Price (RRP): $429/499
Manufacturer: Espresso Displays
Espresso Displays are for anyone that wants extra screen real estate – Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS… It is particularly good for Samsung DeX users too.
Espresso Displays is, wait for it, an Aussie company. It is fair to say that co-founders Will Scuderi and Scott McKeon have bet the farm on this venture. After initial financing via Indiegogo and Kickstarter, its goal is now a reality.
As a segue, crowdfunding is vital to get projects like this off the ground. Essentially a good idea and a few prototypes pitched to potential mum and dad investors (crowd funders) who secure the investment by buying the product. At the time of this review, they have shipped about 1500 units to investors, so it is over the first hurdle. Now they need to build awareness – hence this review.
GadgetGuy received a ‘pre-production’ 15.6″ 1920x1080p, 16:9 unit and some accessories for review. I say pre-production because each shipment uses later firmware or may use slightly different electronics. That is just the way it is with smaller scale OEM manufacturing in China.
On the whole, it is a perfect second screen for travellers or those who just need some extra screen real estate.
So says me who is writing this from COVID-lockup with a dual 27″ Samsung screens and the Surface Pro 7 – you can never have enough screen real estate. I really miss my dual HP z38C 38″ screens at the office – now that is big.
Australian review – Espresso Displays 15.6″
Note that the 13.3″ shares similar characteristics.
- Website here
- Manual – none. Comes with a brief setup sheet for Windows, Mac, Smartphones and Nintendo Switch
- Elevator Pitch: Portable USB-C/Thundebolt3/HDMI monitor
- Warranty: 12-months ACL. Espresso is setting up a customer portal to handle registration and warranty
- Price: 13/15″ $429/499 including Australian freight
- From: Espresso Displays online only at this time to keep prices reasonable
- Country of Manufacture: China
- This is Aussie company Espresso Displays first product aimed at creating flexibility for remote workers and travellers.
First impression – EXCEED
It is a space grey (a.k.a. Applesque) anodised aluminium rear cover and a semi-gloss glass screen with small 8mm top and side bezels. The bottom bezel and base with the electronics are 55mm.
At 5mm thick its billed as the world’s thinnest portable screen although a few competitors make similar claims.
On the right side (base) are
- USB-C PD power in (port 1) – it expects 5V/3A or any USB-C PD source. We tested with a 65W HP Spectre USB-C PD 3.0 adaptor and a Moshi ProGeo USB-C 65W PD 3.0 – our favourite USB-C charger. It supports up to 100W passthrough. Remember the panel takes the first 15W.
- USB-C Alt DP (port 2) that works with any USB-C Alt DP (Display Port) device. It also works on Thunderbolt 3 devices. USB-C/USB-C and USB-A/USB-C cables provided.
- Mini-HDMI (port 3) – using the provided HDMI/mini-HDMI cable to transmit video and audio
On the left side is
- 2.5mm audio jack (output). Plugin earphones here – you will need a 3.5-2.5mm adapter
- Combo volume/brightness up/down buttons
- And there are dual stereo speakers on the left bottom side (they are not equidistant from the edges). Note at this time, the speakers are more of a ‘last minute’ add-on, and you should use the content device’s speakers or BT.
The screen – PASS++
This screen is typical of those used by many competitors – AOC, ASUS, Acer, Lenovo, HP etc. That probably is a good thing as these Innolux or BOE panels are well-proven.
- 13.3 and 15.6″ IPS LCD bottom edge-lit panel
- 165 and 141ppi
- Glass panel covering – reflective (not specified)
- Brightness: Typical 220-250 nits and maximum of 300 nits*
- Contrast: 800:1
- Gamma: 99% sRGB and Delta E 2.2
- 8-bit 16.7 million colours
- 170° Horiz/Vert FOV but colour shifts after about 135° – not an issue for personal use
- SDR: Yes (not HDR)
- Orientation: Landscape 16:9. Portrait (9:16) but requires a manual change to portrait mode in Windows or Mac.
- Delay: We could not measure this, but the panel specs are 5ms
- 10-point touch on Windows and ‘finger’ Mac with driver
- Digitiser panel – Capacitive touch (finger) but works with the Espresso Active Pen option.
- 15.6” screen is 435mm (diag), 360 (W) x 255 (D) mm x 5mm (H) x 905g.
*Our tests confirm those figures although it is a push to get to 300 nits – that depends on the host device and delivering the full 15W power.
At 220 nits (typical) it is not the brightest nor does it have high contrast (the difference between pure black and pure white). 800:1 means blacks tend towards grey. To be fair, it is very similar to all the competitor’s panels. I suspect that is a limitation of what you can achieve with the USB-C 5V/3A/15W downstream voltage.
Despite looking a little duller than the Surface Pro 7 (about 400 nits), it is pretty good; the colour is accurate and evenly spread. It is perfect for home or office use – perhaps a little washed out in direct sunlight.