Sunday, September 9, 2012

DisplayLink Monitors: AOC E1649FWU 16" USB-Powered Portable LED Monitor

DisplayLink technology has advanced quite a bit since I purchased my first USB monitor, the highly portable 7" MiMo UM-710S (reviewed here).  Today, you can grab a 16" LED monitor for less than I paid for the MiMo several years ago.

The AOC E1649FWU 16" USB-Powered Portable LED Monitor features a 1366 x 768 resolution that matches the widescreens of many ultraportables on the market today, including the 11" Apple MacBook Air.    It connects via USB (using a maximum of 2 ports if a single port is underpowered), so no extra VGA, DVI, HDMI, or DisplayPort ports are required. Under Windows 7, its easy to set in either portrait or landscape mode.  (At work, I use it in the former position, so that I can review an entire 8.5" x 11" sheet at one time, at approximately 95% of its actual size.)

Since making the transition from my home computer setup, with two 24" 1920 x 1200 monitors in portrait and landscape modes sandwiching a central Wacom Cintiq 21UW, to my work computer, which came with a basic 19" monitor with 1440 x 900 resolution, I've used the AOC and MiMo DisplayLink monitors to create a lower resolution analogue to my usual 3-monitor workspace.  Given that the bare-bones business class desktop at work only has a single VGA output, DisplayLink-based USB monitors were really the only option for expansion.  Using the latest drivers (easily obtainable via a Google search), they've worked flawlessly.

The AOC is extremely lightweight, but lacks the built-in protection that the MiMo has in the form of its collapsible stand/screen cover.  Its size, however, makes it a perfect candidate for a 17" laptop slipcover, which gives it sufficient protection to safely travel alongside a laptop and other portable computer peripherals.