Size matters Gadgets where tech went huge

first_imgJust recently Toshiba announced a new Android tablet, the 13-inch Excite 13. It’s 13.3-inches on the diagonal, has a full SD slot, and weighs 2.2 pounds. While the Excite 13 is certainly not small compared to the competition (OK, it’s quite large), the device is actually just a start when it comes to the more-is-better school of product design. And it got us thinking… what are some other wonderfully over-sized gadgets? Some of these specimens have been relegated to our basements, garages, and attics, but they are still memorable because of their extraordinary scale, while others are new but have bucked the trend of miniaturization that is so prevalent in technology today.Large laptop: HP HDX DragonHP’s HDX Dragon was a 20.1-inch laptop that weighed in at 15.5 pounds and sold for $4500. It was so big that the 1920×1080 display didn’t have a normal hinge, rather it lifted up on a monitor arm not unlike the one on a standard LCD display. The clever mechanism made is so that the screen was independently tiltable, allowing for one of the most adjustable laptop displays ever. The system, which was released in the Windows Vista era, packed two hard drives, a full number pad, a TV tuner, and a sound system that featured four speakers and a subwoofer, all of which are benefits of its size. That battery life was reportedly under 2 hours, not that this computer would be able to fit in any laptop bag you owned.Capacious computer case: Lian-Li PC-343B computer caseLian Li’s PC-343 is a famously huge product from the respected maker of aluminum computer cases. Measuring 460mm cubed (3.375 cubic feet), this beast holds eighteen 5.25-inch bays and three 120mm fans. Using Lian Li’s expensive bay converters it would be possible to cram this thing with up to 30 hard drives. It’ll hold two power supplies to power all those disks plus some huge video cards, so it’s like cramming a room full of workstations into a single case. The aluminum cube beast is still available for purchase, at about $350.Immense input device: Wacom Cintiq 24HDOf all the huge devices featured here, the Cintiq 24HD might just be the most reasonable. This 24-inch pen display is designed to make it as easy and accurate as possible for artists and designers to get their ideas onto the computer, without a mouse and keyboard. Drawing on the Cintiq is like using a monitor combined with a drafting table… it’s actually quite a nice experience. And the size makes sense because nothing would be more disruptive than drawing an image that you need to constantly move around, with parts of it going out of view. The size gives the user a 1920×1200 canvas, a comfortable working angle (including the ability to extend over the edge of the desk), and easy to access controls. This $2800 device measures a considerable 30.29 x 5 x 18.26 inches (collapsed) and weighs 68 pounds, so it’s quite a piece of hardware.Massive monitor: Sony GDM-FW900You might be surprised to learn that Sony’s GDM-FW900 was only a 24-inch monitor, but it very much qualifies for this list. Feeling confused? This bit of information might help: it was a CRT! This oversized Trinitron tipped the scales at 96.2 pounds and had dimensions of 19.7 x 22.5 x 10.6 inches, making it just a tad smaller then the Lian Li case above. Its resolution was 2304×1440 (the screen was 22.5-inch viewable), meaning that it could handle 1080p video (at up to 80Hz), even though it was first available in June 2002. It might seem like a dinosaur-sized relic today, but this is a legendary display that will still run you a few hundred dollars if you wanted to buy one… shipping not included.Monstrous mobile: Samsung Galaxy NoteWithout resorting to the “Zack Morris” phones from back-in-the-day (you know, the Motorola DynaTAC), mobile is one category where devices are getting larger and larger. While some call Samsung’s Galaxy Note a “phoblet” it is a mobile phone that people use to make calls and actually try to stuff into their over-sized pockets. The device is thin so these activities aren’t too bad, but with a 5.3-inch screen and at nearly 6 inches in length, this is stretching the limits of the mobile phone category.Tremendous television: Optoma 100-inch DLPThe obvious choice there would be one of those 100+ inch record breaking LCD TVs LG and Panasonic unveil at CES every year, but that would be forgetting about the time when televisions were truly gigantic. Sony had a 40-inch CRT, the WEGA KV-40XBR800 (pictured), which weighed 304 pounds and was so big that it included with a custom stand (a $499 value!). It’s just about as big as direct-view televisions ever got, but when it comes down do it, it’s just a minnow in the television pond.The big fish here is the Optoma 100-inch DLP. Remember DLP? It was that projection technology that lived briefly in between the CRT and flatscreens. We don’t hear about it much nowadays, but it made for some monsters. The TV reportedly weighed 750 pounds and was 38 inches deep… meaning you’re need a pretty large television room for it. It’s not clear if the Optoma 100-inch DLP was ever commercially available though, so Sony may take the crown once again.Any favorite huge gadgets you have hidden away in your basement? Maybe a huge Thermaltake case for your E-ATX workstation? A Kinesis Advantage keyboard? Tell us below.last_img