July 7, 2022

FDBZ

Dragon Ball Source

Designer Review: ASUS ZenScreen Go MB16AWP portable wireless display

Review unit on loan from ASUS Singapore

This review is from the perspective of a visual content creator, someone who does graphic design, digital art, edits photos and videos.

The ASUS ZenScreen Go MB16AWP is a portable wireless monitor competing in an incredibly competitive portable display market. To stand out among the crowd, it features wireless connectivity which allows the display to connect to Windows, MacOS, iPhones, iPads and Android devices with no cables. The display also has a built-in battery so you really get the true wireless functionality – no cables for video and for power.

The retail price is SGD 799 or USD 469.

Bottom line
The ASUS ZenScreen Go MB16AWP is a beautiful display with good build quality. It has 100% sRGB colour support so it’s reasonably colour accurate, and sufficiently bright for bright indoor use. Battery life of the 7800 mAh battery can last at least 4 hours at 50% brightness.

The value of the ASUS ZenScreen Go MB16AWP is wireless connectivity. If you don’t need wireless connectivity, you can and should go with cabled portable displays which are significantly cheaper.

This ASUS display works great as an external monitor to improve productivity. The wireless functionality means there’s no cable clutter, or cables to bring around.

The downsides is watching videos or gaming isn’t ideal as videos won’t be as smooth as what you can get with cabled connection, but that’s to be expected. You can connect cables too if you want. Image quality is pretty good and only affected by the pixelation of 1080P. Cursor tracking is good with Windows but sluggish with MacOS.

It is a good product that performs, but it’s also pricey. Ultimately it will come down to how much you value wireless connectivity in a portable display. There aren’t many wireless portable displays in the market at the moment.

Specifications

  • Size: 15.6-inch
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz
  • Display surface: matte
  • Backlight: LED
  • Panel: IPS
  • Display colours: 16.7 million
  • sRGB coverage: 100%
  • Brightness: 250 nits
  • Contrast ratio: 1200:1
  • Response time: 5m (GTG)
  • Ports: USB-C, mini HDMI
  • Flicker-free: Yes
  • Weight: 1.09 kg
  • PDF manual

Things included


These are the items included in the box.

  • Mini HDMI to HDMI adapter
  • Power adapter
  • Power cord
  • Quick start guide
  • USB-C cable
  • Warranty Card
  • ZenScreen sleeve
  • ZenScreen tripod hole cover

While the display has a mini-HDMI port, no mini-HDMI cable is included.


The ZenScreen sleeve comes with a velcro flap and one big pocket for the display. This sleeve is important because there’s no flip-case for this display. Putting the display into the sleeve is the safe way to bring this display around.

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This display comes with a built-in kickstand with a latch for deployment.

On the back is a tripod mount with a 3/8 inch tripod screw thread. Unfortunately no tripod is included.


ASUS actually has an excellent tripod stand that came with the ASUS ROG Strix XG17AHP portable gaming monitor but that tripod is not sold separately. I searched online and found someone mentioned the US $25 Ulanzi MT-16 table top tripod as being compatible with the ASUS display.

The built-in kickstand works great, just at a lower height. The tripod stand is good if you want to lift the display higher, but is something extra to bring along when transporting the display.


This is the lowest angle of the kick-stand.


This is the highest angle of the kick-stand.

There are three rubber feet at the base with fantastic grip on the table.

The kickstand can also be used for vertical deployment. There is an auto-rotation feature but it requires the installation of the ASUS DisplayWidget driver (Windows) which isn’t available at the time of this review. I’ve tried the ASUS DisplayWidget made for other ASUS monitors and wasn’t able to get the driver to detect the ZenScreen Go. Without the driver, you have to rotate the display orientation via your OS settings.


The ports of the left are 3.5mm audio jack, mini-HDMI v1.4 and USB-C.

There are two 1W speakers on both sides for stereo. Audio quality sound alright, only limited in volume by the 1W. Many portable displays come with speakers that point backwacks so these speakers that point to the side are much better.


Colours on this 15.6-inch display look good out of the box. Panel type is IPS so viewing angles are good. Backlight is LED.

I measured colour support for 100% sRGB, 78% P3, 77% AdobeRGB, 72% NTSC and a maximum brightness of 203 nits.

I use the display at 50% brightness (~122 nits) and that’s sufficient for indoor use with some sunlight streaming through the windows.

And at 50% brightness and wireless connection, I was able to get 4 hours and 20 minutes of battery life. That’s longer than the 3.5 hours of battery life mentioned by ASUS.


Viewing angle is good and only affected by the matte anti-glare when there are reflections on the display.


Backlight bleeding is well controlled on the review unit I have. This is an IPS panel so there will be the typical IPS glow. The glow at the corners are only visible in the photo and not in real life. The only issue I can find is with the extra glow at the top right corner.


Power button and light indicator are at the bottom right.


OSD button and toggle are at the bottom left.

OSD


The OSD menu is easy to navigate with the 4-way directional button and toggle.

There are quick shortcuts for volume, brightness and video input source.

Go deeper into the menu and there are controls for screen modes, blue light filter, brightness, contrast, colour temperature, saturation, skin tone, and more.

Connections


The display supports USB-C and HDMI connection in addition to wireless connection.

For some reason, the refresh rate of wireless connection on Windows is 30Hz but on MacOS it’s 60Hz. Anyway, playing videos or gaming with wireless connection isn’t completely smooth so it’s still better to use cable connection for playing videos and gaming.

I contacted ASUS regarding the 30Hz issue and they said currently that’s the limitation with Miracast on Windows.


Once you set the video input to wireless with the OSD, the display will take some time to restart into wireless mode. Upon restart, a screen will present instructions on how you can connect wirelessly to different OS.

When the ASUS display is in wireless mode, it’s acting as a wireless hotspot so that other devices can detect the display.


Image quality will depend on the strength of the wireless connection. Most of the time it’s pretty good, just like what you can get with cable connection. But if connection is bad, image quality suffers as you can see above. And image quality is affected by the pixelation of 1080P resolution.

Windows wireless connection

For Windows, press Win-key + K, then choose to connect to the ASUS display.

When connected, you will get all the display functionality as if connecting to a cabled desktop monitor. You can choose between mirror, extended desktop mode or use the ASUS display as your only display.

Main issue with Windows connection is the maxed out 30Hz refresh rate. Lag with cursor tracking is minimal but due to refresh rate the cursor movement will appear choppy.


I discovered one glitch with the wireless display connection that can be irritating. Sometimes there is cursor offset, and when that happens the clicking point will not correspond to the cursor location. This means you can’t click on the thing where the cursor is. Restarting the ASUS display seems to solve the issue, thankfully. Or you can switch video input source, and switch back to wireless input.

Restarting the ASUS display and getting it back to the wireless connection mode takes 45s, or a total of 1 min 10s to get it connected to Windows again.

MacOS wireless connection

For MacOS, you have to connect MacOS to the Wifi created by the ASUS display.

Once connected, the ASUS display will show a URL link in the form of 192.168.x.x

Next, you have to use a web browser to load that link (which is the ASUS display) to enable Wifi/internet. This additional step is needed because when the Mac connects to the ASUS display Wifi, it is not connected to your home Wifi with internet. If you don’t go through with this step, you won’t have internet.

Cursor tracking is smoother due to the 60Hz refresh rate compared to Windows wireless connection.

iOS and iPadOS wireless connection
Similar to MacOS wireless connection, you have to connect to the Wifi created by the ASUS display.

If you are using an iPhone or iPad that has cellular, you already have internet, but note that this is internet from your ISP and charges apply.

To use your iOS and iPad with your home Wifi, you have to load the URL provided by the ASUS display, to enable internet.


Wireless connection with iOS and iPad isn’t that useful because iOS and iPadOS have limited external display support. Only a handful of apps support external display.


E.g. When watching Youtube, videos can fill the screen. When you’re using Instagram, it’s just the mobile app blown up big.

Android wireless connection

Shown above is the ASUS display connected to my Samsung Tab S8 Ultra.

With the Samsung tablet, there are two ways to connect wirelessly. Connecting via Samsung Smart View will allow mirror casting, and mirror mode is just not that useful.

Wireless SamsungDex works just like wired/cabled SamsungDex. With SamsungDex, you can get two desktops instead of mirror mode. The tablet will show the tablet interface while the ASUS display will show the SamsungDex desktop.

If you have keyboard and touchpad, you can use the touchpad to move the cursor on the ASUS display. If you do not have a touchpad, with the Samsung tablet, you can go into settings to turn the tablet into a huge touchpad. You need the cursor as the ASUS display is not a touchscreen.

Conclusion

The selling point of the ASUS ZenScreen Go MB16AWP is wireless portability and built-in battery. The built-in battery means the display will not drain the power of your laptop. This will allow you to work outdoors much longer with an external display and laptop when you’re not near any power source. And not all laptops may provide enough power to power external portable displays to adequate brightness.

Battery life of at least 4 hours at 50% brightness is pretty good.

As an external display just to get the extended desktop mode so that you can see more content, it works great and is fantastic for productivity.

There are a few downsides. Wireless connection isn’t good for watching videos and gaming, the 30Hz refresh rate with wireless connected limited by Miracast and the occasional cursor offset problem that thankfully has a fix.

The price of SGD 799 is definitely on the higher side when you compare to cabled portable displays. The value clearly is in the wireless portability and there aren’t many true wireless battery powered portable displays in the market. You can decide whether this is worth the money based on the findings I’ve presented.

Pros and cons at a glance
+ Good looking display
+ Compact and portable (1.09kg)
+ Carrying case included
+ Rubber feet with good grip
+ Vertical deployment possible with kickstand
+ Built-in 7800 mAh battery
+ At least 4 hours of battery life at 50% brightness
+ 100% sRGB colour support
+ Reasonably good image quality but just 1080P resolution
+ Matte textured surface with reasonable anti-glare
+ Good viewing angles
+ OSD easy to navigate
+ Wireless connection with Windows, MacOS, iOS, iPadOS and Android devices
+ Stereo side-facing 1W speakers but volume on the low side
– No HDMI cable included
– 30Hz refresh rate for wireless connection with Miracast on Windows
– Occasional cursor offset problem with Windows requires ASUS display to restart to fix the problem
– No driver yet for the auto-rotation feature with WIndows.
– Pricey
– Good tripod stand difficult to find
– No touchscreen