When I’m working from home I typically plug my laptop into a desktop monitor so I can work on two screens. When I’m working on the go… I don’t.
There are plenty of reasons for that — but it basically boils down to my finding portable displays to be more trouble than they’re worth. They tend to be bulky, heavy, and power-hungry. And there’s no guarantee I’ll have enough space to set one up next to my laptop.
That said, Lenovo’s new ThinkVision M14 portable display is a pretty attractive option — the 13.3 inch, full HD IPS matte display weighs just 1.3 pounds and it’s slim enough to slip into the same bag you carry your laptop in.
Lenovo launched the ThinkVision M14 this summer, and it sells for about $249 (or less).
The display connects to your laptop via a single USB-C cable, which it uses for video and power — the screen doesn’t have its own battery and instead draws power from your notebook.
It supports DisplayPort 1.2 Alt Mode and USB Power Deliver 2.0.
There are actually two USB-C ports, one on either side, and the ThinkVision M14 supports USB passthrough, so you can connect your laptop to one USB-C port, and a storage device or another accessory to the other.
Lenovo’s monitor is less than 0.2 inches thick if you don’t count the kickstand, which folds flat against the display for storage, or extends out when you want to stand up the monitor. The stand can be adjusted at angles from -5 to 90 degrees.
The ThinkVision M14 supports up to 300-nits of brightness, 72-percent NTSC color gamut, and 6ms response time. And there’s an optional blue light filter that you can trigger by pressing a dedicated button on the kickstand.
All told, it’s not quite as versatile as the Taihe Gemini 15.6 inch touchscreen monitor I reviewed earlier this year… but it’s a heck of a lot more portable, at just half the weight.
I think the main advantage is that the ThinkVision M14 is available now, disadvantage is no-touch screen. Currently awaiting my Taihe Gemini, like many others from kickstarter, so i question the heavy favoritism of Taihe Gemini in these comments given more have yet to receive than have. That being said if you have the time and patience and want touch screen, compared to light wait and already production/delivery since Feb’19 would be my main factors for decision
No HDMI makes it much less versatile than the Gemini (I really love my Gemini). So you can’t use this with older laptops or desktops (or iphones or older android). I hope al least one can also charge it with an external source in order to not only drain the laptop. But even then you need to bring a power delivery power bank which alone weighs as much as this screen
It lacks a battery too (I also love my Gemini).
How are you finding your Gemini thus far? I’m considering it.
Well, it’s not my first portable display and even not the first with a built in battery. It’s slightly heavier than the rest, but the metal housing is a much more premium material. I would not buy a screen again without a built-in kickstand, it’s very handy, even thou it’s literally just a flat piece of metal on a hinge (no fancy adjusting like on a Surface). The I/O is great too, it’s the only one I have with a full sized HDMI and USB, and it’s makes it way more usable for me in the workshop.
As for the display itself, it’s your standard FHD IPS, good viewing angles, good color, nothing to write home about, I bet half the other portable displays use this exact same panel. It’s matte, and that’s a good thing. Never had problem with the touch either, but because of the lip around the screen the corners are a bit harder to reach. I would have preferred a flush screen with some GorillaGlass coating, but I guess that would make it way more expensive. Maybe in a future model. Thanks to the small bezels it’s about the size of a 14″ notebook, like a Thinkpad T400.
Regarding DeX it works best out of my screens with my S8 (no adapter needed). Part of that is while other screens would break the connection with the phone for a moment when going from charger to battery and thus disengage DeX mode on the phone, the Gemini maintains the connection.
I do have some gripes with it too. Mainly the USB-C charging port. It’s not a real USB-C port. IT has the shape, but there is no power-delivery negotiation. If it gets 5V it will turn on the screen but not charge it, and would not pass through for DeX, so without it’s original charger (or a charged built-in battery) you can’t use it with a powerbank. You also have to be careful not to connect _anything_ else to the Gemini charger, as it’s basically a USB-killer. In this regard it’s not very portable, you’ll have to lug around the charger (unless the ~3h-4h battery time is fine with you).
I use it mostly in my woirkshop, so neither the battery nor the charger is much of a problem. If I wanted to carry around something for my laptop I would probably get a 13.3″ display, as this is the size and weight that’s comparable to a smaller notebook. I will definitely take it with me the next time I go on a holiday thou (hotel TVs suck).
My other problem is a general problem with these screens: it’s hard to transport it safely. There is no cover to protect the screen, so I got a notebook sleeve for it to carry around. In the Kickstarter they promised a screen protector and a carry case, I’m still waiting or it. I don’t know if the commercial ones come with it.
Lastly, I was lucky to get mine as soon as I did. I was backer #88 and it still took them 2 months to ship it (they promised May, got it in early August). I guess the commercial ones would get delivered sooner, still I would buy form a respectable supplier, not from a random webshop or wish or something like that. I’m sure they are still short on supplies as not all the backers got theirs yet.
What would I improve? Flush screen with the bezel, some kind of protective layer, and _add pen support_ and make Wacom run out of business!
TL;DR: it’s a nice display, does exactly what it promises, don’t do what you expect it to do but was not in the brochure thou (USB charging from powerbank).
My setup (GPD Win for scale):
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