Since the pre-pandemic days, I’ve had an affinity for multi-display setups. The strategic placement of monitors based on given real estate (aka my desk) felt like one of life’s puzzles — the ultimate prize being productivity bliss.
Naturally, there was a void in my multitasking heart when remote work transitioned to hybrid work, and the fear of a power outage slowly shifted to the fear of bad weather and missing the commuter bus. That’s probably overdramatizing it, but I’d be lying if I said I was just as productive on a singular laptop as I was with two or three monitors blasting windows upon windows at my eyes.
In my quest to find an on-the-go productivity solution, I came across Mobile Pixels, which introduced me to its Duex Plus monitor during CES earlier this year.
Unlike the traditional portable monitor, the Duex Plus snaps onto the back of your laptop via magnets and can be extended out and angled for your viewing pleasure.
Mobile Pixels Duet Plus Monitor
An extendable monitor that snaps onto the back of your laptop. It supports Windows, Mac, and even the Nintendo Switch.
The $330 monitor (I’m seeing one for as low as $239.99 during Amazon Prime Day) is not perfect by any means; it lacks touchscreen support, is not the most color-accurate, and just barely passes for outdoor viewing. But if you want a dual-screen setup without the hassle of carrying a separate monitor, then this is as good as it gets.
Setting up the monitor
From the looks of it, you’d think that setting up the Duex Plus would be quite a hassle, but that was far from the case — at least for me. The package includes the slide-out monitor, four magnets, an alcohol wipe, and a USB-C to USB-A/C cable. To install, you start by wiping off any dust and stains from the surface of your laptop. Mobile Pixels says the Duex Plus should work with any model of a size from 13 inches to 16 inches. I tested it with a 16-inch MacBook Pro.
After the cleaning, you position the four magnets along the dedicated spots on the base of the Duex Plus, remove the adhesive covers, and set the monitor at the center of the laptop. Keep in mind that even after you’ve stuck the magnets to your laptop cover, you can still lift off and flip the monitor to the side that you’d like it to slide out from.
The Duex Plus works on both Windows and Mac laptops and getting a display output is as simple as connecting it via USB-C. You don’t have to use an HDMI cable, which is great. Once I had everything set up, I just pulled the monitor out from the side and my MacBook automatically detected it, configuring it with a 1080p resolution and its default color profile.
Usability and performance
At this point, the Duex Plus is what you make of it, whether you use it to extend multiple windows, as a dedicated Nintendo Switch monitor, or for broadcasting a presentation to a meeting room by swiveling it counterclockwise. My typical work setup consists of having my content management system opened on the main laptop screen and a split-screen layout of Slack and any other relevant web pages on the Duex Plus. This way, I can focus on what’s in front of me while having quick access to exchanges in the background.
I’ve also found the Duex Plus very beneficial when video editing. Now, I’m not recommending a portable monitor for your 4K/8K movie productions, but having the greater real estate to stretch a timeline and move workspaces freely has been enough to enhance my editing workflow. The same goes for photo editing. And for what it’s worth, you can manually adjust the display settings (contrast, saturation, brightness, etc.) of the Duex Plus by using the physical buttons on the back of the monitor.
The biggest question I had going into testing was how battery-consuming the additional monitor would be. With the Duex Plus constantly on and its brightness set to the max, I saw a 6%-7% battery drop every hour, which is comparable to the numbers I’ve gotten with other portable monitors. Keep in mind that this is with the 16-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro, so your numbers may vary.
Portable monitors come in all shapes and sizes, but the Mobile Pixels Duex Plus’ slide-out mechanism is the most seamless way I’ve found to integrate a second screen with my laptop. It’s not the only portable monitor to flaunt such a form factor, and the $330 listing price is not cheap — you can snag a kickstand monitor for less, but the Duex Plus has a thoughtful design that feels one with any machine you attach it to, Windows or Mac, and it’s on sale right now for just $237 during Amazon Prime Day.