Going mobile can mean different things for different types of users, and the GeChic On-Lap 1301 Portable Monitor answers a particular road warrior need: having more screen real-estate. I have seen some solutions out there that use tablets by extending Windows monitors over WiFi, but although I really like the idea, the latency is pretty bad, when it works. GeChic On-Lap 1301 tried solves the problem the old-fashion way: by providing a $200 USB-powered monitor that is light enough (1.9lbs) to be “mobile”.Curiously, the GeChic On-Lap 1301 is designed to be mounted on the back of a laptop, thanks to four suction mounts. Unfortunately, this will probably not work for any laptop that has a soft-touch feel, or any laptop that is curved enough to prevent the suction mounts from working. That’s a lot of laptops in my opinion.
But I was OK with the idea of having the display on the table next to my laptop – there’s nothing wrong with that, and in my opinion, the whole laptop-mounting idea is over-engineered, or at least over-thought. The monitor connects with a couple of cables: 1xUSB (power) and 1xVGA or 1xHDMI for video signal. I really like the simplicity of having a USB-powered monitor, because it means that I don’t need to carry a power “brick” around.
The Windows setup was extremely easy, and I guess that it would work just the same with Mac OS as it is a regular monitor from the computer’s standpoint. I was up and running in a couple of minutes. In terms of image quality, it’s “OK” if you look at the monitor straight-on, but the view angle is fairly poor, even for a mobile device. Looking at the display from either sides will quickly result in a loss of brightness/colors. In my opinion, this is something that should be fixed for the next iteration of the product.
In its current state, this is not really a product that I would use “as is”, even for $200. I really like the “idea” of having a light, portable monitor, and the 1366×768 resolution was fairly good in relation to the screen size. My first piece of advice for GeChic is: don’t try to make it “mountable” on the back of the laptop: it complicates everything, and makes the while thing bulkier. Also, they should move the connectors to the side of the screen. Finally, I think that an update should integrate some kind of rigid display cover/protector could (or not) act as a stand.
In short, I really (really!) like the idea of having a 2lbs USB-powered monitor, but the display quality needs to be better, and the design needs to be more practical. The current one has too many moving parts, and the lack of real stand makes it clumsy. GeChic, I’ll keep an eye for a 2.0 version.
*Note: while the monitor “runs” on a standard USB power at 500mA, it may require more power if the brightness is superior to 30% – check the user manual of your laptop to see how much power the USB port can output. Some laptops can go to 1A.
- 13.3″ TFT LCD
- DVI + VGA inputs
- USB input (for power) 500mA minimum, up to 1A for maximum brightness (5V DC)
- 335 x 227 x 13.8mm, 865g/1.9lbs
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