Apparently early August is the time to launch crowdfunding campaigns for kits that turn a laptop into a multi-display mobile computer. First Xebec launched a campaign for their Snap display system that lets you add up to two screens. And now Elecrow has let us know about their Kickstarter campaign for a CrowView kit which adds a 14 inch display to most notebook computers.
While a number of similar products have hit the market in recent years, the CrowView stands out as one of the most affordable options to date: it will have a retail price of $179, but Kickstarter backers can reserve one for as little as $115.
The CrowView display is a 14 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel, 60 Hz, 400 nit IPS LCD screen. What makes it different from a standalone portable monitor is that it’s designed to clip onto a laptop in a way that lets you swing it out for use as a second display or fold it so that it rests behind your screen (where it faces away from you in a way that could theoretically lend itself to collaboration if you want to let someone sitting across from you see what you’re looking at).
You can clamp the screen onto laptops with 13 to 16.5 inch displays, and while it will add about 800 grams (1.8 pounds) of weight to your notebook, there’s a built-in kickstand that helps keep your laptop from tipping over when the CrowView is attached.
Or you can use the clamp/hinge/case as a stand if you want to position the screen in portrait mode next to your laptop.
The CrowView has an mini HDMI input, two USB Type-C ports (for power and/or video input), and a 3.5mm headphone jack as well as buttons for navigating display settings.
The screen uses about 4.8 watts of power and should be able to draw power directly from most laptops. But Elecrow also includes a 5V/2A USB power supply in case you want to plug it into a different power source.
Elecrow describes itself as a PCB customization, laser cutting, and 3D printing company with an emphasis on open-source hardware, smart home, and educational products. This is the same company that’s been making CrowPi laptops powered by Raspberry Pi single-board computers for the past five years. So while there’s always some risk involved in backing a crowdfunding campaign, this one seems like a reasonably safe bet.