I’ve reviewed a lot of monitors over the years. Most often the review consists of me connecting the monitor to either my desktop or a laptop and comparing the display to my default (which is currently a 34-inch Dell Curved monitor that has served me very well for years).
When I received a portable display by ZSCMalls that was clearly targeted for gaming, I decided to take a different approach.
Instead of looking at this portable display as a way of extending my desktop, I decided I wanted to see how it would stand up to serving as an external display for my Nintendo Switch. And, given the holidays are fast approaching, I figured this was a good idea.
Before I get into my experience with the monitor, let’s take a look at the specs.
ZSCMalls Portable 14.5-inch gaming monitor
This plug-and-play monitor is great for either a secondary laptop display or attached to a portable gaming console.
Here are the specs for this portable gaming monitor.
- 14.5-inch 4K at 3840P×2400P and 60Hz refresh rate.
- IPS matte screen.
- HDR technology to provide superior color accuracy.
- Supports full AMD FreeSync technology to eliminate screen tearing and stuttering.
- Weighs only 1.07 pounds and is just 0.2-inch thick.
- A brightness level of 400 cd/m².
- A contrast ratio of 1500:1 ensures that colors are vibrant and blacks are deep.
- Covers 100% of the sRGB color gamut.
- Supports a wide range of devices, including desktops, laptops, phones, tablets, and gaming consoles.
- Can be used as a secondary monitor in either vertical or horizontal mode.
- Low blue light.
- Built-in speakers.
- Ports: 1 mini HDMI, 2 USB Type-C, 1 mini USB Type B, and one 3.5mm headphone jack.
- Includes 2 USB Type-C cables, one HDMI to mini HDMI cable, and one power brick.
- Price is $230 on Amazon
As I mentioned, I decided to bypass using this monitor as an external desktop or laptop display and see how well it performed as an external display for my Nintendo Switch. My Switch is the OLED version, so the built-in display is quite good. That being said, the small form factor of the Nintendo Switch makes it slightly problematic for some games.
For example, I am currently playing Persona 5 Strikers (which is a fairly good entry in the series). Although that game plays just fine on the default Switch screen, there are some elements that can be hard to view on the small display. Having a larger screen for this game won’t make a huge difference, but I’m about to launch into Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and I’m sure the larger screen would make a big difference (for me).
So, how did the ZSCMalls 14.5-inch gaming monitor hold up to the test? Quite well.
When I plugged the Switch into the monitor (I also had to use a second USB Type C cable for power) and converted the controllers to a handheld unit, the Switch display was automatically shifted from the built-in to the external and I was up and running.
It really was that simple.
Although the Personal 5 Strikers game might not be nearly as demanding on graphics as some, the ZSCMalls monitor did an outstanding job. In fact, I would say the external monitor was every bit as good as the built-in Switch display. Even better, the extra screen size made the game easier and more enjoyable to play. I didn’t experience any screen tearing, stutters, or dead pixels. In fact, after only two days of having my Switch connected to this monitor, I don’t want to go back to the smaller display. From my perspective, that alone makes this display a winner.
ZDNET’s buying advice
Of course, you have to ask yourself if a larger display is worth the $230 you’ll pay for this monitor. However, when you consider this monitor can serve double-duty as an external laptop (or even desktop) display, and given it’s perfectly comfortable with 4K content, it all makes sense.
Will the ZSCMalls 14.5-inch gaming monitor stand up to the likes of Apple’s Retina display? No. But it’s certainly a capable monitor with plenty of applications. So, if you’re looking to add an additional screen to your laptop (for better multitasking) or you want to use an external display for your portable gaming console, this little beauty is worth every penny.