Review on espresso Display (15-inch)
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The Review on espresso Display (15-inch)
Bottom Line The 15-inch espresso display looks great and has exceptional color coverage for a portable display. However, you will have to pay extra for the stand and stylus for the touchscreen. US street price $349.99
Pros Elegant case design Ultra-thin frame IPS display with great sRGB color coverage Touch-sensitive display Cons Significantly lower than rated brightness Stand, protective cap and stylus cost extra Bare-bone OSD Highly reflective display One year warranty only
The 15-inch espresso display ($349 for the panel alone) is a portable touchscreen monitor like no other. The thin, eerily flat anodized frame is a triumph of industrial design, and its sRGB color space coverage is the best we’ve seen on comparable products. However, it is unusual among mobile monitors in that it doesn’t include a kickstand or a protective cover or housing – the manufacturer, espresso Displays, offers a few as accessories – and it lacks a stylus. Most or all of them usually come bundled with portable touchscreens. So the full package price really adds something up. Still, it can be a great showpiece for presenters on the go and looking to impress, and you’ll definitely be happy with the picture quality. Design sense and simplicity
In the US, the espresso Display is primarily sold through Amazon. It was created by an Australian startup that has gone through Kickstarter funding and has been shipping commercial products since March. In addition to the model discussed here, the company offers a $299 version with a smaller 13.3-inch screen.
The heart of the espresso 15-inch is the 15.6-inch (measured diagonally) panel. Like almost all portable displays we’ve tested, it combines in-plane switching (IPS) technology with Full HD or 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) resolution. As is typical for IPS panels, the espresso offers wide viewing angles (rated at 178 degrees for both vertical and horizontal). With the screen viewed off-axis, colors remained accurate even through the most extreme eccentric angles.
When connected to my Dell XPS 13 laptop via a USB Type-C cable, the espresso responded to common touch gestures such as pinch, zoom, tap, swipe and scroll. It can be used as a touch device with a PC or Mac, but the latter requires you to download the Espresso Touch Software utility ($39). As mentioned, the espresso 15 does not come with a stylus; you can use a third-party pen or buy the company’s optional battery-operated aluminum alloy Active Stylus.
Clad in aviation-grade anodized aluminum, the Espresso’s chassis is a beauty. The frame is a deep silver gray in color and perfectly flat front and rear. It measures 14 by 10 inches and is only 0.22 inches thick. Espresso Displays calls it the world’s thinnest portable touchscreen. The company is proud that the monitor has won a Red Dot Design Award 2021, a German international prize that has been awarded in various categories for more than 65 years.
The top and side panels of the display are ultra-thin, while the bottom bezel (decorated with the espresso logo) is over an inch thick. The same goes for the black borders that fill the area between the border and the backlit screen area. This gives the lower front of the monitor a spacious feel, the antithesis of the current trend towards “borderless” monitors. The downside is that it makes the monitor bulkier and gives it an asymmetrical feel when rotated in portrait mode.
The main input connectors, on the right edge of the monitor, are two USB Type-C ports: one for a computer’s video signal and power supply, the other exclusively for powering the monitor in situations where you need your laptop’s power and a mini HDMI port.
On the left you will find a headphone jack and two buttons to increase or decrease the speaker volume or monitor brightness, which is the full extent of the espresso 15’s minimalist onscreen display (OSD). That said, I found that I didn’t miss a more comprehensive OSD, like the one on the ViewSonic TD1655 and VG1655. As for the included speakers, their audio is soft and a bit tinny. (Their exits are on the bottom of the panel.)
Out of the box you can prop up the espresso 15, lay it flat or put it on your lap while using it, but you’ll probably want to pair it with a stand. Espresso Displays offers three: the Flip Case ($49), the MountGo ($69), and the MountPro ($49). The company sent us both a Flip Case and a MountGo along with the monitor; Please note that these are additional cost accessories that are not normally included.
The Flip Case serves as both a stand and a protective cover. Made of rigid polyurethane leather (a synthetic leather that feels like leather) and microfibre, it consists of two stiff sheets with a fold in the middle and a second fold halfway down one side. It can be easily folded – this kind of stand, popular with mobile monitors, is sometimes called “origami style” – to support the display in landscape or portrait orientation. To use as a cover, it can be folded at the central fold to fully capture the screen when not in use.
My learning curve with the Flip Case was fast – at first I was baffled by: how to fold it into a stand, but then I looked at a picture of the monitor using the Flip Case and was able to quickly imitate it. You can adjust it for a range of tilt angles. It feels sturdy in both landscape and portrait orientation. When you’re done with it, unfold it and turn it back into a protective case. Overall, it is solid, unobtrusive and practical, fulfilling its dual role of stand and cover.
The MountGo, on the other hand, is a compact, folding aluminum stand designed in the same style as the espresso 15. It’s lightweight and good for travel. The back of the monitor attaches magnetically to the stand. The MountGo’s biggest flaw is that if you tilt it too much to the vertical side, it and the monitor tend to tilt. That said, you should soon be able to learn what the tipping limits are.
We also found it difficult to align the panel perfectly parallel to our desk when attached to the MountGo. The back of the espresso display has no ridge or guide on the line up with the edges of the square magnetic surface of the stand. You’ll have to view and adjust it, or start with the bottom of the panel flat on the desktop (and thus parallel to it) and work your way up.
Finally, the MountPro is intended for non-mobile use. Allows you to mount the monitor on a VESA mounting arm. Testing the espresso display: stunning color coverage for a portable monitor
As usual, I conducted our color and brightness tests using a Klein K10-A colorimeter, a Murideo SIX-G signal generator, and Portrait Displays’ CalMAN software.
Espresso Displays rates the monitor’s luminance (brightness per unit area) at 300 candela per square meter (nits), but in my testing it came down to just 202 nits. Still, this is typical brightness for a portable monitor. Most we tested fall in the 180 to 210 nits range, although exceptions are the Lenovo ThinkVision M14 (280 nits), the ViewSonic VG1655 (245 nits), and the three other touchscreen panels we reviewed, the Lenovo ThinkVision M14t (261 nits), the Asus ZenScreen Touch (240 nits) and the aforementioned ViewSonic TD1655 (219 nits). espresso Display (15-inch) face up
(Photo: John Burek)
The espresso 15 fared better when it came to contrast ratio, which I measured at a healthy 1,090:1, slightly better than the nominal 1,000:1. (See more about how we test monitors.)
Our color gamut tests yielded a very pleasant surprise. For general purpose portable monitors, we test in the sRGB color space – the standard gamut for online art and many other applications. Most mobile monitors only cover between 60% and 72% of sRGB, although the Lenovo ThinkVision M14 and M14t each scored about 97%. The 15-inch espresso display even surpassed them, covering 100 percent of the sRGB space. (See the chromaticity or color coverage chart below.) espresso Display (15-inch) sRGB gamut
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