We’ve all been living with docked laptops with external displays for year. Ho hum, ordinary course of doing business everyday, right? But have you ever fantasized about having dual (or triple) display capability when you’re on the road? You might’ve, then came back down to earth/reality when you thought about lugging a 15′ flat panel display with you and then returned to your regularly scheduled workday programming.
But, it IS now possible to portabilize multiple display capability in a way that makes sense and won’t wrench your arm out of its socket lugging a desktop display with you. I did this for the first time this week. This was actually so cool that I need to report on it. I was working with a client in Jackson, Mississippi last week. I was connected to a projector to show the client their new document management system (Worldox). But I also needed to have project reference documents up to work on and also email available. All at the same time. Pretty tough on a single laptop display, right?
So here’s how I’m doing it:
- I’m using my Thinkpad T420 laptop (Windows 7 Pro)
- I have an AOC USB-connected portable LED display attached to the Thinkpad (here’s the link for it) - obviously this is connected to a USB port on the Thinkpad (it’s under a pound – 15.6″, more advanced LED v. “older” LCD technology – I put it in a neoprene $5 slipcase intended for a laptop – street-priced under $100!). Note that it ONLY connects via USB and is controlled by Windows/Mac drivers that are included to route the video output to USB.
- I’m connected via my VGA port to a projector
- I’m able to use all three display (internal laptop LCD, external AOC LCD and the projector with the internal screen as primary and the other two as “extended” displays for a 3-screen virtual Windows desktop.
It’s spectacular. And I’m not easily impressed by techie stuff after 30+ years of this stuff. Windows 7 Pro’s multiple screen control made this a breeze. And with each screen running at different resolutions (laptop = 1600×900, projector = 1024×768, external USB display = 136×768).
Actually, with my iPad next to me, as well as my Android phone, I actually had *FIVE* screens running and working for me. I felt like a “digital traffic controller” – almost Minority Report-ish (in a cool technology-of-the-future kind of way, not a Tom Cruise-whack job kind of way).
Practical application idea: Perfect for trial presentations – laptop = main screen controlling your notes, etc. USB screen display your exhibits, projector display exhibits, etc. from a trial presentation program like Sanction or Trial Director
Depositions – laptop = main screen with your notes, questions, etc., USB screen with a live transcript feed from the court report, projector showing documents you want the deponent to see (or just turn the USB screen around to show them exhibits)
Anyway, pretty slick capability for under $100.