Today, we are reviewing the GeChic On-Lap 1305H Portable Monitor.
Before we begin, let’s talk about how I came across the product. Upon getting the Nintendo NES Classic (and later the Nintendo SNES Classic,) I loved the item. It lets me play classic retro games I played in my childhood, and discover new ones I hadn’t played before. A crisp high definition resolution and nifty saving features make the game experience even better than the original.
However, I hadn’t played the mini-consoles much since I got them, because part of the concept just… didn’t make sense to me. A tiny, palm-sized console displaying 8-bit retro games didn’t beg to be played on my large-screen 4K TV. I already have several consoles and other devices taking up precious space in my home AV setup, as well. I’m the type of guy that tends to be much more willing to play games if they’re portable, rather than needing to be tied down to my TV to play them. So I decided, I wanted to play these portable consoles, well… portably. So the search for a suitable portable screen came up. After looking through several wonky and sub-par solutions on YouTube and Amazon, I have finally come across, undoubtedly, the best portable monitor available on the market.
Read on my for my detailed impressions and review.
The GeChic 1305H is a 13.3-inch portable monitor designed to be taken anywhere. It is thin and light, with a spacious screen, and runs on mere USB power, meaning it can be powered by a portable battery bank, like the ones commonly used to charge phones and tablets on the go. The screen is a novelty in the market, being one of the only ones to boast full HD resolution, and FFS screen technology.
GeChic is an interesting company. Based in Taiwan, the company specializes in making portable monitors. When a company’s entire product lineup is composed of portable screens, you expect them to be of good quality. Thankfully, the screen did not disappoint. This review aims to cover all of the bases necessary for one to make an informed purchase decision.
First off, we need to discuss how good this thing will look when you’re using it on your desk. No one wants to use something that just sticks out like a sore thumb. With this screen, you’re in luck. The GeChic 1305H is sleek, thin, and light. The screen measures only 7mm thick, with bezels at 1.3cm, and weighs in at only 1.51 lbs (or 2.01 lbs with stand). With a matte screen texture, fairly-sized bezels, and a gunmetal gray finish, this screen fits right in to a modern room setup. When on the go, the screen doesn’t make you feel like the geek in the room, so to speak. You’ll feel comfortable taking this one to your local coffee shop for a meeting, and feel stylish doing it.
This product is unique in the market, in that it is one of the few portable screens to actually feature a full 1080p resolution. Most other portable screens in this market segment, from the likes of Asus, GAEMS, and Hori, run at a meager 720p HD, barely passable in today’s market where 1080p is the standard and 4K the new king. So, with a sizable 13.3-inch screen, you expect 1080p. Here you get that and more.
In addition to a stellar true 1080p resolution, you also get a FFS display (no, not that FFS). If you’ve heard of IPS, you know it is the display of choice for non-HDR displays, because of its wide viewing angles and great color accuracy. FFS, being an improvement to IPS, takes things a step further, and improves the contrast of colors even more (1000:1), along with 178 degree viewing angles, so images look even more vivid and lifelike on the screen.
In terms of connectivity, the screen is stripped down from the company’s previous models, offering just two HDMI inputs (one for horizontal and one for vertical placements), and a headphone jack that supports optical audio and 5.1 surround sound. Neat.
The product does not offer built-in speakers, so the audio output jack is the only option for outputting sound from the screen. Bring those headphones if you need to listen to your content on the go.
In previous models, there would be separate ports for USB power and HDMI inputs. The 1305H does away with these and instead introduces proprietary ports which combine HDMI and USB into a single cable port going into the screen. It certainly helps keep the screen looking sleek, without too many cables getting in your way.
On the other end of the proprietary cable are a standard HDMI connection and USB-A connection for power. Also included in the box is a USB to AC adapter for plugging directly into a wall, if needed.
The screen features a detachable back cover that doubles as a kickstand, allowing you to adjust the angle of the screen. The kickstand uses a unique proprietary mechanism involving a magnet, which you can remove and reposition, then slide up and down to achieve the desired angle for the screen.
All of the physical features are very well thought out, from the size of the screen, to the visual aesthetic of it, to the layout and design of the ports and included kickstand case. This design is testament to the company’s experience developing portable screens, culminating in a very evolved and well-thought out product design that is easy and intuitive to use.
Once using the screen, you will find standard TV options in the software menus, such as brightness, contrast, color saturation, color tint, and sharpness. Other nice options are also included, like color temperature and multiple viewing modes.
The viewing modes consist of options such as “Standard,” “Sports,” “Cinema, “Photo,” and “Game” modes.
Navigating the menus was not so fun. Have you ever lost a TV remote and had to use the buttons on the TV itself to navigate the menus? Remember how frustrating that was, and how much you missed having that remote? That’s exactly the experience GeChic opted for to control the menus on this screen. Once you learn how to navigate with the Settings, Volume, and Up and Down buttons, it’s fine, but you wish they would have included a remote or smartphone interface to control the screen settings. Luckily, if you’re like me, you will just set it and forget it, not needing to touch the settings again for a long time.
Overall, GeChic threw a lot into the package here, and it all works cohesively, which is not to be taken granted in the world of tech.
What good is a product if it doesn’t perform its intended functions well? Thankfully, this product not only does the job, but exceeded my expectations.
The screen’s buttons feel solid to touch, and are well placed. The detachable back cover works well, and is easy to attach and remove quickly. The movable locks are a great feature, making sure the screen doesn’t fall out when being moved. The kickstand’s design takes some getting used to, but once you’ve learned how to reposition it, it makes changing the screen angle a piece of cake. I do wish the tilt angle was more, given it only offers 40 degrees of variability, but it is sufficient for most cases.
Using the cover stand with the screen in vertical mode works, but not as well as in the horizontal mode. Taking the screen out and putting it back into the case vertically makes it stick out, which not only looks a bit awkward, but doesn’t offer the same stability as in the horizontal mode either. Most people don’t need to use a screen vertically, but for those that do, this may be a letdown, as the included kickstand only works horizontally. At least, the cover stand case can hold the screen vertically if you remove and replace it vertically, but I think the company could have done more and incorporated a second kickstand that works vertically into the design.
Once the product is set up properly, powering up is quick and simple. A press of the power button boots up the screen and displays whatever HDMI signal is being fed to it. If there is no signal, the screen will automatically turn it’s display off after a few seconds, but the screen will remain powered on. Turning the screen on for the first time was pretty awesome. The screen was actually exceedingly bright, so once I turned the brightness to my ideal level, all the settings were perfect from the get-go. The color settings were already perfect as they were, so after messing with other settings, I found I didn’t need to change any other settings.
I tested all of the settings on the Nintendo Switch, and found the only picture mode options that looked accurate were the “Standard” and “Game” modes. The other options, surprisingly, left color tints that were too saturated, or made the image look too blue or orange. However, testing on the SNES Classic, other screen modes actually looked better. Likewise, your preferred screen mode may depend on the input source.
Adjusting the other settings also yielded unsatisfactory results – not because the options didn’t work, but actually, because the screen was already most accurate with the default settings.
This is a testament to the quality of the product, in my opinion, as it appears the screen’s colors are already most accurate (and perhaps calibrated) out of the box. The only setting I had to change, then, was Brightness. Once I adjusted the brightness to my ideal level (around 40 for me, down from the default of 50,) I was set and the screen was ready to go.
Once the screen was set up, the viewing experience was great. Coming from a high-end 4K HDR TV, the black levels don’t get as deep, meaning you can still slightly notice the backlight in dark scenes. However, the black levels are still better than most laptop screens I have seen, minus exceptional screens such as Microsoft’s Surface line.
The colors were very natural and vivid, and actually made me enjoy playing my Nintendo Switch more than I ever have before in such a short period of time. What was initially meant to be a short testing session turned into a few hours of me playing Breath of the Wild on my Switch, and then watching a few episodes of TV on Hulu. It may be that the native 1080p presentation of the Nintendo Switch with no upscaling makes the Switch content look better, or maybe the smaller screen size, but even without adding any sharpness to the screen, the Switch looked better than it ever had on my high-end TV. That’s saying a lot.
The viewing angles were also great, as promised. I could look all the way to the side of the screen, and the image was still highly visible. The anti-reflective screen texture also helped, as even with my bright studio lights, there was only a small reflection.
Testing the headphone jack yielded decent audio quality. Not as good as my dedicated headphone DAC/amp combo, but just fine if you’re used to standard headphone jacks in any other product. The headphone jack also doubles as an optical audio jack output, which is very nice if you have some compatible audio hardware to use it with.
Input lag on the device seemed minimal, even with the HDMI input going through two adapters and several short cables. The stated response time (different from input lag) is 12.5ms, so that is better than the average screen, and very snappy. Once I was playing my games, everything seemed very snappy and playable. This screen gets a solid A in the input lag department, so pro gamers or anyone sensitive to input lag/latency on screens should rest assured the screen feels very responsive.
All of these features come at a cost, however. The screen is currently sold for a retail price of $299.99 as of this writing. Is it worth it? To me, you’re getting the best portable monitor on the market, so I believe the price is well justified. For those on a tighter budget, however, it may be worth checking out the company’s cheaper options.
Overall, GeChic has put together a very compelling product here. The possibilities with owning a portable screen are endless. Portable screens offer a wide array of use cases, whether it be for portable photo or video monitoring, using them as second computer screens, presentation screens, or for portable video or gaming uses.
Once you see the need for having a portable screen to complement your devices, you need one that’s the best quality. After using the screen extensively, I can safely state that the GeChic 1305H is the best portable screen on the market. With great functionality, an attractive design, and excellent image quality, this screen not only matched my initial expectations, but exceeded them. I can’t imagine myself needing another portable screen again, as it pretty much ticks all of my boxes in terms of functionality and image quality. If you’re in the market for a portable screen, look no further than the GeChic 1305H.
Link to purchase:
If you need a cheaper option, with a similar screen size, GeChic is still selling the previous model of its 13-inch screen, the On-Lap 1303H.
Alternatively, if you need a touch screen option for making the screen a Windows or Android tablet, GeChic sells the On-Lap 1303i.
Keep in mind, if buying another of the company’s screens, you will be getting a standard IPS display over the 1305H’s slightly superior display. However, if the 1305H does not fit your needs, the other options still offer very good quality on their own.
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-Noah Sanchez, Gamer Splash