The Astak Neos Touchscreen Smart Display looks like a very large iPad, but it runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, has a backstand, and must be kept plugged into a wall outlet. It's got a USB port, a webcam, an SD card slot, Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth network. I set my review unit on a shelf over the kitchen sink, and it's been in heavy use ever since.
Washing the dishes is now a treat, because I can now watch the Rachel Maddow Show, NBC Nightly News, Macbreak Weekly, and Adventure Time. I listen to my Audible audiobooks on its loud, clear speakers. It's good for checking Gmail, watching adorable animal YouTube videos with my kids, and looking up recipes. The touchscreen gets smeared with soap suds, coconut oil, and other kitchen gunk but it cleans up nicely.
I use it every day, but it's pricey: $500. That's the same price as a 16GB iPad Air. Yes, the Neo's 15.6-inch display is much larger (compare it above to my iPad), but it lacks the iPad's portability (and the iPad's beautiful Retina display). Is the tradeoff worth it? For some people, especially those not locked into the Apple universe, it might be.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects