Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421

The ThinkVision is an acceptable accessory if you need extra screen real estate on the go. Just don't expect flawless imagery.

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Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

The ThinkVision is yet another DisplayLink product — that is, a monitor that runs off USB.

This one is 14 inches in size, can be propped up on its own kickstand (although it can't tilt backwards enough for our liking) and comes with a cable that splits into two USB terminators. Only the thicker cable will be required in most circumstances; however, if you have a USB port that doesn't supply enough power, you'll need to plug the second in.

It isn't entirely a case of plug and play, though, as you'll need to install the supplied driver to get things working. Once up and running, the ThinkVision appears to Windows as a normal monitor, with a resolution of 1366x768. There's only one set of physical buttons behind the monitor, which adjust brightness.

It's definitely a cheap TN panel, with quite shallow viewing angles and only capable of displaying 262,000 colours. While we were able to run video fine on it, it seems as though it has issues with Windows 7's Aero scheme; that is, anything involving transparency seems to flicker and lose resolution whenever the mouse passes over it. Scrolling text also seemed to be a bit much for the ThinkVision, creating a garbled mess before righting itself less than a second later.

This is most likely a bandwidth problem of USB 2.0, and it's surprising that Lenovo didn't opt for USB 3.0. Serious Sam HD proved 3D gaming to be afflicted with similar artifacts, with the limited colour palette painfully obvious whenever alpha was involved. Still, the frame rate never dropped, and the game was certainly playable.

The slim profile of the screen means that it can also be tucked into a laptop bag easily, making it an interesting choice for those who'd prefer to work with dual screens on their laptops. At 835g, it doesn't add too much to the weight, either. A black plastic cover can be snapped into place to protect it, although it can be quite difficult to get off.

The ThinkVision is an acceptable accessory if you need extra screen real estate on the go. Just don't expect flawless imagery.

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