Lenovo LT1421 Wide Mobile Monitor Review: Specifications, Performance and Conclusion

January 17, 2012 by J.R. Nelson Reads (18,952)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Design
    • 8
    • Features
    • 8
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 7.67
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Specifications:

  • Panel size: 14 inches
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Resolution: 1366×768
  • Pixel density: 111.9 pixels per inch
  • Maximum brightness: 200 cd/m^2
  • Maximum contrast ratio: 400:1
  • Horizontal viewing angle: 90 degrees
  • Vertical viewing angle: 50 degrees
  • Response time: 8ms
  • Panel type: TN
  • Backlight: WLED
  • Dimensions: 21.5 x 217.9 x 335 mm (DxHxW)
  • Weight without cover: 1.91 pounds
  • Weight with cover: 2.31 pounds

Lenovo is currently selling the LT1421 Wide Mobile Monitor at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $199.99.

Performance
The monitor itself offers a rated 400:1 contrast ratio, and up to 200 nits of brightness. That means that even at the highest setting, it’s not the brightest thing in the world; unless you’re in a dim or dark room, chances are good you’ll want to turn the LT1421 up to its maximum level. Once it’s there, however, it manages to fare pretty well against bright office settings. 

Lenovo LT1421 Wide Mobile Monitor Lenovo LT1421 Wide Mobile Monitor

I used it in my hotel room this week, which had a set of floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over a snowy wonderland – all that reflected light lit the room brightly, and the LT1421 was still visible. Surprisingly, I was able to get the same performance from the monitor regardless of whether I plugged in one USB plug or the pair. One carries both the data and power requirements for the display, while the second carries just the auxiliary power – obviously, the former must be plugged into the notebook, while the second is optional. 

For computers with multiple USB ports, and multiple peripherals pulling power from the same bus, it’s likely that you’ll need to plug in two units. Lenovo doesn’t mention this, but it seems probable that for owners who need to plug in both plugs, but are out of ports, you could use a USB wall charger to supply the extra power. I tried this out just to see if it would work, and the monitor suffered no ill effects.

Lenovo LT1421 Wide Mobile Monitor Lenovo LT1421 Wide Mobile Monitor

Lenovo’s biggest problem with the mobile monitor is the display’s anemic viewing angles. Most TN-based panels have 160º or 170º viewing angles for both horizontal and vertical views.  The LT1421, however, can’t quite meet those lofty goals – it offers only 90º horizontal viewing angles, and only 50º of vertical viewing angles. These limitations quickly become apparent when you sit down and move your head slightly out of alignment with the limited ‘sweet spot’. As a result, the LT1421 has only limited use in situations where a group would be viewing it, like in presentations and such.  You’ll want to keep this guy strictly for yourself.

Lenovo LT1421 Wide Mobile MonitorSimilarly, the display doesn’t offer serious color fidelity. Everything is mostly crisp and clear, but if you’ll be doing color-critical work such as media editing or design, you’ll want to keep those applications on the better notebook display – if applicable – and leave the Lenovo for the toolbars and other such ancillary needs.

The monitor works best when display static content – toolbars, text-heavy websites, emails and other long form content such as writing or reading. It falls down a bit when it comes to moving content, though. You’ll notice some tearing when rapidly moving your cursor around, and when scrolling through websites you’ll see the screen flash and jump. Likewise, some video works great with the monitor – lower resolution YouTube videos are fine, as long as you don’t fullscreen the embeds.

Conclusion
Lenovo’s LT1421 Wide Mobile Monitor ended up being a lot better than I originally suspected it would be.  Editing photos on the road from CES was made easier by the extra space for Photoshop; the monitor also came in handy for scanning press releases for supplemental information to add to our hands on coverage. It’ll be equally helpful for anyone whose job demands a similarly mobile working environment.

It isn’t perfect, however, and there are a few things we’d like to see Lenovo add. Toshiba offers a similar mobile monitor, but includes an A/C adapter to add a bit of backlight boost. It doesn’t need the adapter; it’s merely a nice bonus when you in area with sufficient power outlets. Slideshow functionality would also be handy – just plug in a USB cord for power, and an SD card slot. You could bring up your PowerPoint presentations without ever having to boot up your notebook, a welcome feature for customers who can’t afford expensive flash storage.

For road warriors who find that their notebook just isn’t enough, the Lenovo LT1421 Wide Mobile Monitor is a viable option that could help them do more in less time. For everyone else, however, it’s probably worth waiting for the USB 3.0 models.

Pros:

  • Surprisingly bright
  • Powered by just one or two USB ports
  • Extremely durable build quality

Cons:

  • Two and a half pounds
  • No functionality outside of strictly being a display


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