The Matrox DualHead2Go is a palm-sized device that expands the VGA output from your computer to two screens. You can then stretch your display over both screens (up to a resolution up to 2560×1024). By providing more screen real estate, Matrox is betting that you’ll experience increased productivity.
Setup is very simple. Start with your machine powered down and connect all the cables (2 output cables, 1 input cable, and power cord) to the DualHead2Go. Once you’re all plugged in, power up the computer and install the supplied Matrox software when the computer is ready. Once installed, open up your Display properties (in Control Panel or by right clicking on your desktop) and increase the resolution of your display. If you have a native resolution on your display of 1280×1024, you should be able to increase the resolution in your display properties to 2560×1024. Once applied, your desktop will be stretched across both screens. (If you have a native resolution of 1024×768, you can stretch to 2048×768).
At one point, the display would not show my icons correctly (see image below). Matrox suggested that I drop my display settings back down to 16 bit color (instead of 32 bit color). The explanation was that my video adapter didn’t have enough oomph (not their exact words) to drive the large display. It did correct the problem. However, after I had disconnected the dual-display and reconnected at 32 bit color, I didn’t have the problem again.
Specifications and Features
The DualHead2Go has a fairly simple set of specs. The device has dimensions of 9.2 cm x 9.5 cm x 2.5 cm and weighs 134 grams. Matrox includes a 2 year warranty. It supports Microsoft Windows XP and 2000 and supports the following resolutions and refresh rates:
- 2048×768 — 60, 75, and 85 Hz
- 2560×1024 — 60 Hz
On one side of the box, you’ll find two standard VGA output adapters, where you can plug in two monitors. On the other side there is a power jack and a VGA input jack. You can use your existing monitor cables to attach to the output jacks and Matrox provides a short cable for use in the input jack. Just plug the other end of the Matrox cable into your VGA output or video card.
Once I had all the parts plugged in and my display settings changed, I was up and running on two external displays. I had to run the Auto Adjust on myDell displays to get the image on the screens right, but after that, things were great.
You can use the Matrox software to adjust image quality and window behavior. You can set the software to remember which display to open windows on, set which display to open programs on, etc. See the screenshots below.
Quality was actually better than I expected. With another device sitting in the middle of my VGA cord, I would expect some quality degradation. However, the dual display had the same image quality as the monitor plugged directly into my notebook. One thing that I wish it did was handle digital output (from a DVI jack) in addition to, or instead of, the analog signal, although I’m sure there are some significant technical hurdles to do so in a device like this.
The Matrox DualHead2Go is an excellent solution to achieve a multiple display system for your computer or notebook. It’s very portable, you don’t need to change the video card in your system, and provides an image that is just as good as a dedicated display. For less than $160, the price is reasonable for the bump in productivity that you can experience.
- Small, portable size
- No changes to the compuer other than software
- Good image quality
- Doesn’t handle digital signals
- Won’t support higher resolution displays (higher than 1280×1024)