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FOPO 12-inch triple monitor extender review: Clunky and more fragile than standalone portable monitors

FOPO 12-inch triple monitor extender review: Clunky and more fragile than standalone portable monitors
FOPO 12-inch triple monitor extender review: Clunky and more fragile than standalone portable monitors
Mounting two external displays onto your laptop sounds pretty cool on paper, but it can be a huge hassle in practice. The FOPO monitor extender is bogged down by its own awkward build and extensive cable requirements.

Ever since Apple started integrating the Touch Bar onto its MacBook lineup, other manufacturers have been experimenting with integrating secondary displays onto laptops as well with varying levels of success. The Asus ScreenPad is perhaps the most notable of the bunch, but it took a couple of generations before the ScreenPad would become genuinely practical. For almost every other laptop, however, there exists external monitors that users can attach to aid in productivity without needing to invest in a new laptop. FOPO has sent us its external 12-inch triple monitor screen extender for our honest impressions.

The FOPO triple monitor extender mounts on the lid of your laptop unlike on most other standalone external monitors already available. Upon opening the box, the instructions are very clear as to what laptop sizes are supported and what cables are necessary to get the whole thing to work. Since the FOPO extender consists of two individual displays, each of the two displays require their own cables for power and video. We commend the manufacturer for having clear instructions and pictures with multiple connectivity options (USB-C or HDMI) in this regard as the process of connecting two monitors to a laptop can be overwhelming to many.

Instructions are clearly written both on the box itself and in the manual
Instructions are clearly written both on the box itself and in the manual
All the cables you'll need to connect the two monitors
All the cables you'll need to connect the two monitors

Before we get to the connection process and colors, let's talk about the build quality of the FOPO monitor extender — or rather, the lack thereof. The two displays fold into position via their own hinges along the left or right edges. The hinges, however, are not strong enough to hold the displays in place very well and so they tend to teeter more than we would like. They don't instill much confidence from repeated use over a long period of time. The mostly plastic construction is susceptible to twisting and creaking for a somewhat disappointing impression considering the price.

Mounting the FOPO extender onto our 2022 HP Pavilion Plus 14 is somewhat straightforward after some practice. The center of the extender is pulled outward and then its four corners can wrap around the corners of the lid as shown by our pictures below. The rear of the extender has a Nintendo Switch-style kickstand if additional support is needed which we recommend using to avoid straining the hinges of your laptop.

179
cd/m²
193.1
cd/m²
182.2
cd/m²
164.7
cd/m²
185
cd/m²
170.8
cd/m²
167.2
cd/m²
181.6
cd/m²
173.3
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 193.1 cd/m² (Nits) Average: 177.4 cd/m² Minimum: 17.77 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Contrast: 247:1 (Black: 0.75 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.59 | 0.59-29.43 Ø5.2, calibrated: 0.84
ΔE Greyscale 6.8 | 0.57-98 Ø5.5
79% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 2.2.0 3D)
79% sRGB (Argyll 2.2.0 3D)
77.1% Display P3 (Argyll 2.2.0 3D)
Gamma: 2.09
Center of the extender
Center of the extender
The extender can only support laptops of certain sizes
The extender can only support laptops of certain sizes
Right monitor in closed position
Right monitor in closed position
Right monitor in opened position
Right monitor in opened position
When fully closed, the screen on one display faces outwards and is not protected
When fully closed, the screen on one display faces outwards and is not protected

Connecting the displays to your laptop is where things get messy as the experience will depend wholly on what ports are available on your laptop. The simplest solution is a laptop with two USB-C+DP ports as you would only need to connect two USB-C to USB-C cables — one cable for each monitor to the laptop. If your laptop does not support USB-C+DP and only offers HDMI, however, then you'll need to connect via HDMI and have a second cable specifically for power. The worst case scenario would be having to connect two cables for each of the two FOPO monitors which can lead to a spaghetti of cables all around your desk. Fortunately for us, the Pavilion Plus 14 has two USB-C+DP ports available.

Cable entanglement is already an issue for our simple Pavilion Plus 14 setup. Since our two USB-C ports are along the right edge, there is barely any room left for the mouse. Thankfully, USB-C passthrough charging is supported and so the laptop can still recharge by connecting one of the FOPO monitors to a USB-C AC adapter. Careful routing of any cables is necessary for an optimal user experience with the FOPO extender.

Brightness and Power buttons on each of the two monitors
Brightness and Power buttons on each of the two monitors
2x USB-C (1x power-in, 1x power+video) and 1x mini-HDMI on each monitor
2x USB-C (1x power-in, 1x power+video) and 1x mini-HDMI on each monitor
Top right of laptop lid with FOPO extender connected
Top right of laptop lid with FOPO extender connected
Bottom left of laptop lid with FOPO extender connected
Bottom left of laptop lid with FOPO extender connected
Bottom right of laptop lid with FOPO extender connected
Bottom right of laptop lid with FOPO extender connected
Kickstand on rear to support the laptop lid if the FOPO extender is too heavy
Kickstand on rear to support the laptop lid if the FOPO extender is too heavy

Once it's all said and done, the two FOPO monitors should appear as two ordinary external monitors to Windows. Display quality, however, is just not where we want it to be given the price. Gamut is average at just 79 percent of sRGB, contrast is low at only about 250:1, and the overall picture is grainy due in part to the matte overlay. Response times are actually not bad, but they don't make up for the longer list of limitations. These displays are definitely more for applications where color accuracy is not priority such as coding, word processing, and general web browsing.

If given a choice between the FOPO triple monitor extender or two individual portable monitors like the Innocn or Lepow C2S, we would likely go with the individual portable monitors. Such monitors typically offer larger screen sizes, narrower bezels, stronger build quality, more travel-friendly designs, and better panels at similar prices for a better visual experience. They are also significantly easier to setup and tear down than the clunkier FOPO design.

FOPO Triple Monitor Extender 12-inch
1920x1080, 12.00
GMK KD2 Portable Monitor
3840x2160, 15.60
Vissles Monitor 15.6
1920x1080, 15.60
Ananta 17.3-inch Touchscreen Portable Monitor
RTK3B3A, , 1920x1080, 17.30
AirTab Portable Monitor 15.6-inch
1920x1080, 15.60
MEMTEQ Type-C Portable Monitor Z1
1920x1080, 15.60
Auzai ME16Z01 Portable Monitor
1920x1080, 15.60
Display
25%
-31%
9%
-39%
-37%
-27%
Display P3 Coverage
77.1
92.3
20%
47.33
-39%
78.8
2%
40.72
-47%
42.03
-45%
48.53
-37%
sRGB Coverage
79
100
27%
66.4
-16%
100
27%
61
-23%
63.2
-20%
72
-9%
AdobeRGB 1998 Coverage
79
100
27%
48.6
-38%
77.6
-2%
42.11
-47%
43.44
-45%
50.2
-36%
Response Times
-55%
-26%
-7%
-11%
-56%
-5%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
31.6 ?(15.6, 16)
55.6 ?(30, 25.6)
-76%
41.2 ?(22.8, 18.4)
-30%
38.4 ?(20, 18.4)
-22%
36 ?(18, 18)
-14%
52 ?(26, 26)
-65%
38.8 ?(20.8, 18)
-23%
Response Time Black / White *
29.2 ?(16.4, 12.8)
38.8 ?(22.4, 16.4)
-33%
35.2 ?(22.4, 12.8)
-21%
26.8 ?(18, 8.8)
8%
31.2 ?(19.6, 11.6)
-7%
42.5 ?(25.2, 17.3)
-46%
25.2 ?(16, 9.2)
14%
PWM Frequency
2451 ?(30)
1000 ?(99)
24510 ?(20)
1042 ?(20)
1000 ?(31)
201.6 ?(23)
Screen
68%
-36%
19%
-19%
-8%
-66%
Brightness middle
185
415.1
124%
248.1
34%
244.6
32%
206.5
12%
198
7%
300.7
63%
Brightness
177
412
133%
237
34%
231
31%
198
12%
198
12%
267
51%
Brightness Distribution
85
91
7%
91
7%
88
4%
88
4%
85
0%
77
-9%
Black Level *
0.75
0.36
52%
0.28
63%
0.27
64%
0.33
56%
0.2
73%
0.66
12%
Contrast
247
1153
367%
886
259%
906
267%
626
153%
990
301%
456
85%
Colorchecker dE 2000 *
4.59
5.93
-29%
6.85
-49%
3.7
19%
4.25
7%
6.9
-50%
10.26
-124%
Colorchecker dE 2000 max. *
10.04
8.64
14%
20.8
-107%
9.36
7%
18.11
-80%
15.9
-58%
22.93
-128%
Colorchecker dE 2000 calibrated *
0.84
1.48
-76%
5.69
-577%
3.08
-267%
4.08
-386%
4
-376%
5.05
-501%
Greyscale dE 2000 *
6.8
5.6
18%
5.8
15%
6.1
10%
3.1
54%
5.5
19%
9.5
-40%
Gamma
2.09 105%
2.18 101%
2.34 94%
2.24 98%
2.31 95%
1.59 138%
1.51 146%
CCT
7468 87%
5820 112%
6402 102%
8089 80%
6994 93%
7310 89%
8200 79%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
42.8
69.8
38.7
40
45.8
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
65.8
100
60.8
62.9
71.5
Total Average (Program / Settings)
13% / 41%
-31% / -33%
7% / 13%
-23% / -22%
-34% / -21%
-33% / -49%

* ... smaller is better

Grayscale before calibration
Grayscale before calibration
Saturation Sweeps before calibration
Saturation Sweeps before calibration
ColorChecker before calibration
ColorChecker before calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Saturation Sweeps after calibration
Saturation Sweeps after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration
Wide IPS viewing angles
Wide IPS viewing angles
Gray-to-gray response times
Gray-to-gray response times
Black-to-white response times
Black-to-white response times
No pulse-width modulation at any brightness level
No pulse-width modulation at any brightness level
Temperature map
Temperature map
Grainy RGB subpixels from matte overlay
Grainy RGB subpixels from matte overlay
vs. Display P3
vs. Display P3
vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB

The FOPO triple monitor extender works best if you only intend to set it up once as it is a hassle to take apart and put together again each time. The versatility of individual portable monitors is tough to beat in this regard.

Amazon is currently running a sale on the 13.3-inch FOPO extender version for $449 USD for users who are interested.

Touchscreen is not supported
Touchscreen is not supported

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 07 > FOPO 12-inch triple monitor extender review: Clunky and more fragile than standalone portable monitors
Allen Ngo, 2022-07-23 (Update: 2022-07-25)