The Mimo Magic Touch ($299.99 list), touted as the world’s first USB monitor with capacitive touchscreen capabilities, is a pricey 10-inch display which draws power from your PC’s USB port. This slim, lightweight monitor is easy to travel with, as long as you don’t bring along its heavy docking base/stand, and it offers very good color quality and responsive touchscreen performance. Its dark and light grayscale performance is lacking, however, and its off angle viewing range is narrow. Additionally, it only comes with a one-year warranty while competing models provide a three year plan.
Design and Features
As with the DoubleSight DS-90U, the Magic Touch weighs only one pound. The 10.1-inch panel has a maximum resolution of 1024 x 600 and uses a glossy coating that is reflective and a bit of a fingerprint magnet. The screen is framed by thin piano black bezels; the bottom bezel sports the Mimo logo and the Magic Touch badge resides on the upper bezel. Measuring 10.0 by 6.7 by 0.8- inches (WHD), this little monitor will fit easily into a laptop bag, allowing you to use a dual monitor setup while on the road. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a protective cover like the ones that ship with the Lenovo LT1421 ($199.99 list, 4 stars), the AOC e1649Fwu ($139 list, 3.5 stars), and the DoubleSight DS-90U ($169 list, 3 stars).
A docking station connector and a mini-USB port are located beneath the lower bezel, and the power and brightness controls are on the right edge of the cabinet. As is the case with every other USB monitor we’ve reviewed, the Magic Touch lacks picture settings (other than the aforementioned brightness controls). Weighing in at a little over 2-pounds the included stand will add considerable weight and bulk to your travel load should you choose to bring it along. Nearly all of the weight is in the triangular base, which has a mini-USB port at the rear and a U-shaped cradle that holds the monitor in place. The cradle provides plenty of tilt maneuverability and has a docking port that establishes a connection between the monitor and the base.
In addition to the stand the Magic Touch ships with a Y-shaped USB cable, a one-page quick start guide, and a large thumbscrew that holds the monitor in place on the stand. It also comes with a relatively miserly one-year warranty, whereas the Lenovo, AOC, and DoubleSight models all include 3-year warranties. What you don’t get is a user manual or a resource CD with the necessary DisplayLink driver (a link to the driver appears on the Mimo website). However, a Mimo spokesperson says that they will begin shipping a resource CD with Magic Touch monitors going forward.
The Magic Touch’s performance was a mixed bag. The touchscreen technology worked like a charm and was very responsive. It’s a multi-touch monitor, which means it will recognize two or more points of contact, making it easy to perform functions such as pinching, zooming, and panning. However, the touchscreen only works when connected to a PC running Windows 7; it works in display-only mode on systems running Windows Vista, XP, and 2000, as well as Mac OS X.
Colors were bold and vibrant, scaling evenly from dark to light on the DisplayMate Color Scales test. There was no tinting that I could see and each swatch was well saturated and bright. Small text set to 5.3 points on the Scaled Fonts test was very easy to read. Each character was fully formed and legible. The monitor struggled when it came to grayscale reproduction. Dark gray swatches on the 64-Step Grayscale test transitioned smoothly along the middle of the scale but not at the dark end; the darkest swatches appeared identical and went from gray to black abruptly, skipping at least two shades. At the high end of the scale the brightest swatches were compressed and appeared washed out.
Viewing angle performance was iffy. Color shifting was minimal from a side angle but the picture washes out considerably when viewed from a slight top angle. When viewed from the bottom, the picture becomes much too dark.
If you want to add a second monitor to your road repertoire and require touchscreen capabilities, the Mimo Magic Touch will get the job done, but at $300 its cost is prohibitive. While colors and text pop off the 10.1-inch screen, the panel’s grayscale and viewing angle issues hold it back. Granted, it may have been the first USB monitor to offer touchscreen functionality, but it’s not the only game in town; DoubleSight has a touchscreen version of the DS-90U (the DS-90UT) that goes for $199.00 and comes with a three-year warranty. That said, if you can live without the touchscreen or don’t have a compatible Windows 7 system, the Lenovo LT1421 is still the portable USB monitor to beat.