Portable touch monitors fit perfectly in today’s “on-the-go” world. People want mobility, flexibility and performance with whatever has to do with their tech gadgets. Desklab portable monitor promises all of the above characteristics and many more. Can this monitor device deliver however on its promises? Let’s find out.
In this Desklab Portable Monitor review I have actually used the 4K model and will explain the main characteristics and pros and cons of this electronic device.
Before writing this review, I have already used this portable monitor for more than 10 days so I have acquired first-hand experience of the product.
Let’s start first with what is inside the box and the physical design and material quality of this model.
What’s in the box
As shown in the picture below, the monitor comes neatly packaged together with the following:
- A power supply with USB Type-C to power up the device if needed (usually you can power it up with just connecting a USB-C to your Laptop for example).
- An HDMI cable (supports 4K).
- A USB Type-C to Type-C cable.
- A user’s guide.
Only from the cables’ quality (thickness, flexibility etc) you can understand that the company has not cut any corners in terms of built quality.
Built Quality and Design
The first thing I noticed when I unboxed the product is how light and thin this monitor is. It weighs just 595 grams (around 1.3 lb) and is only 0.23 inch thick.
Considering that the width of the screen is 15.6 inches (just like most mainstream laptops), its thickness and weight are incredibly low.
This means that you can easily fit this model in your existing laptop bag together with your Laptop if needed. If travelling away from your home and want to have an extra monitor with you, this is the ideal option.
Regarding the material of its frame, this is made of metal which makes the whole device very sturdy.
At the left side of the device, you have all the connectivity ports as shown below:
- 5 mm AUX audio jack.
- 2 x USB Type-C ports (can be used for powering the device among other things).
- 1 x HDMI port (full size).
At the right side of the monitor you get the control buttons:
- Volume Up button / Menu navigation
- Volume Down button / Menu navigation
- Power button
- USB type-A port (for connecting a mouse or keyboard)
Desklab sells also a magnetic cover for the monitor which works also as a stand.
This cover works well and is one of the must-have accessories in my opinion. Without it, you will not be able to place the monitor on a desk (except flat of course which is not ideal at all).
Keep in mind that the magnetic cover/stand is offered as a separate accessory (you have to buy this cover separately).
As shown from the pictures above, you get to have plenty of interfaces for connecting almost any peripheral device you want.
Here is a summary of what you can connect to each interface:
- For powering the monitor. The power supply of the 4K model has a type-C interface. Also, you can power it with a USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable connected to your Laptop.
- For connecting a smartphone to the monitor.
- For connecting a PC, Laptop or MAC computer.
- This connector can pass data, video, audio and power (note that some devices can’t output enough power to turn-on the monitor so you need to connect the extra power supply).
- Only for video/audio input to the monitor.
- For connecting PC, laptop, MAC, gaming console, Android/Apple TV box etc.
This is for connecting speakers and earphones.
For connecting mouse or keyboard.
How to connect iPhone / iPad
You can’t connect iPhone or iPad directly. You will need to buy an extra accessory adapter of Lightning to HDMI in order to connect to the HDMI port of the monitor.
Video Output from USB Type-C
Although the website of this monitor states that you can connect a smartphone to the Desklab monitor, this is not true for all smartphones.
Some smartphone models do not output video signal from their Type-C USB port. This is by design of the smartphone device. This means that not all smartphones will be able to connect to the portable monitor.
Screen and Image Quality
There are two Desklab models available:
- 1080p Full HD model
- 4K Ultra HD model
I have tested the 4K model which has the following monitor specs:
- 5.6 inches
- 4K, 60 FPS refresh
- 10 ms response time
- contrast ratio of 1200:1
- Touch screen enabled
- True LED backlight
- IPS type
- Matte screen
Here is my evaluation of the screen quality:
- Because it is IPS type of monitor, it provides great viewing angles from many directions.
- Matte screen reduces glaring and impact of light reflection and also reduces fingerprints.
- 4K picture quality is EXCELLENT (see screenshots below).
I have connected my Android TV box with HDMI to this portable monitor. Then, I started a Youtube 4K quality video.
Here are some pictures showing the quality of the video presented by this portable monitor.
The above pictures show my Android 4K TV box connected to the Desklab monitor with HDMI. The TV box plays a 4K movie from Youtube.
I have to say that the 4K (3840 x 2160) video quality is excellent. The smoothness, contrast, color brightness, image details etc were able to produce a video with great details and vividness.
There are several preset picture modes which you cans select from the menu:
Here is what each mode is great for:
- Standard Mode: For video editing, laptop monitor extend, browsing, and many other day to day tasks.
- Gamer Mode: For playing games such as CoD (Call of Duty), World of Warcraft etc.
- Movie Mode: For watching 4K content on streaming services such as Netflix etc.
- Vivid: For extra brightness on colors.
Another surprising quality aspect of this monitor has to do with its speakers.
There are two stereo HiFi speakers at the back of the monitor.
When I played a movie using my Android TV box, audio sound was surprisingly strong and audio quality was very good. If you are using this device for presentations or for watching movies when outside your home, audio quality will not disappoint you.
- Extending your laptop monitor
- As a second monitor for PC/MAC/Laptop
- Watching streaming movies when away from home. You can bring with you your TV box with this monitor and create a cinema-like environment away from home.
- Doing Presentations. You can have your laptop in front of you and this monitor facing the audience.
- For Gaming. The super low latency (10ms) is great for intense gaming. When going away from home, you can bring with you this monitor with a gaming console so that you can continue playing your favourite games.
- Editing videos at 4K.
- Doing software development. You can have this monitor in Portrait orientation as a second screen so that you can have better visibility of your code.
- Great for designers for image editing etc.
- Great for travellers.
- Much more
- Very slim in terms of thickness and weight.
- 4K quality is excellent.
- Only 10ms response time (very good for gaming)
- Can be connected to many devices such as XBOX, Playstation, Nintendo switch, Laptop, PC, MAC, Smartphone, Movie player devices such as ROKU Ultra, Apple TV etc, Tablet, Photo or Video camera, anything else with the proper cabling.
- Free Shipping
- No software drivers needed when connected to your computer.
- Brightness is not fantastic but is very good for indoor use.
- To maximize your Desklab experience, unless you have another stand, the optional cover is a must-buy. You really need it as it is customized to hold up the monitor.
My overall evaluation of the Desklab Portable Monitor is that it is a great option if you want a 4K extra monitor with crisp and vivid picture quality.
When connected to my laptop as an extended monitor, I could appreciate the productivity benefit that you get with having a second monitor when working.
With Windows 10 you can configure the resolution of the main monitor and of the second extended monitor so that you can get the best possible viewing experience.
My best experience was with using my Android 4K TV box with the Desklab monitor. This setup creates an excellent 4K streaming environment whereby you can watch movies and series (e.g when away from home) with excellent quality.
Regarding smartphone connection, keep in mind that not all smartphone device are able to output video signal from their USB Type-C port, so you might not be able to connect any smartphone to this monitor. This is not a problem of the monitor itself, rather it is a design problem of smartphones.
I was sent the specific model as a sample for testing. However, my review and experience was not biased in any way.