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AOC E1659FWU And GeChic On-Lap 1502I: Portable Monitors, To Go

Two Portable Monitors: Simple Value Or Touchscreen Luxury

GeChic has always been a niche company, creating interesting products for enthusiasts looking for unique technology. While the adoption of Windows 8 has been relatively slow, it's one of those companies answering the call with touchscreens ready to support the new OS. This tech doesn’t come cheap, and the On-Lap 1502I is a perfect example. At $400, it will set you back almost as much as an iPad.

With the On-Lap 1502I, GeChic raises the bar not only with touchscreen support, but also a decent IPS panel at its core. Grayscale and gamma performance are impressive, as is the inclusion of calibration controls. Overall brightness and contrast are also improved. The only flaw worth pointing out is the under-saturated color gamut. Considering the color quality of even value-oriented desktop displays in today’s market, there’s no excuse for a portable monitor at this price point that can’t come close to the sRGB standard.

The On-Lap’s versatility is certainly a positive in its favor. You can connect just about anything to it, even an analog source. And power can come either from your computer’s USB port or a wall plug. There’s no battery, but the 1502I is slimmer and lighter as a result. We’re also impressed with the full complement of accessories included. All the necessary cables come bundled, along with a very nice stand. The only thing you might purchase separately is a VESA mount.

AOC takes a much more minimalist approach with its E1659FWU. All of the magic happens through a single USB 3.0 input, so there’s only one cable to carry. You do need to address driver installation before using the E1659FWU, whereas GeChic's On-Lap is plug-and-play. The biggest draw for this product is its low price. For $130, you get 15.6-inch monitor that’s lightweight and easy to set up. AOC even includes a nice carrying case. And if you need a larger screen, it sells a 22-inch E2251FWU for $200.

For our standards, the E1659FWU falls short in most performance areas. It’s not quite bright enough to overcome the viewing angle issues of a TN panel. And its lack of color temp adjustments means you have to accept its overly cool white balance. Like the GeChic, it too has an under-saturated color gamut. Nearly every computer and video source conforms to the sRGB gamut. We believe every display should too.

It’s difficult to recommend one of these portables over the other. One costs more than twice as much as the other, so they don't really compete. If you need a cheap solution that’s quick and easy, and are willing to tolerate the shortcomings we've identified, go for the AOC. If you want a touchscreen with more versatility, choose the GeChic. There’s no doubt that GeChic offers the better-performing panel. But you pay dearly for that step up. Viewed purely as a workplace tool, AOC's solution is fine, and has less of an impact on your wallet.

Christian Eberle
Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.