As many TUAW readers know, I have a serious love affair with my 11" MacBook Air. If there's one issue that I have with it, it's that sometimes that screen seems just a little too small. Now AOC has released the e1649Fwu 16" Portable USB Monitor ($139.99) that is perfect for those situations where you want a second monitor for your MacBook Air or any other Mac.
For work with a laptop, the e1649Fwu is perfect. There's no power supply required; you just plug the monitor into a USB port, and you're ready to go. The screen measures 16" diagonally, and has a foldout stand that props the monitor up at a slight angle. The monitor can only be used in landscape (wide) mode on the Mac and has a fixed resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels.
What would you use a portable monitor for? It's perfect for giving presentations to a small group seated at a conference table, and it's a great way to get additional screen real estate with any Mac. While it's larger than the 11" MacBook Air I tested it with, the e1649Fwu weighs 2.3 lbs and fits into a backpack or computer bag. It would be nice if AOC included a cheap bag of some sort to pack the monitor in to keep it scratch-free when mobile, but I'd rather have the low price tag than a bag.
Apple purists will note that the monitor isn't up to "Apple standards." I noticed that when you're looking at a white display (a blank page, for instance) you can almost see the individual pixels on the screen. But still, it's a very bright display. Colors seemed a bit more saturated on the AOC monitor than on the MacBook Air display, but that is a personal observation instead of a highly sophisticated fact.