GeChic’s Portable Monitor for Your Smartphone: Clever, Clunky

In the big, wide world of technology, there’s always some nichey idea percolating that piques the interest of any and all who come across it. Sometimes these innovations turn out to be great products, and sometimes they just end up being one of the many curiosities that quietly litter tech history.

GeChic’s On-Lap 1302 portable monitor for smartphones feels a bit like the latter, but we really hope it’s the former.

On the one hand, it’s a great idea to have a portable monitor to which you can connect your smartphone; not only does it give you a bigger screen, you can use the smartphone’s screen, as well. The On-Lap 1302 supports at least three different smartphones--the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy SII, and the HTC Sensation--although it follows that plenty more will work, as well, as long as they support MHL.

Check out the weirdly adorable video to see the On-Lap 1302 in action.

On the other hand, the monitor isn’t exactly a sizzling piece of hardware, with a 13-inch (1366x768 resolution) screen, 45-degree viewing angle, and a 16ms response time. Worse, it looks like a pain to set up and requires quite a few extras. In addition to the monitor and your smartphone, you’ll also need a 5V USB mobile battery to power the thing; an AV adapter (for the iPhone) or a MHL-to-HMDI adapter (for non-Apple phones); and an external audio devices, such as speakers or headphones, because the On-Lap 1302 doesn’t have built-in speakers yet. It also costs $229.99.

In other words, this seems like a troublesome gadget. Still, it’s a fun idea, and one that we hope sees continued development. Our eyes aren’t getting any younger, and we wouldn’t mind the extra large screen.