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If you want to optimise productivity, one of the best ways to do it is to get a second monitor. Whether you’re a home, business or professional user, more desktop real estate to work in makes everything easier and allows you to have more windows open side by side.
But how do you cope with this if you’re on the go, other than dragging a massive monitor, video and power cables around? Well, you can go for a portable, USB powered screen like the 14in Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421.
Light and slim enough to fit in a large messenger bag without too much trouble, this 1kg monitor receives both power and video signal through a single mini USB cable - and thanks to a sturdy cover that fully protects its fragile display area, you can throw it into the same bag as a laptop without too much worry.
Presentation of this monitor is typical Think, the moniker Lenovo uses for all its business and executive products. It’s entirely finished in durable matt black plastic, which is reasonably scratch resistant and provides a good grip, though it’s not as nice as the soft-touch finish found on many ThinkPad laptops like the X220. Our only real complaint is that the monitor’s cover especially does show up fingerprints rather well.
Weight and dimensions are around 1kg for the screen and 1.3kg with cover, while the screen is 38mm at its thickest point with the cover adding around 3mm. Build quality is good, with perfectly fitted panels, reasonably thick plastics and minimal flex. It’s nowhere near as tank-like as the affordable Lenovo ThinkPad X121e, but then this is a very different product, and it feels plenty durable to survive the rigours of the road.
Once off, the ThinkVision LT1421’s cover can be used as a base for standing the screen on, though this is not a requirement. We might have preferred a cover that was actually attached to the display, but at least this arrangement gives you an out-of-the-way place to stow it while the monitor’s in use.
Meanwhile, a flexible leg at the ThinkVision’s rear lets you adjust tilt in generous measure, with grooves on the inside of the cover acting as adjustment increments. The leg’s tip is rubberised and the screen rests on thick rubber pads to prevent marking any delicate surface you may want to use it on. However, we would have liked to see the leg swivel to support using the monitor in portrait mode.
You can of course fold the monitor into the cover with its screen facing out to give it a flat profile or prop it against something. Though there’s no height adjustment, by default the LT1421 will line up neatly with most 13-15in laptops.
Obviously this portable display will have an impact on your laptop’s battery life if your laptop isn’t plugged in, but at a low maximum of 4.2W and a mere 0.1W in stand-by, it shouldn’t cost you more than a third of your mobile juice in a worst-case scenario – and in most cases you’ll be using this display near a power outlet for your laptop/netbook/tablet anyway.
Continue reading page 2 of the Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421: Connectivity Image Quality Value and Verdict >