Joining the growing market for portable external displays, Acer has started selling its first USB-C based external display for laptops. The no-frills Acer PM1 is aimed at the entry level segment of the market, designed as a workhorse monitor for users who need additional screen space when working outside of home or office. The device promises to be one of the most affordable portable USB-C LCDs on the market, but it has some peculiarities that not everyone might like.
The Acer PM1 portable display (model PM161Q) is built upon a 15.6-inch 6-bit IPS panel with a 1920×1080 resolution, offering a maximum brightness of 250 nits brightness, a 800:1 contrast ratio, a 15 ms GtG response time, a 60 Hz refresh rate, and an anti-glare coating. Since we are talking about an IPS panel, expect wide – 178º/178º – horizontal and vertical viewing angles. Though the use of a 6-bit panel means that the display offers a somewhat limited degree of color granularity, as it can only display 262-thousand colors.
The key selling point of the Acer PM1 is its USB 3.1 Type-C connector, which allows for a single-cable setup carrying both for data and power. This makes it easy to use with modern notebooks, some of which only have USB-C ports. Meanwhile the monitor also offers a secondary micro-USB power for supplying power to a monitor when hooked up to a smartphone or other low-power device that can’t drive the monitor on its own.
The PM1 external monitor for laptops comes in a rather bulky chassis made of plastic, which is certainly tough, but at 2 cm (0.8 inches) thick, is not especially small. The monitor weighs 952 grams (2.1 pounds), which is comparable to a weight of Acer’s own lightweight 15.6-inch laptops (with USB-C ports), yet good enough for check-in luggage. Looking at the bright side, the LCD has a built-in stand that can regulate its tilt in a range between 15°and 35° and also has hardware buttons to adjust its settings.
Apart from simplicity of a USB-C connection, the biggest advantage of Acer’s PM1 display for laptops is its price. The portable monitor is now available directly from Acer for $179.99, or from Micro Center for $129.99.