I recently blogged about building a custom wallmount for my Surface RT. While this first version proved a point and served its purpose as a prototype quite well, it was not very pleasing aesthetically. The picture below is actually flattering to the makeshift frame I built, which was more or less held together by glue and duct tape.
But, as I mentioned, this prototype had served a useful purpose and proved a couple of points:
- The volume of the speakers is still loud enough through the frame to be able to listen to music or watch videos. Also the sound quality, while of course a bit muffled, is still absolutely acceptable.
- The same applies for the built-in microphone. This is important because we are using the wall mounted Surface for Skype video calls, which works absolutely great!
- The wireless network connection does not suffer either from the frame or the wall mounting. I still get all bars for the WIFI and can stream music and video from my home server.
- Another important factor was of course the usability of this installation. Would we actually use this wall mounted device? Does it naturally blend into our daily routine? The answer is a definite “yes”. My wife, who had initially been a bit reluctant towards this project, immediately saw its usefulness as soon as it was operational and we are using it happily an a daily basis now.
With the these essentials points proved and the basic functionality covered, it was time to fix the installation’s appearance and get a proper frame for it.
Fixing the Looks
To replace the makeshift frame with a proper one, I ordered one from this shop I found on the web. Within 3 or 4 business days, I had a picture frame with the exact dimensions needed to fit the Surface RT (27,5 x 17,2) plus some extra space to fit the power cable and the protective felt strips.
This time, the tinkering I had to do was minimal. I just attached the felt strips and stickers inside the frame to create a soft padding for the Surface RT and cut out the notches for the power cable.
Attached to the wall, the Mark II version of the Surface RT wallmount looked way nicer than the first prototype.
Here are some more pictures of the installation “in action”.
The main usage patterns for this device currently are:
- Skype: This one is absolutely brilliant! Sitting at the kitchen table, having a coffee, facing a device mounted to the wall and having a video chat with someone. If have never been closer to being in one of the science fiction movies I saw as a kid.
- Browsing the web and looking stuff up on the internet never gets old of course.
- The same applies for Email and the calendar app. Especially, the shared calendars between me and my wife proved really useful already.
- Watching videos and listening to music using the Xbox services or listing to web radio with the TuneIn Radio app is also really cool.
- I absolutely love OneNote! Synchronizing notes and lists (shopping!) is a big use case for this device.
- All the little helper apps like weather, maps or cooking came in handy many times already.
- And of course the digital picture frame introduced in Windows 8.1 is really nice. We have already spent many hours just sitting in the kitchen together and watching all the photos that would otherwise lie idle on some hard disk.
If any of you has ideas or suggestions for apps (existing or yet-to-build) that could be useful for this wall mounted device, please use the comment section below. I am always looking for ideas to make life easier, simpler or just more fun.
I am actually really satisfied with the installation as it is right now, because it’s looking elegant and well designed and absolutely serves its purpose. But just out of curiosity I am thinking about creating a 3D model of the frame and having it printed with a 3D printer (just to jump on the 3D printing hype train) … some day … if time allows.