The Viewsonic airPanel V110 is the first of its kind – a wireless, portable display that unfetters you from your PC and allows you to work around the home and office while your PC sits in another room. It runs Windows CE for Smart Panels which is like a pared-down version of Windows XP, and mimics your system desktop allowing you to access files and programs without needing to be next to your PC.
This portable 10in TFT comes bundled with an 802.11b access point to not only wirelessly connect your airPanel to your PC, but it can also be used to connect other devices. The bundle includes a full copy of Windows XP Professional so you can install or upgrade to the airPanel's required standard.
With its Tablet PC styling and functionality it's hard not to compare and contrast the airPanel with a tablet, but we should point out that the V110 is a totally different beast and not a Tablet PC at all. It does share a touch-screen interface, it is wireless, has its own processor and RAM, but the V110 is designed as an adjunct to your current system, not as a standalone machine.
As a first of its kind, the airPanel V110 has to be applauded and we give a hearty nod to Viewsonic for releasing this, but there are a few problems with the airPanel that mean it's not as good as it may seem on paper. For starters, while the thought of wirelessly working via a portable display is appealing, in reality it's limited by data bandwidth and its 800 x 600 resolution, so don't expect to be streaming DVDs or games from your PC. In this regard, it's like a constantly-synced PDA.
The most inhibiting factor with the airPanel V110 is the price. $2,299 is a lot to pay for a display with such low resolution, and even when you account for the wireless hub, WinXP Pro. While the functionality and features of the airPanel V110 that make it a compelling product, it's just not being offered for an equally compelling price.