Nexdock 360: The KVM We've All Needed For Decades

For way too long now, IT admins have had to rely on bulky, cumbersome KVM's that either consist of a rolling table with a monitor and keyboard+mouse, that all connect 1-by-1 to any server you're trying to console in to, on top of requiring external power for the monitor, making for a lot of cord clusters all over the place. The second option is the expensive rack-based KVM's that are great once they're set up, but much of the time have key combinations you need to press to get to their OSD (on screen) menus to switch inputs, of which has either rubbed off over time where the label explains it, or is simply tribal knowledge that people eventually forget about and become very hard to operate constantly having to google which key combo and what reset process you need for any KVM you inherit in an environment.

In recent years, there have been semi-portable standalone LCD's that make use of USB-C's combo of video, data and power to use just one cable to connect to a server... but 99% of enterprise servers don't have those USB-C outs that are video capable on the front of them for easy access (like VGA is) yet. Without that, you'll need a standalone HDMI cable, USB-C connected to something like an external battery (or in some cases with fancier models, they have batteries built-in to the displays), and then USB for an external keyboard and mouse. Some other semi-fancy models incorporate touchscreens to their screens, but that almost never works out practically when in use in real life (a clunky extra USB cable connected to the screen aside from HDMI and power input, for the sole purpose of touchscreen), and some devices won't install those touchscreen drivers as plug-and-play as you would hope, making for an unreliable feature server to server.


So what's so difficult about simply bolting on a laptop-like keyboard and trackpad to a thin little LCD, and maybe building a battery into the chassis for portability? I mean... laptops do exactly that and have existed for 4 decades now. Well, simple as it seems, no one has ever just bothered actually building a device like that until now.

Enter the Nexdock 360 all-in-one KVM. Peculiarly though, even this device isn't marketed to as a KVM it seems, so I'm not sure if it's just that the IT crowd is overwhelmingly a culture of guys that suck it up and deal with it and never complain (apart from me clearly), or if this problem is actually unique to me and no one else has ever had these issues... but Nexdock (the manufacturer) markets this mostly for use as an external KVM for Android phones to make them 'laptops', which I think is ridiculous really. That's okay though, ingenious, but ummmm not a word of acting as a KVM traditionally. But who cares about the marketing, when I saw this device I knew I had to have it. So I ordered back in October of 2020 and after countless delays and a disappointing re-spec of the product they changed halfway through the wait period (from a 14" display to a 13.3"), it finally arrived today, August 17, 2021.

And let me tell you it was worth it. It's an extremely sturdy design, like a Macbook without the Apple innards, but an aluminum frame with the same design and footprint as a 13" macbook, with the added cool feature of being a convertible/transforming to a tablet if you keep pulling the LCD to where it wraps behind itself.


Here's a quick rundown of the pros and cons of the Nexdock 360:


Pros:

  • Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, Touchscreen and Battery all in one

  • Sturdy, sleek, lightweight, thin aluminum design

  • Backlit keyboard

  • USB-C PD for easy power input/recharging, and one-cable data, video and power if you're connecting to a modern system

  • Great resolution and really high quality image (1080p)

  • Folds backwards into a touch tablet

  • Competitive pricing when compared to portable monitor solutions that don't incorporate keyboards, mice, batteries or even touchscreens.

  • MicroSD slot to act as external storage device when connected to a client

  • Auto-sleeps when lid closes to conserve battery- but maintains connectivity to client devices so there is no 'Badum' USB disconnect or monitor re-sizing when you close it down for a bit.

Cons:

  • Extremely long pre-order only waitlist for shipping that continuously get dates pushed back with little warning (that may be improving now though)

  • Vendor support is scant if they respond to your requests at all

  • Hinge mechanism is very stiff, but it's also extremely lightweight so this is just the nature of thin and light gadgets



Specs:

Dimensions: 12.1″ x 8.2″ x 0.6″

Weight: 2.6 pounds

Display: 1920x1080 16:9 IPS multi-touchscreen

Brightness: 300 nits

Color Accuracy: 100% sRGB color gamut, 72% NTSC color gamut

Audio: 4x 1-watt speakers

Battery: 44Wh; 7.6V 5800mAh

Trackpad: Multi-touch

Keyboard: Backlit edge-to-edge

Inputs:1x USB-C 3.1 with DisplayPort, 1x Mini HDMI-in (1.4a) Port

Outputs: 1x USB-C PD Charging Port, 1x USB-C 3.0 Data Port, 1x 3.5mm audio jack, 1x Micro SDXC card reader


Honestly, this is an investment every IT guy, every hobbyist, every techie with a need for an external monitor, should grab. There's no other solution like this on the market (mind bogglingly), and thankfully this offering is a VERY high quality one itself.


Here's where to grab it: http://nexdock.com/360-touch/

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