I've been working from home for most of the last five years, so when the pandemic hit, I wasn't the worse for wear. At the time, I had a job that I could VPN into and work completely from home, missing only my dual monitors.
I started here at Tom's Guide at the beginning of 2021 and quickly learned one of the things I needed in order to be successful was a strict line between work and play. That meant not using my gaming rig with my multiple monitors, working instead on a laptop. Fast forward a few months, I got a new (to me) laptop, but I greatly missed having a second monitor for Slack purposes.
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I later received an offer to review a 14-inch portable monitor from Lepow. It's a compact, 1080p device meant for the on-the-go life, featuring both HDMI and USB-C outputs. But I've been using it as a vertical second monitor for my MacBook and it has made a huge difference in my workflow. No more pulling up Slack all the time to make sure I'm caught up on the chatter — I just have a monitor dedicated to it that I can glance over at to see what's going on.
In lieu of a typical review, I wanted to share my experience with the Lepow Lite H1 monitor on a more personal level. In short, it's totally worth the $200 price tag if you don't have a second monitor for your work-from-home setup. I found it less useful for working or gaming on the go, but it has nonetheless become a critical part of my workflow and success in my job.
Lepow Lite H1: Display quality
First, you expect a monitor to look good. The Lepow Lite H1 certainly delivers on that front, providing a 14-inch IPS LCD with a crisp 1920 x 1080 resolution. The refresh rate is locked at 60Hz because this isn't a gaming monitor — at its core, the Lite H1 is meant for enhancing productivity.
Since this monitor didn't pass through our traditional review process, I don't have colorimeter results for you. But next to the Retina display on my 2017 MacBook Pro, it looks pretty good. Colors pop, and the 178-degree viewing angle means that I can see it from whatever direction I'm leaning in while at my desk.
Many of the best monitors rely on IPS technology, which has the added benefit of being more affordable than OLED alternatives. I stare at phone screens a lot in my typical line of work and I have no complaints with the Lite H1's visual quality or clarity.
In the sunlight filtering in through a window, the Lite H1's brightness is almost enough to compensate. I wouldn't play a game or watch a movie with a dark setting if you have to contend with daylight shining on the display. For my purposes, however, the monitor sat in a dim office and worked just fine.
Lepow Lite H1: Compact and portable
The Lite H1 comes with a built-in folio protector for transport, which also doubles as the stand in portrait and landscape modes. The monitor is very light at 1.7 pounds and fits well into a backpack. Of course, portable monitors sit pretty low on a desk or table, so if you're tall, you might want to sit the Lite H1 on something to be more comfortable and ergonomic.
With its 14-inch display, the Lite H1 is very well-suited to on-the-go work or play. You're not just limited to using it with a laptop, either; the Lite H1 works with phones, making it a great display option for Samsung Dex. But you can also hook up a game console to it with USB-C or HDMI. Lepow kindly includes a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable in the box.
It also has stereo speakers, serving as an audio output if you so choose. The Lite H1 also sports a 3.5mm headphone jack. While I wouldn't call the audio quality good per se, it's not awful, either.
Lepow Lite H1: Becoming indepensible
With the ports tucked away behind the display itself, the Lepow Lite H1 maintains a stealthy look on my work desk. Setting it up in portrait mode takes a bit of finagling with the stand, but once you get it right, it stays solidly in place.
As I've already said, the Lite H1 has become a mainstay in my office environment, providing me with the extra utility I needed from a second monitor. It helps keep me on task throughout my work day, leaving my MacBook's display open for the important things like my word processor or web browser.
In fact, working on my MacBook alone feels uncomfortable now if I'm doing anything professional. Slack is a key part of my work life here at Tom's Guide and having a dedicated space for it has really helped me, especially a vertical one that allows me to see more of the chat feed and channel list.
Long ago, I became a multi-monitor apostle, preaching the good word of having multiple displays to anyone who would listen. At the time, I had pretty crummy monitors, but I was happy. Working off a laptop screen alone can be challenging, so having portable options like the Lite H1 that require very little setup and don't take up much space can really improve your life, wherever you're working. I'm all for giving people ways to enhance their productivity that are affordable and easy-to-use.
Lepow Lite H1: Outlook
If you've been relegated to just a laptop for your work-from-life lifestyle, be it temporary or permanent, then I highly recommend a portable monitor like the Lepow Lite H1. Some might find the 14-inch screen a bit small, but if you want to ensure maximum portability, I'd suggest giving this one a try over 15.6-inch alternatives.
I really like the Lite H1 — it's a key part of how I work now and I would be loath to part with it. The only complaint I could find with it is with the design of portable monitors themselves. They don't have built-in stands, obviously, and since I don't have anything to set the Lite H1 on, it was uncomfortable to use in landscape mode due to my height. In portrait mode, however, it works perfectly for me.
$200 for a 1080p monitor of this quality is a pretty good deal. I wasn't a believer in portable monitors before, but after using the Lite H1 for several weeks, I see and respect their utility in a variety of circumstances.