- Relatively high resolution
- Easy sleeve cum standard
- Good picture
- Slightly more expensive than competition
- Virtually no setting options
Anyone who is used to a workplace with two monitors will probably have to get used to working on a laptop with only one screen for a day. In all probability, that is also a much smaller screen than your permanent setup, unless you are still working on a CRT from 2002, of course. You can, of course, carry your LCD with you and while those types of screens are a lot more portable than CRTs, it’s still not ideal. Fortunately, you can also buy truly portable LCDs that go into your bag with your laptop, such as the LG Gram +View, which we’re looking at for this review.
Various manufacturers have already released a portable screen with a USB-C connection: almost three years agowe put three next to each other. At the time, these were all three full HD screens of 1920 by 1080 pixels. The LG Gram + View, however, is an IPS screen with 2560 by 1600 pixels. That is twice as many pixels in a comparable package. This makes the Gram +View quite unique in its kind. Not entirely coincidentally, the Gram +View is almost identical to the screen in some Gram laptops. LG, therefore, praises the screen as the ideal companion for those laptops and sometimes even bundles the separate screen with the laptops.
The +View costs about three hundred euros, which puts the screen a bit in the middle compared to the other portable screens. Calculated in price per pixel, it is one of, if not the cheapest, because of the portable monitors in the Pricewatch, it is, together with the Intehill Studio Display not available in web shops, the only screen that exceeds 1080p. If you are interested in that, you can buy Studio Displays directly from the manufacturer.
What do you get for those three hundred euros from LG? First of all, a compact screen with a fairly high resolution. The 16″ panel has a density of 189ppi with 2560×1600 pixels, whereas competitors have to make do with 141ppi. The screen has a familiar structure for those who have ever looked at a portable screen. The panel is in a thin, light housing, and a magnetic cover doubles as a foot when folded. Without the cover, the screen weighs only 670 grams and with the cover and foot, the weight is 990 grams. With that cover as a foot, you can position the screen at two angles, 105 and 120 degrees, use and put it in portrait or landscape mode. For us, the portrait mode did not work automatically, but we first had to download a piece of software.
The +View has two USB-C inputs, on either side of the screen. This way you can choose the most convenient position for the screen next to your laptop. After all, you can’t place the screen tightly next to your laptop if a large cable is sticking out, and with the entrance on two sides, you can go in all directions, so to speak. At the right entrance you will find the only button: a ‘rocker’ to set the brightness. Of course, a separate power supply is not necessary, because the USB-C cable supplies both the power supply and the video signal. However, your laptop or another device must support DisplayPort alternate mode and be able to deliver 7.5W over the USB-C port.
That lack of buttons and options translates into the number of options. There is no power button, no option to switch between picture modes and no contrast or other setting. Apart from that brightness, there is nothing to adjust. It’s really a screen that’s meant to plug in a USB-C cable and use as a second monitor, no frills. Spoiler alert: Aside from the software tool to enable auto-rotate we needed, the screen also works without any fuss.
If you still want to be able to play with a few settings, the manual recommends downloading LG OnScreen Control. However, this cannot be found on the support page of the +View, but you can also set additional options with the OnScreen Control software of another screen – we use that of the 34UC98-W. First of all, we wonder why its installer must be 280MB in size and secondly why we are looking at a Windows XP installer. For example, the software allows you to set different zones for your content and divide the screen into two, four or more segments. You can also unlock some profiles with the software, where you can set the brightness per profile. If you want to get started with an alternative tool, ClickMonitorDDCmight is a good option for you.
We obtained the following profiles in this way, although we did not see real differences in display in all profiles:
- Color decrease
There is no difference in grayscale and color temperature between Cinema mode, Custom, and Color Drop, although Color Drop mode does display red differently to help color blind people. The RTS and FPS game modes are also not the most useful modes; the colors are not true to nature. Reader provides a calm picture for screen reading, with excellent colors, but reduces brightness for comfortable reading. This leaves the essentially identical Cinema and Custom modes as the best viewing modes. We, therefore, tested the screen in Custom mode.
Test method and test field
We measure brightness, contrast, and color rendering using a SpectraCal C6 colorimeter, an X-rite i1 Photo Pro 2 spectrophotometer, and Portrait Displays Calman Ultimate analysis software . We test monitors as they come out of the box, adjusting the brightness for color measurements to a value as close as possible to 150cd/m². We measure any sRGB or Adobe RGB modes separately. We do the same for any HDR mode.
We measure response times with a photo sensor and the LeCroy Waverunner 6100 oscilloscope, determining the input lag with a Leo Bodnar tester. To determine viewing angles, we measure residual brightness and color change at a 45-degree angle from a perpendicular measurement. For the uniformity measurement, we look at the ratio between the brightness at fifteen measuring points, measured on a completely white and completely black screen. We also determine the relative color differences along the edges in relation to the center. Finally, we measure the energy consumption of the monitor, both at the maximum brightness and at a fixed brightness of 150cd/m².
We compare the +View with some other, older portable screens, although we tested them a while ago. Not all the results we collect today are therefore available. We have reused the test data from those older tests here. In addition, we included the two smallest 2560×1440 screens that we tested. Since those two 1440p screens can’t display a Display P3, we’ve also included two more 24″ Philips screens in the charts for that display, so you have something to compare to.
Brightness and standard display
There is no sea of adjustment options with these portable screens; basically the idea is just plug in a USB cable and you’re done. In addition to that standard display, we also measured the sRGB color space, if possible with the settings that the screens set for it. Because we only have ΔE 2000 test results from the screens with which we compare, we limit ourselves to that dataset for the LG Gram +View in this review.
Let’s first take a look at the standard view, in this case also the only possible view mode for most screens. The portable AOC screen has no brightness setting; therefore it is 145cd/m² in all cases. The Zenscreen can be very dark, but the +View has an excellent range with a minimum brightness of 30cd/m² and a maximum brightness of 358cd/m². In fact, that range is more extensive than that of many ‘real’ screens. Although all screens have an IPS panel, the contrast of the Zenscreen and the +View is considerably higher than that of the other screens. This is mainly due to the much lower black brightness that these two screens produce. That is 0.11cd/m² for both screens, where the rest is at 0.17 to 0.25 candela per square meter.