MSI stirred up a fair bit of interest for its Slider S20 Ultrabook concept at Computex and Pocket-lint got some hands-on time with the unit on display at the show.
This 11.6-inch multi-touch-enabled Ultrabook differs from most of the models we’ve seen so far by offering a sliding screen that when in “laptop” mode stands almost in the middle of the chassis.
The design is actually similar to Asus’s not so successful Transformer Slider, with a keyboard that lacks any kind of wrist support. That potentially means it won’t be overly comfortable to type on when away from a desk, but that there is no touchpad or trackpoint to be found. Instead the touch display has to be used for all screen interaction beyond typing - annoying. You could use the keyboard with the screen flat as well, but we’re not sure this would be a very nice typing position.
The screen hinge mechanism had already taken a pounding on the unit we saw, but hopefully this is something MSI can solve between now and the currently planned Q4 launch window. As is so often the case, units displayed at trade shows are early build prototypes rather than final retail devices, and let’s hope this is the case here. Though MSI isn’t know for its build quality.
On the connectivity front, the unit on display had a mini HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, a single audio jack and an Ethernet port, so this is more of a light travel companion than a fully featured machine.
We have mixed feelings about the Slider S20, but suspect it will follow the same fate as the Asus Transformer Slider. Suitable for a niche audience but unlikely to be for everyone.