As a recovering auditor, I try to review the options for mobile hardware to be able to advise conference participants on the devices they should be considering for their summer retooling process. This year, I’m fortunate to have a Field Monitor Pro from Mobile Monitor Technologies (15.4" LCD, clamshell case with keypad on the other side, image gallery of this unit at http://mmt2.com/fmp/gallery.html). It has 32/64 bit drivers, works and plays well with the DisplayLink drivers for my docking station (it actually is a DisplayLink compatible device) , and is designed to take the level of abuse that road warriors dish out. Although I just got it a few days ago, it appears to be a BIG WIN, and I love it so far. I'll be taking it on the road this year, and I'll post an updated report on it to my blog once I have adequately tested it.
|The Field Monitor Pro from Mobile Monitor Technologies (mmt2.com) is a USB-connected 15.4” second monitor for use in the field. Designed for auditors, this should be on your short list for evaluation and purchase this year if you work at client sites 2+ days at a time. |
For more information, visit www.mmt2.com
I also have one of the older Samsung LD displays which are designed for laptop users (mine is a 19"). The 22" is as small as you can buy the Samsung monitors - I asked the Samsung people at CES about this directly this year. I broke the LCD on one of these a couple of years ago by putting too much pressure on it, and had abandoned using it for fear of breaking it. As such, the FMP is going to be a big win this year.
I love the Samsung LD220 (Staples is closing them out at $160 each at http://bit.ly/LD220), and it has full 1080p (1920x1080) resolution. The major technical concern I have with this device is that it's using a traditional VGA cable, and 1080p is an awful lot of data flowing over a VGA cable - I would prefer an HDMI input so I could use it with other home theater gear. The thing really stopping me from carrying one of these is the size of the unit. If you are traveling by car, it's fine, but if you are doing air travel or train travel, unless you put the monitor in your clothing suitcase, it's just too darn big. It also takes up a lot of desk real estate, and unless you have lots of desk room, it's simply too much. But boy, it’s pretty.
I am notoriously hard on equipment since I travel over 100,000 air miles a year, and spend 150 nights a year in hotels, so I think the rugged design of the FMP should be a major consideration for buyers, and I think it will serve users well. It IS a little more expensive, but it's a very high quality LCD unit, and the dot pitch and resolution matches my laptop display nicely. At $289, it's about $50 more than the Toshiba unit after you add the $40 external power supply to the Toshiba, but it is a LOT more substantial, and is 1.4" more display area as well.
Toshiba’s Mobile Monitor was unveiled at CES this year, and it hit the market about six weeks ago (http://bit.ly/tosmmt). I was excited about it before I discovered the Field Monitor Pro, as there aren’t many choices for mobile monitors in this area. Some things to consider about it:
+ The case is a soft case, and I am not comfortable that it gives the LCD the protection it needs to survive planes, trains, and automobiles. Although it is an inexpensive device, it feels a little cheap
+ Although it says that it will run off of USB power, and it technically will run off of USB power, it's in a very reduced brightness mode. As such, you will want to get the $40 optional external power brick so you can see the thing.
The other option is to use the approach of using desktop LCD displays with a CaseAce carrying case/harness. Although the form factors of these monitors are a little clunky, with the built-in stands of these LCD's protruding from the bottom of the devices, this is a workable solution for some. CaseAce is the brand I've been recommending for this - see http://bit.ly/caseace. While I don't advocate this use, it might be a way to recycle some of those 17" and 19" displays that you're phasing out for users in the office. I don't advocate this use unless these older monitors are in pristine condition and the users don’t travel much , but it is an option if you have to improvise.
As a side note, I now carry a 12' HDMI cable with me on the road so I can use the LCD TV in most hotel rooms as a second monitor (since my laptop has an HDMI port). This is particularly useful for watching Hulu and iTunes shows on the tube if you are not on a schedule where you can watch normal prime time TV. The big displays are also excellent for reviewing images of scanned documents - they'll keep you from going blind trying to stare at monitors.
First choice - Field Monitor Pro $289 @ www.mmt2.com. The right tool, and ruggedized for your protection.
Second choice - Samsung LD220 ($160 @ staples (http://bit.ly/LD220), add a $70 case to get to $230) (assuming you don't do much air travel)
Third choice – CaseAce monitor harness (http://bit.ly/caseace), plus a desktop LCD. (This is not the optimal solution, but it is workable for occasional users.)
Comments and discussion on this are welcome – please use the form at the bottom of this post.