Quick Look: INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F Review 0

Quick Look: INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F Review

Introduction

INNOCN Logo


INNOCN is a Shenzhen-based monitor brand under which the Century Joint Innovation Group is developing, manufacturing, and selling PC monitors and commercial displays. They're very competitively priced while doing their best to tick every box in terms of technical specifications for the user type they're aiming at. In this article, we'll take a quick look at the INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F. INNOCN was kind enough to provide a substantial discount to TechPowerUp readers, which knocks the monitor's price from $190 to $112. If you're looking for a portable monitor, do stick around until the end to find out how to get the discount.



The INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F is based on a 15.6-inch 1080p IPS panel. It offers 220 cd/m² brightness, 800:1 contrast ratio, 60 Hz refresh rate, 178° horizontal and vertical viewing angles, and some interesting extra features, such as USB-C and HDMI connectivity and a blue light filter. The monitor is supplied with a 2-in-1 smart case, which protects its front and back when carrying it around and serves as a stand for the monitor.

As for the intended use case of the INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F, and portable monitors in general, the options are numerous. For example, you can use it as a secondary screen for your desktop PC at home, or a travel screen for your smartphone or gaming console. You may need a secondary monitor for easier multitasking on your laptop when on the go, or an external viewfinder for your camera—a portable monitor is an obvious solution.

Packaging and Contents


The INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F is packed in a simple cardboard box. It shows a silhouette sketch of the monitor on front and goes over its key features on the sides. This is where you'll find out that the monitor offers a 15.6-inch diagonal, as well as Mini HDMI and USB-C connectivity.


Inside the box, you'll find the monitor along with a 2-in-1 smart cover, 1-meter (3.3 ft) USB-C cable, and printed quick-start guide. A power adapter isn't supplied, so I resorted to using a generic Cellularline 25 W power brick I had laying around, which did the job of powering the monitor perfectly.

Closer Look


The INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F strongly resembles a large tablet. I mean that as a compliment since the monitor only weighs 990 grams (2.18 lb), and it's less than 1 centimeter (0.37 in) thick, so finding room for it in a backpack or travel suitcase is easy. The upper and side bezels are reasonably thin, with the bottom bezel thicker, as expected. The IPS panel is placed inside a plastic case with smooth, rounded edges. The whole contraption feels reasonably sturdy, more so after placing it inside the supplied smart cover, which is how you should use it anyway.


The supplied 2-in-1 smart cover made of PU leather looks and feels like a cheaper version of the Smart Folio cover Apple is offering for various iPads. When closed, it covers the monitor on both sides, protecting it from scratches and any other type of damage while being carried around. The "front" side of the cover is foldable, so it doubles as a monitor stand. INNOCN claims that the smart cover uses magnets to stay in place, but I have to admit I didn't feel any magnets in action when I used it to cover the screen or act as a stand. If there are any, they're very weak, magnitudes weaker than the magnets Apple is using on their iPad covers. With that in mind, if you turn the monitor upside down, the front flap of the smart cover will detach from the screen. This didn't cause me any issues while traveling with the INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F though, primarily because the flap doesn't open by itself in any other position. I should also point out I didn't have any issues using the smart cover as a stand; it always kept the monitor in an upright position and seemed very stable even when I rotated it to the left and right to better adjust it to my sitting position.


On the left side of the monitor, you'll find a pair of USB-C ports and a Mini HDMI video input. Either USB-C port can also be used as a video input, and the secondary one is there to power the monitor if your video source isn't utilizing its USB-C interface for power delivery. In other words, if your laptop's or smartphone's USB-C port supports Power Delivery (PD), you only need to connect it to the monitor with a single (supplied) USB-C cable. The monitor will receive power and data (video, audio, mouse, and keyboard inputs) through its USB-C interface. This is by far the most intuitive way to use the INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F, as using the monitor on the go comes down to having it and a single USB-C cable on hand. Of course, the amount of power provided by your device will determine the maximum achievable brightness of the INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F. For example, my OnePlus 7 Pro delivered enough power to the monitor to achieve a brightness of 75 cd/m², which corresponded to the brightness set to 32 in the OSD. Anything above that simply had the monitor turn off until I connected an external power brick to the secondary USB-C port. This is something you'll have to do if your video source has a USB-C port that only works as a video output and isn't capable of Power Delivery, too. Any extra power delivered to the monitor will be routed to charge the battery of the connected device (laptop or smartphone). As I already mentioned, I had no issues powering the monitor with a generic 25 W power brick, which I use to charge my phone when traveling. Of course, you also have to use the power brick if connecting the INNOCN monitor to your device via the Mini HDMI input. In this scenario, you'll also have to buy a Mini HDMI cable because one isn't supplied.


Both sides of the case have hole cutouts for the integrated 1-watt stereo speakers. In terms of sound quality and maximum volume, these speakers can't replace a pair of headphones for anything more demanding than a quick YouTube video, but for situations when you simply can't be bothered to connect anything else and are in a fairly quiet environment, they do come in handy.


On the front, sitting below the display, is a multipurpose button. When pressed and held for 3 seconds, it behaves as a power button. A short press opens the OSD and confirms the current selection, while a different pair of buttons, found on the right side of the monitor, is used to navigate the OSD. This can be a bit clunky, and you need both hands to operate the OSD. When the OSD is closed, the side buttons adjust the speaker volume.

OSD


The OSD offers the usual settings: brightness, contrast, speaker volume, color temperature, color saturation, sharpness, overdrive (on or off), input selection, eye protection (blue light filtering), and picture profiles. There are seven profiles, tailored for reading, video, and gaming, but I found it best to stick with the default one.

Picture Quality


The INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F is equipped with a 15.6-inch 8-bit (6-bit + FRC) IPS panel. The native resolution is 1920x1080, giving it a pixel density of 141 PPI, and a satisfyingly sharp picture as a result. The screen has a somewhat glossy surface, so reflections could be a problem if you have a strong light behind your back or directly above you. The viewing angles are very good; this being an IPS panel, you don't have to worry about constantly adjusting the monitor's position every time you change your sitting position.

At factory settings, the picture is very dim, with the brightness sitting at 68 cd/m². At the same time, the white point is too high (7,051 K); I measured a static contrast ratio of 225:1 and a gamma value of 1.95, which you can do very little about as adjusting the gamma isn't an option in the OSD. A lower-than-ideal gamma means the panel will interpret shadows as brighter than intended, making the image look slightly washed out.

The good news is that a lot of that can be fixed by diving into the OSD and adjusting two key settings: brightness and color temperature. For starters, the color temperature should be set to User, and the color channels need to be adjusted to 46 (Red), 50 (Green), and 47 (Blue). If you, after doing that, set the brightness to 95, you'll get a much more balanced picture, with a measured brightness of 249 cd/m² and white point sitting at 6,512 K. The gamma won't change though, nor will the static contrast ratio improve, but this is to be expected from a portable IPS monitor, where everyday practicality is much more important than raw picture quality anyway.


After setting the monitor up like that, it delivered a decent overall picture quality, certainly good enough to serve various remote work scenarios well. While the low gamma and contrast did manifest themselves through flat, washed-out colors, it did not bother me too much, and I appreciated the comfortable brightness of the panel instead, which wouldn't have been the case had I used the INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F as a secondary monitor at home because I'd expect more from its color reproduction then, but when working remotely and not doing any color-critical work, brightness is far more important.

In terms of gaming performance, the INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F is bogged down by its 60 Hz refresh rate, and even more by the high input lag. My LDAT testing device showed an average input lag of 52.3 milliseconds, with a recorded minimum of 41.3 ms and a maximum of 70.4 ms. You don't need a professional tool to detect it either; it can be felt when moving the pointer across the screen in Windows. The overdrive setting offered in the OSD is best left disabled because it introduces noticeable inverse ghosting when activated. With all that in mind, the INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F isn't a very good choice even for casual gaming.

What this portable monitor does well is being immensely practical when used on the go, particularly for non-color critical tasks. During my time with INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F, it came in very handy when I had to diagnose and repair a couple of desktop computers that were dropped off at my office, as I didn't have to go through the hassle of unpacking, assembling, and finding room for a standard desktop monitor. I also found it extremely practical on several live streaming gigs, where I had it connected to one of the outputs of my Blackmagic ATEM Mini Extreme ISO live production switcher and used it as a multiview screen. The exceptionally compact footprint and seamless connectivity of the INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F was a huge plus in this scenario because most venues only come with a single table for my entire live streaming setup, so finding room for all my peripherals, switchers, mixers, headphones, microphones and monitors can be tricky. It paired well with my USB-C laptop and significantly reduced the hassle of going through tasks that required me to use multiple applications at once. Finally, I used it as a live feed screen for my home video surveillance system, where its compact form factor again proved very beneficial. I'd strongly suggest getting an external power brick and an accompanying extra USB-C cable, just so you're always sure to provide enough power to the INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F for high brightness.

Should you be looking to buy the INNOCN Portable Monitor N2F, you can do so through this Amazon link. Enter the code "N2F2022NC," kindly provided by INNOCN, at checkout to reduce the price from $189.99 to $111.99.