ThinkVision LT1421 portable monitor that actually works (review)

Summary:Mobile professionals wishing for a second display while working on a laptop should look at the ThinkVision LT1421 portable monitor. It is reasonably priced and easy to use.

Using multiple monitors at a desk is a good way to boost productivity. The extra screen makes it easy to reference material while working on the other display. I have been using a two monitor setup for years, and feel lost when working on a single laptop screen while traveling. The Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421 is a portable display that is designed to tackle that problem, and testing shows it does so quite well.

Check out the ThinkVision LT1421 portable second monitor for laptops


Image Gallery: ThinkVision LT1421 portable monitor for laptops being used with ThinkPad X1
Image Gallery: Charge
Image Gallery: Charge
The LT1421 is a thin, light (1.8 lbs.) computer display that can be tossed into a computer bag along with a laptop for hitting the road. It ships with a special USB cable that has a microUSB connector on one end for plugging into the screen, and two USB connectors on the other for the laptop side. The two USB connectors are only needed for older laptops, as most modern systems have ports that generate enough power to drive the LT1421.

Connecting the ThinkVision is as simple as plugging this cable into the laptop and the screen. The first time it is used the drivers need to be manually installed. Lenovo includes them on a CD, but since the ThinkPad X1 I used for testing lacks an optical drive I downloaded the software from the Lenovo web site. A simple install and the LT1421 was working as expected. The monitor uses DisplayLink USB technology, so up to 6 of them can be used at once.

There is no power switch, simply plugging it in turns it on. There is brightness control on the back stand, which is adjustable to the desired viewing angle. A protective cover is included for protecting the screen during transport, and it can be used as a base for the display. I found the LT1421 worked fine without using this base. This cover can be difficult to remove for use.

The Windows 7 system controls the second monitor during use, and it functions as expected. The 14.1-inch display is vivid and runs at a 1366x768 resolution for handling most tasks. I experienced no lags with this display, as performance was good even displaying video.

Having a second display turned the laptop experience into one more like that of a desktop system, and that is the strength of this display. I only tested the display with a Windows 7 laptop, but it is compatible with Macs, too.

Mobile professionals who find a second screen important should take a look at this solution. At $199, the ThinkVision LT1421 is easy to carry and use, yet adds a lot of value for working on the go without compromises. My brother is a draftsman and hates traveling with his notebook due to the lack of screen real estate for his AutoCAD use. This solution is perfect for him.

Thinking back on the many trips I have taken over the past few years, I was constantly wishing for more screen real estate to get things done. This is a good solution to that problem, and at a decent price.

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Topics: Hardware

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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