Dual-screen laptops not all they're cracked up to be

Posted on by Mike Evans

Back in 2009 I was speculating on the future for the physical keyboard following the improvements in virtual keyboards such as those on the iPhone. This was well before the advent of the iPad or I would more than likely have been even more enthusiastic. As it was, I asked whether we were in the end days for physical keyboards. I haven’t changed this view and I believe it is inevitable that portable devices, including laptops, will move to a two-screen configuration.

Acer Iconia with virtual keyboard (photo: hybrid beasts are now beginning to appear and I was interested to see Ross Miller’s review of the new Kyocera Echo and the Acer Iconia: A tale of two screens. Incidentally, the site,, is the temporary refuge of Josh Topolski, Nilay Patel, Ross Miller, Chris Ziegler, et al. Is there anyone left at Endadget?

Unfortunately, it seems, my initial enthusiasm could have been misplaced because , clearly, all isn’t plane sailing in the two-screen laptop sea. Summarising both models, Ross says:

The pair suffers from a trifecta of annoyances: heavy glare, pronounced fingerprint smudging, and bad vertical viewing angles. These are all particularly noticeable on the bottom screen, which won’t be in an optimal viewing position unless you’ve got the device propped on an incline. The virtual keyboard is still very usable, but reading text just won’t happen.

I hope, though, that teething troubles can be overcome. And the company to do it could be Apple.

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