As technology has progressed, and the need for more information at our fingertips has become prevalent, the second screen has come into its own. But whilst those of us who work from laptops and desktops all day long will already have a fondness for the secondary monitor, with the move of gaming into the cloud, and Xbox’s Project xCloud and Game Pass coming into its own, that second screen has taken on an altogether different focus.
That’s where Mobile Pixels come in with their second screens in the form of the TRIO and TRIO Max. Designed to fit neatly onto the back of any laptop, flipping and folding out with ease when required, if you’re in the market for a secondary screen for work or gaming purposes, the TRIO is one to seriously consider.
It’s the standard TRIO that we’ve been hands on with in recent weeks, fitting onto the back of our laptops via a clever magnet system, ensuring that we can then slide the TRIO out, with utter ease, when required. That standard option fits best with laptops that are 13”-14” in size, with the TRIO itself running at 12.5”. Should you need a larger screen the TRIO Max is most suited to anything up to 17.3” – the Max then delivers 14.1” of goodness your way.
The screen of the TRIO itself is of a more than acceptable quality, as sharp as you would need any secondary screen to be, running at 60hz and 1920×1080, 16:9 ratio. We’ve found it just enough capable of decent colour (although a little brighter would be nice), happily firing up and working the second it has been attached to our laptops. Admittedly there’s a fairly big surround between the edges of the unit and the screen itself, and doing away with such a big bezel would have been more preferable (if only to fit more screen in), but it’s not something that we should be knocking too much.
At least with that deep bezel on the sides, Mobile Pixels have been able to include a number of touch sensitive controls on the side to allow the user to amend things like brightness, colour temperature and more. Working your way through a number of menus if you see fit is easy, but on the whole we’ve been more than happy with how the TRIO has functioned straight out of the box.
So what exactly is the difference with the TRIO to the norm? Well, whereas most secondary monitors are pretty much standalone devices – our Lumonitor 4K portable screen for example – the TRIO actually fits to your own laptop, attaching to the rear of it via a magnet system. With a template in the box to ensure it fits perfectly, and a pretty slimline nature to everything that the TRIO houses (monitor and the sliding mechanisms), unless you’re a real weight weeny or are concerned that any increase is likely to be a significant one, you’ll barely notice it in place.
Once it is attached, the magic of the Mobile Pixels TRIO comes into its own. The monitor slides out with ease, with placement of this second screen right next to your main laptop offering. We’ve been amazed at just how simple it is to use, flipping it out of sight when not required, and back in within a matter of seconds when it is. With the option to also use the entire TRIO mechanism with a third screen, clipping in, attaching and then sliding out the other side of your laptop, it’s something that could occasionally be seen as a no-brainer.
In the box the TRIO comes with the single monitor itself, a TRIO Clip, some metal plates and a 2-in-1 USB-C to USB-A/C cable. This proprietary cable attaches the TRIO to your laptop directly, powered up and put into action with a glowing logo on the rear. Setup wise, there’s absolutely no debate that the TRIO is a cinch. Lose that cable though and you could be in for a world of trouble.
What we were most looking forward to with Mobile Pixel’s TRIO though were the gaming opportunities it would allow. Working with Nintendo Switch is a neat addition, as is the promise of connecting it up to your Android device and being able to fire up Xbox Game Pass, making the most of a larger screen. There is however a word of warning here and that is the fact that the TRIO will only work with select Huawei devices and Samsung’s S7 and above. For many that will be a killer, limiting the TRIO to play via connection to laptops only. We’ll admit we were disappointed that our all-conquering Google Pixel line of phones (from the Pixel 2XL, through the 3, 4a and 6 Pro) refused to work.
Thankfully, as the Xbox team have pushed cloud gaming even more, utilising browser play is where the TRIO now comes into its own. Dragging and dropping Xbox Game Pass titles onto that second screen is a joy, even if it is frowned upon by some when we’re meant to be working. If you’ve got a relaxed boss though, this is the way to go.
Aside from the limitations of connecting mobile devices to the Mobile Pixels TRIO, we’ve found that this little second screen, and all its super connected magnetic magic, has gained a place in our hearts. If you’re in need of a second screen and are primarily laptop-based for working or gaming, we’d not hesitate to recommend it in an instant. It’s a seriously clever piece of kit that can be brought out to play, or hidden away, without a second thought.
Huge thanks go out to Mobile Pixels for providing us with their TRIO for review. If you wish to pick one up for yourself, either in standard TRIO form or that of TRIO Max, head over to their site right now.