Video Review: ThinkGeek Mimo Mini USB Monitor

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The 7-inch 800×480 Mimo monitor is a portable USB-powered display that’s easy to set up and use and ought to fit neatly in most laptop bags. At $130, it’s not outrageously priced, either, considering you’re getting a pretty capable second monitor that weighs just 1.3 pounds and requires only a single cable in order to operate.

Specs (from ThinkGeek’s product page):

  • Small monitor runs completely off of USB, giving you an extra mini display whenever and wherever you need it.
  • No extra power needed. The Mimo monitor is powered by USB.
  • No extra video card. The Mimo has a built in video card that runs over any USB 2.0 connection.
  • Rotating Portrait or Landscape view. Go vertical for notes and spreadsheets, horizontal to watch a movie.
  • Great for laptop use. The Mimo stores easily in your bag and is ready to go simply by plugging it in
  • Mac and Windows driver support (intel Mac only)
  • Display size – 7″
  • Display resolution – 800 x 480
  • Brightness – 350 cd/m2
  • Contrast ratio – 400:1
  • Connections – USB 2.0

Pros: I came away impressed, overall. The Mimo is a DisplayPort monitor, and I’ve run into some wonkiness with DisplayPort devices in the past. This time, though, setup was a breeze and the little monitor was easily able to play back video files from Hulu Desktop, which I didn’t think it would have been able to do cleanly.

The fact that there’s just a single USB connector makes the Mimo a truly special device. Notebook and netbook owners who find themselves wishing for a little extra desktop real estate for e-mail or Twitter or whatever it is you kids are into these days will find that the Mimo travels well and offers just enough additional space to help you remain productive without weighing your bag down too much.

The stand and monitor are both built solidly without being too heavy and the ability to position the screen horizontally and vertically is a huge plus.

Cons: Not too many here, folks. Some might be put off by the $130 price tag — you could get an actual big boy monitor for less — but the Mimo’s not meant to compete with traditional displays. The DisplayPort software sometimes doesn’t play nicely with 64-bit operating systems, especially the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Release Candidate (I couldn’t get it to work), but that’s hardly the fault of the product itself, as it doesn’t claim such support.

Overall: In a word: Impressive. I thought the thing would be more gimmicky than anything, but it works well and that extra 800×480 to play around with is perfect for loading up widgets, e-mail, video, music, and anything else that normally takes up space on your regular desktop.

Mimo Mini USB Monitor [ThinkGeek.com]

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