You might have heard of a desktop monitor but what about a portable monitor? The ASUS ZenScreen Touch MB16AMT is one such product that is pretty compact and meant to be light and portable. This product isn’t new since ASUS released the world’s first portable companion way back in 2016 that uses single USB Type-C connection for power and video transmission.
Having multiple monitors with a desktop or laptop is pretty common these days and it really helps in viewing all your information. It makes multitasking so much easier and switching windows will be a thing of the past. But what if you are often on the road or travelling, obviously carrying the regular sized monitor doesn’t make sense, so that’s where the ASUS ZenScreen Touch MB16AMT portable monitor fills the gap.
In the box, ASUS included an 18W charger that supports Quick Charge 3.0, a Type-C cable, HDMI to micro HDMI cable, a Type-C dongle, a pen/kickstand, a magnetic cover and a wide array of wall socket attachments for different countries.
At first glance, the monitor looks pretty sleek. The body is made of aluminum and it attaches itself to the magnetic cover which I will go through in a bit. The smooth back has a nice spiral design with the ASUS logo, which is the same at the front. The sides have a matt finish that helps in grip when holding it.
The stereo speakers are on the sides and the Type-C port and micro HDMI port is at the bottom left. Talking about the speakers, it’s not that great and probably good for basic use only. At the front panel, on the left is the joystick control and on the right are the power button and a hole to place the pen. This acts as a kick stand in both orientations if you decide not to use the magnetic cover. Another use for the pen is to navigate the touch screen using the soft rubber tip.
There are a couple of things I feel can be improved and could be one of a kind quality issues. The black frame around the display feels flimsy and I can feel and hear the plastic creaking. The joystick button isn’t centered and the power button isn’t tactile and feels very mushy when pressing.
The magnetic cover is multi functional and there are several ways for it. The first way works like a regular stand with 2 tilt adjustments. The second way is for portrait orientation by folding this part of the case. The third way is to lay it closer to the table with some height. The magnets are pretty powerful and will hold in place but careful not to use the case to hold the monitor in mid air.
The ASUS ZenScreen Touch MB16AMT monitor mainly uses Type-C port for connectivity and touch screen functionality. If your laptop has an inbuilt Type-C port, it’s just plug and play. For devices without Type-C port, there are 2 ways around it. You can use the Type-A to Type-C dongle but you will need to install DisplayLink drivers to enable touch screen. If you prefer not to use drivers, the other way is to use 2 cables, the HDMI to micro HDMI wire and the Type-C cable. This allows you to connect to more devices like tablets, consoles and cameras.
It also supports Android device but you will need to install the ZenScreen Touch for the seamless integration between the monitor and Android phone. You will be able to use and control apps directly on the touch screen, and also control navigation using Handy Touch. For Windows OS, you might need to install the DisplayWidget for auto rotate to be functional.
With an internal battery capacity of 7800mAh, it’s capable of holding its charge for about 4 hours. Based on my usage, the battery lasted slightly below 4 hours. You can either charge the monitor with the charging brick, or directly from the laptop through the USB port. Charging using the USB port will be very slow and might lose power slowly if the USB port output is too low.
The ASUS ZenScreen Touch MB16AMT features a 1080p IPS LCD display and color accuracy is pretty good with wide viewing angles. Sharpness varies depending on the content and can sometimes be pixelated, but for the most part it’s pretty clear. As for brightness, I feel it’s not bright enough at maximum and it’s going to be tough using it outdoors.
The joystick controls the settings of the monitor and it can physically trigger 5 ways. Down is to select input device, up is to select input source, and right is for volume and left to close. Pressing on the joystick brings up the main menu. On the right is the quick glance information showing the source and battery percentage, and it will show the green symbol if it’s charging.
Some menu items may grey out and it depends on the current device that’s connecting to the monitor. The Splendid menu shows the different types of screen setting you can choose. Blue Light has 5 levels and it’s to reduce eye fatigue. Color menu is for adjusting settings like brightness and contrasts. Image menu is to change settings like sharpness, aspect ratio and VividPixel.
Input Select is to choose current source, with the option to choose charging using the device USB port. Shortcut to customize the joystick menu for right, up and down, and Favorites to save different settings. For system settings, you can toggle auto rotation, touch screen and also set timer for on screen display to disappear. GamePlus is for gamers to practice and improve gaming skills by adding an adjustable virtual crosshair and a timer to keep track when playing time-based game. Display alignment is more for aligning multiple displays side by side.
Although it’s a portable monitor, I can see this being used even at home or in an office. The ASUS MB16AMT monitor is small and fits on a desk without taking up too much space compared to a regular monitor. That being said, it’s also great for outside use when meeting clients or having a presentation. At around 1kg with the cover, the portable size allows it to be easily stored in a backpack while travelling.
So far the experience has been great. Although the build quality can be improved, overall it’s a device I will use. I really like the flexibility it brings, to be able to keep it away or setup as and when it’s required. Having an extra monitor anytime you need increases productivity, and with the added touch screen, it opens up new experience for both work and play.