It's Too Soon to Buy Into Portless Laptops, Experts Say

Nice try, Craob

Key Takeaways

  • Craob has shared details about an upcoming laptop billed as the world’s first with no ports whatsoever.
  • However, technologists say a portless laptop isn’t feasible given the current state of technology.
  • Advancements in wireless tech could make such laptops a reality in the future.
Craob X portless laptop with wireless charger on its back


The internet's been salivating over an ultraslim laptop that's done away with all the ports, but hardware experts think it's just not possible yet, given the current state of technology.

Thanks to its portless design, the Craob X claims to be only 7mm thick and weigh just 1.9 pounds. To put this into context, the thinnest laptops, the Acer Swift 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, are about 9.9mm thick. Even the iPhone 13 at 7.65mm is bulkier than the Craob X. However, hardware experts don't think a laptop as slim as the Craob X would be functional. 

"I don't think it's possible to make a laptop device that thin without technology to replace the battery," Alex Lennon, founder of Dynamic Devices, told Lifewire over email. "I also doubt very much it would be robust enough to last more than half an hour. You need a certain level of weight to a laptop for it to work as a 'lap... top.'"

Lofty Goals

The absurdly-thin laptop, from the unheard-of Craob Inc, features a 13.3-inch 4K display with practically no bezels. Images suggest it has a pinhole camera, though the company hasn’t shared any details about its resolution.

Also missing are crucial details about its battery, though it’s very apparent that there wouldn’t be much of it in such a densely-packed chassis. Jostling for room is a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1280P processor, up to 32GB of DDR5 RAM, a 2TB PCIe 4 SSD for storage, and Wi-Fi 6E.

Craob X portless laptops with wireless chargers next to them


Another striking feature about the portless laptop is that it uses a wireless charger that magnetically attaches to the back of the display. The company claims the charger doubles up as a port hub and includes a variety of ports such as USB-A, USB-C, Thunderbolt, an SD card slot, and a headphone jack.

Lennon doesn't think this makes any sense. "For [a laptop] to be portless and of any use, you need some kind of radio technology to move data around to peripherals. That uses energy, isn't as fast as wires, and given I don't see a battery [in the Craob X], it seems pretty stupid to be upping the base energy needs."

He added that even if we assume the laptop has a battery, the wireless charger/ports hub doesn't appear adequate to provide enough current to charge it or even provide enough bandwidth to support any attached peripherals.

Portless Is Bunkum

Eric Brinkman, Chief Product Officer at Cobalt, told Lifewire over email that laptop manufacturers always want to balance portability, performance, and utility. 

"Removing ports has traditionally been a way for laptop manufacturers to make them thinner and lighter; however, removing ports comes with a few challenges, such as reduced space for batteries and the loss of ports to connect peripherals, which requires laptop owners to carry various connectors and dongles," Brinkman shared.

Furthermore, he added that wireless charging, which is slow and inefficient, works for phones and devices that can be left to charge overnight but doesn't seem feasible for devices like laptops that need to be in constant use. 

Craob X wireless charger and port hub


This is something Wallace Santos, CEO of computer manufacturer Maingear, is all too familiar with. Citing the example of their ultrathin Element Lite laptop, Santos shared that advancements in connectivity, especially USB Type-C, brought substantially faster charging and transfer speeds, but wireless is a different ball game altogether.

"Moving these ports to a wireless solution with current technology would revert to slower charging and transfer speeds and introduce increased latency with the connected devices," he shared.

Brinkman is hopeful that as the tech ecosystem around devices evolves to churn out more powerful wireless technologies, such as Logitech's Lightspeed proprietary wireless tech, ports may eventually become less relevant. 

"While the future is undoubtedly wireless, I don't think the technology is quite there just yet," added Santos. "Wireless solutions need to be as good as or better than current technologies to justify removing the well-proven connectivity from a laptop."

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