Conclusion: Still Needs a Version 2.0

Now, as before, I can't argue against the GeChic On-Lap 1302 as a useful product. The 1301 was something that caught a lot of your eyes before, and rightfully so. There are other products on the market that add portable screens to your notebook (we actually have Toshiba's Mobile Monitor due in soon), but none that do it the way GeChic's solution does. Everything else uses DisplayLink; what GeChic has is something no one else does: a USB 2.0-powered monitor that still runs off of the GPU.

In my previous review I suggested that the On-Lap 1301 needed a version 2.0. Despite the substantially redesigned chassis, the 1302 doesn't feel like a full and proper revision; it feels like an incremental one. The reduced screen weight is appreciated, the revised connector design is much improved, and the green rubber block mounts are worlds better than what came before. And certainly I won't fault the screen quality; given what the On-Lap is, it's a miracle the screen works at all, and for its intended purposes it definitely gets the job done. I still think they need to switch to a matte finish, though.

Where things start to go awry, really, are with the mounting systems involved with the On-Lap 1302. Whether the adhesive-affixed metal bracket is an improvement over the suction cups is going to be a matter of preference to you (I personally don't like essentially taping something to my notebook lid), but neither solution is really ideal and unfortunately I'm just not sure what would be.

What I can definitely suggest is eschewing the rubber stand bricks entirely. GeChic sells them separately as being useful for tablets, phones, and what have you, but really they need to just be disposed of entirely. The 1302 needs either a built-in stand, or a removeable kickstand that can be attached to and rotated from the back of the screen to allow it to function in both portrait and landscape modes. The bricks continue to be incredibly clunky, and even though they at least work this time (to an extent), they're far from ideal and I can't imagine GeChic is making enough on selling them separately for other uses to make up for how much they take away from the On-Lap.

With all that said, though, GeChic continues to be in the unique position of offering something no one else has. The $199 price tag may feel steep to some users, but nothing else does what the On-Lap 1302 does. It feels like a net gain over the 1301, but if you already bought one of those you gain very little by switching over. Ultimately, though, I just don't feel quite as bullish about the 1302 as I did about the 1301. This revision feels too rushed and too incremental; the product needs to bake a little bit longer and see a more comprehensive redesign. We still have a good start, but we had that months ago.

Performance and Screen Quality
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  • dicobalt - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

  • Dustin Sklavos - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    Are you kidding me? Did you not see what this was? Do you understand that driving a high resolution screen increases power consumption?
  • dicobalt - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    It's just that I can't imagine someone using this in a place where you can't plug in the laptop anyway *shrug*
  • This Guy - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    And how much power does a spec USB socket provide? 2.5W?
  • dicobalt - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    Perhaps a battery inside the screen (like a tablet) so it's not drawing off the laptop battery at all?
  • FrederickL - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    I had written this post before I noticed in your posting below that the thought had already occurred to you. Oh well, I'll post it anyway - you know what they say, "great minds think alike"!

    How about going the whole hog with the concept. I.e. A battery-powered touch-screen thin client (wireless) connected to a box running Win8? If the tech was well implemented you would have an ass-kicker of a tablet that you could use around the office/home without have to sync/administer two separate os installs. It would of course be restricted in range (not fully mobile in that sense) but I could well imagine a user case for being able to work wherever I want in the house (or at work) and not being nailed to our home-office chair or my workplace desk. You could literally take your desk-top with you to work-place meetings. Just a thought -:)
  • dicobalt - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    I have thought of that as well, a device that is literally nothing more than a mobile display (using WiDi) and touch input device (using wireless USB). You would have more casual and mobile access around the house. There is no reason a weak mobile CPU should be hammering away at running a cut down mobile OS and software when you have a powerful desktop in the next room.

    It would even work with decently powerful laptops. You could have the laptop tucked away in your backpack or briefcase while using it with the removable display. All the computing would be done on the laptop base but the display would be totally wireless and you could carry it around. Perfect for places with little or no desk space or standing room only. It would be handy for presentations where people could connect their displays to your computer and get your display output in their hands instead of on an often awful projector in a dark cave.

    I have the sneaking feeling this is what Intel has been planning all along in order to combat the tablet market. It's like getting a free tablet with every laptop purchase and it's perfect now that Win8 is on the way.
  • FrederickL - Monday, April 16, 2012 - link

    "I have the sneaking feeling this is what Intel has been planning all along in order to combat the tablet market. It's like getting a free tablet with every laptop purchase and it's perfect now that Win8 is on the way."

    This is by way of reply to both your new postings.
    I have to say that I would be astonished if the idea had not already occurred to them and some of the more ingenious OEMs. They want to distinguish themselves by adding value? What about your home office pc + thin-client remote touch-screen bundle? "The complete flexible solution for your home office" - damn, I could write their ad-copy for them! If they were to include a dock which in turn could accept keyboard/mouse input via wireless USB with HDMI out to your front-room telly then your full song with choruses stack in your home office could be your working pc, your tablet and your front room "from-your-armchair" pc. Indeed if you ran a sort of Windows or Linux server setup (with some reasonably heavy-lifting hardware) you could in principle have a completely flexible home computing network (with separate accounts for all family members + guest account) all run around one install. Now that would simplify things at home for me as our domestic sys-admin!
  • FrederickL - Monday, April 16, 2012 - link

    Yet another thought. How about it having enough grunt to accept both touch and stylus input plus being equipped with a microphone. You install some proper voice recognition software (the latest version of Dragon Naturally Speaking perhaps) on your home-office rig and voila you have a tablet that is "the state of the bad-ass art" (if I may be permitted to recycle a favorite quote) with touch, stylus and voice input without it having to be anything other than a remote monitor. Hell, that would be a package I would be willing to pay some serious money for when we next upgrade our home-office.
  • dicobalt - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    Not to mention the fact that such a device would be cheap because it doesn't need so much hardware jam packed into it. You could have one waiting to be used in every room of your home and office with no need to carry something around with you.

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