Save content
Have you found this content useful? Use the button above to save it to your profile.
Arzopa A1m Portable Monitor Review | AccountingWEB
Arzopa-Jake-Smith

GadgetZone: Arzopa A1M 17.3-inch 1080P Portable Monitor 

by

Could Arzopa's latest portable lightweight monitor prove a useful addition for hybrid workers or regular travellers needing more screen space?

21st Feb 2024
Save content
Have you found this content useful? Use the button above to save it to your profile.

As a long-time hybrid worker, I’ve used a laptop as my main work computer for more than a decade. I’m used to having to work on a smaller screen, especially when travelling, so I was interested in the concept of a portable monitor to see whether it would work for me and be useful to have when on the move or around the house. 

The team from Arzopa.com got in touch to see if we’d be interested in reviewing one of their models, and I decided to look at their latest and largest model the Arzopa A1M Portable Laptop Monitor, a 17.3 inch 1080p FHD IPS screen that promised "a vivid image and easy connectivity whilst being easy to move around with". I was intrigued as to whether the extra screen space for the largest portable screen would mean it could be a permanent replacement for my existing desktop monitor.

Works out of the box

First impressions were promising, I’m afraid that like my colleague Tom Herbert when he recently reviewed a pair of Logitech headphones, I have not succumbed to the delights of unboxing videos, but the box survived the postal/courier service and the A1M looks and feels like a quality piece of kit.

I was impressed with how light it was (920g claimed, though my scales reckoned 936g) and how easy it was to connect to my laptop or phone. A single USB-C cable supplies the power and the picture and the monitor comes with three cables included: a sturdy looking 1m USB-C to USB-C cable (with gold-plated connectors), a mini display port to HDMI (also gold-plated connectors) and a slightly less robust looking USB-A to USB-C. Most connections were covered, but although my new iPhone has a USB-C port, the older phones in the house or my iPad mini would have needed a lightning adaptor to work.

It doesn’t have a battery built-in, taking power from the device it’s connected to or via USB-C, and didn’t noticeably drain the battery of my laptop or phone when connected.

Makes work tasks easier

When first connected to my laptop, the monitor switched on immediately and I was up and running in seconds. So far so good. The picture was sharp and clear when watching videos or browsing the net. Watching a show on streaming or YouTube, I could see that the picture was not quite as vivid as the built-in screen on my laptop (a 202 M1 MacBook Pro), but it was still decent and an improvement on my stand-alone Dell monitor. The extra size (especially compared to a phone) was useful. The extra screen real estate also meant it was easier to work on multiple documents or have documents and a meeting both open. 

I don’t think the speakers are up to much and it was a little fiddly getting the brightness and colour balance right using the buttons on the side. Once set though, the monitor remembered the settings I’d chosen on my devices.

With two USB ports and a mini display port, it’s simple to power the Arzopa on whatever device you're using, or from a single charger or power pack. This means it's very simple to use when moving around the house or office if you need to work in different places. It would just about fit into my work rucksack alongside my laptop but it doesn’t come with a case to protect the screen -- and I’d want one if I were travelling with it. 

Whilst it could be really useful in a hotel room for work or a temporary office without monitors to plug into, I’m not sure I’d use it on a train as it would take up a lot of room on a table and might attract some odd looks from other travellers!

Limitations vs desktop monitor

I mainly work from home and I have a five-year-old desktop monitor (currently a 23” Dell P2319H) that I use with my laptop (a 13” MacBook Pro from 2020). I have the Dell set up above my Mac, connected with HDMI and usually use both screens. The screen on my laptop, whilst only half the size of my Dell monitor, does have noticeably better colour reproduction and is crisper and sharper than the Dell. However, I do tend to use the Dell as my main screen due to the larger size and more comfortable viewing height.

Sadly my MacBook Pro only supports a single external screen so I wasn’t able to try a triple screen set up. Comparing the Arzopa to my existing Dell I felt the Arzopa was crisper, but again I couldn’t get it to be as bright as I liked while getting a good colour balance. It does have a range of presets and HDR modes, but I felt they leaked a bit of zing compared to my Macbook Pro screen, and a lack of brightness compared to my Dell.

I also prefer having the screens set up so one is above the other. The Arzopa has a simple stand that allows a bit of flexibility over the angle, and to be set up either Landscape or Portrait. For some people such as developers or coders, a vertical screen may be useful, but I think most people tend to use monitors in Landscape format. If I were going to use the Arzopa permanently I’d want to have it raised above my laptop, but there’s no way to set it to do that as there is no stand mount. While it is ultimately billed as a portable monitor, I feel this is a bit of a shame as side-by-side takes up more desk space than I’d like, which ultimately means I can’t see it replacing the monitor and stand on my desk on a long-term basis.

A good quality product, but one for travellers

Ultimately, with my specific circumstances, I struggled to see where I’d use the Arzopa regularly and justify the cost of around £180. If I just had the Arzopa and a phone (with a USB-C port) somewhere, it would be useful, or perhaps to work in a different room in the house or away from home it could be great. 

It’s certainly easy to move around, doesn’t need to be plugged in and the picture quality is very good -- though as mentioned I had slight reservations about brightness. The cost is relatively affordable, though it doesn’t come with a case included (an optional extra at around £20). 

While I'm likely to be keeping my existing desktop setup, if you prefer side-by-side viewing, regularly work in offices that don’t have external monitors or travel frequently it might be just what you’re looking for.

There are a few other versions available from Arzopa so you can choose the size that suits you. Some other manufacturers offer touchscreen versions, but Arzopa doesn’t currently offer that in its range of portable monitors. You can see the full Arzopa portable monitor range on their website.

While this is an independent review and not a paid-for advert, a sample of the product was sent to AccountingWEB towers for testing as part of the article.

Replies (5)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
By FactChecker
21st Feb 2024 19:57

Interesting ... but how does the 936g compare to the weight of a similar sized 'normal' screen?

Whenever this type of topic rolls around (which it does regularly), I'm always reminded of two conversations I had at the turn of this century:

1. At an open presentation, by Prof Anderson of Imperial College, of a working prototype that used novel materials to create a screen that could be rolled-up 'like a poster'.
I can't recall all the details but the prototype was over a meter wide (maintaining the standard ratio) and the visuals were crisp for their day ... so what's happened since?

2. At a meeting around that time with a major phone manufacturer (who'd better remain nameless) I asked how they aimed to resolve their core conundrum ... the perceived need for miniaturisation vs the obvious (to me) need for maximising screen space.
I didn't make any progress then (or since) with my opinion that markets for computing (whether via some sort of PC or tablet or phone) 'on the move' ... were very different from markets for people who wanted to take their devices to new places (next door / different office / on holiday etc).

I mention all this because it can lead to unexpected 'solutions'. In my case I rely on *very* small computer units (from NUC) that can be coupled via the Cloud from almost anywhere in the world - and yet, unlike dumb terminals, they can do superfast local processing out of a box that's less than 12 x 12 x 4 cms but covered in connectivity sockets. Result, in the case of monitors, is that you can use whatever's lying around (assuming it's reasonably modern) from stand-alone LCDs to a laptop or a 4K giant TV or even better. Much less lugging and less compromise on quality.

Thanks (2)
Replying to FactChecker:
Jake Smith, AccountingWEB
By Jake Smith
22nd Feb 2024 11:43

I'm afraid I don't have a similar-sized screen for comparison. My 13" MacBook Pro is 1.382 Kg, so adding the screen to my rucksack for travel would not make a huge difference and if I were going to be somewhere for any length of time without an extra monitor it would be useful. I do wish it came with a case though. I really am used to using two screens and find I'm less productive when I only have the laptop as I frequently need multiple windows open.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Jake Smith:
Jake Smith, AccountingWEB
By Jake Smith
22nd Feb 2024 13:31

Hi again FactChecker, I've just weighed my desktop monitor and it's nearly 5Kg with stand - though it is a 23" screen. I definitely wouldn't describe it as portable, even to move around the house easily, and it need to be plugged in. I seems like most of the weight is down to the stand, so I'd assume a typical 17" monitor would not be significantly less. The portable one would win in any battle for portability, it is surprisingly thin and light.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Jake Smith:
avatar
By FactChecker
22nd Feb 2024 15:29

Thanks ... I find it astounding that a monitor stand can weigh that much (although I guess some mass is needed to give it stability).
My 27" (bragging again but pleased to see something else hasn't 'gone metric') is a few grams over 4.5 kg with stand included - and I'm fairly sure (but not prepared to take it all apart to check) that the majority is in the monitor itself (the stand being just a non-adjustable mono-foot with broad base to spread the load).

Either way, I agree that I'd certainly not volunteer to lug it onto the train.
Which of course takes me back to my point - that few manufacturers seem willing to differentiate (and then focus on) the quite different needs of a computing 'on the move' market vs. a market for people who simply want to take their device to new places.
What you might term 'mobile' vs 'portable' (or 'luggable' in the '80s).

To me that's a shame because the compromises I'm willing to trade are very different in those two scenarios ... which is why I focussed more on miniaturising the core device and relying on finding something/anything at each location that can be connected to for display purposes ... but I, alone, may well not be seen as a sufficient sample for the marketeers!

Thanks (1)
avatar
By JustAnotherUser
23rd Feb 2024 15:29

These are interesting and its crossed my mind to buy one or even the triple, then I fall back to the reality...

-How often I need more screen space and don't have access to a monitor or ability to cast
-If I need a second screen and do not have one, is 17 inch etc provided enough benefit
-If I need two screens and don't have a second one, do I have the space to sit down, plug in and setup
-if I can setup, dont have an extra screen how long will I be there for

and the overlapping venn diagram leaves me with little to no use for one.

Thanks (0)