Mobile Pixels Duex Lite review: Is a portable laptop monitor a must?

At first glance, I felt the Mobile Pixels Duex Lite filled a void that didn’t exist. But I was wrong. The ability to connect your laptop to an external monitor is a remarkably useful thing. The additional real estate provided by the additional screen is useful for spreading out your windows or examining images on a larger screen. You use the same connection to connect your laptop to a projector or TV for presentations, or to mirror what’s happening on the main screen to show it to a class of students, for example.

The thing about external monitors is that you can’t take them with you unless you’re planning on using the socket on the train for some unconventional use that the ticket inspector might not approve of. A subclass of small, portable monitors has therefore filled this niche – powered by a single cable and with a tablet-like stand, they allow a second screen to be slipped into a laptop bag and taken with you on the go.

(Image credit: Future/Ian Evenden)Duex Lite laptop monitor review: design and build

The Duex Lite fits into this subclass as it is particularly thin and light (about 600g) but not touch sensitive, with a diagonal of 12.5 inches, a resolution of 1080p, a refresh rate of 60Hz and a brightness of 300 nits That puts it in the same range as many low-end laptop displays.

The clever quirk of the Duex Lite lies in the way it’s supported. Not for this screen is the tablet-like folding case, you’ll need to put it on a stand if you want it to stand on its own. However, it comes with four adhesive pads and some magnets so you can attach it to the back of your laptop screen.

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What good is a screen turned away from you? Well there is, and it involves mirroring your output so someone across from you can see. However, this is not a particularly widespread use case. Luckily, there are some sliding hinges that allow the screen to slide out so it sits alongside your laptop’s main screen like a one-winged airplane of sorts. If you don’t want this, you can put it in a phone stand next to your computer.

The case is made entirely of plastic, which makes the device lighter, but it feels a bit flimsy. For something that stores in a nice padded case and attaches to the back of a laptop screen this might not be an issue, but we would have felt better if the frame had been stiffer. When folded, the screen is well protected. It also comes in six different colors to better match your laptop.

(Credit: Future / Ian Evenden) Achievement

I’ve tried it with a 16-inch laptop and a 12.9-inch iPad Pro and found that it generally works well. Around the edge of the screen is a USB-C port that can be used for both video and power if your device supports that type of output, and a mini-HDMI port for video if it doesn’t is. You still have to use USB-C for power when connecting to the HDMI, so there are two cables sticking out at the end. Cables for both are included.

The Duex Lite is part of a range and is at the bottom of the hierarchy. That means it’s missing an important feature – auto-rotation. It depends on your laptop how high you want the image displayed, which is easy enough in Windows or macOS. And maybe that makes sense, after all it’s a monitor, not a tablet, but it’s included on the top tier products.

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However, you can’t rotate the output on an iPad, so you may need to be creative with where you place the screen in relation to your tablet. Apple’s new Stage Manager system instantly captures the screen and expands the view of it. You must use a mouse and keyboard with your iPad as the Duex Lite is not touch sensitive.

The image looks faint and washed out, which means you’ll want to keep it for your email client or webpage, rather than trying to use it to work with images or videos.

Should I buy the Duex Lite laptop monitor?

If you can put up with its shortcomings, sure. The fact that it’s so small and light makes a big difference, and if you need a screen that you can take with you and set up quickly on a hotel room table, the Duex Lite is a contender.

Mobile Pixel Duex Lite: price comparison

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