I was certainly sceptical of the the Mobile Pixel Duex Pro as a second screen for laptops, but also desperate to find a travel monitor with a quality image and that would work as part of a portable standing desk setup. And so I arrived at the Duex Pro. The fact that it actually attaches to a laptop and slides in and out is an excellent plus. So I ordered one and hoped for the best.
To cut to the chase, this review is not going to be one of my infamous gripe sessions. In fact, I’m quite enamoured of the Duex Pro after three months of constant use. I’ll give you the specs and pros and cons in a nutshell below, and then my full review.
- In a Nutshell: Is the Mobile Pixels Duex Pro Portable Monitor Worth it? Specs, Pros & Cons
- Full Review of the Duex Pro—A New Favorite Tool as a Travelling Minimalist
- Installing the Duex Pro to the Back of a Laptop
- Report After Three Months of Daily Use
- Update After 18 Months of Heavy Use: Still Works Great, Still in Perfect Shape
- Alternative Portable Monitors
- Wrap-Up: Getting the Best Prices on the Duex Pro
Update History of This Article
In a Nutshell: Is the Mobile Pixels Duex Pro Portable Monitor Worth it? Specs, Pros & Cons
Pros as I See Them
- By far the most convenient design I’ve seen for travel; your second monitor can slide easily out when needed and hide protected behind your laptop screen when not
- Highly versatile; quite useful in portrait mode as well, detached from the laptop
- Offers a very sharp, high quality image; better even than many laptop screens themselves
- Easy setup with no issues
- Attaches even more securely than advertised
- Detaches simply from laptop when not needed, sliding right off of the magnets
Cons — Yes There Are a Couple
- A bit pricey; there are cheaper portable options below (though they don’t attach to a laptop screen)
- If you have a very lightweight laptop with a flimsy hinge, you may want the optional kickstand for added support (available separately or as an add-on);
- Some may not like it that the metal attachment points for the magnets stay glued on to your laptop (they can be removed later if needed with heat); these don’t bother me at all though. See below for more on how this works.
Compatibility: MacOS, Windows, Chrome OS, Linux Ubuntu; easy setup, but for MacOS and Windows you have to install a driver; no setup for Chrome OS, just plug in and go
Connection: Both USB-C to USB-C and USB-A to USB-C cables included
Image quality: 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, 300 nit, 60 Hertz refresh rate (much sharper and brighter than most portable second screens)
Screen size: The advertised 12.5″ (31.75 centimeter) size is the diagonal size of the screen as pictured below; it is 11 inches or 27.9 centimeters wide; 6.4 inches (16.3 centimeters) high; meaning a 16:9 aspect ratio (all that to say, it is a bit smaller than most other portable second screens, but still offers plenty of work room)
Full unit in protective case size: 12.75 inches (32.4 centimeters) by 9 inches (22.9 centimeters)
Weight with one USB-C cable: 28.5 ounces / 808 grams
Yes I actually measured and weighed these things, rather than relying on the manufacturer’s claims.
Full Review of the Duex Pro—A New Favorite Tool as a Travelling Minimalist
Frankly I expected there would be something wrong with Duex Pro’s screen; it started as a crowdfunding project and I’m deeply suspicious of the long-term utility of any tech that comes out of those. And plus, the whole thing just looks a bit gadgety for my taste.
But the Duex Pro has been a delight to use and far superior to my previous portable second monitors. It offers an extremely high quality image, with deeper color and slightly better resolution than many laptop screens.
I’m frankly not too demanding in that area, though; what I wanted was a screen that met certain practical needs in terms of design.
The Design: Magnets, and a Slide-Out Mechanism
My main goal was a second screen that makes me more productive while I’m working, and then slides away and packs up small when I’m not. This is where the Duex Pro excels. And it’s better explained through pictures than me blathering on.
Above is the Duex Pro on a desk in it’s most simple setup—extending your laptop’s desktop area to give you more visible windows/tabs. You can attach the screen on the left or right side of your main screen, and the cable is long enough to plug in on to either side of your laptop.
You can adjust the screen on its hinge to whatever angle is most comfortable to you, as below.
It also slides into presentation mode; you can set it to mirror what’s on your main laptop’s screen.
I’m not sure how useful this presentation mode really is; I don’t ever give presentations. But it’s nice to know that I can flip the screen around if I wanted to show something to someone across a table.
I prefer to work standing up much of the time, and since the Duex Pro attaches to the back of my laptop, it’s easy to use with a laptop stand like the Nexstand shown here on a portable foldable laptop tray.
There is also a portrait mode using the same attachment case as the screen’s own stand; this is very convenient for viewing longer documents completely, and if you like this orientation there’s no reason to purchase the add-on kickstand (I didn’t). The case/stand/attachment housing is delightfully multifunctional.
The fact that the Duex Pro is securely attached means that you could also use it in more relaxed positions.
I include this option because I’ve been asked by folks who want to lay in bed or on a sofa with two screens.
But I never actually laze around with the Duex Pro though; I just remove the screen from my laptop completely if I’m for example relaxing and watching a video. It slides right off, so it’s easy to take just my laptop for travel when the second screen is not needed.
You can also leave the screen attached behind your laptop screen when the lid is closed, as below.
Installing the Duex Pro to the Back of a Laptop
I’m a little uncomfortable with anything requiring exact measurements and was concerned that it would be difficult to place the sticky magnets in exactly the right place on my laptop back. It’s not; it just takes five minutes and it’s hard to screw up. And since the screen then slides onto the magnets, even if you’re a bit off, the magnet attachment points are quite big and you simply slide the screen into alignment. The whole thing is even simpler than it might look.
These are the magnet attachment points, which you attach to your laptop by removing a bit of paper to review a gluey edge. (If you decide to remove them, the instructions say you’d use a hairdryer to loosen the glue, but I haven’t tried that yet. And given how tech usually progresses, it’s much more likely you’ll replace a given laptop in a few years, before you’d want to replace this screen.)
The Duex Pro comes with three full sets of the magnets in case you want to change laptops. Both the glue and the magnets are quite secure and more than enough to hold the screen firm.
You do want to slide the screen housing on and off of the laptop rather than simply placing it on with a big clack, as the magnets are so strong. (Oh, and no, if you’re wondering, such magnets don’t cause problems for laptops. The days of floppy disks are long gone.)
Report After Three Months of Daily Use
The Duex Pro simply plugs in and works without fail daily; I use the USB-C to USB-C connection and have never had a problem. There’s no lag, the colors are excellent, and the screen is about the same brightness as my lovely laptop’s screen. Unlike other monitors I’ve had, I’m never fiddling with adjustments or trying to place the cable just right.
The screen does run off of your laptop’s battery so if you’re away from a power strip you might not want to use this (or any other USB-powered second screen) if you’re concerned about running out of juice. I haven’t run a careful test of its impact on my laptop battery, but do know that I can work for many hours with both it and my internal laptop screen running off of my Lenovo Chromebook’s own particularly long-living battery without issue. I haven’t done so often, but it hasn’t been a problem when I have.
Mobile Pixels does not recommend that you use the Duex Pro unsupported without it resting on a table, however I almost always use it on a laptop stand as pictured above, hanging off to the side, without any issue. If your laptop has weak hinges, you may not want to follow suit as those hinges may not support the extra weight of the Duex Pixel. In that case you may want to only use your laptop on a firm tabletop, and not on a stand, and even purchase the optional kickstand.
One last usage note is that the Duex Pro is a bit of a head-turner and will get jealous inquiries in your coffee shop or co-working space from productivity geeks; especially those who like to travel light.
Update After 18 Months of Heavy Use: Still Works Great, Still in Perfect Shape
Update as of December 2021: I have had no issues with the Duex Pro and have used it daily for writing for this site and other projects since its first purchase.
It has been through a lot; the roughest treatment comes when I cram it with along with everything else into my favorite personal item/daypack and head to the next city. I have been travelling personal-item only and that doesn’t leave room for a fancy cable organizer, so the Duex Pro’s USB-C video cable gets rolled up and shoved in a pocket. It’s quite heavy duty however and has held up well (not so for some of my other cables).
I have since switched laptops and used a hair dryer and a metal knife to remove the glued-on metal plates from the old laptop before giving it to a friend. I ended up scratching the laptop just a bit under one of the plates, and should have used a plastic paint scraper like this instead, as advised in the Duet Pro instructions.
The magnets would be reusable with a bit of glue but since the Duex Pro comes with enough magnet plates for three laptops I haven’t bothered to try.
Over all, as of a year and a half of heavy use this remains an excellent travel monitor to recommend; I’ll update again here if and when this monitor eventually dies—though it seems I may go through a series of laptops first.
Alternative Portable Monitors
There are portable second screen options that are both cheaper and bigger than the Duex Pro. If the ability to attach to your laptop — which I love so much — doesn’t float your boat, you should definitely get one of the following instead.
The Asus Zenscreen Go MB17AP is pricey but would be my top non-attached pick right now; it is a generous 15.6″ screen with a four-hour built-in battery, so it won’t steal juice from your laptop.
The similar but cheaper, battery-free version of that is the Asus MB169B+, which one of my colleague minimalist travellers uses; that’s hers pictured above. She’s delighted with it.
Wrap-Up: Getting the Best Prices on the Duex Pro
At the time of writing the best spot to go for the Duex Pro appears to be the Amazon link below, but we continually update this with sale prices and discount codes as soon as we hear about them.