Just the thing for an impromptu side-tournament.
HORI first showed their little Portable HD Gaming Monitor Pro at their booth at Evo 2017; it immediately looked quite promising as a display alternative for traveling gamers. They have since provided us with one to try out for ourselves — and we can confirm that it is indeed a useful device to have on hand.
First, some specs: the Gaming Monitor Pro sports a 15.6″ display with a maximum 1366 x 768 resolution, 60 Hz refresh rate, and 8 ms response rate. This screen is bundled tablet-style along with a folding protective sleeve that doubles as a stand, allowing you to position the monitor at two viewing angles. The display itself has a nice anti-glare surface to it.
The monitor is attached to the sleeve via two thick metal screws on the back; they are a bit obtrusive but they are covered up by the elastic strap that holds it all closed while in transit, preventing them from grinding against other objects/surfaces. This also indicates that with some creativity, you could remove and mount this display, if you felt so inclined.
The monitor has two HDMI inputs, allowing switching between up to two video input feeds at a time. Basically: any device with an HD output can use this product as a display. It has a pair of small built-in stereo speakers, too — as well as two 30 mm headphone jack outputs.
The power button and controls are tucked along the left edge of the monitor, providing buttons to switch between the two HD inputs, adjust the speaker volume, and open the display menu to adjust the monitor’s settings — such as the picture quality (which includes presets for game, movie, and PC use, as well as allowing custom settings) and audio settings. You can also control automatic shutdown timing, as desired.
The menu navigation, using the MENU/ENTER and VOLUME +/- buttons, was admittedly a bit awkward. It’s functional, but not exactly smooth. Fortunately, the general operation of the monitor doesn’t call for you to use the system menu much. It’s a plug-and-play affair, once you’ve got your video settings where you like them.
So: how is it in action? Firstly, the speakers have quite a bit of volume oomph, but are still pretty tinny. You’ll get the audio queues you need to play your game, but it doesn’t sound the greatest. Headphones or a set of external speakers will naturally provide a superior audio experience — but considering how small these speakers are, they are impressively loud. They do the job.
The display itself looks very good in action. It’s a good size for solo play, and still large enough to share with an opponent. There wasn’t a significant amount of brightness-fade due to side-viewing; a little, but not too bad. But this screen is bright, and colors are vibrant. In motion, there aren’t any issues with latency or motion blur that noticeably affect gameplay. I found it perfectly comfortable to view and enjoyable to play on. The images below don’t do it justice; it really does look quite good in use.
It does seem to struggle a little when processing image resolution higher than 720p; you will see some jagginess on the images. This is alleviated by setting your source to output in 720p. (Shout-out to Arcade Shock for the tip on that one.)
Folding to tablet PC thinness, portability is the overall goal here. It’s accomplished completely in respect to the monitor itself; of course, you’ll need to consider the power supply and HD cable too. The monitor has a short HD cable included — 1.6′, pretty much too short for anything that isn’t resting immediately beside the monitor itself, so you’ll want to keep distance from your source device in mind.
The power cable is much longer (almost five feet), but the block-style AC adapter might make for a tricky search for a precious power supply spot, amid crowded surge protectors at an event. Placing the block mid-cable — more like a laptop PC power cable system — would have been a more flexible design approach. It is worth noting — as this is marketed as a portable device — that the monitor does not use a battery system, and must be plugged in to operate. This isn’t surprising, considering the cost of the unit, its size, and the power needs of a 15″ display — but it would have been handy, for sure.
Even with cable caveats, it is immensely easy to slip this monitor into a bag along with its power supply and hike it out to anywhere you’d like. It easily will fit into most fight stick bags along with your controller. The usefulness of this is pretty much unlimited; this is a great means to set up a screen and console in a BYOC area to run whatever game you can get going on an HD-compatible source. The use as an extra-large screen for the Nintendo Switch is obvious, and it’s perfect for a Raspberry Pi or an OUYA running classics on an emulator, too. It can also be used as a second screen for a PC. Even for larger consoles in the PlayStation or Xbox family, this provides a solid screen option if you want to set up your games away from home.
This monitor will run you $199.99 USD (available now from Arcade Shock, Amazon, and HORI directly), which puts it in the same price range as other “stationary” HD monitors — but the built-in speakers and protective sleeve give it that portability edge without sacrificing performance. If you’re in the market for a display to take with you to locals, major events, or just to travel with in general, HORI’s monitor will not disappoint.
- Good display quality and video performance.
- Versatility through multiple video inputs, audio outputs, and customizable settings.
- Built-in speakers.
- Great portability, due to size and folding protective sleeve.
- No chargeable battery option.
- Speakers are loud, but tinny sound quality.