Conclusion: Still Needs a Version 2.0

Now, as before, I can't argue against the GeChic On-Lap 1302 as a useful product. The 1301 was something that caught a lot of your eyes before, and rightfully so. There are other products on the market that add portable screens to your notebook (we actually have Toshiba's Mobile Monitor due in soon), but none that do it the way GeChic's solution does. Everything else uses DisplayLink; what GeChic has is something no one else does: a USB 2.0-powered monitor that still runs off of the GPU.

In my previous review I suggested that the On-Lap 1301 needed a version 2.0. Despite the substantially redesigned chassis, the 1302 doesn't feel like a full and proper revision; it feels like an incremental one. The reduced screen weight is appreciated, the revised connector design is much improved, and the green rubber block mounts are worlds better than what came before. And certainly I won't fault the screen quality; given what the On-Lap is, it's a miracle the screen works at all, and for its intended purposes it definitely gets the job done. I still think they need to switch to a matte finish, though.

Where things start to go awry, really, are with the mounting systems involved with the On-Lap 1302. Whether the adhesive-affixed metal bracket is an improvement over the suction cups is going to be a matter of preference to you (I personally don't like essentially taping something to my notebook lid), but neither solution is really ideal and unfortunately I'm just not sure what would be.

What I can definitely suggest is eschewing the rubber stand bricks entirely. GeChic sells them separately as being useful for tablets, phones, and what have you, but really they need to just be disposed of entirely. The 1302 needs either a built-in stand, or a removeable kickstand that can be attached to and rotated from the back of the screen to allow it to function in both portrait and landscape modes. The bricks continue to be incredibly clunky, and even though they at least work this time (to an extent), they're far from ideal and I can't imagine GeChic is making enough on selling them separately for other uses to make up for how much they take away from the On-Lap.

With all that said, though, GeChic continues to be in the unique position of offering something no one else has. The $199 price tag may feel steep to some users, but nothing else does what the On-Lap 1302 does. It feels like a net gain over the 1301, but if you already bought one of those you gain very little by switching over. Ultimately, though, I just don't feel quite as bullish about the 1302 as I did about the 1301. This revision feels too rushed and too incremental; the product needs to bake a little bit longer and see a more comprehensive redesign. We still have a good start, but we had that months ago.

Performance and Screen Quality


View All Comments

  • pensive69 - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    i like the idea of having something system connected in each room that is minimal and 'on'. Reply
  • Samus - Monday, April 16, 2012 - link

    thats the dumbest thing i've ever heard. last thing we need is another battery in our mobile devices.

    i use a doublesight 9" usb screen that runs off a single USB port and works great. It's only 1024x800, but being 9", serves its job quite well holding widgets, vento, other misc tools, and occasionally a calculator/calendar when i'm typing up invoices.

    by the way, I use it on a desktop, not a laptop. i prefer the low power consumption, small size, and not driving off my videocard which would impact in-game performance using an ordinary monitor. the usb monitor uses no resources when running just widgets during gameplay.
  • FrederickL - Monday, April 16, 2012 - link

    Suggest you bother to read related postings before you post yourself. If you had taken a look at what Cobalt and I were discussing you would have realised that this product had prompted an exchange concerning a related but somewhat different concept - the wireless thin client touch screen. The user case scenarios for such a device are tolerably obvious are and the thought is, IMHO, very far from "dumb". Reply
  • FrederickL - Monday, April 16, 2012 - link

    Apologies Dicobalt - spelling fail on my part. -:)
  • dicobalt - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    Maybe even use WiDi and put a touch screen on it? Reply
  • pensive69 - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    well, you might use this as a 2nd monitor
    you could use it as a small form server or desktop
    monitor if they offer VGA/HDMI outputs.
    we will order a few to set in security video server
    cabinets for our warehouses. power thru USB seems
    do-able now and the small form of these displays
    is very welcomed in a cabinet which is space
    constrained in most locations.

    a USB 2.0-powered monitor that still runs off of the GPU.
    interesting product.
    perhaps they intend to do 1080p.
  • ImSpartacus - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    Poor Dustin, he writes a fair and concise review of a fledglingly niche product and then we just apply the wrong standards for our brash snap judgments.

    It's a tough position for a reviewer to be in. Perhaps future articles could quickly review the fundamental limitations of this kind of product?
  • captcanuck - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    A larger display with a constant pixel count would increase power consumption, right?

    I feel like 13" is the sweet spot for a 768p display. Hell, a 12.5" display would be passable if the power consumption is better.
  • vegemeister - Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - link

    The sweet spot for 1366x768, if one exists, is 6". Reply

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