or choose your own marsupial-related pun, there’s just so many)
First of all, the Kangaroo Portable Desktop is also incredibly well made. The pics don’t do it justice – solid aluminum, glowing LED calamari ring light and a dock that feels like it could last a couple hundred thousand dockings. It reminds me of Apple or LaCie quality accessories. And it has a little kangaroo logo so, ya know, I’m a fan.
More importantly, plug it in and it just works. Like a Mac, it really does give that warm feeling when it boots fast and doesn’t need any troubleshooting right out of the gate. No bloatware, no nonsense apps to evade, it just works.
Now, the question about this product is just what niche this is trying to fill. And I haven’t quite figured it out. The easiest way to think of this tiny PC is like an Intel Compute Stick but with a battery. Or a Roku with Windows 10…and a battery.
So who is the ideal consumer for this tiny aluminum marsupial? I’m not sure. I can see using it to turn my TV into a PC, which is fantastic. It’s like a baby HTPC and will be perfect for people who want to browse the web in its fully glory and not the annoying semi-functional solutions in other TV-based devices.
Also, it’s kind of perfect for people who are terrified of computers (think: old people). Or places like offices or commercial settings where you want to be able to run some program or video on a screen but aren’t going to be trying to load Arkham Knight.
As for the battery, I’m not quite sure its intended purpose. Maybe there’s some consumer out there who is like “finally!” But I feel like there should be more explanation of the niche the kangaroo is trying to fill. If you need a portable computer with a battery, you get a laptop, right? If you’re plugging it into a TV, there’s power there, so what’s the point of the battery? Also, to connect to HDMI, you need the dock. If there was an HDMI on the Kangaroo itself, then it’d make more sense. As it is, you have to take the dock with you at all times. Also, the battery has only four hours of lithium goodness, so running an 8-10 hour workday off of the device seems out of the question.
Then again, it’s only $99, which is amazing, when you think about it. I have two TVs that have streaming devices but a Kangaroo would definitely upgrade the experience – share my streaming music accounts over all my sound systems, access my vids, cruise the internet between commercials, etc. And I could see getting one for my parents so I can share Google Photos albums with their 70” TV.
Anyway, I really love the unique thinking that went into this. Hopefully this is a preview of more cool products from Kangaroo and other ways micro desktop PCs can be integrated in strange and wonderful ways. Check it out.