- Smart Display that works wirelessly with your desktop PC or as a standard monitor
- good-quality screen
- sleek and stylish design with optional wireless keyboard.
- requires Windows XP Professional
- wireless 802.11b connection doesn't support video.
Just because Philips's DesXcape 150DM is a wireless monitor that you can use away from your desktop PC shouldn't mean compromising on performance -- although you will have to accept higher costs until more Smart Displays reach the market and economies of scale bring the price down. The DesXcape 150DM certainly doesn't compromise on style: it's sleek, elegant and stylish and has an optional wireless keyboard that wouldn't look out of place on an executive desk. The 88-key keyboard is comfortable to use, and is equipped with a trackpad so you don't need to balance a mouse on your knee.
The screen quality is excellent too; a touch-screen layer can sometimes give a rather dim, smeared look to displays, but this is clear, bright, colourful and easy on the eyes. You get physical controls for brightness and contrast on the display plus an on-screen menu on the docking station. There is also a button to take you to the log-on screen and another to open the on-screen keyboard.
The dock has two USB ports for a keyboard and mouse, or you can plug a USB keyboard and mouse into the side of the display, and connect the power directly too. The 15in. screen makes it a little large and heavy to hold in your hands, although it sits nicely on your lap. Alternatively, you can use the stand on the back of the display to prop it up on a desk without the dock, or put it at a shallow angle for writing comfortably. If you want to plug speakers or headphones into the docking station, you need to connect it to your PC with the audio cable supplied. The screen itself does have stereo speakers (and a headphone socket), and the quality is quite good -- much better than the average notebook speaker.
The docking station is small but heavy, which means you can safely tilt the screen back and forwards without it toppling over. It has a DVI port as well as VGA, although you only get a VGA cable, plus a mini-VGA converter for using the DesXcape 150DM as a monitor without the dock. Slot the screen into the dock and it detects the connection and automatically works as a standard monitor; pull it out and you get the Smart Display log-on screen with the accounts you've set up (which can be on more than one PC), ready to carry on working.
Setting up the Smart Display with a PC is simple enough, as long as you already have Windows XP Professional Edition and Service Pack 1 on there; you also need to install Smart Display Services and connect the screen directly with the USB cable supplied. Part of the high cost is down to the USB 802.11b wireless adapter for your desktop PC (although you can also configure the smart display to use a wireless access point). This has a flip-up antenna to improve the signal, and the screen has a similar pull-up antenna which matches the design of the stylus in the slot next to it.
The limitations of both the RDP protocol and 802.11b wireless mean that although you can get your Windows desktop on-screen anywhere you want around your home or office, you don't get a fast enough connection for video and you can't use DirectX applications at all. It's ideal for email, Web browsing, listening to music or working with documents, and you get a decent desktop monitor too. However, the price is as high as the convenience factor.
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||37.5 x 30.9 x 2.85 cm|
|Extras||audio ports; built-in speakers; 2 USB ports on screen, 2 on docking station|
|Display size||15 in|
|Native resolution||1024 x 768 pixels|
|Software included||optional 88-key wireless keyboard with built-in trackpad|
|Service & support|
|Standard warranty||1 year|
|Display technology||LCD touch-screen (passive matrix)|
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