Skip to main content

Innocn 13K1F Portable Monitor Review: OLED, But Not So Bright

The 13K1F offers value pricing due to several corners cut by Innocn.

Innocn 13K1F
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Tom's Hardware Verdict

The Innocn 13K1F may not be perfect, but its low price makes up for most of its drawbacks.

Pros

  • +

    OLED delivers vibrant colors deep blacks

  • +

    Value pricing

  • +

    Excellent build quality

Cons

  • -

    Glossy finish draws reflections

  • -

    Thick bottom bezel

  • -

    No headphone jack

  • -

    Wall adapter (not included) necessary to achieve maximum brightness

We recently reviewed the Innocn 15A1F, which is a 15.6-inch portable monitor that packs in a colorful Full HD OLED panel at an affordable $349 price point. However, $349 isn't the price floor for Innocn's OLED assault; the company also offers the 13.3-inch 13K1F priced at just $249.

13.3 inches is a bit on the small side for a portable monitor, as most companies in this segment offer 14-inch panels at a minimum. However, the 13K1F's smaller size results in a thin and lightweight device with a stylish appearance and an adjustable stand. Like its larger sibling, the 13K1F offers excellent build quality. However, it also inherits the large chin at the bottom of the display.

But the main reason why people will consider the Innocn 13K1F is the promise of OLED color performance at an affordable price. While the $249 MSRP is already a bargain, its current sale price is below $200, which makes it competitive with the  best portable monitors on the market.

Innocn 13K1F Portable Monitor Specifications

Panel Type / BacklightOLED
Screen Size / Aspect Ratio13.3 inches / 16:9
Max Resolution &   Refresh Rate1920x1080 @ 60Hz
Max Brightness400 nits
Response Time5ms
Contrast Ratio100,000:1
View Angles178 degrees (Horizontal  and Vertical)
Screen CoatingGlossy
Ports1x Mini-HDMI, 2x USB-C (DisplayPort 1.2 Alt Mode)
SpeakersYes
Weight1.39 pounds

Design of the Innocn 13K1F

The Innocn 13K1F has a similar design language to its large sibling, the 151A1F, share, but there are some key differences. Where the 15A1F has flat sides and curved corners (think Apple iPad Air or iPad Pro), the 13K1F has flat sides along with a bottom and top that are rounded. Weighing just 1.39 pounds and measuring only 0.28 inches thick, the 13K1F will fit in even the smallest laptop bag. 

For better or worse, the 13K1F also has thick bezels like the 151A1F. While the top and side bezels are inoffensive, measuring roughly 0.25 inches, the bottom bezel has a pronounced “chin,” measuring a full inch. Innocn’s logo is emblazoned at the center of the bottom bezel with a chrome-like finish beneath the cover glass.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The 13K1F features a glossy glass coating instead of the matte finish typical of this segment. We can attribute this design decision to the OLED panel, as the glossy finish adds quite a bit of “punch” to colors. However, the downside is that reflections can become a hindrance at lower brightness levels and especially problematic outside, even at maximum brightness. Using a glossy finish also means that fingerprints quickly show up when handling this portable monitor. Fingerprints aren’t an issue with a desktop monitor, as its placement is usually a “set it and forget it” affair. However, a portable monitor is often handled frequently and transported to multiple locations, leading to fingerprints on the screen. It’s just something to keep in mind when looking at a portable monitor with a glossy screen.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

All of the Innocn 13K1F’s ports are located on its right side 13K1F, including two USB-C ports and one Mini-HDMI port. Also located along the right side of the monitor are cutouts for one of the two onboard speakers and two buttons that control the volume (these buttons also double as navigation aids in the OSD). 

The top of the Innocn 13K1F is home to a power button and an LED that denotes power status (blue for on, orange for standby). The left side of the 13K1F only features circular cutouts for the second speaker. Like the 15A1F, Innocn decided not to include a headphone jack.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The back of the 13K1F is very similar to the 15A1F, with a circular mark in the upper-center section. Magnets are mounted behind the circle, allowing you to attach the adjustable metal stand easily. The stand has rubber feet to prevent the monitor from moving and can prop the 13K1F to a nearly upright position. While the detachable stand is made of high-quality materials, we would have preferred a built-in solution. The detachable stand is just one more thing to lose when traveling.

On-Screen Display for the Innocn 13K1F

You access the Innocn 13K1F’s OSD by pressing its power button.  Navigating the OSD is achieved by pressing the volume up/down buttons. Executing a command is achieved by pressing once on the power button. To back out of a sub-menu, you hold the power button for one second.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

You’ll have to make changes to settings relatively quickly while in the OSD, as it will automatically exit if you don’t make any inputs are made for five seconds. The OSD interface, while primarily icon-focused, is easy to understand.

Though using the power and volume buttons is serviceable at this price point, I would have preferred a five-way joystick for navigation. And while I’m adding to my wish list, it would be nice to have at least a 10-second timeout on the OSD instead of the stingy five seconds we currently have.

Image Quality and Performance of the Innocn 13K1F

The Innocn 15A1F is a 13.3-inch portable monitor with a 60 Hz, Full HD (1920 x 1080) panel. Innocn bucked the trend of using an IPS panel at this price point and instead opted for a colorful OLED panel. OLED panels have extreme contrast ratios, which help contribute to their stunning, deep black levels.

The Innocn 13K1F has a claimed contrast ratio of 100,000:1 and promises a maximum brightness of 400 nits. However, we ran into several problems with the claimed brightness spec. When first testing the monitor using a USB-C cable with DisplayPort Alt-Mode, we could not get the brightness slider to move above the 20 percent mark within the OSD, topping out at 100 nits using our instruments. I tried a PC and a Mac with the same result. I then used the included HDMI cable for video and the USB-C cable to power the 13K1F using a free USB-C port on my computer. The brightness level still would not budge past 20 percent.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Stumped, I contacted Innocn, and a representative informed me that the maximum 400 nits is achievable when you connect the supplied USB-C to an external power supply. Armed with this information, I plugged the included USB-C cable into a spare USB-C wall adapter, and I was able to crank the display to 100 percent brightness.

This situation is problematic for a couple of reasons. For starters, no wall adapter is included in the box. Innocn only provides a USB-C to USB-C cable and an HDMI to Mini-HDMI cable. Making matters worse, neither the retail box nor the user manual explains that a power adapter is necessary to achieve maximum brightness levels.

Once we could crank the brightness up on the 13K1F, we came up well short at 264.8 nits versus a claimed 400 nits. While this result is higher than the Zion Pro and the other IPS panels we’ve tested, it pales compared to the 15A1F (373.6 nits). This is a disappointing result that is only made more confounding by the power adapter nonsense.

Things were more positive regarding the DCI-P3 and sRGB color scores. The 13K1F flaunted the benefits of an OLED with 142.6 percent DCI-P3 coverage. The 13K1F also put up elevated numbers in sRGB coverage, coming in at 201.1 percent. Both figures put it comfortably ahead of the Zion Pro with its 15.6-inch 4K OLED panel. 

The black levels of the Innocn 13K1F’s OLED panels were stellar in my testing, matching the performance of its big brother, the 15A1F. I revisited Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on Disney Plus and came away similarly impressed with the vibrant colors, particularly in the action-packed last hour of the film. 

And being an automotive nerd, I watched a few episodes of Hagerty’s Revelations with Jason Cammisa. I was particularly impressed with how the 13K1F handled the darkened scenes in a recent episode where Cammisa talks to the camera with the gorgeous banana yellow of the Toyota 2000GT searing through the display.

As adept as the 13K1F was at displaying video, it also handled my productivity workload as a second monitor. 13.3-inch is a bit on the small side for my taste, but with the Full HD resolution, I primarily used it to handle my Slack conversations, iMessages, and editing spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel. I sometimes used  Sling TV at full screen with the 13K1F in my periphery as I worked.

Given that the maximum brightness came in at just over 264 nits versus a claimed 400 nits, plus the added handicap of a glossy screen, indoor reflections were a problem (even with the brightness maxed). Annoyingly, I could see the reflection of my Apple Watch on the display as I typed at my desk with the 13K1F sitting to the left of my center-mounted 32-inch Dell 4K monitor. Outdoor viewability took an even bigger hit, as reflections were highly visible – everything from tree branches to clouds showed up gleefully as I worked in the baking sunlight.

I wasn’t expecting much from the integrated stereo speakers, given the trim dimensions of the Innocn 13K1F. As with the 15A1F that I reviewed earlier, the speakers here are “fine.” They should be sufficient for users that don’t have any better option when watching movies or TV shows. I defaulted to the speakers on my MacBook Pro because they sound far superior. Chances are that your laptop’s internal speakers are also better if you plan to use the 13K1F as a second screen while on the go.

Bottom Line

The Innocn 13K1F represents a tremendous value in the portable monitor segment, particularly for users looking for a cheap OLED panel. The 13K1F is currently priced at $249.99 at Amazon, plus a $50 coupon is available at checkout taking the price to $199.99 with free shipping. That is an amazing value for an OLED panel housed within an aluminum alloy chassis that exudes excellent fit and finish.

However, concessions were made to meet this low price point. Innocn ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack, the stand (while sturdy) is yet another piece that you must keep track of when traveling, reflections on the glossy screen are annoying, and then there’s the baffling situation with the brightness. It’s bad enough that Innocn doesn’t include all the necessary accessories to reach maximum brightness in the box, but it doesn’t even come close to the 400 nits mark when all requirements are met.

It's up to you to decide if these downsides are enough to knock the 13K1F out of consideration. . To the 13K1F’s credit, the sub-$200 pricing on sale is undoubtedly intriguing, and the lack of a power adapter could be easily solved, as many of us have an extra one lying around the house. Nothing else available at the $200 price point – IPS or OLED – can compete with the 13K1F, so that puts it in a class of one. It's not perfect, but it is worthy of your attention if you’re in the market for an affordable portable monitor.

Brandon Hill
Brandon Hill

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.