Quick Look: Mobile Pixels DUEX Max Monitor 0

Quick Look: Mobile Pixels DUEX Max Monitor

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I would like to thank Mobile Pixels for supplying the review sample.


Mobile Pixels focuses on providing additional portable screens to your notebook setup. Unlike most portable monitors, the DUEX and TRIO series attach to the back of your notebook screen housing and may then be used in various configurations while retaining the portability of the laptop. The DUEX Max we are looking at in this article is their latest, biggest screen at 14.1". It recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $830,000, and may be pre-ordered right as this is written.

Packaging and Contents


The Mobile Pixels DUEX Max ships in a full color cardboard box, which should stand out nicely in a retail store, but you may order it directly from the company as well. The front of the flat box clearly focuses on selling the product, while the rear dives into a bit more detail about functionality and specifications.


Inside, in the first layer, you will find the display packed into a protective bag. Below that is a molded plastic tray for all the smaller accessories.


The cable Mobile Pixels provides with the DUEX Max is about 3 feet long and sports an angled USB-C connector on the end that attaches to the display, while the other for the host system has a combo USB-C and USB-A plug. This makes the DUEX Max a pure USB-powered screen as no HDMI interface is present. You also get some sheets of thicker paper that help install the screen, a little pouch with additional documentation, wipe to clean the notebook before installation, and 12 additional sticky pads.

A Closer Look


Out of the package, the DUEX Max is lightweight for a display of this type. That light 1.7 lb is mostly achieved by utilizing plastic instead of a heavier material like metal. This is quite necessary as your notebook's hinges will need to support that extra weight; as such, lighter is better. From a design perspective, Mobile Pixels has stuck to a similar look and feel as the DUEX Plus with gently elevated edges on both sides of the screen, which should make it easier to grab and slide out.


There are four elongated metal pads on the interior side of the screen housing. These each hold a strong magnet. You are meant to centrally install the screen on your device and pull it out along the metal pads towards the side, so that the hinge is at the edge of your notebook screen.


The Mobile Pixels DUEX Max sports two USB-C type connectors, one of which is Thunderbolt. No matter which one you use, the other can be used for passthrough power to your phone, for example. Three buttons on the back give you quick access to the central OSD and direct brightness control.


Sliding the DUEX Max out fully, you can see that the back panel is essentially solid but does have some extra branding for those curious onlookers at your local coffee shop who may wonder what you got there. On the opposite side, with the screen exposed, there's is not much else to see. Unlike some other brands of portable devices, Mobile Pixels did not add branding to the frame of the screen.


Set up is pretty easy, but I was a bit nervous about attaching four magnets to my expensive MacBook Pro. Mobile Pixels has done a good job simplifying the process with the template, but there aren't any real tools and instructions on how to safely remove the magnets. I used one of the the pieces of cardboard paper to seesaw back and forth underneath the magnet, which did the trick. Mobile Pixels could just add a credit-card sized plastic card to the accessories and label it as a removal device.


Once the magnets are in place, you can simply put the DUEX Max in place. It holds reasonably well, but not as well as the DUEX Plus, a smaller 1.3 lbs unit. The DUEX Plus still doesn't weigh much, but the metal pads on the unit have no raised edges, so the screen can slide a few millimeters. This is unfortunate as the DUEX Plus does have those raised edges.

In Use


Before we dive into using the screen, there is the central OSD. You may trigger the brightness setting directly by pressing the up or down buttons. Pressing the center button brings up this full view instead. Besides the usual brightness, contrast, and temperature settings we have seen on most other displays of this type, Mobile Pixels also provides a less common "EyeCareMode." This simply toggles the temperature of the screen to be warmer, which reduces the blue light human eyes can struggle with. Then there is a more unique G-Sensor, which will flip the screen image automatically should you rotate the screen to slide it out the opposite side or even stand it up in portrait mode. Instead of me attempting to fumble around with that feature to show you a video, Mobile Pixels has a handy GIF that is so much better at illustrating that functionality.


Using the DUEX Max feels a bit out of place initially. One is simply not used to having a second screen firmly attached to a notebook. That said, having it is great, but due to the nature of the laptop with its upward-angled display to provide a 90° angle to your eyes, the DUEX display angles upwards slightly as well, which takes a little getting used to. Being a USB-interfaced screen, the lower brightness was expected—it can only draw so much power from a connector. The images above are at 100%, which is basically what you should run the DUEX Max at by default to get the most out of it. Being a 1080p display, you get a pretty classic 156.23 PPI density considering it is a 14.1" screen. Watching our favorite movie trailer that may well just be a very expensive Tom Cruise ad at this point, the DUEX Max managed to work quite well, offering enough brightness and contrast for casual viewing. The same goes for office work, as the DUEX Max works well in general scenarios, but should not be your go-to secondary screen if you are doing professional photo or video work.


Further underscoring the use in an office or sales work environment, the DUEX screen series provides the ability to flip the screen to face a person in front of you, which could be quite useful in a meeting or presentation.

On top of that, thanks to the housing, you may simply stand the DUEX Max upright in portrait mode. Funnily enough, this scenario immediately felt like it has a lot of potential as that second screen in a more stationary setup; say, your home office or permanent desktop. The G-Sensor does not trigger for this state, so you have to manually set the screen up within the host operating system.

Conclusion

The Mobile Pixels DUEX Max will retail at $349. At that price, you are certainly paying a premium for its versatility compared to traditional portable 1080p monitors, as those sell for around $200. That said, it is currently available for pre-order on Indigogo after the successful Kickstarter, starting at a very reasonable $249 instead. There is something to be said about the setup as it manages to merge with a notebook fairly nicely.

The choice to exclude an HDMI port is fine because the DUEX Max may then use a single cable for both power and data. Mobile Pixels does consider that you may be limited to USB-A 3.0 plugs on your notebook, which makes the DUEX Max truly plug and play. While the display itself doesn't push the boundaries, the inclusion of the G-Sensor is a nice, useful touch. On top of that, being able to use it in portrait mode could also be useful in stationary desktop environments. Being a portable screen, you may use it with mobile devices capable of piping out video, like the Nintendo Switch. However, in that case, you will also have to find a separate power source for the second port.

If this type of device fits your needs, it really comes down to how much screen real estate you need. Mobile Pixels provides that same 1080p resolution across 12.5" with the DUEX Lite, 13.3" in the case of the DUEX Plus, and now 14.1" with the DUEX Max, so you do have a bit of choice.
Jun 28th, 2022 07:37 EDT change timezone

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