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GMKtec XPanel SE portable monitor review: Perfect extra screen when you're on the go

GMKtec XPanel SE is an affordable portable display panel, with a reasonably bright display and a fully adjustable kickstand.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

I looked at the XPanel 2 portable monitor in August 2021, and I loved the extra-bright display and colour spectrum offered by the 15.6-inch display. I was curious to see what features are in the XPanel SE.

Like the XPanel 2, the XPanel SE from GMKtec also has a 15.6inch monitor with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 px, and an aspect ratio of 16:9 -- The Xpanel 2 has 3840 x 2160px.

However, there is a price difference too between the two models. The XPanel 2 is $499 and the XPanel SE is offered at $220 -- due to the lower screen resolution and display differences.

Inside the box, there is the XPanel SE, a USB Type-C cable, a USB A to USB Type-C cable, an HDMI to mini HDMI cable. There is a 15W power adapter -- this panel needs to be plugged into a power socket -- not powered from your PC or mobile phone. There is also a screen wiping cloth and a user manual.

The aluminium alloy panel has a nice kickstand support which adjusts from flat next to the panel back to perpendicular. Its dimensions are 14.4 x 8.66 x 0.02 inches (4.5mm) and it weighs 1.8lbs.

All of the controls are on the kickstand -- not the panel itself. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack, a dial wheel to control the menu settings, and the power button on the right-hand side.


GMKtec XPanel SE portable monitor

pros and cons

  • Flexible kickstand
  • Lightweight
  • HDMI to mini HDMI cable included
  • Scanty information in the user guide

The left-hand side of the kickstand has two ports for USB (one is for the power connection) and a mini HDMI cable.

There are no visible grills for the speakers on the unit, and although GMKtec advises that the speakers are on the left-hand side of the screen, the sound appears to come from the entire base and kickstand.

The sound is reasonable from the speakers -- but not loud. There is no tinny sound at mid and high ranges, but the bass is a little flat, as expected from such a flat panel with no depth for bass cones.

The XPanel SE will deliver up to 16.7 million colours and supports HDR -- although this is not on by default in the panel settings.

The monitor can be used in either portrait or landscape modes and has a viewing angle of 178 degrees -- there is no privacy mode restriction for this display panel.

You can tweak settings such as picture brightness and contrast, colour and audio settings, and turn HDR on or off, as well as choose to turn on Free Sync.

How to do this is not mentioned in the user guide. You need to fiddle around to work your way through the settings by pressing the dial wheel and scrolling/pressing through the menu. The user guide leaflet could be more comprehensive.

I do like that there is an HDMI to mini-HDMI cable included in the box -- and a USB Type-C cable to project from your PC or device -- this is a nice thoughtful touch by GMK tec.

I'm also impressed by how easy the monitor is to use. Plug it in, it starts quickly, and the display is nice and bright. Obviously, it does not have the colour resolution of the XPanel 2 -- but the XPanel 2 is almost double the cost of the XPanel SE.

The XPanel SE is a nice lower-cost alternative if you do not have the budget for a 4K portable monitor.

All in all, for under $200 with the Amazon coupon, the GMKtec XPanel SE is an affordable portable display panel with a reasonably bright display and a fully adjustable kickstand.

If you need an extra screen when you travel, this portable display could be just what you need.

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