If you need a portable display, there are an increasing amount of options on the market. A new Kickstarter-funded project based out of Hong Kong, though, is doing something I have never seen before: a 4K OLED with touch and inking support.
Yes, you can have it all.
I've spent the last few weeks with the XtendTouch Pro, and here is what you need to know about it.
Note: The unit for this hands-on is an engineering sample and not the final version. It should be taken with some caution, as we have not yet seen the final shipping product for a review.
Bottom line: The XtendTouch Pro is the world's first portable 4K AMOLED display. It supports touch, inking, and comes with a wide variety of accessories. It's also super color-accurate and shows a lot of potential.
- Very color-accurate display
- 4K AMOLED is gorgeous
- HDR, stereo speakers, MPP 2.0 inking, touch
- Great overall kit and accessories
- Risky: Company is mostly unknown
- We haven't seen the finished, shipping product yet
XtendTouch Pro: What it is (and why it's different)
When portable displays first hit the market a few years ago, they were mostly limited to full HD resolutions without touch support. They also tended to have terrible color accuracy. That was probably OK, as the demographic for these accessories was business people who wanted to do mobile presentations or those who needed to do more in-depth office work while at a hotel.
But, surprisingly, the category of portable screens has exploded. HP, ASUS, and Lenovo all have excellent offerings, with Lenovo bringing lightness with touch and inking support to its latest ThinkVision M14t.
Pepper Jobs is based out of Hong Kong, and they have made the XtendTouch Pro. It's the dream display, as it pretty much does everything you want, which is reflected in its higher price. Let's hit those features:
- World's first 15.6-inch 4K AMOLED Portable Monitor: >100% DCI-P3, 99% AdobeRGB, △E<1.5, 1ms Response Time, 650 Nits Peak Brightness.
- Designed for The Pro: On-the-go studio for the designer, photographer, video editor, and everyone chasing a superb viewing experience.
- Affordable Yet Powerful: With better color performances and more brilliant features like a 4096-level touchscreen, PD passthrough charging, built-in speakers, etc., it costs only 1/5 the price of ASUS ProArt PQ22UC.
- Compatible with Various Devices: Smartphones, laptops, tablets, game consoles, cameras, and so on.
That's… a lot for a portable display. For instance, I haven't seen 4K AMOLED used in these accessories yet, let alone ones that promise ">100% DCI-P3, 99% AdobeRGB," which is incredible if true.
Supporting touch is always preferable, even it adds some weight due to the digitizer. But supporting inking (with an included MPP 2.0 pen and Microsoft-certified) and 4,096 levels of pressure is the icing on the cake.
Let's toss in some more specs and features:
- HDR500 True Black
- Up to 650 nits of brightness
- 60Hz refresh rate
- 1 to 2ms response time
- Ports: mini HDMI, 2x USB-C, OTG, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Included stereo speakers
- Touch and stylus support for Windows, Android, and even macOS
- Included magnetic cover, USB Hub for power and expansion
- PD Passthrough Charging
- Hardware Low Blue Light Filter Technology
- Picture in Picture (PiP) support letting you connect two devices at the same time
- Weight: 1.87lbs (0.85kg)
- Starting price: $699 (Kickstarter); $1,299 retail
As I've said, I haven't come across a portable display that does all of that. Granted, such a feature set is required for only top professionals like designers, photo and video editors, and even gaming.
If you need something for Slack on a second screen, the XtendTouch Pro is overkill.
XtendTouch Pro: How is it?
Pepper Jobs, the company behind the XtendTouch Pro, sent me an engineering sample to get a glimpse of their vision. Engineering sample means it's "rough," as not all the features are yet enabled, like HDR, color profiles, the speakers, or PD Passthrough Charging. That's fine as the XtendTouch Pro is not expected to ship until sometime in January 2021.
Putting those setbacks aside, the XtendTouch Pro is impressive. Let's take a look at those projected benchmarks. From my testing, the XtendTouch Pro delivers on color accuracy and brightness:
- 100 percent of sRGB
- 99 percent AdobeRGB
- 100 percent DCI-P3
- Peak brightness of 418 (no HDR available to test the 650 nit claim)
Those kinds of numbers are difficult to find in professional desktop monitors, let alone portable 15.6-inch ones.
The AMOLED is also, as expected, outstanding. It is very contrasty, with deep blacks and surprisingly fast response times, making it great for videos or even gaming. When combined with the 4K resolution, you get an extremely sharp, punchy display that more likely will exceed the laptop (or phone) it is connected to. That's something most portable displays cannot claim.
The whole kit is also comprehensive. The engineering sample I received came with a weighted portable and foldable stand to mount the XtendTouch Pro, making it ideal for those who have more permanent setups. There is the "origami" style magnetic cover for travel, which is common for portable screens. I don't love these covers, but they are convenient, letting you protect the display on both sides when in the bag and acting as a quick kickstand for a hotel or meeting room. They're a bit tricky to figure out, but once sorted, it behaved like any other mag cover.
Additionally, there were two Type-C cables (one for power, one for display and audio), and a full HDMI/mini HDMI cable for older systems (though inking didn't seem to work through that one, just the Type-C cable). The USB hub is used as a port extender and power for the XtendTouch Pro, seeing as it draws more energy than a typical full HD, non-touch display. It's a nice hub, too, with a nifty stand to hold it in place.
The two side-flanking stereo speakers on my engineering unit are not the same hardware as production, which is a good thing. The speakers were non-functional and giving off some of the worst coil whine I have ever heard. Assuming Pepper Jobs puts in decent speakers, the XtendTouch Pro should be OK for at least basic audio (I don't expect Dolby Atmos quality).
Inking was also beneficial thanks to the MPP 2.0 pen that supports 4,096 pressure levels. With the included pen, this makes the XtendTouch Pro an excellent option for those with laptops, desktops, or phones that don't have a touch screen or direct support for inking. I wouldn't classify this as an artist's tool, though drawing and design work should be fine.
XtendTouch Pro: Should you back the Kickstarter?
Kickstarter projects are always a bit risk, though Pepper Jobs, based in Hong Kong, was "founded in 2017 by a group of customer-focused gadget enthusiasts and engineers." The engineering sample I received strongly suggests that they can ship and execute on their promise.
The XtendTouch Pro runs for about $700 through the Kickstarter campaign (which ends in a few days). The regular "retail" price is going to be closer to $1,300, which kind of makes sense when you combine the 4K AMOLED touch display with the large package of included accessories (speakers, pen, dock, stand, cables, cover, etc.).
While it would have been nice to see a more finalized product with HDR, PD Passthrough, and speakers that worked, the display itself is magnificent. It really is a 4K AMOLED with exceptional (and unparalleled) color accuracy and brightness.
Overall, what I like about the XtendTouch Pro is it is doing something new. There are no 15-inch 4K AMOLED portable displays right now with inking and speakers. I'm sure as the market grows, we'll see other companies jump in, but for now, if this is the feature set of your dreams, the XtendTouch Pro is your only bet, and that makes it worth considering.