I love tools that improve productivity. I also adore tools that add convenience to my cluttered life. The Duex Plus is a product made by MobilePixels that promises to do both — a portable USB monitor that attaches to your laptop, turning it into a dual-screen setup that you can take around to the office, cafe and more.
But does it live up to these promises? I was fortunate enough to test one out, and in this review, I’ll provide my honest thoughts on whether or not you should get one of these for yourself.
Ease Of Use (9/10)
Installation was relatively straightforward, however, it isn’t the type of product where you can just wing it without reading the instructions. The instructions themselves aren’t necessarily complex, but they do provide a handy placement guide with holes cut out, so you can accurately position the magnets.
Fortunately, if you mess up this part, they give you plenty of spare 3M adhesive strips, you get a few extra tries to get it perfect. As I kinda messed up the placement the first time, having those spares saved me a trip to the hardware store just to get some adhesive glue.
In a nutshell, the steps go something like this:
- Place the magnetic plates towards the monitor side and remove the adhesive stickers
- Center the Duex Plus on the back of your laptop and firmly press it down to attach it on
- Connect the provided USB cable from the screen to your laptop
- Pull out the tray and adjust the monitor to your liking.
There are apparently drivers you were supposed to download but in my case, it was simply a matter of plug and play. It took around 30 seconds but the drivers seemed to install themselves and the monitor started working as intended. Overall a smooth process!
Screen Performance (8/10)
First impressions were good! I’ve tried a few USB monitors in my lifetime, and many of them, especially on the cheaper end, suffer from glare issues and terrible clarity unless you get the angle perfectly lined up with your peripheral vision.
I’ve not noticed any glare issues with the Duex Plus. Regardless of viewing angle and sunlight levels, the clarity stays consistent.
I use a Razer Blade 15, which is notorious for its brighter-than-most displays (165 Hz refresh rate, 360 Hz panel with 1920×1080 resolution). It’s a fairly good benchmark for what a good display should look like.
By comparison, the Duex Plus holds up pretty well. I’ve attached a side-by-side photo below so you can assess the color accuracy between the two.
The most noticeable difference is in the variation of color temperature. My Razer Blade (on the left) is much more pronounced in the whites, with stronger backlighting. The Duex Plus (on the right) produces a warmer color, with slightly subdued lighting. For a USB monitor however, that is to be expected, as the amount of power it’s drawing compared to my main laptop screen is significantly less. But again, compared to other USB monitors I’ve used in the past, the Duex Plus performs very well.
Here are the official specs of the Duex Plus, in case you need them.
- 13.3-inch Full HD 1080P
- 60Hz refresh rate.
What makes this USB monitor stand out from others is its ability to attach to your laptop. On paper, this is a fantastic idea – it’s convenient, it looks great and turns your laptop into a modular dual-screen beast. You can even swivel the entire screen around so that it wraps around the back of your laptop, allowing you to deliver presentations to people sitting in front of you.
However, some minor drawbacks need to be addressed before you jump in and buy one. The first is weight.
Like I mentioned earlier, I sport a 15” Razer Blade, which are fairly heavy by itself. Adding another 1.6lbs (or 0.6kgs thereabouts) might not seem like much, but the Duex Plus adds a heft that is definitely noticeable.
A portable USB monitor that attaches to your laptop, turning it into a convenient dual-screen setup.
Fortunately, the screen is detachable, but just know that the magnets on your monitor screen will remain in place for when you want to re attach the Duex Plus. Oh and by the way, if you have two laptops — you can also purchase an additional set of magnets from the Mobile Pixels Store so that you can rock the Duex Plus on multiple machines.
For times I was at a desk, the Duex Plus was a very welcome addition to my setup. However, taking the laptop to the bedroom and working in bed, I found myself detaching it as the weight was just a little overbearing on my lap. Being able to detach it and re-attach it at will is a fantastic feature for this reason.
You may also want to consider how tight the hinges are on your laptop screen. The Razer Blade hinges are really stiff, so I had no issues with the weight accidentally collapsing on itself and closing the screen. That said, if you have an old laptop with really weak and loose hinges, you might have some issues with the weight of the portable screen accidentally closing your laptop.
Build Quality (7/10)
Overall, not too much to complain about here. While the tray is lightweight plastic, it feels fairly well built. The hinge that allows you to angle the USB monitor towards you/away from you has a good amount of friction so that you can position it without it just flopping around by itself.
The tray component slides smoothly, and locks into place well without it ever feel like it’s going to fall out.
One thing that does concern me a little is how long the adhesive strips will stay fastened to the back of my laptop. I’ve had no griefs with it yet, but I imagine that I’ll need to replace the adhesive glue at some stage in the future. Good thing they provided a bunch of 3M adhesive tapes for the magnets! Oh and those magnets are impressively strong too.
At around $300 USD, the Duex Plus isn’t the cheapest portable USB monitor on the market, but you are paying for all the extra hardware that makes the Duex Plus so special.
All in all, I’m impressed by the Duex Plus’s screen performance, and see myself using it on a fairly regular basis.
Being able to detach the monitor for times where I just want to use the laptop around the house is a big plus, and for the times where I am using it, it’s a nice boost to my productivity having Slack and Discord on a separate screen instead of having to constantly tab out from important work stuff and from chat apps.
Seeing as it will be a product that I use daily, I do feel that while the price is on the more expensive side, it is warranted.