Nanovision Mimo 7" USB Powered LCD Monitors

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We lived with the monitors for several weeks, connected to two different systems that were running Windows Vista and the Mac OS, respectively. We used the Mimo monitors for a number of purposes, such as a secondary home for our Photoshop palettes, our IM clients, and for our Twitter feed using Twhirl. Our Windows Vista desktop was an HP Pavilion Elite m9550f desktop (2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300, 8GB PC2-6400 DDR2 SDRAM, 1TB NTFS 7200RPM SATA hard drive, ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB, Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit); and our Mac desktop was a 24-inch iMac (2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM, 750GB 7200RPM SATA hard drive, ATI Radeon HD 2600 256MB, Mac OS X 10.5.6).

  

Even though the Mimo monitors are not in the same league as larger, more-expensive displays, we still ran a few of the more important tests from Everest Ultimate Edition's Monitor Diagnostic Tools. Both displays actually did surprisingly well on most of the test screens. Both lost some detail at the far end of the black and white spectrums, respectively, but all in-between gray tones were easily identifiable. Both displays also suffered from some slight moiré patterns on screens with lots of fine horizontal or vertical lines; but it was not as noticeable as it typically is with larger-sized LCD monitors. Even text was easily readable on the displays.

Where the Mimo monitors faltered somewhat, however, was in their color accuracy. Both displays suffered from a slight blue color shift--which was more noticeable with the UM-740 than it was with the UM-710. We also found the UM-740 to sometimes appear grainy when displaying images with static, solid colors. The UM-740's matte display also seemed a bit muted at times, especially when compared to the UM-710's glossy display. While both displays are rated at 350cd/m2, the UM-710 seemed like it emitted a crisper and brighter image.

We also tried playing back some videos on the displays and were pleasantly surprised to see very little lag or ghosting. Due to the small size of the displays, however, we would not recommend using them much for watching videos. In terms of more mundane, everyday usage, we found that the Mimo monitors did very well at providing an off-the-main-screen home for some of our secondary apps, windows, and tools.

The UM-710 and UM-740 both require drivers to be installed on Windows and Mac systems. The UM-740 also requires an additional driver for its touch-screen capabilities; the Windows touch-screen driver is included with the device, but the Mac touch-screen driver is a $30 option.


  
 

The Windows DisplayLink Manager app
lives in the taskbar

 

Monitor orientation and relative positing
are done though the Mac OS's System
Preferences - Displays settings


On Windows systems, the Mimo monitors are controlled via a DisplayLink Manager app, which is accessed via the taskbar. The DisplayLink Manager allows you to choose whether the Mimo monitor will extend the desktop or mirror the primary display; where the Mimo monitor's extended desktop will be positioned, relative to the primary display (options are right, left, above, and below), and which way the screen is rotated (options are normal, rotated left, rotated right, and upside-down). As long as the Mimo monitor is displaying in the horizontal position, you can also use Windows's Display Settings to micro-adjust the Mimo monitor's position relative to your primary display. When displaying in the vertical position, however, you lose the ability to choose exactly where you want to extend the desktop. Things are actually a little easier on the Mac side, where all changes such as orientation and relative positing are done though the Mac OS's System Preferences / Displays settings; and on the Mac you can micro-adjust the relative postioning of the extended desktop with the Mimo monitor in both the horizontal and vertical postions.

    
 

UPDD Console's Hardware screen

 

UPDD Console's Click Mode screen


When the Mimo monitors are in the horizontal position their resolution is 800x480; when they are in the vertical position, their resolution is 480x800. We found that whenever we switched the orientation of the UM-740, we had to recalibrate the touch-screen settings in order to get it to properly register touch input. You control the UM-740's settings via the UPPD Console app--which is accessed via the taskbar on Windows, or via a desktop shortcut on Macs. The Mac version of the UPDD Console application is nearly identical to the Windows version in terms of looks, options, and functionality. We found, however, that the only setting we regularly used in the UPPD Console was actually just the Calibration function.

    
 

UPDD Console's Calibration screen

 

UPDD Console's Status screen


The touch-screen worked relatively well, but we occasionally found that the display momentarily lost input, as though we had taken our finger off the display. We also found that the touch-screen input felt somewhat jagged to us--by this we mean that when we performed an action such as dragging a window, the window would actually bounce a bit while we moved it. The screenshot below shows a good example of how the UM-740's touch-screen interpreted what we thought were relatively straight lines.

 
How the UPDD Draw app interpreted our attempt to write
on the touchscreen

The UM-740's 1.3-megapixel webcam provided an acceptable image, but we found it to be slightly grainier and darker than other Webcams we've used. Also, the webcam can really only be used when the display is in the horizontal position. When the display is in the vertical position, images captured by the webcam appear sideways--the webcam's orientation does not change when the display's ortientation does. Both the integrated microphone and headphone-out produced decent-sounding audio.


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