When we reviewed the AOC E1649Fwu portable USB monitor last year it earned high marks for its color and text quality and affordable price but we thought it was a little bulky and suffered from narrow viewing angles. Its successor, the AOC E1659Fwu, is also affordable and it delivers sharp text and bright (albeit not very accurate) colors and somewhat narrow viewing angles. However, there are notable improvements, including USB 3.0 connectivity and a more streamlined chassis.
Design and Features
The E1659Fwu sports the same shiny black finish and weighs about the same as its predecessor (2.4 pounds), but at 0.9 inches this version is significantly thinner than the AOC E1649Fwu (1.4 inches). The 15.6-inch panel has a 1,366-by-768 resolution and a shiny anti-glare coating that tends to reflect ambient light.
This time around AOC installed a set of VESA mounting holes for hanging the monitor on a wall. Or, you can use the silver stand to prop it up in either landscape or portrait mode. The stand folds back into the rear of the cabinet when not in use. As with the earlier model, the E1659Fwu has an auto-pivot feature that automatically changes the image orientation when you flip the panel.
The E1659Fwu is the first USB monitor we’ve seen that uses USB 3.0 technology. The port is tucked away on the rear of the cabinet by the stand. As with every other USB monitor we’ve reviewed the E1659Fwu uses DisplayLink software to receive a video signal and power from your PC via a USB cable. There are no other ports, buttons, or dials to fiddle with as there are no picture adjustments available. However, you can adjust panel brightness in the DisplayLink control panel.
Installation is a snap; after installing the DisplayLink software all you have to do is plug the USB cable into the monitor and connect it to your laptop or desktop PC. The monitor ships with a USB Y-cable that offers two host connectors for use with older PCs (depending on your PC you may have to use two USB ports to provide adequate power for the monitor). In addition to adjusting brightness the DisplayLink Manager software lets you choose how the E1659Fwu will behave; it can act as your primary display or become an extension of your primary display (extended desktop).
The E1659Fwu is a relatively good performer. It delivers vibrant colors against a dark black background and can display the darkest shades of gray cleanly. Its light grayscale performance is not quite as good though; the lightest shades of gray on the DisplayMate 64-Step Grayscale test appeared whitewashed and lacked detail.
Although colors appeared sharp, they aren’t very accurate. On the chart below, the boxes represent the ideal coordinates for each color and the dots represent the actual measured coordinates. As the chart indicates, red and blue are weak and green is only slightly skewed. This means the E1659Fwu’s colors won’t match up perfectly with your primary display’s colors. As with most inexpensive TN (twisted nematic) panels, viewing angle performance is middling.
Side angle viewing was decent with some color shifting but top and bottom viewing angles were dark. Small text was sharp and easy to read on the small screen, making the E1659Fwu a good choice for presenting documents and charts in a small conference room setting. The use of USB 3.0 eliminates the choppy video issues we saw with the AOC E1649Fwu. Streaming video played smoothly without any stutter or lag.
AOC covers the E1659Fwu with a three-year warranty that includes parts and labor. The panel is warranted for one year. It ships with the aforementioned Y-cable and a CD containing the DisplayLink software and a User Guide.
The AOC E1659Fwu is a good choice for frequent travelers who require a secondary display for viewing multi-page spreadsheets and documents or giving presentations. It’s slim and light enough to carry in a briefcase or laptop bag, and because it draws power from your laptop’s USB port it does not require a bulky power adapter. The 15.6-inch screen delivers a sharp picture and crisp text but color accuracy is less than stellar. However, the use of USB 3.0 technology lets you view clean, stutter-free video. If the E1659Fwu’s reflective screen is an issue, the Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421 may be a better choice, but it doesn’t offer USB 3.0 connectivity and it’ screen is a bit smaller.
|Native Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Supported Video Formats||720p|
|Diagonal Screen Size||15.6 inches|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc