What we think
Packed Pixels is the answer to the question you didn’t realise you had. Multiple monitors are from the realm of desktop computers, a lap of luxury that laptop users haven’t even considered being a part of – until now.
The concept behind Packed Pixels is incredibly simple. Multiple monitors for your laptop. Gamers, web developers and tech savvy computer workers are all known to have multiple monitor set ups with their computers, but this is one area in which the portability of a laptop is a disadvantage. Packed Pixels overcomes this, and brings multiple screens to your laptop.
- Great idea
- Good screen
- Adaptable brackets
- Uses several ports
It really is the sleek, lightweight design of the device that makes it possible. If the design had been poor, the product itself would have been poor. The Packed Pixels screen is very lightweight and high in quality.
Using the included strap and brackets, the Packed Pixels screen (or screens, if you go for the multiscreen bundles) securely fixes to the side of your laptop screen, and the incredibly low weight (340g) means the laptop hinge won’t be strained. The mounting bracket is admirably simple, and allows for multiple orientations.
Each device needs a power supply, either from the laptop itself via the USB ports, or with a simple Micro USB to three-pin plug adapter. A small switch on the screen’s reverse will need aligning to the correct power setting, but it isn’t a complicated process.
Then, the Packed Pixels just needs plugging into a display port.
The image quality of the screen is amazing, considering the small size and how lightweight it is, with a 9.7″ screen and a resolution of 2048 x 1536. We tried it out with a Macbook Pro, and the two screens were matched in quality. There was no discernible frame rate difference or drop between the two, even when sliding windows across.
The screen has a plug-and-play style setup. As soon as it is powered and connected, it lights up and the Macbook changes its settings to adjust. Starting up at the default settings, the screen is easily adjustable in the preferences section of the Mac (likewise through the settings for Windows users).
When setting up, just be aware that you may not have the screen hanging on the default side of the laptop, meaning that the mouse will transfer from the opposite side. It’s an easy and simple mistake to make (one that is hard to bluff your way out of when tech support has to help you out).
Brightness buttons on the back of the screen make it easy to adjust to the lighting conditions; no one wants a blazingly bright screen late at night. Intelligently, the screen will be more conservative with power if it is on the weaker power setting.
Packed Pixels works with OS X, Windows, and Linux.
A single Packed Pixels screen, with mounting brackets, desk stand, a MicroUSB cable, DisplayPort cable and a Mini DisplayPort cable, costs £160, straight from Packed Pixels’ website.
The dual screen pack costs £310 (saving you a tenner). You can also purchase a quad pack, or a ten pack (if you have a small army of laptops to outfit). Each one comes with an individual mounting bracket, so you can outfit five laptops with two screens, ten laptops with one screen each, or any combination thereof. Each pack gives a slightly bigger discount than the one before.
But is this good value? Yes. Generally, I don’t see people going for the larger deals, unless they are outfitting an office. For a single extra monitor, high quality, easy to use and portable, £160 isn’t bad, especially if you are going to get a lot of use out of it. It’s one of those products which you won’t know how you managed without it for so long.
From the moment I saw it, I really liked Packed Pixels. I think it is a great idea for a product, and the more you use it, the more you wonder how you managed to last using such a tiny laptop screen for so long. The screens are made with, and perform at, a quality I’d expect of an Apple device, which is not an easy feat for a small company which began on Kickstarter.