Feeds
65%
Toshiba 14in USB LCD Mobile Monitor

Toshiba 14in USB LCD Mobile Monitor

Panel beater?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Review It sounds like a great idea: a 14in LCD monitor that connects using USB. Perfect for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones, right? Well no, because it doesn’t work with them.

That’s not to say Toshiba’s Monitor is entirely without merit. It’s a neat looking device, similar in size to a slim laptop and weighing the same as a typical tablet. It comes in a leather-look case which folds out into a stand for the display, nice'n'easy.

Toshiba 14in USB LCD Mobile Monitor

Double your notebook's screen area

This is very much a PC machine. It's not compatible with Macs, or Linux, and the spec sheet says it will only work with Windows XP, Vista and 7. So in other words, you're limited to a range of devices which probably have a similar size screen as the monitor.

Mind you, the spec says that it won’t work with Windows 7 Starter, the operating system which you’ll generally find on netbooks. It does, though, or at least it did on mine, and Toshiba hasn’t ruled out the possibility of future updates.

Incidentally, the drivers come supplied on a CD, useless for most netbooks. It took a call to Tosh to find a downloadable version on the net.

Toshiba 14in USB LCD Mobile Monitor

The monitor comes in its own leather-look case...

Controls are scant – on the device itself there’s only a power key and a brace of buttons to adjust the brightness. Around the sides are a single mini USB port and a 19V power jack. There’s no power cable supplied, though – if you want one, you’ll have to buy it for about £12.

Toshiba expects you to rely on the power coming from your laptop, which is convenient, and fine if you can have it plugged into the mains, but quite a drain if you have to use the battery. It cut the battery life on one laptop I tried it with almost in half.

The screen looks pretty good though, offering a maximum 1366 x 768 resolution with 256,000 colours – not the very sharpest but certainly not bad. Video played without any lag or stuttering and there was no delay when moving the cursor around. It doesn’t offer full brightness when connected solely by USB, though, just 50 per cent, so for the full experience, you’ll need to pay extra for that power lead.

Toshiba 14in USB LCD Mobile Monitor

...that doubles up as a stand

The one cable that is supplied is USB to micro USB, and there are two full-size USB plugs on it, just in case your laptop isn’t able to provide enough power through a single USB port. Usefully, the leather-look casing has a cable management system which allows you to tuck the cable out of sight.

Once you’re all connected and drivers installed, there’s not a great deal to it. You can set it up using the Display settings in Control Panel as either a duplicate display, allowing you to control your presentation with the screen facing in the opposite direction. Or you can use it as an additional screen, pulling items across from your laptop display to the Monitor and vice versa, extending your working area.

Useful features all. The trouble is that it really could have been so much more. As it stands, it can really only appeal to a very niche market. It’s more expensive than a standard desktop monitor which you might use to increase your working display area. And if you want to carry it to presentations, it’s probably going to be roughly the same size as the laptop you’ll be holding your presentation on.

Toshiba 14in USB LCD Mobile Monitor

Natty, no?

A device like this could have been ideally placed to take advantage of the growth of tablets and smartphones. As Motorola has already tried with its Atrix range, with accessories including a screen and keyboard which allow you to turn your handset into a laptop, or Sony Ericsson with its LiveDock system - no screen, but you can add a mouse and keyboard to your handset - there's potential for hardware extras for these devices.

So you could save - or even prepare - your presentation on your smartphone and then only have to carry this relatively lightweight display to show it off, rather than a full-size laptop. If you’ve become accustomed to your tablet - especially the reduced size likes of Motorola’s Xoom 2 Media Edition or the Dell Streak 7 - a larger, portable screen could come in very handy.

Oh well, better luck next time, Tosh.

Verdict

Toshiba’s 14in USB monitor isn’t bad as far as it goes, but it could have been so much more. With greater versatility to allow you to use it with Android tablets or smart phones it would have appealed to a lot more users. ®

More Peripheral Reviews

Wacom Bamboo Fun Lindy wireless display extender Apple Thunderbolt Display LG LSM-100 Mouse Scanner Kingston Wi-Drive

The essential guide to IT transformation

65%
Toshiba 14in USB LCD Mobile Monitor

Toshiba 14in USB LCD Mobile Monitor

A lightweight, portable LCD monitor which connects to your laptop by USB.

More from The Register

next story
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
One step closer to ROBOT BUTLERS: Dyson flashes vid of VACUUM SUCKER bot
Latest cleaner available for world+dog in September
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.