Portable displays are picking up popularity lately, especially as many people move to ultraportable devices that are easy to carry around. In those cases, what happens when you need more screen real estate for a 10- or 13-inch laptop display — or even a phone display — and don't want to lug around a full-size monitor?
TAIHE's Gemini 15.6-inch portable touch display (which absolutely smashed its Kickstarter goals) is part of the answer. It's a slim screen that you might mistake for a large tablet, complete with a kickstand on the back, plenty of ports on the side, and built-in controls, just like a real monitor. It also happens to have a built-in rechargeable battery, upping the portability factor. I used the Gemini on and off for a couple of weeks in tandem with a few devices to see how well it works and whether or not it's worth a buy.
Bottom line: It doesn't have the best color reproduction, but the built-in battery, selection of ports, configuration options, and starting price make the Gemini a viable portable display option for a lot of people.From $239
- Glossy display cuts down on glare
- Built-in battery
- Slim and light design
- Includes remote control
- Final version charges with USB-C
- Button controls are frustrating
- Poor color reproduction
- Slow battery charge
What I love about the TAIHE Gemini portable display
The Gemini is available in either 1,920 x 1,080 (FHD) or 3,840 x 2,160 (4K) resolution with a price difference of about $100, and you can choose to add touch functionality to the 4K version for again about $100 more, bringing the most expensive option up to about $439. That might seem like a lot, especially for a portable monitor, but luckily the FHD model I have here costs closer to about $239, which is much more reasonable.
|Display resolution||1,920 x 1,080 (FHD)|
|Display size||15.6 inches|
|Refresh rate||60 Hz|
|Response time||15 ms|
|Color gamut||66 percent sRGB|
50 percent AdobeRGB
|Weight||2.0 pounds (0.91 kg)|
The version of the TAIHE Gemini I'm reviewing is apparently not the final version of the product, because the Kickstarter campaign passed certain monetary goals that changed some specs for the better. For example, the ports on my Gemini include two Mini-HDMI, two Micro-USB, one USB-C, and a barrel charging port, but the final version will have instead full-sized HDMI and a second USB-C port to handle charging. This will be a much better collection, as one of my main complaints was having to carry around a proprietary charger.
The display's battery gets about three hours of life from a charge, which can be verified with four blue LEDs on the right side. It's not the most accurate reading, but at least it gives you some idea of how much time you have left before you need to find an outlet. I can't say how quickly the battery charges on the new USB-C models, but with the barrel charger, it goes from empty to full in about 2.5 hours. That's not very fast, and is easily outpaced by some other display options. Other than the added portability, the built-in battery also saves your laptop's battery from being drained while plugged into the display.
The Gemini is built relatively well, with a sturdy aluminum body that has minimal bezel around the top and sides, and just a slightly larger chin on the bottom. The ports are seated appropriately on the left side and there's decent spacing between them. The kickstand has a hinge that rotates a full 180 degrees, but it's really only stiff enough to prop up the two-pound tablet at a maximum angle of about 160 degrees. It will also prop up the display in portrait mode if you'd like to save space, though it sits at a precarious 90-degree angle that I was too afraid to use without some sort of extra fastener. Built-in speakers on both side edges pump out surprisingly loud and full audio that was much more appealing than the audio provided by my laptop's speakers.
TAIHE claims about 300 nits brightness, but I wouldn't be surprised if that number was a bit low compared to actual brightness. It helps that the display is matte, but I didn't really have any issues working with the portable display in sun-soaked rooms. Whereas I had to have my laptop at a certain angle, I could set down the Gemini and not really worry about which way I was facing. This being a touch display, that matte finish also cuts down a lot on fingerprint smudges, though you'll still want to bring along a microfiber cloth to wipe it down after heavy use.
When I wasn't using the Gemini as a second laptop display for work purposes (mainly Slack and Airtable), I used it with my Nintendo Switch and briefly with my phone. In the former case, the screen unlocks the 1080p docked resolution and would be perfect during long trips or for cramped dorm rooms, but anyone with a regular TV would probably benefit more there. As for hooking up a phone, only some are compatible, including my Samsung Note 9 with Samsung DeX. It all worked well together in testing, and if you add a wireless mouse and keyboard to the mix, you essentially have something resembling a PC.
Included with the package is a decent selection of adapters and dongles that make it easy to connect just about any device you want to the Gemini, plus it comes with a remote control that alleviates some of the frustration of using the side buttons for on-screen control. Altogether these accessories are a nice little bonus for a display that's already quite affordable.
What I do not love about the TAIHE Gemini portable display
The 15.6-inch display seems to have great contrast and puts up a fight in a well-lit room thanks to the matte finish, but coverage of the color gamut leaves a lot to be desired. Testing color reproduction, I got back just 66 percent sRGB and 50 percent AdobeRGB, which really isn't great for anything other than casual use. If you're planning on editing or creating, you'll want something with much better color. As a portable display that I can use for less-used windows to free up space on my laptop display, it works great.
The Gemini is definitely thin and is one of the lighter portable displays this size, but it looks a bit industrial, at least with the silver finish. Grabbing a black, blue, or red model would shake things up a bit, but if you're expecting some flair in the design, this isn't really the display for you.
On-screen controls using the five side buttons can be annoying when trying to go deep in the menu, but the inclusion of a remote control makes navigation a bit more intuitive. And finally, if you prefer using a secondary display in portrait mode, the Gemini really isn't designed properly for it. The kickstand holds it up at a 90-degree angle that seems plain precarious, and you're much better off sticking with a landscape orientation.
Should you buy the TAIHE Gemini portable display?
TAIHE's Gemini portable display is a cost-effective way to add a 15.6-inch touch display to your laptop, console, or compatible phone. It's slim, light, and seems like it can take a beating due to the aluminum design, but it does seem a bit plain or industrial, especially with the silver finish. It does come with a decent selection of ports, though, and the final version should be equipped with full HDMI and dual USB-C for video in and charging.
The display gets plenty bright for working in sunny rooms and the touch function is responsive and accurate, and even then the built-in battery lasts about three hours on a single charge. That's enough for most plane rides or cafe visits, but when it comes time to recharge, it takes more than a couple of hours to get back to full. As for color reproduction, it's quite poor across the sRGB and AdobeRGB gamuts. It still certainly gets the job done and great contrast makes it seem punchy, but creators and editors will no doubt want something with much better color. If you're more of a casual user and want something affordable, TAIHE's Gemini should make a great choice.
A relatively affordable monitor with touch display and built-in battery.
The TAIHE Gemini's aluminum body has a simple, light design that's stocked with ports, a built-in kickstand, and a 5,000 mAh battery. The 15.6-inch touch display doesn't offer the best color reproduction, but it should be good enough for most people, especially when the price is considered.