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Gadget of the Week

Take your big screen with you

A new portable monitor from Asus gives mobile users a big screen experience – and beats loadshedding, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

What is it?

You’ve got chargeable lightbulbs, your fibre and Wi-Fi connections have a small inverter keeping them going, your laptop can handle brief bouts of loadshedding, and a gas stove boils the kettle. But, unless you have invested in an expensive and noisy generator, you have to do without entertainment during loadshedding. Or, at least, without TV and streaming video that can be viewed by more than one person at a time.

Unless, that is, you’ve invested in an Asus ZenScreen Go. This is a portable 15.6-inch monitor that plugs in or connects wirelessly to mobile devices. The new Go MB16AWP model offers wireless mirroring for iOS and Android devices, any machine running Windows 10 and above, and both Chromebook and macOS connectivity.

It has a 1920x1080p high-definition IPS flicker-free screen, providing wide viewing angles, as well as super-narrow bezels to maximise the viewable area. It includes a blue light filter and anti-glare surface to enhance eye comfort.

The settings allow one to adjust the viewing mode between a wide range of options, including gaming, scenery, reading and darkroom mode.

Aside from wireless, it is cable-friendly, with both USB Type-C and mini HDMI sockets. An earphone jack and two embedded 1-watt speakers with smart amplifier give options for listening convenience.

An adjustable ergo kick-stand and tripod socket, compatible with standard camera tripods, means it can be positioned to suit the viewer. This is augmented by a G sensor or accelerometer, with an auto-rotation feature that automatically senses display orientation, switching between landscape and portrait modes. Or, as some would put it, Netflix and TikTok modes.

The high-definition screen can be adjusted both in terms of colour – for contrast, brightness and saturation – and blue light filtering, with four optional levels. One can also create settings shortcuts and favourites.

It is slim and lightweight, and slides elegantly into its protective cover, making it ideal for use while travelling. Most importantly in South Africa, it has a built-in 7800mAh battery, which provides up to four hours of active use. This is intended to make it the ideal accessory for mobile warriors but, in this country, darkness is as much an incentive as mobility.

In other words, it is ideal, for example, for mirroring Netflix and Showmax from a mobile phone during loadshedding.

What does it cost?

The Asus ZenScreen Go MB16AWP will be available in South Africa in the next few months, and will probably retail at between R7,500 and R10,000, going by the US price of $469. Alternatives are available at half the price, but not supporting wireless mirroring.

Why should you care?

Laptop computers are often not ideal for navigating the complexities of mobile work – or loadshedding. Most portable monitors only function when plugged into an external power supply. The Asus ZenScreen Go will overcome most loadshedding schedules – or a good chunk of air travel time on a long-distance flight. It has the largest built-in battery we’ve seen in a portable monitor. Ideal for early adopters of new technology.

What are the biggest negatives?

  • No touch-screen. The toggle-style navigation button is clunky. However, it is worth the learning curve to learn the controls.
  • No quick battery-level alert option. Battery level is only visible once one enters the menu system.
  • Wireless connection requires the connected device to link to the ZenScreen’s own Wi-Fi hotspot, meaning that the device can’t be connected to the internet at the same time.

What are the biggest positives?

  • A wealth of on-screen display information for setting up and controlling the monitor.
  • Eye comfort is taken seriously, with flicker-free screen, blue light filter and anti-glare coating.
  • Vibrant high-definition screen that can still be adjusted to numerous mode and colour settings.

* Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee.

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