Reviewed: GeChic On-lap 1305H Portable Monitor

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GeChic approached us to have a look at the 1305H and it turned out to be one of those products that you don’t realise how much you actually ‘need’ until you use one. The mobile productivity improvement was fantastic but benefits didn’t stop there. Don’t underestimate the entertainment convenience of having a movie, YouTube or news/sport on a second screen after-hours when you’re away from the office but still need to catch up on some emails. Day to day I use dual screens for productivity – typically with a laptop and an external 1920×1080 resolution monitor. When testing kit for reviews, the lab can also get a little crowded and we don’t really have room for dual screens anymore. The GeChic On-lap 1305H is a mobile solution that also works well in situations where space is at a premium.

I thought it might be handy on the road but the more I used the 1305H, the more I realised that it bridged many more gaps I hadn’t realised existed. Let’s look at the monitor first, then I’ll get into why I’d struggle to get by without one in the future.

Exactly what is it? 

The GeChic 1305H is a 13.3″ 1920×1080 60Hz monitor that looks like it could have been surgically removed from an Ultrabook laptop except that it uses a Fringe-Field Switching (FFS) panel rather than a TN or IPS panel. FFS panels use less voltage than an IPS panel and have a superior viewing angle to the typical TN panel that we see in most laptop screens.

The frame and bezel are styled more like a laptop component than a tablet and the panel itself is more configurable thanks to a decent On Screen Display (OSD) menu that allows more adjustment that we typically see on a laptop.

Take note that the monitor includes no speakers but given the size of the screen any attempt to implement speakers would likely have resulted in terrible sound anyway – Kudos to the designers on this as headphones are a much more practical feature.

In order to keep a relatively fragile LCD panel safe in transit, there is a reversible case that will protect the monitor when not in use and also provides an adjustable stand for the monitor when you need to hook it up to a HDMI source. The screen is slim (7~9mm) and weighs only 950g in the cover or 685g on its own. There are 2 HDMI connectors on the monitor, one for landscape use and one for portrait. I’d use landscape 80% of the time but for reading PDF documents you can’t beat portrait mode.

There is only one cable in what is probably the best feature from my perspective – proprietary connector at one end for use with the 1305H and at the other end there is a male HDMI connection for AV and a male USB type-A connector for power. This means that if you are using the 1305H with a laptop, MacBook, console or PC, you should only need that one lead between your device and the screen. GeChic also give you a 1.2m USB extension cable and a USB AC power adapter in case you are using it with another device such as a phone or tablet that doesn’t have USB connectivity. 

Check out the GeChic 1305H product page for the manufacturer overview

This is a great concept, well executed and kept simple by the manufacturer. The build quality of the monitor is very good and despite what some might think is a quirky design, the stand/cover is also up to the challenge of travel. The cover has 2 magnetic clips that hold the monitor in place for both orientations (monitor or reversed for protection during travel). Once you get used to the way it works, using the 1305H is easy.

Unlike most monitors and tablets, the 1305H offers either an on-screen display menu or side-mounted buttons to tweak the picture configuration. The latter is what we’ve come to expect from a standard monitor and makes the display much more universal than a software/driver approach. The buttons are easy to use and logical for navigation and adjustment. Most people are unlikely to use the OSD buttons beyond the on/off switch but the functionality is there.

 

The detailed Specifications are below

Panel13.3” (16:9 Wide) FFS (Fringe Field Switching) TFT panel
Active Area294mm*165mm (WxH)
Pixel Pitch0.153mm (H) *0.153mm (V)
Resolution1920x1080
Color Depth16.7M Colors
Brightness300(cd/m2)(Typical)
Contrast1000:1(Typical)
Viewing Angle178°(H)/178°(V)(CR>10)
SurfaceAnti-glare
Response time (GTG)12.5(ms)(Typical)
HDMI Video Display Capabilities1920x1080P(50Hz/59.94Hz/60Hz); 1280x720P(50Hz/59.94Hz/60Hz);
720x480P(59.94Hz/60Hz); 640x480P(59.94Hz/60Hz)
Supported Resolutions1920*1080(60Hz);1600*900(60Hz);1440*900(60Hz); 1366*768(60Hz)

​1280*1024(60Hz);1280*960(60Hz);1280*800(60Hz);

​​1280*768(60Hz); 1280*720(60Hz); 1024*768(60Hz)
Video InputHDMI*2
HDCP SupportYes
Plug & PlayVESA DDC2B/C1
Audio OutputHeadphone Out
Power On (Max)≦8W
Standby Mode<0.5W
Power Off Mode<0.5W
Rating Power5V---1.6A
ConnectivityProprietary video port*2
(Support HDMI input and 5V DC input)
3.5mm mini jack
EnvironmentOperating :0~50℃;Humidity:20~90%RH
Storage:-20~60℃;Humidity:10~90%RH
Cabinet ColoursFront: Gunmetal grey
Rear: Starry Black
Cover: Black
Dimension320mm*203mm*9mm(Monitor)
325mm*214mm*15.4mm(Monitor and cover)
Net Weight685g(Monitor)
950g(Monitor and cover)
AccessoriesCover Stand*1;
On-Lap 1305 proprietary HDMI-A and USB-A cable(1.2m)*1;
USB-A(male) to USB-A(female) power cable (1.2m)*1;
5V-2A adapter*1
CertificationBSMI、 CE、C-Tick、FCC、KC、VCCI、RoHS
Warranty1 year limited

The connectivity is best articulated in the GeChic diagram below.

First Impressions

The screen is great and works as advertised. I wasn’t surprised by the On-lap 1305H in general as it did everything the manufacturer said as per their website. I was surprised by the extent of the menus as I didn’t expect much in the way of tweaking. There were zero dead/bright pixels on the screen and an ever-so-slight bit of backlight bleed along the right-hand side in landscape mode. Based on other LCD monitors I’ve seen, this one is excellent. The colour uniform seemed good to my eye and the viewing angle was also in line with the specifications – in fact, it was wider than I’d expected.

If I’d purchased this monitor with my own money I would have been more than happy with the build quality. As mentioned above, there is a single proprietary cable that connects to the On-lap with video out via a HDMI connector and USB for power. The manufacturer also includes a mains power adapter for USB in the event that your laptop, tablet, console or other video source does not offer a USB connection powerful enough to run the screen. When testing with PCs and laptops we did not encounter any issues when powering the On-lap 1305H from a USB port. The image looks sharp, as expected, for a 1920 X1080 resolution at 13-inch display size. The default contrast looks good and I didn’t notice any ghosting, so movie watching and gaming was fine on this monitor at 60 Hz. One thing to keep in mind if you plan to game on this is that the pixels are small and the refresh GTG is about 12.5ms so it isn’t a ‘pro-gaming’ device but you can easily play games on it without a problem.

The sound for the headphones is passed through from HDMI and if you have a half decent set of headphones, the experience is solid. 

In our testing, we noted that one of our machines scaled the display 125% of the default in Windows 10. We manually set the display scaling to 100% and everything looked as it should. This isn’t a criticism of the 1305H, merely a tip if you find that your native resolution looks like rubbish and can’t figure out why. I was also pleased to see that the matte screen works well to avoid glare and reflections without making the image quality look grainy or dirty. 

I’d be really happy with this screen as a second monitor that I can take for use in the office. The pixel density probably seems sharper to me because I’m used to looking at 1920 X 1080 on a 24-inch screen and a 13-inch screen is obviously significantly smaller. Despite looking sharper, the smaller screen does take a little getting used to. Our testing today has been somewhat limited due to time constraints and we haven’t had the unit for that long but Elder Scrolls Online and World of warships looked just fine on the 1305H.

The case

Not as sturdy as I’d hoped but it needs to be reversible and multifunctional for angles and orientation. It actually works really well in landscape but feels less stable in portrait mode. The case is light and provides adequate protection for the screen surface in transit or when not being used. In portrait mode, the whole setup feels less stable and a little bit top-heavy. We haven’t seen the screen tip over in portrait mode yet but I feel it’s more susceptible to an accident in this mode. The landscape mode, in contrast, feels much more secure/balanced as the screen in the case are locked together and the set up has a lower centre of gravity. The magnetic adjustable stand at the back surprised me in how sturdy it was and how well it worked; my initial impression that it was potentially flimsy was very quickly corrected.

Who needs this? 

For the most part, a single screen is good enough but when testing or multitasking there are times when a second screen would make a big difference – just not big enough to justify the sacrifice of desk space. The On-lap 1305H is perfect for this situation as it’s easy to set up, doesn’t take up a great deal of space and can be easily stored in a drawer or laptop bag when not in use. In this situation the 1305H allows me to have a PDF open, photos, temperatures and monitoring tools, or simply watching content while I test or write.

One of the first places my mind went when looking at this product was Streamers – to act as a second portable screen – but other PC users would do well to consider this product if they find their Windows desktop gets too busy or they find themselves being overly reliant on alt-tab.

I can see gamers using something like this to watch TV, movies, YouTube or Twitch while playing (or awaiting the next round.) A second screen is also invaluable for looking at system statistics, chat windows, or simply watching the progress of a background task. It also makes displaying a map, strategy guide or e-book/PDF much better so that you can game or work without the interruption of exiting your primary task.

It’s also worth noting that some games do allow multiscreen – a good example of this is Supreme Commander which can handle multiple monitors (of different resolutions) allowing you to watch different parts of the map while you play. This can be handy to keep an eye on an enemy base or an outpost while fighting in a different zone.

Where this product shines is when hooked up to a laptop as a second screen for use at a desk, café, airport lounge or hotel. It could also be used as a second screen with a tablet or laptop when training or presenting to clients so that you can talk/interact better without sitting around a single laptop screen.

Writers/content creators may also benefit from another display – particularly if they travel;  either this model or the larger 15″ design might be the way to go. It is far more efficient to have photos or notes of the content you’re creating on the second screen and work on a larger primary display. I use Dragon Dictate a bit and it was great to have my notes on the On-lap as I was dictating into another application. 

Considering entertainment uses, you can watch Netflix or other online content from your phone or tablet, just on a bigger screen! The only thing to be mindful of here is that you will need a way to output to the HDMI connection and will also need to put the AC power adapter to use as the 1305H doesn’t have a battery. I used screen mirroring with the On-lap via a Smart Phone and could see why it might be attractive to travellers or students.

Although the 1305H doesn’t have an enthusiast grade refresh rate of 1ms – rather a business grade of 12.5ms GTG response time – the screen is still very useful for gaming and LAN events due to its compact size and the ability to show chat windows or streams relevant to multiplayer tournaments.

Another area that occurred to us is Raspberry Pi developers.

Best we don’t forget about consoles – yes these work too. To be fair though, I can’t see console use being a key selling point for the 1305H due to the fact that most console gamers like bigger screens rather than smaller ones.

In our situation, we also think the 1305H will be suitable for VR where we don’t need a large screen as most of the action happens in the headset and we just need to use a screen for system tasks that occur outside the head mounted display. In this case, a larger screen is just another thing to lug around with the portable Oculus VR setup that we use so the 1305H would be ideal.

Pricing and Availability

At US$277, the On-lap 1305H isn’t cheap. Why am I talking in USD and not AUD? There aren’t any Australian distributors at the time of publishing but you can buy one direct from GeChic if you want one and I’d hope that Amazon expand their distribution of the product to Australia.

If you would like to get your hands on one of these, visit the GeChic store here.

Conclusion

The On-Lap 1305H makes for a very handy and unobtrusive second screen that will increase productivity for most people, especially those on-the-go who need to make the best use of their time when not in the office. As an entertainment peripheral, the On-lap 1305H makes watching movies more comfortable, especially if the content is on an iPhone or smaller tablet. Personally, I look forward to using this device to watch content whilst skimming through my emails and notes at the end of the day when travelling away from home and my home office setup, and also for monitoring system stats while benchmarking kit in the lab.

This is a great product and something that I may not have considered buying prior to spending time with it. After using one every day for a few weeks, I can say that I’d now struggle to consider travelling without one.

  GeChic On-lap 1305H Monitor
 

PROS

Compact and portable design with one cable
Good image quality
OSD with image adjustment options
Genuine productivity booster
Portrait or Landscape Orientation options

CONS

 – The stand isn’t as stable in Portrait mode
Awards

 

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