$200 15-inch Moveable Monitor: Viotek LinQ Contact Overview

The Viotek LinQ Touch is a portable touchscreen monitor that you can use in a number of scenarios. The 15.6-inch 1080p IPS display runs at 60 Hz and is integrated in a lightweight housing. It's slim enough to fit in a backpack with a laptop or other device, and the idea is that you can use it as a secondary monitor or larger display on the go.

For example, you can connect it to a laptop for a dual-screen setup or to a console like the Nintendo Switch for a larger display or even to a smartphone. Overall, it seems like a decent concept. We looked at some Viotek gaming monitors and generally find them pretty good. That made us curious.

The LinQ Touch becomes portable. It's 10 mm thick, which is roughly the thickness of a tablet, and the touch model weighs around 770 grams. There is also a non-contact variant that is a little cheaper and lighter, but otherwise seems to use the same design. Both are equipped with a nifty magnetic folding stand that covers the display during transport, prevents damage and allows the monitor to be positioned at different angles during use. We weren't expecting the stand to support a range of angles, which was a pleasant surprise.

The touchscreen panel we tested cost $ 250 and the non-touch panel cost $ 190. Both will be available later this month from Amazon and other retailers. This won't be the cheapest addition to your portable setup, and it's a little more expensive than some of the no-name options on Amazon, but at the same time cheaper than something like the Asus Zenscreen Go, which is worth it.

Design & connectivity

Design and build quality are pretty good. The thin metal body with glass at the front and back is robust and has little bending. There are slim bezels with a small chin on three sides. The magnetic cover is easy to attach and feels good thanks to its rubberized surface.

On the other hand, Viotek has used a mirror finish in relation to the black glass, which is used both in the front and the back. This is a design trend on phones these days, but it may not be the best choice here. The glossy finish is a magnet for fingerprints, and that much glass can be a problem if dropped. The included cover helps some, but even when the cover is in place, there is still an exposed area on the back.

The setup process for using this portable monitor is either simple or complicated depending on the host device. The monitor has three connectors: a mini HDMI connector, a USB-C data connector and a USB-C power connector. There is no visual distinction between the ports. You just need to know that the top one is for data and the bottom one is for power.

If you have a device that supports DP Alt mode via USB-C, you can probably use this monitor with just one cable. You connect it and the entire display signal, the touchscreen data and the power supply are transmitted via this cable. Many modern laptops support this type of communication. Since the display only consumes up to 8 W of power at 100% brightness, most USB-C connections should make this possible.

For devices that cannot supply enough power, you must connect the second USB-C power connector to a USB power module that is not included in the scope of delivery. Viotek recommends a 5V / 3A charger. This is the configuration you need for something like a smartphone or when you connect via mini HDMI. The good news is that the monitor supports USB Power Delivery 2.0, so the monitor can charge your smartphone or other device in this configuration when you use the USB-C DP Alt mode for the indicator signal.

There are some other peculiarities in connection. For example, if you want to use this with a laptop via HDMI, you need to use up to three cables: the HDMI cable for the display signal, a USB-C cable for touchscreen data and possibly a second USB-C cable if your Laptop cannot supply enough power via USB. If you use a 5 V power source for a Nintendo Switch, you get a 720p signal, while if you use a 15 V source, you get 1080p. Overall, not the easiest setup in some scenarios.

In our case, we could use the single-cable setup most of the time, which is ideal and works fine. No flickering or other problems, and the touchscreen responds and is accurate. We were hoping that this is not a cheap, crappy touchscreen and not: it is of good quality and easy to use with the tablet-like coating on the display.

On the left are a headphone jack, a power switch and a rocker that controls the on-screen menu. Yes, there is still an OSD with some basic color controls and other functions. There are also built-in speakers … which are really bad.

Output quality

So far, so good … the LinQ could be an excellent portable monitor for a variety of situations. But where it falls apart is in the actual performance of the display.

By far the biggest problem is the color gamut. Only 65% ​​sRGB coverage is frankly inexcusable for a display sold in 2019. SRGB has been the global color standard for these types of displays for decades, and basically every near-decent monitor you see will support nearly 100% coverage. Even budget products these days. Offering only 65% ​​coverage is an unforgivable mistake.

In practice, this means undersaturation of the colors and a generally washed-out appearance. We might be able to forgive something like that on a dirt cheap $ 200 Chromebook with a 1366×768 display, but this is a $ 250 standalone display. We tested $ 100 monitors that deliver full sRGB. So that's not good enough.

Standard color performance

saturation

We know there are 15.6-inch 1080p 60 Hz IPS panels that offer 100% sRGB coverage because we have tested many laptops that use them. Now we don't know what happened to a product like this during the design process, but our first thought is that Viotek chose a budget panel and not something decent, and that's a real shame.

Without this big mistake, we could see that this type of product is very practical for productivity on the go. Suppose you want to edit videos and get additional screen space or edit photos on a larger monitor. This is not possible with a small color gamut. Even if you just want to watch movies, they won't look optimal if the scope is limited to 65% of the standard SDR spectrum.

Standard grayscale performance

We could go through all the color performance graphs and show you, but in reality it will never be sRGB accurate unless all of the colors in the sRGB range can be displayed. Take these saturation sweeps, you can see that we are under-saturated and at the top end, like greens for example, the dots begin to accumulate in the high chroma area where basically the top end values ​​are cut off.

The only area we could correct with calibration is grayscale performance. Out-of-the-box things are a bit shaky, especially the gamma curve, but nothing outrageous. By calibration we can improve this to a DeltaE below 1.0 and a perfect gamma curve. But we can move back to saturation sweeps and from the 80% mark or so we still get intense clipping at the top. Not good.

The other problem is response times. Viotek claims a combined rise and fall time metric of 30 ms, which is slow by today's standards. We recorded a gray to gray average of 20.07 ms, and in the response time diagram it is basically a sea of ​​red. Good that we don't get much overshoot, bad that only 25% of the transitions within the 16.67 ms Transition window for 60 Hz.

The end result is a lot of ghosting and smudging when you see something in motion. Good for more static content and web browsing or photo editing – if the panel's color performance was good for photo editing – but bad for video playback or gaming. And gaming is one of the advertised use cases … but it's not a good thing. This panel reminds us of the very early IPS monitors that came on the market and were too slow.

The entry delay is also small. We recorded a latency of 31 ms from the USB-C output on my RTX 2080. We usually test with DisplayPort, so there may be a little difference to using USB-C, but that's still not a good number, especially for games.

These would be the two major drawbacks that prevent the monitor from performing well. In the rest of the performance tests, this is a good performance: 230 nits from a portable monitor up to 215 nits when calibrated. We think that's pretty good considering that I usually use my laptop at or below 200 nits. A minimum brightness of 5 nits can be useful for use in a dark room. A contrast ratio of 1100: 1 during calibration is also above average for an IPS monitor.

Finally, let's take a look at the uniformity where this monitor also offers decent performance. And when you combine this with excellent viewing angles, we believe that some aspects of the performance are promising.

Wrap up

Now when we come to this point in the test for many products, we talk about advantages and disadvantages, then about the price and make a value judgment about whether you should buy it. However, for this Viotek LinQ touch monitor, we think this is a bad product. Its poor color gamut prevents it from being a decent second screen option for productivity or creative work on the go. And if you were going to use this monitor as a portable monitor for games or movement monitoring, the problem of under-saturation that you get from the small color gamut is exacerbated by poor response times. In many ways, this display behaves like an IPS monitor ten or more years ago. It’s not great.

And that is really a shame because we believe that the framework for a good product is here. You get decent brightness and good contrast, excellent viewing angles, and good design. It is really a very portable monitor, we can see people easily putting it in a backpack. In connection with a modern laptop, it should work via a single cable. The touchscreen is really good and also responds very well.

However, we can't overcome some of the performance issues, especially if you're spending $ 190 on the non-touch model or $ 250 on the touchscreen version. That's a lot of money to have a mediocre experience. To make matters worse, we know that panels could be used that would have fixed at least some of the problems. We are not sure whether they were not used for technical or cost reasons, but it is disappointing

We can't say whether competing products offer a true 100% sRGB color gamut, which is our sticking point as we haven't tested them. However, an equivalent model from "Virzen", a company we have never heard of, claims to offer an IPS display with 100% sRGB coverage and 5 ms response times. Since it's also cheaper at $ 170, it might be worth pulling a boat. There are many similar units that are also available through Amazon.

However, this applies to a non-contact option. If you're looking for a touchscreen enabled device, Viotek offers one of the cheapest options. If the touchscreen is the absolute key function and you are not interested in anything else, you may be able to consider this. However, we believe that the shortcomings here are too serious for the price requested. Regardless of whether you are an occasional user or a content creator, we are already looking forward to a LinQ 2.0 with which the errors of this first experiment can be fixed.

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