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Asus MB168B+: Extra display on-the-go

Published on Jun 27, 2014 5:00 AM
 

Ever felt the need for more display real estate when you are overseas and rushing that important report? Asus' new MB168B+ mobile monitor might just be your salvation.

It is the world's slimmest and lightest USB-powered monitor, according to Asus.

Just 8mm thick, it weighs 800g, so it is highly portable - a boon on a long-haul flight. It comes with a protective carry case that doubles as an adjustable stand.

Yet, despite its slim profile, it holds a 15.6-inch full high-definition LED-backlit matte display.

It uses a USB 3.0 connection for both power and video signals. So there is no need for an extra power adaptor. All you need is the long USB 3.0 cable, which is included.

The metallic finish of the back is decorated with concentric circles radiating from the centre, like those on the lids of Asus Zenbooks.

If you have a Zenbook, this monitor will be an ideal companion. It works equally well with Apple's MacBook Air, being compatible with both Mac and Windows.

You will need to install the DisplayLink drivers first. Either pop in the included CD or download the latest drivers from displaylink.com.

Use the included USB cable to link your laptop and the monitor, and your screen real estate is immediately doubled.

As a stand, the carry case is quite flimsy. You must fold down a flap on the front to create a back support for the monitor. Two Velcro strips on the inside of the case hold the monitor in place.

Place the monitor against one of the strips, fold down the top flap and secure it against the Velcro. It is better to use the top one, as it allows a 75-degree viewing angle (as compared with 90 degrees for the inside strip).

Either way, the top-heavy monitor still risks being knocked over as its back support is too tiny.

So I used the Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard's rubber cover, which can be folded into a stand, to prop up the Asus monitor. This locks the monitor securely in landscape or portrait orientation.

I connected the MB168B+ to my work laptop running Windows 7 and my personal Apple MacBook Air running OS X Mavericks. My work laptop has only USB 2.0 ports, but the MB168B+ still works. However, there is noticeable lag when I moved the cursor across the screen.

When I used the monitor with my MacBook Air, which has USB 3.0 ports, the lag is minimal.

When connected to my work laptop, the monitor's display automatically rotates to portrait orientation on command. Not so with my MacBook Air. That required a side trip to System Preferences.

The viewing angle is limited to 140 degrees horizontally and 120 degrees vertically. So, when it is viewed from the side at certain angles, you almost cannot see anything on the display.

  • At $319, the thin, lightweight and portable Asus MB168B+ offers road warriors an extra display at a reasonable cost.

trevtan@sph.com.sg

This article was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life on June 25, 2014.

Background story

TECH SPECS

Price: $319

Display: 15.6-inch LED, 1,920 pixels by 1,080 pixels

Contrast ratio: 600: 1

Connectivity: 1 x USB 3.0 (USB 2.0 compatible)

Weight: 800g


RATING

Design: 4/5

Performance: 4/5

Value for money: 4/5

Overall: 4/5