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This tiny folding keyboard is actually a full-blown AMD Ryzen PC

Wednesday July 10, 2024. 04:29 PM , from PC World
This tiny folding keyboard is actually a full-blown AMD Ryzen PC
Keyboards that hide full computer guts under the keys aren’t a new idea. (The Commodore 64 comes to mind, though it’s hardly the only example.) And neither are folding keyboards for mobile devices, since I remember such oddities back in the days of the Palm Pilot.

But a boom in mobile tech and portable power has allowed one gadget maker to combine the two ideas into one.

Meet the Ling Long keyboard, which looks at first glance like any of a dozen Bluetooth folding keyboards on Amazon, except this one is hiding an awesome secret: beneath its low-profile keys is a shockingly compact, full-blown Windows system.

We’re not just talking about some dinky Arm or Atom system, either. The Ling Long keyboard rocks a Ryzen 7 8840 APU with up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of M.2 storage. That’s as capable as a mid-range laptop.

The keyboard also hides an internal battery, a speaker, and a diminutive touchpad to the right of the space bar. You can plug in a portable monitor for full untethered functionality, or use a USB-C dock (or a USB-C monitor with the same capability) to make it a full desktop machine.

According to the company’s promotional materials spotted by Tom’s Hardware, it’s rated to run for ten hours, though that’s obviously going to be affected by whatever you happen to be doing. Running a portable monitor off this thing—along with tasks intensive enough to spin up the active cooling system—is bound to cut that time down.

It’s an intriguing idea, for sure. And considering the specs and the engineering that goes into the folding mechanism, the starting price of 3000 yuan (about $412 USD) isn’t bad at all.

That said, I’m struggling to think of a situation where this gadget would be preferable to a standard laptop or tablet. If you’re carrying around a chunky gadget like this one (it’s 1.7 pounds and 6 inches on a side), it needs a portable screen to be operational. It really only makes sense if you know you have a USB-C desktop setup where you’re going and you won’t need a PC on the way.

And as PCWorld’s resident keyboard nut, that layout makes me cringe. Look at that tiny right Shift key and the super-squat punctuation to fit in the touchpad, which I imagine isn’t exactly ergonomic to use. It looks so uncomfortable that I’d prefer almost any laptop keyboard… and since I wouldn’t be using this thing in transit, I might as well set up a full keyboard and mouse at my destination and replace it with one of those tiny “portable” desktops.

But that’s my middle-aged curmudgeon leaking out. I’ll admit that the design work that went into the Ling Long is cool, and I wouldn’t mind trying it out to see if I can dispel my naysaying. It seems unlikely that this device will make it out of China in its current form, but maybe someone will see its utility and import it or license the design.


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