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Geek Review: espresso Display 15 Touch Portable Monitor

Ask any multitasker and the consensus will be that any laptop screen can feel like a frustratingly small canvas. Cramming windows together, squinting at text, and enduring miniature movies become commonplace struggles, and the only solution is a fixed second screen via an extended monitor that could only be used at home. Enter portable screens that offer expansive digital real estate with portability built in, and the latest, like the espresso Display 15 Touch, even comes with a touch screen that your laptop might not even have to begin with.

espresso Display 15 Touch

While the sea of portable displays can seem indistinguishable, the espresso 15 showcases a feature set that piques curiosity. With its 15.6-inch screen, this USB-C powered monitor strikes a great balance between usability and portability, boasting a glossy aluminium frame that measures 358mm x 256mm, at just 5.3mm thick. Weighing a mere 856g, all you need is a cable that links it directly to your laptop.

Priced at AU$749, the espresso Display 15 Touch is as barebones as it comes, which means it doesn’t come with a stand, and you can opt for the 1080p 60Hz screen to lie flat on the table, or rest on your lap. For the best viewing experience, pairing it with a separate stand is recommended, either with a separately sold Flip Case (AU$69), or a magnetic espressoStand (AU$99).

The Flip Case doubles as both a protective layer and a stand for the display. Lined with microfiber, it features a design that offers various angles for viewing and remains stable in any orientation. When not in use as a stand, it effortlessly transitions back into a smooth cover. 

espressoStand

The MountGo stand, crafted from aluminum, mirrors the design of the espresso 15 and offers portability thanks to its lightweight and foldable structure. The stand securely connects to the monitor’s back via magnets. A notable limitation of the MountGo is its instability at steep vertical angles, which may cause the stand and monitor to fall. Despite the high price and a slight performance dip in bright light, the screen by an Australian start-up shines with 300 nits of brightness, ensuring clarity and vividness in every pixel.

Jot by espresso

Coupled with software tools like espressoFlow, an application that helps to control a user’s screen spaces; and Jot, a brainstorming notepad for creativity and feedback specifically designed for Apple users, the espresso Display 15 Touch extends beyond mere additional screen space. Due to software compatibility, there is a list of compatible laptops that the screen will work with, so do check the list before picking one up.

Setting up the display is as straightforward as connecting it via a USB-C cable to a MacBook, instantly extending the desktop and providing a plug-and-play experience. When connected to a  13-inch M1 MacBook Air, the espresso Display readily recognised typical touch gestures like pinching, zooming, tapping, swiping, and scrolling, effectively transforming it into a touch-enabled device for Mac users. While the espresso 15 Touch Display doesn’t include a stylus in its standard package, users have the option to utilise a compatible third-party pen or purchase the company’s own espressoPen (AU$119), which is battery-powered and crafted from aluminium alloy.

espressoPen

While the screen may not rival the sensitivity of specialised graphics tablets such as the Wacom Intuos or Huion tablets, its utility in a broad range of applications – from document review to photo editing – remains undiminished. The only caveat is the display’s performance under direct sunlight, where its brightness, despite being generally adequate, occasionally falls short but unless you intend to work in an open park, it’s not an issue. The built-in speakers add an extra layer of utility, making the display a standalone multimedia device. However, these speakers don’t offer the best sound quality, making headphones a preferable choice for audio.

espresso Display 15 Touch

In terms of portability, you won’t face issues popping it into a laptop bag to carry around all day, making it an invaluable companion for those frequently on the move. Since it draws power from your laptop, this works best if there’s a power supply nearby and if you don’t, the display lasted a good six hours before the MacBook Air felt the strain, suggesting the setup is ideal for short, mobile work sessions, though battery life will differ from the various manufacturers.

Despite its limitation to 1080p resolution – which may not match the visual fidelity of 4K displays or the vibrant colours of the latest laptops, such as the MacBook Air – the convenience of having a portable screen for streaming movies or multitasking cannot be understated. 

espresso Display 15 Touch with MacBook Air

Ultimately securing its place as one of today’s thinnest and most impeccably designed portable monitors, the espresso Display 15 Touch justifies its premium price for those who crave real estate on the go. Its touch screen and seamless integration into workflows establish it as a must-have for those prioritising a top-tier portable monitor.

The espresso Display 15 Touch is available for purchase on espresso’s website.

GEEK REVIEW SCORE

Summary

The espresso Display 15 Touch distinguishes itself as a highly portable, premium-priced monitor that enhances productivity for Apple users with its sleek design, USB-C connectivity, and innovative features like touch gestures and optional accessories, despite some limitations in audio quality and brightness under direct sunlight.

Overall
7.5/10
7.5/10
  • Aesthetics - 8/10
    8/10
  • Build Quality - 8/10
    8/10
  • Performance - 7/10
    7/10
  • Value - 7/10
    7/10
  • Geek Satisfaction - 7.5/10
    7.5/10