Shown off at IFA 2015, the Acer Revo Build aims to make building a PC as easy as clipping together Lego bricks. The NUC-sized modular PC, which houses the CPU in a 1 litre chassis with a 125 x 125mm footprint, can be extended using “blocks” that attach using a magnetic pin design.
By stacking blocks to add functionality such as wireless charging, graphics, audio or a projector, the Revo Build promises to let anyone upgrade their PC without having to fiddle around with a screwdriver.
Stacked together, a fairly well-configured unit is still much smaller than the average-sized desktop PC, making the Revo build a suitable option for hooking up to a living room TV for use as a media center.
4. Roccat Nyth
Gaming mice are surprisingly customisable considering their titchy size. The best gaming mouse out there for MMOs, Roccat’s Nyth took the concept of modular side buttons one step further than most. Its 33-button mouse can be popped out with the press of a button and rearranged in any configuration to suit the game you’re playing.
Leaving them in, for example, would let you trigger any number of commands or spells with a thumb press; in a first-person shooter, you might only want two buttons for triggering a melee action or zooming in using iron sights. I’d like to see Roccat go one step further and equip the Nyth’s successor with customizable weights to make it the most modular mouse around.
5. Surface Pro 2
Microsoft’s idea of clipping on alternate keyboard covers for the Surface Pro 2 was a neat one, but it never took off – most likely because the additional cost wasn’t worth the limited functionality. The tablet was offered with a DJ cover with pressure-sensitive buttons including 16 programmable pads for triggering instruments and sounds, in addition to sliders for modifying volume and transitions.
Like Surface keyboard covers, it was super thin, which gave it only a marginally more tactile feel than tapping on the tablet’s glass display. The concept of swappable keyboard bases has, ahem, re-surfaced with the Surface Book, so Microsoft hasn’t completely abandoned the modular approach.
In fact, according to a patent filed by the company last summer, Microsoft has floated the idea of a modular Surface All-in-One PC that features swappable components including a screen, battery, processor memory, storage, speakers, graphics card and networking components.