Wednesday, February 5th 2020

Acer Unveils the PM1 - a Portable 15.6-inch Monitor

Acer has launched the latest addition to its portable monitor lineup -the PM1 portable monitor. The PM1 features a 15.6-inch IPS panel with 1920x1080 resolution, 15 ms GtG response time, a maximum brightness of 250 nits, and 800:1 contrast ratio. It boasts a 60 Hz refresh rate and wide viewing angles, along with anti-glare coating to prevent any unwanted light reflection. Being an IPS type panel, it has 178 degrees viewing angle so you can easily view content from all sides.

The display itself is a 6-bit panel, so it offers somewhat less color accuracy as it is limited to 262,000 colors. It is powered by a single USB type C cable which provides both the power and video input. When powered by a smartphone, which can not provide enough power, there is a secondary micro-USB port to supply additional power. There is also a hinge at the back of the monitor body to support it when it stands. Pricing starts at $179.99 if you are purchasing from Acer directly or $129.99 from Micro Center.
Source: AnandTech
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20 Comments on Acer Unveils the PM1 - a Portable 15.6-inch Monitor

#1
silentbogo
Now, that's a real external monitor for consumers. Decent specs, usable form-factor and good price.
No "bezel-less" design or super-thin plastic chassis which may result in cracked panel or worse - cracked decoder (common w/ flexing chassis), just a plain-old and time proven laptop display case.
No need to re-invent the wheel. Though, it would've been nice to have something smaller, like 12.5" or 13.3". I'd buy one right away, need something portable for work (and I'm too lazy to make one).
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#2
Ferrum Master
silentbogo
Now, that's a real external monitor for consumers. Decent specs, usable form-factor and good price.
No "bezel-less" design or super-thin plastic chassis which may result in cracked panel or worse - cracked decoder (common w/ flexing chassis), just a plain-old and time proven laptop display case.
No need to re-invent the wheel. Though, it would've been nice to have something smaller, like 12.5" or 13.3". I'd buy one right away, need something portable for work (and I'm too lazy to make one).
A bit too dim thou... You would wish to use it outdoors. So at least 300nits.

There are smaller ones, but very expensive ones, those are for videographers on rig systems. 7 inchers althou tend to be price wise pretty down to earth lately.
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#3
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
Shame its not VESA compatible. Theres also no way to get it on 'arm' stand because even the tablet ones only go up to 10-12" max. you'd need to do some fabrication.
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#4
MrAMD
Bezel straight out of 2009
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#5
robot zombie
I actually like it. No vesa but it would be nice for tinkering with scraps... or a smaller vertical on my desk. Most I've seen for that cash aren't as good.
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#6
danbert2000
15 ms GtG response time means that this thing is going to have a lot of ghosting. Like, old school laptop ghosting. It's impressive that they can run it off of USB C bus power, but this is always going to be a secondary monitor, not a great match for a SFF PC. It would have been nice if they targeted $300 and went for lower ghosting and better color reproduction. 6 bit, without dithering, is pretty bleak.

I have no real need for a portable external monitor, but it would be pretty fun to be able to plug one of these into the VirtuaLink port on an RTX graphics card and start gaming with just one plug into the wall at a LAN party. Of course, that would require that I actually get invited to LAN parties...
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#7
Liquid Cool
MrAMD
Bezel straight out of 2009
For me that's the best selling point....:).

I don't like thin laptops either. For me...the last of the great's?

The HP Elitebook 8770w.

Best Regards,

Liquid Cool
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#9
notb
Ferrum Master
A bit too dim thou... You would wish to use it outdoors. So at least 300nits.
I'm not sure using outdoors is a popular scenario. I mean: why, how? Sure, I can imagine that. But I'm not sure I'd want to do that to myself.

It is bright enough for using indoors.
Honestly, I quite like it. There's a good chance I may need something like that in few weeks. Perfect timing from Acer. :P
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#11
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
lexluthermiester
No HDMI? Seriously? WTH Acer?
That isn't what these monitors are for. Who wants to plug in a USB cable and HDMI when you can just plug in a USB cable?

Ferrum Master
A bit too dim thou... You would wish to use it outdoors. So at least 300nits.
You can only pull so much power through USB, and the backlight is the biggest power user. A brighter backlight would probably pull too much power.

Plus, no one is using these outdoors.
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#12
lexluthermiester
newtekie1
That isn't what these monitors are for. Who wants to plug in a USB cable and HDMI when you can just plug in a USB cable?
Then why does it have Micro USB AND USB-C?

It would be trivial to include an HDMI port.
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#13
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
lexluthermiester
Then why does it have Micro USB AND USB-C?

It would be trivial to include an HDMI port.
It has Micro USB for when you're using it with a smart phone that can't provide the monitor with enough power. No, it isn't trivial to include an HDMI port.

Do you not understand how these monitors work? It is a USB display adapter directly wired to the LCD panel. There isn't a normal input controller like a traditional monitor.
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#14
lexluthermiester
newtekie1
No, it isn't trivial to include an HDMI port.
Sure it is.
newtekie1
Do you not understand how these monitors work?
Hold that thought....
newtekie1
It is a USB display adapter directly wired to the LCD panel. There isn't a normal input controller like a traditional monitor.
...What do you think display over USB is? You were saying?
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#15
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
lexluthermiester
..What do you think display over USB is? You were saying?
I assume you mean DisplayPort over USB, which these types of monitors don't use.

lexluthermiester
Sure it is.
No it isn't, it would require more controllers, a more complex OSD and firmware logic, all of which will drive up the cost of the monitor. All for a feature that the people buying these monitors would't even need...

But I'm not going to waste time arguing with you. Since you know so much about how trivial it would be to add HDMI to these monitors, you should probably go apply for a job in the engineering departments of one of these companies so they can use your secrets to make tons of money.
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#16
lexluthermiester
newtekie1
I assume you mean DisplayPort over USB, which these types of monitors don't use.
You assume wrong. I meant display over USB.
newtekie1
it would require more controllers, a more complex OSD and firmware logic
No, it would not. It would require one controller chip over another, minimal rewiring and minimal OSD alterations.
newtekie1
But I'm not going to waste time arguing with you.
Good! Very wise.
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#17
notb
lexluthermiester
No, it would not. It would require one controller chip over another, minimal rewiring and minimal OSD alterations.
But the USB adapter was mandatory. So it would require ANOTHER chip. And a lot more logic to operate.

The design goals were: cheap and low power needs. Both would be compromized if they wanted to turn this into a traditional external monitor.
There are more products of this type (from Asus, AOC, Lenovo). You shouldn't be shocked by the lack of other inputs...

danbert2000
There's no information about either monitor's input latency. I can't imagine it's horrible, but probably not up to any serious gaming.
Why would anyone want to game on this? You mean gaming on a smartphone?

These screens are primarily bought by people who work on laptops but don't have access to a standard monitor (and it's the only scenario when I've seen these monitors being used, to be honest).

I guess you could also use this with a smartphone, which would put it against Chromebooks.
This + smartphone + BT keyboard + web/terminal-based workflow - that's around $200 (with a fairly safe assumption you have a smartphone already).
An acceptable Chromebooks cost around $300.
Both options have pros and cons. I think I'd go for the modular approach (if I had a flat surface to set it up, obviously :)).
Posted on Reply
#18
lexluthermiester
notb
But the USB adapter was mandatory.
There are solutions that can handle both.
notb
So it would require ANOTHER chip. And a lot more logic to operate.
So what if it does? You both are making it sound like having an HDMI, DP or even VGA would be a massive undertaking and huge power draw. They are not.
notb
You shouldn't be shocked by the lack of other inputs...
I'm not shocked. I'm saying it's a deal-breaker. There are much better options out there that are much more appropriately equipped and run on the very same power requirements.
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#19
danbert2000
notb
Why would anyone want to game on this? You mean gaming on a smartphone?

These screens are primarily bought by people who work on laptops but don't have access to a standard monitor (and it's the only scenario when I've seen these monitors being used, to be honest).

I guess you could also use this with a smartphone, which would put it against Chromebooks.
This + smartphone + BT keyboard + web/terminal-based workflow - that's around $200 (with a fairly safe assumption you have a smartphone already).
An acceptable Chromebooks cost around $300.
Both options have pros and cons. I think I'd go for the modular approach (if I had a flat surface to set it up, obviously :)).
There's a lot of interest from the SFF PC community on a good, portable monitor to pair with a 10L gaming computer. Mostly for travel, or LAN parties. You wouldn't want this monitor on your home desk, you'd want it in a backpack that you cart your SFF PC around in.
Posted on Reply
#20
notb
danbert2000
There's a lot of interest from the SFF PC community on a good, portable monitor to pair with a 10L gaming computer. Mostly for travel, or LAN parties.
To be honest, I have no idea about needs of gamers that carry desktops on LAN parties. Is it really called "LAN party" in 2020? But gamers believe in WiFi (and Internet), right? :P
I'd imagine there are monitors made precisely for this niche, as today basically everything PC-related comes in a "gaming" variant (it's usually harder to find "utility" variants).
First google result: ROG Strix XG17AHPE. It's slightly larger, has HDMI, battery, power adapter, low latency etc.
https://www.asus.com/Monitors/ROG-Strix-XG17AHPE/overview/
You wouldn't want this monitor on your home desk, you'd want it in a backpack that you cart your SFF PC around in.
I absolutely never said I want that on my home desk (or my office desk for that matter). Of course I'd rather have a normal monitor if I have a place to keep it.
I meant working on a laptop, out of home, but still on some desk, since using this outside would be uncomfortable.

But to be honest, this is not a bad option for home use as well - when you don't have a desk to keep a normal monitor.
lexluthermiester
There are solutions that can handle both.
Yes. But there's also a market for USB-C only monitors. Acer joins that. Basically, you're criticizing a product because it isn't for you (with alternatives available). What's the point?
So want if it does? You both are making it sound like having an HDMI, DP or even VGA would be a massive undertaking and huge power draw. They are not.
Maybe they are high enough to make this pull too much. It's meant to be powered from a laptop after all.
Once again: this is meant to be as frugal and cheap as possible. And USB-C is enough. It's a common port in modern laptops.
You simply have to accept this as a product for someone else. And if Acer makes it (and a few other brands mentioned earlier), the target group is large enough.
I'm not shocked. I saying it's a deal-breaker. There are much better options out there that are much more appropriately equipped and run on the very same power requirements.
And you have every right to show us what they are. :)
I gave a link to recently announced ASUS ROG monitor. I bet it's more to your liking. But it will NOT cost $180.
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