Joining the growing market for portable external displays, Acer has started selling its first USB-C based external display for laptops. The no-frills Acer PM1 is aimed at the entry level segment of the market, designed as a workhorse monitor for users who need additional screen space when working outside of home or office. The device promises to be one of the most affordable portable USB-C LCDs on the market, but it has some peculiarities that not everyone might like.

The Acer PM1 portable display (model PM161Q) is built upon a 15.6-inch 6-bit IPS panel with a 1920×1080 resolution, offering a maximum brightness of 250 nits brightness, a 800:1 contrast ratio, a 15 ms GtG response time, a 60 Hz refresh rate, and an anti-glare coating. Since we are talking about an IPS panel, expect wide – 178º/178º – horizontal and vertical viewing angles. Though the use of a 6-bit panel means that the display offers a somewhat limited degree of color granularity, as it can only display 262-thousand colors.

The key selling point of the Acer PM1 is its USB 3.1 Type-C connector, which allows for a single-cable setup carrying both for data and power. This makes it easy to use with modern notebooks, some of which only have USB-C ports. Meanwhile the monitor also offers a secondary micro-USB power for supplying power to a monitor when hooked up to a smartphone or other low-power device that can't drive the monitor on its own.

The PM1 external monitor for laptops comes in a rather bulky chassis made of plastic, which is certainly tough, but at 2 cm (0.8 inches) thick, is not especially small. The monitor weighs 952 grams (2.1 pounds), which is comparable to a weight of Acer’s own lightweight 15.6-inch laptops (with USB-C ports), yet good enough for check-in luggage. Looking at the bright side, the LCD has a built-in stand that can regulate its tilt in a range between 15°and 35° and also has hardware buttons to adjust its settings.

Apart from simplicity of a USB-C connection, the biggest advantage of Acer’s PM1 display for laptops is its price. The portable monitor is now available directly from Acer for $179.99, or from Micro Center for $129.99.

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Source: Acer

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  • cygnus1 - Monday, February 3, 2020 - link

    Missed opportunity here. They should've added a second USB C port as a power input/passthru port. That way for laptops that can charge via USB C that don't have multiple USB C ports (yes they exist). You could have the laptop plugged into the monitor and then the laptop charger plugged into the monitor and powering them both most likely.
  • brucethemoose - Monday, February 3, 2020 - link

    Among those that are even interested in a portable second screen, I assume most 1-port laptop users wouldn't want something so bulky and cheap anyway.
  • flyingpants265 - Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - link

    You're better off just getting a better laptop, at that point..
  • zzmad - Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - link

    Can anything like this be plugged into a small desktop machine?
    Can an USB Type C of say an ITX motherboard power up and run such a device?
  • tw-64 - Sunday, May 24, 2020 - link

    I puchased one of those last week with the intention of having a small second monitor for a Dell OptiPlex 3060 desktop PC. Unfortunately, I don't get a signal on the PM161Q when connecting it to the PC's DisplayPort output using a DP-to-USB-C adapter cable. Neither the PM161Q is being detected as new hardware when connected to the USB 3.0 port using a USB-A-to-USB-C adapter cable. Last chance is to buy a USB-C port for the PC, but will call Acer support first.

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