A second screen. Pre pandemic, the idea of needing a second screen was probably questionable to the majority, but a secondary display is now considered a basic component of a standard work from home set-up.
But as more people head to the office or out to a cafe to accommodate their hybrid work efforts, what happens to that second screen stuck at home?
This is where Lepow’s Z1-Gamut portable monitor comes in. The Z1-Gamut portable display is an elegant and smart solution to keep workflow at maximum efficiency and easily makes working on a MacBook or other laptops so much easier, by increasing the work area. The 15.6-inch display is also particularly handy for people living in a small apartment or don’t have the luxury and space to house a desktop. It can easily be stored away in a drawer when not needed and can be transported easily in a bag to the library or your favourite cafe if you find yourself doing work outside of home.
This is a boon for creatives who need a larger display area, from editing videos or designing campaign collaterals, without doing so on their company issued-laptop. In the box, you get the Lepow portable monitor, Mini HDMI to HDMI cable, Type-C to Type-C cable, Type-C to USB A Cable for charging, a smart cover, screen protector, wall charger, warranty card and a gift card, which is pretty much all you need to get started, without investing in extra cables.
But before we delve into the inner workings of the Z1-Gamut, let’s take the time to appreciate how it looks first. At first glance, the Z1-Gamut is quite a looker, with it’s all grey, smooth beveled edges, and an aluminum casing for that premium impression. Pair it together with the magnetic smart cover and you have yourself a pretty solid looking set up. The screen, however, doesn’t stand on its own, so you will definitely need to make use of the smart cover or your own personal laptop stand to have it at eye level.
Measuring at 42.6 x 22.3 x 0.7cm, the ZI-Gamut isn’t as thin and slim as we hoped, but with a 15.6 inch screen, it gives us a screen big enough to work on that’s comparable to a 15 inch MacBook Pro. When you factor in its weight of 770g, there’s isn’t much to complain about as it’s still as portable and can easily fit in a large laptop bag, a backpack or even be carried around in your hands, without feeling like you’re carrying too much weight.
On the right side of the monitor you’ll see a power button, a roll key that allows you to play around with display settings, a Type-C port for power supply and a speaker. The left side features another speaker, a mini HDMI port, a full-function Type-C port and a 3.5mm audio out port. With plenty of ports available, you are able to connect the monitor to your laptop, phone and other devices such as your consoles if you wish.
Whilst all this sounds great, there are some limitations as to how many devices are actually compatible with the Z1-Gamut (see below) and how well the connection performs. The brands and models listed below are found in a list given by Lepow in the User Guide, although we find that there are some models unmentioned that were compatible too. That said, Lepow says it will update this list frequently, as new products get launched every year.
|Samsung||S8, S9, S10, S20, Note 8, Note 9 and Note 10|
|Huawei||Mate 10, Mate 20, Mate 30, Mate RS, P20, P30, P40|
|Oppo||R17 Pro, Reno, Find|
|Razer||Razer Phone, Razer Phone 2|
|ASUS||ROG Gaming Phone|
|LG||G5, G6, G7|
|Apple||MacBook Pro 2016/2017/2018, MacBook Air 2018|
|Asus||G3 series, G5 series, G7 series, Inspiron 5000, Inspiron 7000, XPS13, XPS15|
|Huawei||Matebook D, Matebook X, Matebook X Pro, MateBook E, MateBook 13, MateBook 14|
|HP||Elitebook 1050 G1, Elitebook Folio G1, Omen 4 Pro, Pavilion X2|
|Lenovo||Saviour Y7000, Saviour Y7000P, Saviour Y9000K, Yoga 6 Pro, Thinkpad X1 Carbon, Yoga 5 Pro, Miix 720|
We tested out the monitor on an old MacBook Pro 2015, the newest Huawei Matebook X Pro Notebook as well as the new Huawei Mate 40 Pro. Given how the MacBook Pro 2015 doesn’t have a Type-C port, we connected the MacBook and the monitor with the given HDMI cable. Like many other monitors in the market, the Z1-Gamut isn’t battery operated and needs to be plugged into a power source in order to function so we plugged the monitor to a wall charger with the Type-C to USB A cable.
As for the Huawei Matebook X Pro Notebook and the Huawei Mate 40 Pro, both devices feature a Type-C port so the set up was easier, and the monitor was ready to go. Note, if you’re only using the Type-C port to both power the Z1-Gamut and transmit data, your devices have to be fully charged. If your device battery is too weak, you will have to resort to plugging the monitor into a wall charger to turn it on too.
Performance wise, the Z1-Gamut does what it’s supposed to do. We had no issues with calibrating our laptop screens and our phone screen to the monitor. Sure, the monitor may take a while to fully load things up, but once you’ve dragged your programs and tabs onto the monitor and get to work, it performs seamlessly.
The Z1-Gamut has a resolution of 1920 x 1080, a contrast ratio of 1000:1 and can display up to 16.7 million colours. That said, the colours are vibrant and the high resolution makes texts sharp and clear so reading emails, writing reports and likes are easier to see. The screen’s gamut is rated at 85% and has a slight green cast in its normal state. However, the green tint can be removed with some playing around of the settings. Now, this brings us to our next points.
The biggest drawbacks has to be the fact that the display isn’t mindblowing and that colour matching is a tedious task. It is expected that when you use two different monitors from two different brands, both screens will not display the same quality or match in colours. Yes, the Z1-Gamut may have a similar size to the MacBook Pro, but it is not in any way, shape or form Apple quality. Keeping in mind that we first used the old 2015 MacBook model to test the Z1-Gamut out, trying to colour match the monitor with the newest Huawei MateBook X Pro Notebook on the other hand was an impossible task.
Whilst it’s not the most impressive display, you can try to play around with the settings via the roll key and work out a setting that works for your eyes. That said, the Lepow Z1-Gamut is good enough to be useful as long as you don’t expect it to blow you out of the waters.
For regular usage, the Lepow Z1-Gamut works fine for most tasks where the primary focus is text – be it writing, email, or working with spreadsheets. Sadly, seeing as how the display isn’t as bright or colourful as one would expect, it’s not something we would recommend to artists and creatives who need top-quality colour reproduction, especially when performing tasks such as editing the colours in videos and photos or making a drawing for a client.
The portable display is however, not a bad way to watch video. If you’re someone who likes to have a little YouTube video on to accompany you as you work, or if you’re feeling like watching Netflix on a bigger screen instead of your phone, the Lepow Z1-Gamut is a good friend to have.
Lepow has built a pair of stereo speakers into the left and right edges of the portable display and it’s adequate enough for quiet environments. Ambient noise will drown the sound out so you might want to plug in your headphones to the Z1-Gamut’s 3.5mm audio jack or use your laptop’s speakers instead. We found that the sound quality from the portable display had a lot of treble, and little bass but again, you can’t expect perfect sound quality from a monitor. What we highly recommend users to do is to pair your device with your favourite Bluetooth speaker (we used the Sonos Roam if you’re wondering) for a better movie-watching experience.
Additionally, we were highly impressed by how well the monitor performed as an external gaming display. We had a go at Asphalt 9 from our Huawei Mate 40 Pro and experienced little to no lagging. The larger screen undoubtedly took the mobile gaming experience to a whole new level of immersion and we deeply enjoyed gaming on it. Other ways the Lepow Z1-Gamut can benefit gamers is that it can serve as your second screen for walkthroughs and tutorials, or have Discord up so you can keep an eye on your chat and game at the same time. Streamers could always use a second screen for monitoring follows, comments and their streaming stats.
All in all, the Lepow Z1-Gamut has many uses for different types of users. For folks working from home, the additional screen maximises work efficiency and helps you become more productive. For leisure, the Z1-Gamut is a good friend to have for a new mobile gaming and video-watching experience. And lastly gamers can undoubtedly benefit from a second screen to remain engaged with your audience whilst gaming on your main device.
The Lepow Z1-Gamut is light, portable and can be used anywhere and everywhere for as long as you have the right compatible devices, or a power socket nearby to use it for long periods of time. For US$199.99, the Lepow Z1-Gamut is one of the most affordable second displays out there in the market and is one of the most versatile. If you’re looking to test out a second display before making a bigger purchase and commitment, or enjoy the versatility and the portability of doing work and leisure wherever and whenever, then the Lepow Z1-Gamut is for you.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
The Lepow Z1-Gamut is the friend you never knew you needed to keep you productive and entertained, anywhere and everywhere you go.
Aesthetics - 7/10
Build Quality - 8/10
Performance - 7/10
Value - 8/10
Geek Satisfaction - 8/10