Hardware Reviews

Mobile Pixels Duex Plus review: should this be your laptop’s second screen?

Never be without screen space with the Deux Plus

When working away from the home or office, a single laptop display can often be frustrating and less efficient. The Mobile Pixels Duex Plus is a slimline monitor that can sit on the lid of your laptop, sliding out to provide an extra screen as and when you require it.

The story goes that Jack, one of the company’s co-founders, was frustrated by the lack of a secondary monitor when using his laptop, so created one using using a screen from a broken laptop.

The company now has three ranges: Duex, Trio and Glance. The latter is a portable monitor that you store separately from your laptop, whereas the Duex and Trio are displays that add a second (Duex) and third (Trio) monitor to your existing laptop.

The following promotional video demonstrates how they work:

Here I’m reviewing the Duex Plus, which retails at Amazon for £309.99 (although there is also a “£20 off” offer at the time of writing).

Unboxing

Slide off the lid of the compact packaging and you have the monitor nestled in a large, plastic blister container. Under that is a USB-C to USB-A/USB-C connection cable. A small booklet and various leaflets round this all off.

The monitor itself is in a plastic bag (not sure what that bag is protecting it from, to be honest). One of those leaflets points you to an online installation guide (the link is broken, which isn’t a great start, but I believe it’s this) and another gives you guides on aligning the magnets (more on that later).

Something that’s missing – either “in the box” or online – is a manual. There’s the basic setting up instructions and after that… nothing.

The Duex Plus screen

The Duex Plus has a 13.3in screen (16:9 ratio), with a 1080p resolution and a refresh rate of 60Hz. According to my scales and tape measure it weighs a smidge under 670g and measures 311mm x 213mm x 12mm. For comparison, my M1 MacBook Pro is 1.5Kg and 15mm, so the addition of this screen almost doubles the thickness and adds a further 50% to the weight.

The display itself sits inside a hard plastic sleeve – that’s the bit that sits on your laptop, allowing the extra screen to slide and angle out of it. A combination of magnets and sticky pads (both of which are adjustable, to cope with different-sized laptops) secure it to the lid. If you don’t use the sticky pads, you can remove the screen when it’s not needed.

On one side of the display are two USB-C ports, one marked for general use and one specifically for power. On the back are three buttons, which are used for the on-screen menu, where you can make display adjustments: backlight, contrast, saturation, temperature, Eyecare Mode and G-Sensor. Eyecare Mode, according to the company’s website, provides “optimal colour temperature and brightness to effectively reduces the amount of potentially harmful blue light emitted by the display”. The G-Sensor option allows the display to detect and report it’s orientation, if your computer supports auto-rotation.

Setting up the screen

Although I’ve talked about the Duex being something that attaches to your existing laptop, it doesn’t have to. For example, you can use it as a stand by sliding the monitor out and use the sleeve to keep the monitor upright, in either landscape or portrait.

However, I suspect most people will buy this to connect it to a laptop, so let’s explore this further. You adjust the magnets on the back to work best on the mounting surface – all four can be moved left and right. You need to affix it so that you leave enough room the screen to angle out of the side. And to back up the magnets, there are sticky pads too, more of which are provided in the box.

When clipped to the back of your laptop you can pull the screen out, swivel it 180° around and sit it flat on the back of the monitor. Mobile Pixels refer to this as “presentation mode”, as it allows you to have your laptop in front of you but make use of the Duex screen to show a presentation to people opposite.

Duex Plus in “Presentation Mode”

I mentioned before that a cable is provided that works for both USB-C and USB-A, the latter in the form of a provided adapter. The USB-C makes use of a DisplayPort signal for plug-and-play connection, if your laptop has it. If it doesn’t, then a driver must be installed for it work – drivers are provided for Windows and Mac but there’s nothing for Linux users.

There’s limited Android support too, more specifically for Samsung DeX supported devices. Whichever connection method you use, to run the monitor you must use a USB cable to connect the display to your laptop.

You can mount it on the left or right hand side and, making use of rotation options in your OS, you can use it portrait or landscape.

Although I’ve focused on laptops, there’s nothing to stop you hanging the Duex Plus off the back of a desktop monitor.

Using the Duex Plus with a Nintendo Switch

You can also use the Duex Plus as a monitor for a Nintendo Switch. You simply take the Switch’s power supply and plug that into the screen port marked for power and then use the monitor cable between the remaining USB port and the Switch itself. Voila, full 1080p gaming goodness.

Duex Plus image quality

The screen is bright, but even at full brightness it cannot compete with a MacBook Pro screen. Brightness does dip when not viewed head-on, but the onscreen content remains clear and readable. Colours are also more muted.

Despite its lack of resolution compared to screens such as the MacBook Pro’s, it does look pretty sharp, though.

Although Mobile Pixels seem to think otherwise, the Deux Plus is bulky due to the metal sliding mechanism that encases the display. For something with much lower specs that my laptop screen, it’s disappointing that it’s almost as thick as the entire computer, keyboard included.

But I do love the convenience of having a second monitor so easily to hand. I have a Lenovo screen that connects via USB-C but that doesn’t attach to your laptop, so is a secondary item in your bag. Consequently, you’ll always forget to pack it when you actually need it, whereas the Duex Plus will always be with you.

Mobile Pixels Duex Plus portable monitor review
  • Flexibility
  • Features
  • Image quality
  • Value for Money

Summary

A portable second screen that can be used in many different ways. However, average image quality and a chunky build make it questionable value for the high price tag.

Overall
3.9

Pros

  • Huge flexibility, both in terms of devices it connect to and ways it can be used
  • Very easy to use 
  •  Automatic rotation detection and blue light filter
  • Strong build quality

Cons

  • Image quality not as good as premium laptop screens
  • Chunky build
  • Absence of manuals and documentation
  • A punchy price

About the author

David Artiss

Currently working for a technology company based in San Francisco, David has worked in IT for nearly 30 years. He is a keen gamer and happily admits to being a gadget nerd too.

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