Digital designers and video editors will tell you that one display is often not enough. With so many different tool and palette windows, a single display can get crowded very quickly, leaving little room for the primary workspace. Add some other apps to the equation, such as e-mail and Web browsers, and you can wind up with a desktop drowning in windows. But another full-sized display is not always a practical solution for such users: A second display might represent a prohibitive expense or it simply might not fit on a desk that has limited space. Perhaps even more importantly, many systems simply lack a second video-port (or even lack the ability to swap out a graphics card, such as with laptops), making it impossible to add a second monitor that uses a traditional VGA or DVI input.
The lack of a second video-port was one of the key inspirations behind the DisplayLink technology, which allows systems to send their video signals to displays over a USB 2.0 connection. DisplayLink support has been showing up in a growing collection of display products, such as monitors, projectors, docking stations, and adapters (such as USB-to-DVI adapters). One of the display types that DisplayLink folks have been talking about for a while now, are small, 7-inch LCD panels--similar in size and shape to a digital photo frame. Such a small-format display could potentially meet the needs of those who seek the extra screen real-estate, but who either can't afford to buy another full-sized monitor or perhaps don't have the room for one. These 7-inch displays could also be the perfect accessory for those who constantly monitor stock or news feeds, or for those who like to keep their IM clients or social-networking feeds close at hand, but not necessarily taking center stage.
We're still waiting for the DisplayLink-powered, small-format displays from Samsung and D-Link--both vendors have promised that their products are on the horizon; in the meantime, the first such displays to hit U.S. shores are from Nanovision in the form of the Mimo UM-710 and Mimo UM-740 displays. Both are LCDs with 7-inches of viewable area that can be set for either horizontal (portrait) or vertical (landscape) viewing. They both use DisplayLink technology to receive video signals from Windows or Mac systems via USB connections; and they both are also USB-bus powered as well, so they don't have power supplies that need to be plugged into wall sockets. They share a number of differences as well, most importantly, the UM-740 includes touch-screen support, while the UM-710 does not.
Nanovision Mimo UM-710 (left) and Nanovision Mimo UM-740 (right)
Number of Colors
USB 2.0 (UM-740 also includes: audio input/output)
Pivots for landscape and portrait modes
Touch-screen, 1.3-megapixel webcam, microphone
Mimo UM-740 MSRP: $199.00
In addition to the UM-740's touch-screen capabilities, it also includes an integrated webcam, microphone, and headphone-out features. Despite these and some aesthetic differences between the UM-740 and the UM-710, they both weigh only about 1.3-pounds.