Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop!

JT JT 03 December 2020
Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop!

Have you ever wanted more screen space  for your laptop that’s still portable?   Well this might be the solution you’re  looking for, it’s the Trio Max from   Mobile Pixels and it lets you add one or  even two extra screens to your laptop. Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop!Basically you attach it to the laptop’s lid  and then you slide the screen out to use it. Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop!The screens are available in either  12.5”, or the 14” max version,   which I’ve got here as it’s a better fit for  a 15” laptop. Both panels are 1080p 60Hz,   so not a high refresh rate for gaming or anything,  but definitely still fine for viewing extra   content, which I think is where these shine  anyway, in more productivity focussed work.

The 14” one goes for about $300  USD while the smaller 12.5” one is $50 less. Installation is pretty straightforward.  In order to get the screen attached to   the back of your laptop, you’ve got to  stick these circular metal plates to   the back of the lid. Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop!The screen comes with  12 plates in total, so you’ve got spares,   or you can stick them to other laptops and move  the additional screen between the laptops easily,   as the screen unit itself simply uses magnets  to attach to the metal plates on the lid. Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop!This means when the screen isn't  attached your lid it will look like this   with the four metal discs showing.  They seem to be stuck on pretty well,   I couldn’t move them with my  fingers, more on removal soon.

It’s recommended that the bottom of the screen  should be touching the desk when the lid’s open,   so that it’s not fully held in place by the  magnets and some of the weight is offloaded. Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop!I’ve got one screen here, so two in  total if we count the laptop’s screen,   but it’s possible to install two of these things  and have three screens in total.

It comes with a   plastic holder that you clip on top to hold  both together. Each screen is about half an   inch thick though, so adding two screens would  essentially make your laptop an inch thicker,   though you can of course take them off thanks  to the magnets and transport separately.Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop! Each panel weighs 926g or about 2lb, then  a little more with the cable included,   and of course double this if  you plan on using two screens,   which would be similar in weight to carrying  around a second laptop in some cases.

Each screen connects with a USB cable and  this provides both power and display signal,   so two screens would use two separate USB  cables. Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop!The included cable is Type-C to Type-C,   but it comes with a Type-A connector for the  laptop side to improve compatibility, and the   cable was more than long enough that it can reach  from the side of the screen when outstretched   to the other side of the laptop if you only  have USB ports on one side of your machine.

You have to install a driver to get it to  work, I couldn’t get it to work prior to this,   even if I connected directly to my laptop’s  Type-C port which offers DisplayPort out,   I guess because it’s only using the  USB given the Type-A adapter works.

I’ve tested the 14” panel with my Spyder 5  and got 61% of sRGB, 45% of AdobeRGB, and 45%   of DCI-P3.Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop! I’ve measured the  brightness at 257 nits at 100%,   so a little dim especially as my  laptop’s screen is closer to 400. Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop!There was some backlight bleed. I  didn’t really notice it when viewing   darker content, but this will vary between panels. I think it looks fine, it’s definitely  not super impressive or anything and I   would want to use it for color accurate  work, but I don’t think that’s its purpose,   it’s just extra screen space for you to  place documents and get more stuff done.   Just stick to the main screen for color accurate  work, of course assuming your laptop’s is better.

Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop!Although not a panel that’s advertised for gaming,   I’ve still measured the screen’s response time  and got an average 20.5ms for gray to gray.  Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop! Interestingly when we compare it to my laptop  panel results, it’s actually the fastest 60Hz   screen I’ve got data for, so it’s not as  bad as some gaming laptops in that regard.

I was curious to see how the second screen would  affect battery life, and, Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop!well, the ASUS Zephyrus   S15 I’ve been testing with almost lasted for  twice as long without the additional screen,   which makes sense as screens are one of the  biggest power drawers when it comes to laptops,   so expect even less battery life if you’re going  for a third screen. I don’t think this is a big   deal, if you’re packing 2kg of extra screens with  you chances are you can take a power brick too.

The screen can sort of be angled  towards you a bit. It can go all   the way back around to face others though,  allowing you to share with other people.Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop! The case is all plastic, and with the screen  fully extended it did feel a bit flimsy at times.  Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop! You can see here it’s drooping down a little,  I was only able to fix that by pushing the   panel back in more, but of course doing this  reduces the amount of the screen you can see.  

Apart from not looking perfect, I had no practical  problems with this, it might be a bit awkward   to try and pick it up to move it, just slide  the screens back in first and it’ll be fine. If you’ve just got one panel like me, you  can also just remove it magnetically and   flip it the other way to have the screen on the  other side instead. The screen will be flipped,   so in Windows you’ll just need to change  to landscape flipped so it’s the right   way up.

You can also rotate the on screen  display, so no problems using it on either   side. There are touch capacitive buttons  on the side for changing these settings. Add Extra Screens To Your Laptop!You can still use the second screen with  the laptop lid closed, but unfortunately   it's not a touchscreen which would have  been a bit more useful in this scenario.

To remove the metal plates from the laptop  lid, the included guide suggests using a hair   dryer with medium heat to gently warm  the plates by softening the adhesive.   I couldn’t just pull them off with my fingers  so I had to warm them up as suggested. I had to heat mine quite hot to stand a  chance of removing it, and even then it   was challenging to get it off. There was only a  little residue behind which was easy to wipe off. I’m not sure if you can reuse it, it’s hard  to say, the adhesive on the metal disk was   still quite sticky so it may be possible, I  suppose worst case you could get some good   double-sided tape instead, otherwise you  could just use one of the included spares.

Overall I think the idea is pretty cool, it  seems unlikely that a company is going to   sell a laptop with three screens because  Linus will just steal it. Jokes aside,   that Razer prototype thing was almost 4 years  ago now, and we still don’t have anything like it. This solution does offer more  screen space for those on the go,   and lets you use it with pretty much any existing  laptop.

These panels are far easier to stick into   a bag compared to a traditional monitor, if you  don’t need to take the screens with you though   then keeping a regular monitor on your desk  and docking would probably be better.

This   solution is by no means perfect and can feel a  bit janky at times, but there aren’t a whole lot   of alternatives at the moment, hopefully this  is something that we see improve over time. An alternative would of course be to use  a separate external screen like this one,   but I admit there is something nice about being  able to get the secondary screen directly side   by side, something that’s not as easy  to pull off with a screen on a stand

Anyway let me know what you thought about this,  would you run a dual or triple monitor setup on   a laptop? 

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