Being on the road doesn’t mean you have to put up with doing your work on tiny laptop screens. Anyone who has spent any amount of time traveling for work understands the limitations working from a single laptop can bring to the table. The alternative thus far has been to bring a bulky monitor in a bag that could never be considered carry-on only to discover that you need extra power cables, another outlet or power strip, and video cables.
Let’s be real here: No one wants to bring their entire home office with them on trips — even if it means sacrificing productivity in order to stay mobile.
Enter the Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421 14″ USB monitor. This 14″ display has immediately become a key component in my home and mobile office during video editing, collaboration, and other tasks that are just too difficult to do on my MacBook Pro’s 13″ screen. Using a USB port alone, I’m able to extend my desktop to another monitor, giving me more than double the window space without adding a ton of bulk to my desk.
Here are some thoughts on the Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421 14″ USB monitor, and how it changed the way I get things done.
The LT1421 has a remarkably slim 13.2 x 8.6 x 0.85 inch design that provides its own built-in kickstand so it can sit on your desk and take up about as much space as a picture frame. The black bezel and matte screen don’t draw attention or reflect much light from the surrounding environment, making it blend almost perfectly into a professional workspace.
It comes with an included plastic cover that protects the screen when packed in a carry-on or laptop bag that doubles as extra support for slick or uneven surfaces. The kickstand can grip to most wooden desktops, though it’s good to know the lid can serve that purpose as well.
The entire screen is powered by a single 6′ USB cable that splits from a single microUSB port for the monitor to two full-sized USB ports for your laptop or desktop computer. Though two ports are provided, you really only need one to power it on most systems. The extra port is there in the case that your computer’s bus doesn’t provide enough power in a single port. Not that this display takes much power at all with just 4.2 watts of energy usage during operating and 0.1 watts during standby.
Lenovo has accomplished quite a bit with the LT1421. Not only are there 16 brightness levels you can adjust to using a single button on the back of the unit, but the image itself looks quite impressive. This 14″ 1366 x 768 display delivers excellent colors and a vibrant image that can be seen from across the room. I’ve used the LT1421 for a variety of things from video editing to article writing and found the screen remarkably easy to read and quick to respond.
With a contrast ratio of 400:1 and a response time of 8 ms, it outperforms the vast majority of USB-driven monitors in its class.
I’ve given the LT1421 a thorough test, adding it both as a third monitor to my primary Windows 7 system and as a secondary monitor to my MacBook Pro running OS X Lion. While Windows is the primary support environment for the Lenovo LT1421, a quick driver download from DisplayLink, the makers of the USB display technology backing the LT1421, allowed me to enjoy dual-screen productivity from either OS with ease. A driver CD ships with the LT1421 that works with virtually any version of Windows from XP to Windows 7.
Having a second monitor is a great way to increase productivity while multitasking, allowing you to have more information in front of you at any given time, and eliminating the need for annoying back-and-forth application switching. I’ve actually found that using a second monitor while video editing allows for extended functionality including a better preview during editing, saving me some amount of hassle.
Working with spreadsheets can be a real problem with laptop screens. By extending your desktop, you’ll be able to see more without having to lug around a giant monitor that requires its own outlet, display port, and room for its stand.
I’ve also found a long-term use of the LT1421 as a chat and email monitor. By putting those applications on a smaller screen, I can dedicate more space on my larger displays to more productive things, like playing games or writing articles.
If you’re in a meeting and would like to demonstrate something without having a group of people huddled around your laptop, you can easily clone your desktop and face the screen to the group. This is excellent during face-to-face meetings where you would rather speak to someone eye-to-eye rather than from behind as they look over your shoulder at whatever it is you’re demonstrating.
Price is one area where the Lenovo LT1421 absolutely impresses. At just $200, it is priced extremely reasonably when compared to the various other USB-powered monitors out there. Portability is an extremely important consideration for anyone traveling on business, and being able to recreate that optimal office environment in a hotel room with a single outlet and minimal luggage space is a huge plus.
You can save 10% on the Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421 between now and March 31, 2012. All you need to do is purchase it online using the code LENOVOTECHIES (if your blog is tech-focused), or LENOVOMOMS (if you have a mom blog). Make sure you’re ordering part number 1452DS6.
The Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421 is a great addition to your mobile computing arsenal. It requires no more than a USB connection to operate, making it one of the most flexible external display solutions out there. Even if your laptop or desktop system doesn’t support an extra display through its own hardware, you might find the LT1421 an excellent solution.
I love this thing, truly. What at first seemed like just another monitor has quickly become that little extra something I needed to turn my desktop into a productivity center that would even impress Batman.
I’m actually looking forward to my next traveling adventure because I know that I have the ability to get things done without having to stare at a tiny laptop screen and constantly switch from one window to the next.