Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock



  • https://sentio.com/

    We've been discussing this thing offline, and I think it's a good conversation about whether the tech has any value. So figured I'd open it up here.



  • My take is that this device is silly and effectively worthless. It requires you to awkwardly dock your phone to a Chromebook-like chassis and makes it less convenient as a phone, and less convenient as a laptop. All negatives. Physically, it's a fail.

    Cost wise, it's not cheap. It's basically the cost of my last Chromebook which I absolutely love, but without being a Chromebook. So you "consume" the use of your phone while using the laptop, instead of having two separate devices to get double the use. In theory this hardware might last longer than a Chromebook, but because it has to remain compatible with your phone and because it influences the giant phone costs (easily $2K - $10K of purchases during the lifespan of a $200 add on) that's a massive fail from a cost value perspective. It easily won't last longer than a Chromebook without costing more than buying many Chromebooks.

    So physically and financially, it's a fail. If you love being able to charge your phone from your Chromebook, just stick a cable in any Chromebook, they all already do that.

    Chromebooks today all run Android apps (new Chromebooks, not old ones.) So you don't get the benefit of bringing Android apps to the laptop screen.

    The big difference is that Sentio requires that you have a phone that runs the software, and that they stay around and update that software. If they stop that, your investment is worthless. Given, it is not a big investment, but neither is a superior Chromebook.

    Instead of having two devices that you can pick and choose between, you have effectively one. When I sit on the couch, I charge my phone across the room, I don't need it by me, I use my Chromebook. My Chromebook is light and the battery lasts 13 hours. It's perfect for sitting on a couch, a plane, or a train. Tiny, convenient, stable. If I have to tether a phone physically to my Chromebook to make it work, that increases the weight, makes it oddly bulky and lopsided, it makes it far less convenient than just opening and closing the lid and setting it down. And most of the time I want my phone in my pocket, always ready to be mobile with me, not tied up and plugged in that I have to plug and unplug. It's minor, but for both devices they tend to be fast up and down usage, that extra step might quadruple the time to just check a message or whatever. And it's way more wear and tear on the really expensive phone that I have the Chromebook to help avoid.

    Basically, it takes a great system of battery management, convenience, and protection and without adding any obvious benefit, lessens all of that. Today my Chromebook is a backup for me if my phone is missing, lost, damaged, or whatever. Today I get two screens to use doing two different tasks, if I want. Today I keep my phone where it makes sense, and my Chromebook where it makes sense, they don't influence each other. Today I can tether my wire, tether my wireless, or not tether, instead of being forced to tether. I see loads of caveats, but I'm not seeing the benefit.



  • I'll put my wall of text here, because I can almost guarantee no one in the chat cared enough to read this much:

    For me, a lot of it is up in the air with questions I must ask myself about what I want to do, how, when, and in what situations. I have a work laptop, and part of the issue I have with it is that it is just over that line of inconvenient to the point where, unless absolutely necessary, I want to head back to my office to check on anything that might need to be looked at. It can do the job, and it can do it relatively well, but I have always disliked laptop keyboards and trackpads. Plus, there's finding a place to put it down when you're out and about.

    Which means, along with my options of chromebook, better laptop, and phone dock, there's also get a wireless keyboard/mouse that can easily be transported. The main intent is always convenience. It's just fully determining what works for you in your situation.

    -Phone Dock: This would be nice because if you were in between buildings or something, or doing something directly from your phone because it would have been difficult to do so with a full device, then the phone dock would help you to at least pick up where you left off when you get back to your desk. I believe you can still easily make an answer calls with a bluetooth headset while docked, but I'd have to look a little deeper into that to confirm it. The only arguments might be battery longevity and actual usage/convenience. Not 100% certain on how the details work out for how long before you'd have to replace your battery. Usage and convenience might come into question because if you're already at your computer, why do you need a secondary (well, tertiary for me. Linux VM) one? The main answer to that might be the same one as to why I run a Linux VM: a lot of stuff can be more convenient from a different OS.

    -Chromebook: Probably the most ideal for compromise and middle-of-the-road option. Lightweight and small, so it isn't too bad to carry around with you. However, Unlike the cell phone, it (generally) doesn't operate on LTE, only wifi. So, if you're without wifi, you're without luck unless you hook your phone up anyways. And, we run into the issues I addressed initially.

    -Better Laptop: Not sure this would really resolve any of the issues I have, but I do worry about the power of a chromebook. I have a concern that it might not be able to handle what I'd like to throw at it.

    -KB/Mouse: This is the main one I'm looking at. Really just hate having to use that shitty keyboard and mouse. This might make me more likely to use my laptop.

    Overall, there's a lot of ways to look at it, and a lot of possible issues that could be addressed with most of these options. As far as I'm concerned, at least right now, it's a preference thing.



  • @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    Which means, along with my options of chromebook, better laptop, and phone dock, there's also get a wireless keyboard/mouse that can easily be transported. The main intent is always convenience. It's just fully determining what works for you in your situation.

    That's the thing about Sentio, it appears to be less convenient in every possible scenario. No scenario where it adds convenience. But tons where it reduces it.



  • @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    -KB/Mouse: This is the main one I'm looking at. Really just hate having to use that shitty keyboard and mouse. This might make me more likely to use my laptop.

    Agreed, and bigger screen. All things that a Chromebook matches in this case.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    Which means, along with my options of chromebook, better laptop, and phone dock, there's also get a wireless keyboard/mouse that can easily be transported. The main intent is always convenience. It's just fully determining what works for you in your situation.

    That's the thing about Sentio, it appears to be less convenient in every possible scenario. No scenario where it adds convenience. But tons where it reduces it.

    I believe the general intent of it is to reduce the amount of devices that you're spread across. Two-in-one, if you'd like. If they make it a touch-screen, three-in-one because then you have tablet. lol.

    I have a tendency to back up and look at things from a broader and broader perspective, generally ending up on the philosophical level. I think the problem is that people don't entirely know what they don't like about what is currently out, so they're trying to fix a problem they can't name.

    Or, at the very least, they just can't settle on a solution to a slew of problems. New solutions introduce new problems.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    -KB/Mouse: This is the main one I'm looking at. Really just hate having to use that shitty keyboard and mouse. This might make me more likely to use my laptop.

    Agreed, and bigger screen. All things that a Chromebook matches in this case.

    Well, as far as I can tell, chromebooks still have a trackpad and a chiclet key keyboard, so it really doesn't resolve my quarrels with that. lol.



  • I miss what Ubuntu was trying to do back in 2013. They had it so you could just plug your phone into a dock attached to a monitor and that became your PC. It was Android on the phone and a full Ububtu desktop experience on the monitor. Didn't need any apps or any hardware other than your monitor. It was an interesting idea but never materialized for some reason.



  • @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    Overall, there's a lot of ways to look at it, and a lot of possible issues that could be addressed with most of these options. As far as I'm concerned, at least right now, it's a preference thing.

    This is another way of saying "it's only irrationality that would make someone choose this." If their preference is... less convenient.

    Don't get me wrong, it's a super neat idea and I'm sure they are doing a great job with it. But at $150, I just don't see it making sense. Make it $30 and, well I still wouldn't buy one because I have a Chromebook so this thing isn't worth $5 to me, but for someone without a Chromebook, I'd be recommending it. It's the lack of real cost savings that makes the other stuff make it just silly.



  • @stacksofplates said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    I miss what Ubuntu was trying to do back in 2013. They had it so you could just plug your phone into a dock attached to a monitor and that became your PC. It was Android on the phone and a full Ububtu desktop experience on the monitor. Didn't need any apps or any hardware other than your monitor. It was an interesting idea but never materialized for some reason.

    I feel like this is somewhat of the goal with some of these docks and such. The problem it brings up is where are you going to have a monitor but no desktop? So you'd have to unplug the monitor from your desktop and plug it back it. Or at the very least switch inputs, which can hinder what you're used to when you're working at your desktop.



  • @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @stacksofplates said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    I miss what Ubuntu was trying to do back in 2013. They had it so you could just plug your phone into a dock attached to a monitor and that became your PC. It was Android on the phone and a full Ububtu desktop experience on the monitor. Didn't need any apps or any hardware other than your monitor. It was an interesting idea but never materialized for some reason.

    I feel like this is somewhat of the goal with some of these docks and such. The problem it brings up is where are you going to have a monitor but no desktop? So you'd have to unplug the monitor from your desktop and plug it back it. Or at the very least switch inputs, which can hinder what you're used to when you're working at your desktop.

    The point was not to have a desktop. The phone became the desktop. It was a full Ubuntu desktop.



  • @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @stacksofplates said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    I miss what Ubuntu was trying to do back in 2013. They had it so you could just plug your phone into a dock attached to a monitor and that became your PC. It was Android on the phone and a full Ububtu desktop experience on the monitor. Didn't need any apps or any hardware other than your monitor. It was an interesting idea but never materialized for some reason.

    I feel like this is somewhat of the goal with some of these docks and such. The problem it brings up is where are you going to have a monitor but no desktop? So you'd have to unplug the monitor from your desktop and plug it back it. Or at the very least switch inputs, which can hinder what you're used to when you're working at your desktop.

    Right, I love the idea in theory, but I don't want any desktop device that becomes a dead monitor when my phone walks away. And in my office experience, that's often. Every bathroom break, every meeting, every meal... your docking and undocking. I take my phone with my easily 30-40 times a day away from my desk. No device can handle that level of plugging and unplugging.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    Overall, there's a lot of ways to look at it, and a lot of possible issues that could be addressed with most of these options. As far as I'm concerned, at least right now, it's a preference thing.

    This is another way of saying "it's only irrationality that would make someone choose this." If their preference is... less convenient.

    No, it's more along the lines of there are a vast amount of problems to solve. Some of those problems matter more to some people than others. For example, me. I hate the lack of power of a chromebook and despise track pads and chiclet keyboards.
    However, someone like you might not mind the track pad/ keyboard too much, and you may stick to a minimal load on the chromebook, which means those problems wouldn't affect you as heavily.



  • @stacksofplates said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    I miss what Ubuntu was trying to do back in 2013. They had it so you could just plug your phone into a dock attached to a monitor and that became your PC. It was Android on the phone and a full Ububtu desktop experience on the monitor. Didn't need any apps or any hardware other than your monitor. It was an interesting idea but never materialized for some reason.

    I think this is what Sentio is attempting, just in a laptop form factor.



  • @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @scottalanmiller said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    Overall, there's a lot of ways to look at it, and a lot of possible issues that could be addressed with most of these options. As far as I'm concerned, at least right now, it's a preference thing.

    This is another way of saying "it's only irrationality that would make someone choose this." If their preference is... less convenient.

    No, it's more along the lines of there are a vast amount of problems to solve.

    No, that's my point. That's irrational. Because this doesn't solve any. None. Hence the issue.



  • @dafyre said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @stacksofplates said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    I miss what Ubuntu was trying to do back in 2013. They had it so you could just plug your phone into a dock attached to a monitor and that became your PC. It was Android on the phone and a full Ububtu desktop experience on the monitor. Didn't need any apps or any hardware other than your monitor. It was an interesting idea but never materialized for some reason.

    I think this is what Sentio is attempting, just in a laptop form factor.

    And maybe they will, someday, make this work with a desktop, too. So then it becomes one device, multiple form factors. Add in wireless connections and it starts to get intriguing.



  • @stacksofplates said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @stacksofplates said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    I miss what Ubuntu was trying to do back in 2013. They had it so you could just plug your phone into a dock attached to a monitor and that became your PC. It was Android on the phone and a full Ububtu desktop experience on the monitor. Didn't need any apps or any hardware other than your monitor. It was an interesting idea but never materialized for some reason.

    I feel like this is somewhat of the goal with some of these docks and such. The problem it brings up is where are you going to have a monitor but no desktop? So you'd have to unplug the monitor from your desktop and plug it back it. Or at the very least switch inputs, which can hinder what you're used to when you're working at your desktop.

    The point was not to have a desktop. The phone became the desktop. It was a full Ubuntu desktop.

    I feel like this would be better addressed with a thin client. Then you don't have to worry about the connection cycles and possibly battery on your phone.



  • @dafyre said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @stacksofplates said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    I miss what Ubuntu was trying to do back in 2013. They had it so you could just plug your phone into a dock attached to a monitor and that became your PC. It was Android on the phone and a full Ububtu desktop experience on the monitor. Didn't need any apps or any hardware other than your monitor. It was an interesting idea but never materialized for some reason.

    I think this is what Sentio is attempting, just in a laptop form factor.

    But you still need another app from what it looks like. This was all inclusive to the phone. Full LibreOffice, full Firefox, etc.



  • @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @stacksofplates said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @stacksofplates said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    I miss what Ubuntu was trying to do back in 2013. They had it so you could just plug your phone into a dock attached to a monitor and that became your PC. It was Android on the phone and a full Ububtu desktop experience on the monitor. Didn't need any apps or any hardware other than your monitor. It was an interesting idea but never materialized for some reason.

    I feel like this is somewhat of the goal with some of these docks and such. The problem it brings up is where are you going to have a monitor but no desktop? So you'd have to unplug the monitor from your desktop and plug it back it. Or at the very least switch inputs, which can hinder what you're used to when you're working at your desktop.

    The point was not to have a desktop. The phone became the desktop. It was a full Ubuntu desktop.

    I feel like this would be better addressed with a thin client. Then you don't have to worry about the connection cycles and possibly battery on your phone.

    Most phones back then had replaceable batteries so idk if they considered that a problem.



  • @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    For example, me. I hate the lack of power of a chromebook and despise track pads and chiclet keyboards.

    This is carried on with the Sentio. Chromebooks offer high power, at high cost. The Sentio does too, but requires you to spend even more on phones to do that. And it has the same track pads and chicklet keyboards.

    Chromebooks can use full keyboards and mice just like the Sentio.



  • @stacksofplates said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @stacksofplates said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @stacksofplates said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    I miss what Ubuntu was trying to do back in 2013. They had it so you could just plug your phone into a dock attached to a monitor and that became your PC. It was Android on the phone and a full Ububtu desktop experience on the monitor. Didn't need any apps or any hardware other than your monitor. It was an interesting idea but never materialized for some reason.

    I feel like this is somewhat of the goal with some of these docks and such. The problem it brings up is where are you going to have a monitor but no desktop? So you'd have to unplug the monitor from your desktop and plug it back it. Or at the very least switch inputs, which can hinder what you're used to when you're working at your desktop.

    The point was not to have a desktop. The phone became the desktop. It was a full Ubuntu desktop.

    I feel like this would be better addressed with a thin client. Then you don't have to worry about the connection cycles and possibly battery on your phone.

    Most phones back then had replaceable batteries so idk if they considered that a problem.

    Fair point.



  • @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @stacksofplates said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @stacksofplates said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    I miss what Ubuntu was trying to do back in 2013. They had it so you could just plug your phone into a dock attached to a monitor and that became your PC. It was Android on the phone and a full Ububtu desktop experience on the monitor. Didn't need any apps or any hardware other than your monitor. It was an interesting idea but never materialized for some reason.

    I feel like this is somewhat of the goal with some of these docks and such. The problem it brings up is where are you going to have a monitor but no desktop? So you'd have to unplug the monitor from your desktop and plug it back it. Or at the very least switch inputs, which can hinder what you're used to when you're working at your desktop.

    The point was not to have a desktop. The phone became the desktop. It was a full Ubuntu desktop.

    I feel like this would be better addressed with a thin client. Then you don't have to worry about the connection cycles and possibly battery on your phone.

    Often, but this is about a fat client, thin clients tackle a different problem.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    For example, me. I hate the lack of power of a chromebook and despise track pads and chiclet keyboards.

    This is carried on with the Sentio. Chromebooks offer high power, at high cost. The Sentio does too, but requires you to spend even more on phones to do that. And it has the same track pads and chicklet keyboards.

    Chromebooks can use full keyboards and mice just like the Sentio.

    Right. My keyboard/mouse section was actually meant as an individual solution, apart from the chromebook or Sentio. It could be used with these as well, sure, but it brings me back to "What is the problem you're trying to address?"



  • @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    However, someone like you might not mind the track pad/ keyboard too much, and you may stick to a minimal load on the chromebook, which means those problems wouldn't affect you as heavily.

    None of those things affect me because they aren't real issues. They are imagined issues. Hence my point of irrationality being the basis for believing that the Sentio might have a usability case. All of the "benefits" appear to be from a belief that other options do less, but they don't. We already have all of the benefits of the Sentio today in the real world. Without the caveats.



  • @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @scottalanmiller said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    @fiyafly said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    For example, me. I hate the lack of power of a chromebook and despise track pads and chiclet keyboards.

    This is carried on with the Sentio. Chromebooks offer high power, at high cost. The Sentio does too, but requires you to spend even more on phones to do that. And it has the same track pads and chicklet keyboards.

    Chromebooks can use full keyboards and mice just like the Sentio.

    Right. My keyboard/mouse section was actually meant as an individual solution, apart from the chromebook or Sentio. It could be used with these as well, sure, but it brings me back to "What is the problem you're trying to address?"

    Okay, but we are discussing the Sentio here. And whether or not it has something to bring to the table.



  • Here's a video for anyone who cares. Ha Android Froyo and Unity.

    Youtube Video



  • As a laptop configuration, I don't see much value in it because at the price they are offering a Chromebook would be a lot better. Now if they had a small dock that would hook up to two external monitors and a regular keyboard or mouse. I might then be interested.



  • @penguinwrangler said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    As a laptop configuration, I don't see much value in it because at the price they are offering a Chromebook would be a lot better. Now if they had a small dock that would hook up to two external monitors and a regular keyboard or mouse. I might then be interested.

    Like the Dex does for $99.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Sentio, an Android Laptop Dock:

    Dex

    Well, I didn't know anyone had something like that, but yes. I might actually get a Samsung now.



  • One of my biggest concerns is the wear and tear on the phone. New USB is way better than old USB, but I still do a lot to avoid wearing out the critical connector on my phone. We use a $75 impedance charger in the house often for that reason, too. I want to do things to reduce the chances of breaking or wearing that out, not increase them. My Phone is $800, my Chromebook is $179. The last thing that I want to do is do anything negative to my super expensive phone, just to manipulate the $179 Chromebook / Sentio range appliance.