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Lepow USB-powered Portable Monitor Review

Allen Ngo 👁, 08/13/2019

15.6-inch 1080p for cheap. The lightweight and narrow bezel 15.6-inch portable monitor has an attractive design with a high quality feel when held. The actual display, however, is reflective of the inexpensive price point.

The Lepow is an inexpensive and portable 15.6-inch external monitor designed to be carried and used on-the-go. Its most notable features are the 2x USB Type-C ports for power and video meaning that the monitor will be compatible with most newer laptops and smartphones that are beginning to rely almost fully on USB Type-C.

The lightweight monitor can currently be found on Amazon for $170.

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Lepow Type-C Portable Monitor X0025I0D4P
Processor
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, glossy: no
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.8 x 368 x 225 ( = 0.35 x 14.49 x 8.86 in)
Additional features
12 Months Warranty
Weight
770 g ( = 27.16 oz / 1.7 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The chassis is firmer and more rigid than the Odake BladeX external monitor. It's not as unyielding as an Apple iPad, however, likely because the Lepow is lacking edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass reinforcement.

Interestingly, the monitor weighs nearly the same as the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 even though the latter offers a much smaller screen size.

Magnetic Faux leather case works similarly to many tablet and Surface Pro cases
Magnetic Faux leather case works similarly to many tablet and Surface Pro cases
The magnets are weak, however, and so the monitor can slip easily when knocked
The magnets are weak, however, and so the monitor can slip easily when knocked
Matte panel will collect fingerprints almost immediately
Matte panel will collect fingerprints almost immediately
The magnetic case allows for two different preset angles
The magnetic case allows for two different preset angles
Build quality is firm with no manufacturing imperfections on our unit
Build quality is firm with no manufacturing imperfections on our unit
OSD controls are too small and finicky to use
OSD controls are too small and finicky to use
368 mm / 14.5 inch 225 mm / 8.86 inch 8.8 mm / 0.3465 inch 770 g1.698 lbs303.9 mm / 12 inch 219.1 mm / 8.63 inch 9.9 mm / 0.3898 inch 1.3 kg2.78 lbs292 mm / 11.5 inch 201 mm / 7.91 inch 8.5 mm / 0.3346 inch 781 g1.722 lbs280.6 mm / 11 inch 214.9 mm / 8.46 inch 5.9 mm / 0.2323 inch 633 g1.396 lbs

Connectivity

Port selection is limited meaning that you'll unfortunately have to rely on adapters. It's disappointing to see mini-HDMI instead of the more common full-size HDMI because most users will only have full-size HDMI cables ready.

Only the left USB Type-C port closest to the mini-HDMI port can be used to power the monitor. Most USB Type-A ports can be used to power the monitor. The other USB Type-C port along the opposite edge of the monitor will accept video.

Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Right: USB Type-C video-out port, Volume rocker/OSD control, Power/OSD button
Right: USB Type-C video-out port, Volume rocker/OSD control, Power/OSD button
Rear: No connectivity
Rear: No connectivity
Left: 3.5 mm earphones, USB Type-C power port, Mini-HDMI
Left: 3.5 mm earphones, USB Type-C power port, Mini-HDMI

Accessories

Thankfully, the box includes all the cables you'll need to begin using the monitor.

  • Screen protector
  • Magnetic faux leather cover
  • Mini-HDMI to full-size HDMI cable
  • USB Type-A to USB Type-C power cable
  • USB Type-C to USB Type-C video cable
  • Screen wipe

Display

While the chassis is high quality, the actual display is an entry-level offering. Both maximum brightness and contrast in particular are below average at a measured 193 nits and 259:1, respectively. Combine this with a narrow gamut and you get relatively muted colors and gray blacks. This is definitely not the monitor to use for video editing or professional graphics work.

For gaming, browsing, and word processing, however, display quality is sufficient. The additional screen real estate is invaluable and the response times are good enough for casual 3D games like Rocket League or DOTA 2. Onscreen content is crisp despite the matte overlay.

Matte panel reduces glare
Matte panel reduces glare
Bezels are very narrow for an external monitor
Bezels are very narrow for an external monitor
Minor uneven backlight bleeding
Minor uneven backlight bleeding
RGB Subpixel array
RGB Subpixel array
201.1
cd/m²
180
cd/m²
201.4
cd/m²
178.4
cd/m²
193.9
cd/m²
178.6
cd/m²
201.1
cd/m²
202.2
cd/m²
191.2
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 202.2 cd/m² Average: 192 cd/m² Minimum: 4.61 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Contrast: 259:1 (Black: 0.75 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 6.66 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6, calibrated: 3.83
ΔE Greyscale 7.6 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
61.8% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 39.3% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.04
Lepow Type-C Portable Monitor X0025I0D4P
15.6, 1920x1080
Odake BladeX 4K UHD
15.6, 3840x2160
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Sharp SHP149A LQ156M1, LED IGZO IPS InfinityEdge, 15.6, 1920x1080
Lenovo Ideapad 330S-15ARR-81FB00C7GE
LG Philips LP156WFC-SPD1, IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
LG Philips LP156WFC-SPD1, IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
APPA040, IPS, 15.4, 2880x1800
Response Times
-17%
-30%
-6%
9%
3843%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
30.8 (16.8, 14)
40 (20.4, 19.6)
-30%
49 (25, 40)
-59%
34 (16, 18)
-10%
24.8 (12.8, 12)
19%
43.2 (20.4, 22.8)
-40%
Response Time Black / White *
23.6 (12.4, 11.2)
24.4 (12.8, 11.6)
-3%
30 (16, 14)
-27%
24 (14, 10)
-2%
24 (14, 10)
-2%
31.2 (16.4, 14.8)
-32%
PWM Frequency
1000 (23)
961 (10)
-4%
117000 (75, 150)
11600%
Screen
77%
98%
44%
26%
130%
Brightness middle
193.9
371.9
92%
413
113%
265
37%
262.3
35%
520
168%
Brightness
192
366
91%
378
97%
242
26%
250
30%
492
156%
Brightness Distribution
88
88
0%
86
-2%
74
-16%
89
1%
88
0%
Black Level *
0.75
0.31
59%
0.29
61%
0.215
71%
0.43
43%
0.39
48%
Contrast
259
1200
363%
1424
450%
1233
376%
610
136%
1333
415%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
6.66
6.36
5%
2.44
63%
6.16
8%
5.81
13%
1.2
82%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
18.75
10.34
45%
4.46
76%
18
4%
14.7
22%
2.3
88%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
3.83
5.89
-54%
2.48
35%
6.18
-61%
5.36
-40%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
7.6
3.7
51%
2.48
67%
3.79
50%
2.8
63%
1.3
83%
Gamma
2.04 108%
2.19 100%
2.43 91%
2.34 94%
2.15 102%
2.18 101%
CCT
8567 76%
6474 100%
7006 93%
7258 90%
7016 93%
6738 96%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
39.3
91.7
133%
62
58%
36
-8%
35.2
-10%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
61.8
100
62%
96
55%
57
-8%
55.6
-10%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
30% / 63%
34% / 70%
19% / 36%
18% / 23%
1987% / 1143%

* ... smaller is better

Color space is narrow at just 62 percent and 39 percent of the sRGB and AdobeRGB standards, respectively, to be indicative of a budget panel. In fact, results are close to inexpensive 15.6-inch laptops like the Lenovo IdeaPad 330s. Flagship Ultrabooks with higher-end Sharp IGZO panels like the XPS 15 tend to cover sRGB in its entirety and more for deeper and more accurate colors.

vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB

The display is poorly calibrated out of the box with average grayscale and color deltaE values of 7.6 and 6.66, respectively. Our calibration efforts improve both aspects significantly for much more accurate colors. Because of the limited gamut, however, colors will still become more inaccurate at higher saturation levels. Blue in particular is represented much less accurately than other primary or secondary colors.

We recommend applying our ICM profile found above to get better colors from the monitor when connected to a Windows PC.

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

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
23.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 12.4 ms rise
↘ 11.2 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 34 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (24.8 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
30.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16.8 ms rise
↘ 14 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 20 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (39.4 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 1000 Hz ≤ 23 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 1000 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 23 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 1000 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9338 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Viewing angles are typical of an IPS display. Colors and contrast do not shift unless if viewing from extreme and unrealistic angles. Using the display outdoors or sharing it with others nearby can be difficult because of the dim backlight. Brightness is otherwise sufficient when indoors.

Wide IPS viewing angles
Wide IPS viewing angles

Emissions

Temperature

Surface temperatures are warmest near the bottom left corner and coolest near the opposite corner with a difference of almost 12 degrees C. The hot spot is close to the USB Type-C port where the monitor receives its power. 

Front
Front
Back
Back
Max. Load
 29.4 °C
85 F
28.4 °C
83 F
28.6 °C
83 F
 
 30 °C
86 F
29.4 °C
85 F
29.6 °C
85 F
 
 39 °C
102 F
32 °C
90 F
33.2 °C
92 F
 
Maximum: 39 °C = 102 F
Average: 31.1 °C = 88 F
31.4 °C
89 F
31.8 °C
89 F
33 °C
91 F
32 °C
90 F
33 °C
91 F
35 °C
95 F
33 °C
91 F
34.2 °C
94 F
39.4 °C
103 F
Maximum: 39.4 °C = 103 F
Average: 33.6 °C = 92 F
Room Temperature 23 °C = 73 F | Raytek Raynger ST // Voltcraft IR-360 // FIRT 550-Pocket // Fluke 62 Mini
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 31.1 °C / 88 F, compared to the average of 31 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Multimedia.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 39 °C / 102 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F, ranging from 21.1 to 71 °C for the class Multimedia.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 39.4 °C / 103 F, compared to the average of 38.8 °C / 102 F
(±) The palmrests and touchpad can get very hot to the touch with a maximum of 39 °C / 102.2 F.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 29.1 °C / 84.4 F (-9.9 °C / -17.8 F).

Speakers

Check the sound of the built-in speakers (sound, noise, bass, maximum volume,...) in different music genres / telephony, compare within the device category, special features (software),...

Note: How can external audio devices be connected? Test the sound interfaces where appropriate.

audio charakteristic Pink Noise: following compare element (you have to upload .csv of measurement)

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2035.335.12532.931.83131.8324036.535.15032.428.9633328.98036.328.810048.32712561.52716052.924.820060.92425062.822.731563.32240069.521.250067.82163074.82080075.919.4100072.718.912507117.7160070.117.820006917.6250071.817.6315068.117.6400071.417.6500073.717.6630070.417.5800071.617.61000071.617.61250069.617.41600059.717.5SPL83.630.6N62.51.5median 69.6median 17.8Delta4.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseApple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 1% of all tested devices in this class were better, 1% similar, 97% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 20%, worst was 50%
Compared to all devices tested
» 1% of all tested devices were better, 1% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Power Consumption

The monitor consumes on average 2.9 W and 7 W when on the minimum and maximum brightness settings, respectively. A generic USB Type-C charger can power the display so long as it outputs at least 5V/2A.

Pros

+ all necessary cables included in box
+ can be powered by most USB ports
+ USB Type-C for power and display
+ lightweight and portable
+ firm, high quality build
+ integrated speakers
+ inexpensive

Cons

- no battery; requires 5 W/2 A or greater power source
- below average contrast and brightness
- PWM at low brightness levels
- magnets could be stronger
- no edge-to-edge glass
- no touchscreen option
- no full-size HDMI port
- finicky OSD controls
- narrow color space

Verdict

In review: Lepow Type-C Portable Monitor X0025I0D4P. Review unit provided by Lepow
In review: Lepow Type-C Portable Monitor X0025I0D4P. Review unit provided by Lepow

The build quality of the portable Lepow monitor is excellent especially when considering the low price of entry. It's light and small enough to carry around alongside a laptop much like any other tablet. The display is good enough for casual browsing, data entry, or light gaming even though we feel it could have been brighter and with deeper contrast to improve the viewing experience.

The most inconvenient aspect of the portable monitor is that it requires two different cables to use. While all the cables you'll need are included in the box, it's still a hassle to carry both a USB Type-C to Type-A cable and a mini-HDMI cable. The monitor will have to continuously draw power from your laptop which will inevitably reduce the battery life of your PC or MacBook. A Thunderbolt 3 port or internal battery pack would have reduced clutter by eliminating the need for two cables much like on the 4K Odake monitor.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lepow USB-powered Portable Monitor Review
Allen Ngo, 2019-08-13 (Update: 2019-08-14)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.