I would like to thank CaseKing.de
for supplying the review sample.
CaseKing is one of the few companies out there, which will not just sell anything. They only offer hardware that performs well and is of high quality. The shop carries quite a few exclusive parts and devices from all around the world and it is also the official distributor for a long list of well known manufacturers. Their assortment has grown substantially in recent years, while great service and support is still a very important part of the shop philosophy.
They kindly sent us the SDC LC-Display. A two color LCD screen which is USB 2.0 powered. The unit is available as an external version or with a frame to install into two 5.25 inch bays.
- Size: 170 x 105 x 22 mm
- Display Size: 111 x 61 mm
- Maximum frame rate: 30 FPS
- Resolution: 240 x 128
- Piano paint finish
- Adjustable start-up images & brightness
- Compatibility: Windows 2000, XP, Vista & 7 (32 / 64 bit)
The LCD ships in a very compact cardboard box. The front shows the display and some of the possible settings, while the rear goes into a bit more detail and shows the two versions of the Megtron LCD.
You also get a little stand, a small 80 mm CD with the software along with a USB cable. It would have been nice to see a black cable.
A Closer Look
The screen seemed a bit smaller than I expected. But it is still large enough for everyday use. The Megtron LCD has fierce competition, as there are numerous other USB powered screens out there. It will be interesting to see what features it brings to the (bench)table. The rear is made of the same material as the frame. It is secured by four screws.
As the display is powered by the USB data cable, you won't find any other connectors on the back. There is another opening with six pins. There is no documentation about the function of these anywhere. There are several openings to place the foot of the display into. This gives you the option if you want it landscape or upright.
The usual placement is in landscape mode, but for those who prefer it upright, simply stick the stand into the right holes and place it on the table.
The software installation is done quickly and does not require a restart. SDC has done a great job in creating an application with consistency. The one aspect I am not so happy with is the limited amount of customization. You cannot choose what audio player relays information to the display or what video player does so. Nonetheless, as there is virtually no difference in each of the areas of the software. In some of them you may choose where to display the information - be it as full screen, the upper part of the split screen or the lower part. It also allows you to bind a set of keys to rotate through each of the functions, so that you won't have to open the application to set the display to the output you desire. Another very welcoming aspect is the possibility to adjust the brightness of the display. The screenshots below are at full power.
SDC Software Gallery
Display in Action
The display has all the function available to it through the software right out of the box. Once it is plugged in and the software is started, you are greeted by the SDC logo along with the company URL. You may change this start-up image through the software.
Instead of going through every function with you, we have created a gallery below. The display has three different modes.
The biggest upside between this display and other USB powered, full colored ones is the fact that the Megtron does not show up as a secondary display. This means that all the information you can show on the LCD does not require to assign any application to the external display. The obvious downside is the limited ability to show "anything" on the unit.
So you need to make sure that the Megtron delivers everything you need or of you require something with complete customizability. There are other choices out there which are full color, just as big - if not bigger, cost less
and act as a real secondary display.
SDC LC-Display Gallery
Value and Conclusion
- The SDC Megtron will set you back 99.90€ for the external or 69.90€ at CaseKing. This is certainly a tough price point, considering other "real" secondary displays cost around the same price.
- Excellent construction quality
- Loads of functionality
- Somewhat customizable output
- USB 2.0 powered
- Will work out of the box upon software installation
- Available as internal or external version
- Brightness adjustable
- Can be used vertical or in landscape mode
- Pricey compared to "real" external USB LCDs.
- Limited display options
- Picture output very limited
- Did not manage to get video output to work
- Very shiny surface attracts dust and fingerprints
The SDC Megtron LCD is most definitely a very useful device. After using it for over two weeks now, I would not want to go without it. The fact that it displays all types of vital information while the main screen is filled with different applications is invaluable. When you are watching a movie in full screen or playing a game, you will still have an eye on the time, on the CPU utilization, how much longer the movie is playing for or the incoming emails. Sure other displays differ in the sense that they do offer more functionality due to the fact, that they act as actual secondary screens. These have the downside, that applications need to be assigned to that secondary output and that you are required to keep all of them running in the background.
So you need to ask yourself what you want from such a unit. Do you require complete usabilty just like a main screen - then the SDC Megtron is by no means the right choice. Do you value the fact that a single small application gives you access to a limited but important set of fact and information - then the Megtron is a good choice.