Although smart in appearance, this portable Toshiba Mobile USB Monitor offers a muted experience. It’s billed as a second screen for laptops, for either business or entertainment use, enabling easy desktop presentations to several people.
From a distance, the unit’s matt black casing gives the illusion of weight and rigidity, but on closer inspection we found it rather plasticky. At 754g, it’s light enough to carry around with you, but the unconvincing quality means it may not withstand many bumps and knocks.
Thankfully then, the Toshiba Mobile USB Monitor comes complete with a leather-effect cover, which also folds into a stand, and brings the weight up to 1.3kg – as much as another laptop.
When we attempted to separate the screen from the case for the first time, the unit’s glued-on velcro backing almost tore straight off. It’s hardly the impression you’d want to leave at a business meeting.
The 14in, 1366×768-pixel matt LCD is bright and clear enough for the purposes of business and leisure.
It connects via USB 2.0, using DisplayLink technology, so requires a driver be installed on your PC before it will work.
Viewing video soon revealed that the matt screen has very poor colour gamut, resulting in conspicuous colour banding. Toshiba’s specifications betray the reason here – this screen can only display 256,000 colours, or just 6-bit per pixel. To get decent colours, you need 8-bit per pixel, to create 24 million colours.
This low image fidelity gets worse – much worse – as you view the screen off axis. That lose of clarity will noticeably dampen the experience for peripheral viewers.
The unit is Mini USB-powered, with an auxiliary DC power socket for underpowered USB ports. Three buttons are included on the unit’s front, brightness up/down buttons and power.
We tried playing HD video and were surprised to see relatively smooth motion – USB DisplayLink technology screens once had rather low frame-rate capability for showing motion video.
You could even get away with using it for gaming; but its quality shortcomings make it less attractive for serious entertainment use.