ASUS MB portable monitors are one of the most varied and complete families of ultra-slim monitors that we can easily carry with us, but that also have a very high-quality performance, especially in their newest models. The ASUS MB169C+ (official site) takes advantage of its latest improvements and switches things up in terms of connectivity.
Today we will show you one of its most advanced creations: a monitor that does not require drivers and that takes advantage of a USB-C cable to offer compatible computers not only a single connection for power and display, but also as much or better performance than that provided by our laptop’s screen.
This model keeps the same 15.6-Inch display design of its predecessors, but it also introduces interesting improvements to the screen’s panels and connectivity. This model has gone from HD TN panels to mid-quality IPS panels on a 1080p display and ASUS takes one step further by introducing a type of connector for both DisplayPort video and power using a single cable. It also improves the screen’s settings capabilities by matching them to the most sought-after “standard” ASUS models.
One of the most astonishing facts about this ASUS monitor is how it achieves such a remarkable performance on a thin 8 mm display. Its thickness matches that of an average tablet, giving it a nice and manageable feel while handling it.
The monitor’s case protects it well, but it is quite uncomfortable when used as a stand. Additionally, it is impossible to use it in vertical position.
The ASUS MB169C+ IPS panel comes with a brightness of 220 cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 700:1, which is outstanding for a display that consumes less than 7 w, less than half of what the USB-C connector it uses for video and power really supports. The MB169C+ has a 5 ms gray-to-gray response time, typical on an IPS display.
It has a 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution with perfect viewing angles and outstanding color reproduction. Although it would not qualify as a professional monitor, it has the same quality that we would find on a mid-range laptop screen, which is amazing, considering it is a portable monitor.
Its dimensions are (W x H x D): 379 mm x 236 mm x 8.5 mm and it only weights 800 g, so it will not be a bother if you want to use it regularly. It comes with a protective case that also works as a stand. The monitor buttons are on its side, just like in any modern monitor, and they launch the OSD menu.
What is really appealing about this model is not just its panel or its resolution but the single cable used for both power and DisplayPort-quality graphics. We do not need drivers or a specific OS because, if our computer is compatible, we will have the same speed and performance as if we were using a dedicated monitor. By this, I mean the ASUS monitor’s performance excels that of older displays that depended on drivers and USB connections to function and that were only used for little more than watching videos and in offices, as it was impossible to play games in them. Now we will not have that problem. Its performance is as good as that of our pc’s integrated or dedicated graphics card.
We tested the monitor’s specifications and even the factory calibration done by ASUS. The results confirm the accuracy of the specifications and how reliable ASUS is in this matter. It has a brightness of 220 cd/m2 (led illumination on the edges, 150-160 cd/m2 in the center of the screen), which is amazing, and we confirm the contrast ratio of 700:1. It is worth mentioning that the monitor has a black level of 0.27 cd/m2, which is something we did not expect on a display such as this.
We are also pleased with the accurate calibration done by ASUS to get the ideal 6500k color temperature for white light. There are little differences in that aspect, which is rare for an IPS panel. The downside of this display is that the sRGB color gamut coverage is around 80%. Although this does not mean that the display does not have a bright color palette, it is not a remarkable fact.
This screen also features the latest ASUS technology to reduce eyestrain and optimize color reproduction, five blue light filter levels, Flicker-Free technology and two of the most striking elements of the ASUS OSD, such as the “QuickFit Virtual Scale” technology, which shows us an onscreen alignment grid to preview the actual size of our photos and documents to improve their printing quality, and the GamePlus technology, which supports in-game crosshair and timer functions.
More than just a laptop monitor
USB monitors using a single cable usually require installing drivers, specifically drivers from DisplayLink, which is nothing more than a GUI generated by software that increases the CPU load and that is incapable of running games, let alone take advantage of our laptop or desktop computer’s game engine. And it has one more disadvantage, as the display will not show any image if the drivers are not installed, making it useless to fully use our pc.
The sort of displays using the DisplayPort Alternate Mode technology over a USB-C cable can combine video and power on the same connector, but they need a pc with a USB-C port compatible with this technology, such as Thunderbolt 3, which enables every pc to use these displays.
However, the DisplayPort Alternate Mode is not exclusive to Thunderbolt 3 since there are desktop computers and laptops that can use this mode without having Thunderbolt 3 installed. Even a simple USB 3.1 Type-C connector will not work, as DislayPort Alternate Mode is a must.
The ASUS MB169C+ as a second monitor on a Dell Latitude E7275 using one of its Thunderbolt 3 ports
As I said before, this type of connector is not exclusive to laptops, although it is easier to find it in them. We can also find this type of connector on several of Intel’s NUC models, including the powerful Skull Canyon with Thunderbolt 3, as examples of desktop computers.
This means having a “real” monitor similar to a desktop monitor in terms of speed without requiring drivers, etc. It is the perfect solution to fully use our laptop’s dedicated graphics along with a second screen minus the downsides conventional portable USB monitors have.
It is perfect for the office and gaming, and it can be used on any OS, such as Linux, MacOS, Windows and ChromeOS as it does not require any additional software. It costs 199 dollars, the average for this sort of displays.