TAIPEI, TAIWAN -- We've long been fans of portable USB monitors, because they allow you to have a second screen when you hit the road. However, most of the portable monitors on the market today top out at a measly 1366 x 768 resolution which doesn't allow you to fit a lot of content on the screen at once. ASUS's new MB168B+ monitor, first shown here at Computex Taipei, gives you all the screen real estate you could want with a whopping 1920 x 1080 resolution on a 15.6-inch panel that weighs just 1.76 pounds while sending all its data and power over a single USB connection.
We had a chance to go hands-on with the ASUS MB168B+ and were impressed with how thin and light the notebook felt in our hands and just how much content we could see on its matte display. At just .33 inches thick, the 15.6-inch monitor can fit in just about any bag, but you'll want to slide it into its sleeve case first to protect the display. The material case folds out to become a stand which allows you to prop the monitor it up either in portrait or landscape mode.
On most Windows PCs, if you want to make your monitor display portrait mode, you'll need to change a setting in the operating system. However, with the ASUS MB168B+, you need only rotate the monitor and it rotates its display accordingly, which can be very useful if you want to go from viewing a wide video to reading a long document.
The 1920 x 1080 display looked pretty sharp when looking at a few open windows in Windows 8 desktop mode. It also played an HD video clip without a hint of lag. The 250-nit screen seemed plenty bright and viewing angles were solid under the bright lights of ASUS's booth. According to ASUS, the monitor also has a light sensor that automatically adjusts its brightness though you can also use a brightness rocker on the MB168B+'s left side.
The monitor, which uses DisplayLink technology inside, is designed to connect to a single USB 3.0 port. However, if your USB 2.0 port gives out enough power or you use a Y cable, you should be able to use it without USB 3.0.
We've been looking forward to Lenovo's upcoming LT1423 monitor which provides a 1600 x 900 resolution and touch capability for $350 and adds wireless for $450, but ASUS is providing 1080p without touch and, according to a rep, the price will be around $200 when the monitor ships in August. For $200, getting 1080p on the go feels like a steal. We look forward to putting the ASUS MB168B+ through its paces later this summer.