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GeChic On-Lap 2501M 15.6" Battery-Powered Monitor, Tested

GeChic On-Lap 2501M 15.6" Battery-Powered Monitor, Tested
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Do you ever wish you could watch video on something larger than a smartphone when you're on the road? GeChic thinks it has an answer with the On-Lap 2501M portable monitor. We benchmark the display to see if its performance matches its convenience.

Here at Tom's Hardware, our desktops are complemented by large monitors (sometimes, several of them). Our notebooks tend to have nice high-res displays that let us get work done anywhere we go. But what about our tiny smartphones? We're accustomed to lots of space for productivity, and those four- and five-inch screens can be very straining on our eyes.

Yet, that's the direction mobility is increasingly going. These days, you can’t go to an airport without seeing hundreds of people glued to their smartphones or tablets. Although it's easy to get a bunch of entertainment onto a USB thumb drive, and convenient to burn time watching it on the road, wouldn't a larger screen help you actually enjoy it more?

GeChic looks to answer that question with its family of portable monitors, dubbed On-Lap. Thanks to a beefy internal battery, these thin, lightweight panels give you the larger size of a notebook-class screen, sans the unwieldy wall plug.

GeChic sent us its newest model, the 2501M. Offering a resolution of 1366x768 pixels, it’s just the thing for road warriors who want something larger than a tablet or smartphone to watch videos or browse photos when they’re away from home. You can hook up a myriad of different sources to the On-Lap, and view any kind of content a computer or phone can output. We're putting the On-Lap through our benchmark suite so that you know what to expect from a mobile monitor.

The On-Lap 2501M bridges the convenience gap between a tablet and a laptop. It’s lightweight at just over two pounds, and around half of an inch thick. Inputs and controls are on the upper-right side, so they’re easy to reach when the monitor is in use. A protective cover snaps on to keep the screen from getting damaged, then doubles as a hinged base that works equally well in your lap or on a flat surface.

In the screen's box, you'll find a small clip that can be used to attach a smartphone to the front of the panel. The fit is going to be secure, but you're pretty much limited to an iPhone or similarly-sized handset held in the landscape position. Anything significantly thicker or smaller won't stay attached reliably. Unfortunately, any device you use with the clip also blocks the lower-right corner of the monitor, too.

                                   GeChic On-Lap 2501M Technical Specifications                                  
Panel Type
Twisted Nematic (TN)
Backlight
LED
Screen Size
15.55"
Max Resolution
1366x768
Aspect Ratio
16:9
Response Time (GTG)
8 ms
Brightness (cd/m^2)
200
Speakers
2 x 1 W
VGA
1
HDMI
2 (1 MHL)
Refresh Rate
60 Hz
Battery Life
Six hours
Dimensions (W x H x T)
15.7 x 10.3 x 0.6 inches
395 x 260 x 16.3 mm
Weight
2.89 lbs
Warranty
1 year
Price
$270


A large variety of devices can be connected to the 2501M: the On-Lap can extend the display of a computer, tablet, smartphone, camera, gaming system, or DVD/Blu-ray player. Thankfully, GeChic includes a full complement of cables for the On-Lap’s three video inputs, a practice we'd like to see more companies follow. HDMI is supported via a mini connector, while block adaptors for traditional HDMI cables and jacks are in the kit as well. Since HDMI carries audio too, GeChic integrates speakers and headphone output into the On-Lap.

If you have an MHL-compatible device, the On-Lap supports it directly. MHL, or Mobile High-Definition Link, is a relatively new standard that allows transmission of up to 1080p/60 Hz video and 7.1-channel surround sound, while simultaneously charging the connected device. This interface is showing up on more and more phones, tablets, and other portable devices.

Battery life is obviously dependent on how you use the On-Lap. The rated capacity is 9300 mAh from the internal lithium-ion cell. With the brightness maxed and the audio volume on 10, GeChic quotes six hours typical usage time. Of course, an AC adaptor is included so you can plug-in to charge the battery or simply power the monitor.

Display 16 Comments.
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  • 0 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , March 27, 2013 10:18 PM
    So even though the hardware itself is excellent, the final product is too niche-y to sell ?
  • 4 Hide
    slomo4sho , March 28, 2013 12:13 AM
    A portable monitor at the conveniently low price of an entry level tablet or chromebook... I see real utility here.
  • 1 Hide
    Fulgurant , March 28, 2013 12:56 AM
    I might be interested in something like this at some point. Nice review.
  • 0 Hide
    Senor Kalyan , March 28, 2013 3:30 AM
    http://us.aoc.com/monitor_displays/e2251fwu
  • 1 Hide
    warezme , March 28, 2013 7:10 AM
    It is an industry artificial block in my opinion. All they would have to do is include a little extra circuitry to the existing pads for an HDMI input and viola, you could use your pad as a monitor to another device. Most pads have at least that resolution on some even better. I would never buy this item unless it was under $150 or less. It is a one trick pony with a low resolution screen.
  • 4 Hide
    groundhogdaze , March 28, 2013 7:57 AM
    I'd love to have one of these portable monitors. I've go a bunch of headless PC's that I need to check every once in a while and don't want to lug a regular monitor around nor hunt for a power socket for the test monitor. If only the price were a little lower...
  • 1 Hide
    Fulgurant , March 28, 2013 8:56 AM
    warezmeIt is an industry artificial block in my opinion. All they would have to do is include a little extra circuitry to the existing pads for an HDMI input and viola, you could use your pad as a monitor to another device. Most pads have at least that resolution on some even better. I would never buy this item unless it was under $150 or less. It is a one trick pony with a low resolution screen.

    I don't disagree that tablets could easily include an input, but to be fair, this product is far bigger than a tablet. It may only have a niche use, but it is clearly better suited for that niche use than a tablet screen would be.
  • 1 Hide
    Fulgurant , March 28, 2013 9:59 AM
    FulgurantI don't disagree that tablets could easily include an input, but to be fair, this product is far bigger than a tablet. It may only have a niche use, but it is clearly better suited for that niche use than a tablet screen would be.

    Come to think of it, laptops should include inputs too -- but to my knowledge, they never have.
  • 0 Hide
    g00fysmiley , March 28, 2013 11:57 AM
    interesting concept but would be nice if bluetooth connectivity wee there unless i am missing somethign it s hdmi only. touchscereen i know is pricier but again would add to utility. interesting product just as it is looks very limited
  • 1 Hide
    RedJaron , March 28, 2013 3:55 PM
    Senor Kalyanhttp://us.aoc.com/monitor_displays/e2251fwu

    Nice product, except it doesn't have its own power supply and can only take a USB signal over a DisplayLink driver. Makes for a nice quasi-mobile secondary monitor for computers, but it won't connect to most types of mobile devices like the GeChic will.
  • 0 Hide
    shadowfamicom , March 29, 2013 7:50 AM
    Their USB powered HDMI monitor is really well made. I have one I use for when I want to grab one of my booksized PC's or my Mac Mini and take it on the road. It is also really great for testing hardware or with consoles. And adding a separate battery pack that has two USB ports lets me use it with a Raspberry Pi on the go. It is meant to be used to add dual monitor support to your notebook (even comes with metal brackets).

  • 1 Hide
    shadowfamicom , March 29, 2013 7:52 AM
    shadowfamicomTheir USB powered HDMI monitor is really well made. I have one I use for when I want to grab one of my booksized PC's or my Mac Mini and take it on the road. It is also really great for testing hardware or with consoles. And adding a separate battery pack that has two USB ports lets me use it with a Raspberry Pi on the go. It is meant to be used to add dual monitor support to your notebook (even comes with metal brackets).


    Forgot the link to the one I was talking about which is 13.3 inches

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA0V108S5365
  • 1 Hide
    ashburner , March 29, 2013 9:01 PM
    I use a 1.99 app called iDisplay. Only works over wifi though with my 3rd gen iPad. It works well.
  • 2 Hide
    occupant , April 3, 2013 6:29 AM
    Reminds me of the Lenovo LT1423, a $350-$400 touchscreen introduced in January at CES2013, which would actually be useful for me since it matches my laptop's 1600x900 resolution. I don't need wireless connectivity or BlueTooth or a ton of features, or even a touchscreen. Somebody package a 1600x900 17 inch laptop screen in a nice aluminum enclosure with a kickstand, and make it thin enough to accompany my laptop in its backpack, and I'd happily pay $300 for it. Dual displays are pretty much required for the work I do, and the typical 27-32 inch TV in many hotel rooms isn't exactly an ideal second display. Toting around a 2 inch thick $69 refurbished 20 inch Acer V203H has been my solution and it doesn't exactly fit in my laptop bag, even if I remove the stand and carry it separately or in my other bags. At least it is 1600x900.
  • 0 Hide
    Some_guy_said , April 10, 2013 1:58 PM
    mayankleoboy1So even though the hardware itself is excellent, the final product is too niche-y to sell ?


    Absolutely.

    You can get a 9 inch IPS TOUCH screen at 1900x1200 resolution, speakers, Weighs only 1.2 pounds and lasts for 8 hours on a charge.

    For $20 more...$270.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008GFRE5A/ref=asc_df_B008GFRE5A?tag=hyprod-20&hvpos=1o2&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1878467891549516394&hvpone=

    And it comes with a tablet included at no extra charge.
  • 0 Hide
    Hadit , April 19, 2013 8:39 AM
    Sorry for a possibly dumb question, but I assume the HDMI connection is only important for videos. I just want a good display for static camera shots that I can paint from. Need good color and resolution.