ZenScreen MB16AC is the latest model of a portable USB-powered monitor from ASUS. ASUS introduced it in 2017, targeting mostly people who need two screens setups mostly for office purposes and who travel a lot and need an extra display on a go. It seems like several years ago ASUS had decided to produce only 15.6” portable displays and since then it has been looking for perfection in this relatively narrow category. Well, although this model has some flaws they came very close to achieving perfection. No wonder it had been widely acclaimed among PC magazines and sites. Without further ado let’s take a look what all this fuss was about.
Specification and features
|Panel Size||15.6”||Panel Type||IPS|
|Brightness||220 cd/㎡||Refresh rate||60Hz|
|Contrast ratio||800:1||Response time||5ms|
As you can see ZenScreen 16MBAC is a well-stated Full 1080p HD display which supports uses an IPS panel with its pros and cons. You might find that 220 cd/㎡ brightness isn’t high enough and to mitigate this ASUS provides you with eight different video modes (sRGB Mode/Scenery Mode/Theater Mode/Standard Mode/Night View Mode/Game Mode/Reading Mode and Mode for Darkroom).
ZenScreen 16MBAC equipped with HDCP support, Low Blue Light, Flicker-free technology; it consumes less than 8W in a typical mode and around 0W in a saving mode, which is very good because you don’t want your extra monitor to drain off your laptop battery very quickly. Obviously ZenScreen 16MBAC was built in line with all usual set of standards and Compliance (Energy Star®, BSMI, CB, CCC, CE, FCC, KCC, RoHS, UkrSEPRO, UL/cUL, VCCI, WEEE, WHQL (Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7), RCM, CU(EAC),TUV Flicker-free , TUV Low Blue Light).
Design and Ergonomics
The main merit of this model is its design. It is very smart, modern and it reflects the design of a ZenBook laptop, so if you are a happy owner of one of those laptops you will definitely want to take a look at these monitor as a prime option. Very thin bezels, domination of grey and metal colors make ZenScreen the most stylish portable monitor on the market. You will be proud to put it out of your bag and set up next to your laptop. And you will easily put it back into the laptop bag and carry away, thanks to just 0.3 inches thin and 2.8 pounds weight including the cover.
Besides being sleek this monitor is very practical and neat. In the left bottom corner, you can find two buttons: one button for navigating “On Screen” menu and the other to adjust the blue light level. “On Screen” menu is very understandable and easy to use, you won’t have any problem to choose necessary preferences.
A Power button is located in the right bottom corner next to a hole. That’s actually the funniest part of a design. The idea behind this feature is that you can use a pen (they actually provide you with a pen, a regular ballpoint pen, not a smart one) to fit into a hole and prop up a screen. It's a nice solution when for some reason you cannot use other options (like to use a cover as a stand in a portrait mode) but it's not very stable. Speaking of a cover, it looks like a standard cover for an iPad and mainly designed to protect the screen from dust and scratches. The tricky thing about the cover is that you might find yourself puzzled of how to use it as a stand. Clearly, you’d prefer such basic procedure to go much smoother.
And the last bit of a design review it’s worth to mention that ASUS ZenScreen MB16AC had only one input port – USB type C which you can find on the left side of the device. It is very handy when you use only one cable for video signal and power supply, hence your work desk is not swamped in tangled cables and you have enough space for documents and cup of coffee.
Performance and Set-up
As we've already mentioned it's not the brightest display. In fact, it is dim and although it has very sharp images and very accurate color representation the lack of brightness makes all other merits useless in the room full of light or outdoors (even during a cloudy day). The average brightness is around 180 cd/㎡ and even this number can go lower if you don’t use USB C connection.
You’ve already known that ZenScreen MB16AC requires only one cable and one USB C port. The good news is that it doesn’t matter if your laptop doesn't have USB type C port. ASUS provides you with an adapter and all you need is to download necessary drivers from the ASUS website. The bad news is that it doesn't help every time. Some devices are not compatible or fully compatible with USB A port and unfortunately, it’s very hard to tell whether or not your device falls into this category. In other words, if you don’t have USB C it’s better to ask ASUS directly or look up info online.
Back to the performance we can tell that ASUS ZenScreen delivers what a modern portable monitor should do. It has very wide viewing angles and even at extreme angles color representation remains good (around 78 %). With just 5ms response time we can offer this monitor as a backup plan for gamers, at least you find a significantly better option among portable monitors. It’s also good for all kind of work with images due to its amazingly sharp and colorful images.
Asus MB16AC Review Verdict
If you work with the various artistic apps and you travel a lot and need an extra display quite often during your journeys you might want to look at this screen. You’ll definitely find it interesting if you are into stylish design, easy setup and you want to have minimum cables and maximum space on your desk. You can forget about it if your workspace is full of sunlight or you don’t have USB-C port.
Overall we give it 3.8 out of 5 because a dim screen is a serious minus, a cover is really stupid but the rest is absolutely amazing.