With the introduction of the laptop, the mobile office was created. You could take your show on the road and get some serious work done. Of course, you still had some limitations. Even today you have limitations; unless you want to carry around a laptop that weighs 10-15 pounds you are stuck with a small screen size.
Fortunately, you do not have to buy a gigantic laptop or one with an extended screen that will cost you an arm and a leg. Mobile Monitor Technologies has something that can help to overcome this limitation; the Field Monitor Pro.
The Field Monitor Pro is a thin, light (relatively) LCD display that uses Display Link's USB video out technology. The 1280x800 resolution matches many current laptops/netbooks, while the number key pad included will be a welcome addition for many users. You get all of this and a couple of extra USB ports for around $300. Is this worth the extra weight and cash? Let's move on and find out.
The Box and Field Monitor Pro
Package and Contents
The box the Field Monitor Pro ships in is on the boring side. It is stark white with blue lettering. The "front" has the Mobile Monitor Technologies logo and name. The side carries the name of the model you just purchased. There are two right now; the Monitor2Go and the Field Monitor Pro.
Inside you get a very light stash of loot. You get the monitor, a USB cable, the power cable and a drivers CD. Like we said, not much extra, but it is everything you need.
The Field Monitor Pro
The Field Monitor Pro has a great external surface. It is slightly rubberised which gives it a pretty good resistance to fingerprints, scratches, and also makes it easy to grip.
When you first look at it the Field Monitor Pro, it looks a little like a laptop. It only takes a second look to know that is not what you have. The Field Monitor Pro (which we will call the FMP from now on) hinges in the middle. This hinge also allows the monitor screen to rotate around for better viewing, or for a second usage model (which we will show you in a minute).
According to Mobile Monitor Technologies, the FMP is aimed at the accounting world. As such, you get a number pad. To be honest with you, I think this feature will work out for other fields as well (like typing IP addresses for IT techs).
The FMP also gives you a pair of USB ports to make up for the one that it uses off of your laptop. Right next to this is the brightness controls.
On the opposite side you have the power button, the power port and the USB plug. Pretty simple really.
As we mentioned, the FMP has a rotating hinge in the center that allows you to rotate the screen to be swivelled around for a better viewing angle. It also allows you to completely spin the monitor around and lay it flat down. This allows you to do one of two things; you can hang it from the wall using the mounting holes or stand the FMP up.
The FMP is a nice looking product that although simple in design and execution, is still very well put together. We hope that it performs well once we connect it to our test device.
Display Link Drivers, Performance & Final Thoughts
Display Link Drivers
The installation of the drivers for the FMP is very simple. Once you get them installed they integrate with the Windows display properties fairly well. There are a couple of items you need the drivers for, but honestly, these are more direct tweaks (like optimizing for video playback) than anything else.
The FMP works very well as a secondary monitor on the go. The display can look a little washed out at first, but a couple of taps on the down brightness button takes care of that. Mobile Monitor Technologies also went for a non-glare screen over one of the more common (now) clear coated screens. This makes the image seem less sharp and bright when compared to a display that does have this coating.
We also tried a number of other items to fully test the performance of the FMP. It worked well for most items, but failed in anything that required a high frame rate. Photoshop was good with the exception of some color saturation issues. However; TV, YouTube, and any kind of gaming was not so good.
It seems that even the most average video has a frame rate that exceeds the ability of the FMP's refresh rate. As such, video and games just seems to stutter no matter what.
Still, the FMP is not being sold as a gaming or even as a video editing monitor. It performs great at what it is intended for and the number pad is an added bonus.
The FMP is a nice product with an excellent profile for entry into the market place. Although it is not going to fill the gamer or videographer's needs, it is great for working with images, spreadsheets, remote-desktops and much more. After running with it for more than 30-days, it has become a permanent part of my daily gear.
You won't find this at Newegg.com yet, but you can find it for $249.99 on Mobile Monitor Technologies' Website. This might seem like a lot of extra money for a 15-inch monitor, but when you consider the portability of the Field Monitor Pro it is not that big of a stretch. This new product is also a great addition for the new line of ultra-thin laptops and slates coming out.