If you've been looking for a portable monitor, the AUZAI ME16Z01 Portable Monitor — recently sent to Android Headlines for review — may be just the device you're looking for. And, at just $187.00 right now on Amazon — around 15-percent off MSRP — it's going to be a great value for the money.
At that cost, this 15.6-inch AUZAI portable monitor is a lightweight, thin device that should be perfect for just about any use case. Whether as a secondary extended display, or just a screen to play games or movies on on-the-go, it's hard to go wrong even at the retail cost of $219.99. But, of course, that pricing comes with caveats.
For users who need a 4K panel or a screen that's perfect in terms of color vibrancy and accuracy, this isn't going to be the one. If attaining on-the-go ear-melting audio is the goal, AUZAI ME16Z01 isn't going to cut it either. This portable monitor isn't made to replace or to undercut more expensive offerings that can be found in abundance on the market.
This display isn't intended to deliver competition-level specs for mobile gamers or graphics designers. Instead, it's meant to be an affordable alternative for those who don't care about the best and latest specs but still want an acceptable experience. And the quality of some components matches that expectation, particularly the buttons but we'll cover that later on.
On the other hand, what it does offer is one of the thinnest, lightest mobile displays around. While that's not made of top-tier materials, it is sturdy enough and comes with a protective stand case that doesn't feel cheap. In fact, almost nothing about this tablet-like gadget could fairly be referred to as "cheap."
After a thorough review, the AUZAI ME16Z01 Portable Monitor has proven itself to be a well-thought-out alternative to emptying the wallet for a second display. Let's take a closer look at why that is.
This AUZAI portable monitor is thin and light enough to be truly portable
At 15.6-inches and weighing in at just 650g — a little over three times what a Galaxy Note 10+ weighs — the AUZAI ME16Z01 is extremely portable. That's helped along by the fact that, at its thickest point, this display panel is just 9.4mm thin. The included carry and stand case adds to those figures, of course. But what it adds is negligible.
Combined with the fact that the bezels are as thin as some flagships from the past couple of years and build quality that appears mostly on point, this device feels much pricier than it is. Or at least it does at first glance. The only exception to the bezels is the bottom bezel, where the AUZAI branding is prominently featured.
However, the manufacturer opted to go with plastics here. And in a device this thin and large, that makes a big difference. While the build itself feels mostly sturdy, it is more flexible than I'd have liked. That leads me to believe that this will be less durable than some of its competitors when placed in a bag. Especially if heavier objects are placed on top of it.
In fact, AUZAI's manual explicitly states that buyers would do well to keep the box it comes in. That's not just to send it back in under warranty, as needed. It also expressly says that's for storage and transport. I trusted the build enough to carry around the device in a backpack designed to carry camera equipment. But it may not do so well if it's thrown haphazardly into a bag designed with a lesser focus on protecting sensitive electronics.
Durability aside, the included stand case does feel like it offers a good deal of protection. It's well designed and made of a faux leather material wrapped around sturdier plastics. That only offers two different slotted positions for standing the display up. But the angles aren't necessarily going to be important here since this isn't a touchscreen. Summarily, there's no need to place the screen at a perfect angle for direct interaction.
The case itself fits almost perfectly. AUZAI also appears to have worked to ensure that the magnets are strong. The AUZAI ME16Z01 Portable Monitor case never felt as though it was slipping loose or in danger of slipping off during my review.
Conversely, the ports, which we'll cover momentarily, do feel sturdy. The tablet-like display emits a solid click when cables are attached and there's no wiggle in the connectors.
On the other hand, the button and selection wheel feel inconsistently designed. In fact, they're both too squishy to feel premium. The power button, at the very list, offers up a clicking sound when pressed. But the wheel squeezes in what feels like too far and there's no audible or haptic sense that it's been clicked at all. The same holds true when it's embedded switch is pressed up or down. There's a stopper but no real feedback at all.
Display features work to balance out a mediocre visual experience
The display is going to be the most important characteristic up for consideration when it comes to buying a portable monitor, irrespective of how it's going to be used. With regard to the AUZAI's ME16Z01 Portable Monitor, my review revealed plenty of issues. But none of those is going to be a deal-breaker at its price.
The biggest drawback is that color balance and brightness are not evenly distributed. Instead, there is some noticeable dimming toward the corners and away from the center. The corners show that most prominently. Beyond that caveat, the display here is only rated at a maximum of 1,920 x 1,080 resolution and at 60Hz in terms of refresh rate.
That results in some blurring with more intense titles — whether in games or in media playback. The display's response time, while not listed by the company, is slightly higher than would be ideal too.
Simultaneously, there's plenty of flicker at lower brightness levels too — around a quarter brightness and lower. And, under direct sunlight, the display isn't quite as bright as might be hoped. It's usable still but not quite as bright as higher-priced panels. The colors aren't vibrant either on the default settings and even adjusting for that in the screen's built-in settings doesn't alleviate the problem.
As a result of that and a lower-than-expected contrast, despite being HDR-rated, hues are muddier than I'd have liked to have seen.
Viewing angles aren't ideal either, with severe degradation of colors and clarity at the widest angles.
With that said, this isn't a high-end display. It really isn't trying to be either and the discrepancies and drawbacks here aren't deal-breakers. This portable screen is all about value.
For those that want a bit more control, there are a plethora of options available in the settings menu. That's accessed under a click of the wheel button.
To begin with, Brightness can be quickly adjusted by tapping that upward before sliding up or down — exactly the opposite start direction is used for volume. But a click on that button opens up five different settings menus. The first covers brightness, contrast, ECO mode, DCR (dynamic contrast ratio), and sharpness. The second houses control for coloration, ranging from temperature adjustments to hue and color gamut.
The next setting menu item provides audio adjustments and the final includes input selection. But the "Other Settings" menu, in between those, is where the real features are found. That's because that's where users can access HDR and FreeSync toggling, making this one of the most affordable displays to offer either. AUZAI worked to make sure that aspect ratios can be adjusted there as well.
Under review, each of those settings works as expected with this AUZAI portable monitor. Allowing adjustments to start addressing nearly all of the above-mentioned caveats. Taken collectively, this portable screen just has a lot more to offer for less many than should really be expected, to a fault.
High-value pack-ins and a solid array of connective options make this second screen an even better option than expected
The AUZAI ME16Z01 Portable Monitor may be imperfect in many ways but I also didn't need to go buy any cables to conduct my review. That's a pretty big deal since it means that most buyers, as long as USB-C or HDMI is the output source, won't need to either.
It includes a USB-A to USB-C cable for powering the display. It also packs in a USB-C to USB-C cable for power and data transfers (video input). There are specific ports for both of those along one edge. Each is a USB-C port, making them fairly common by modern standards.
The second of those cables also means that a Samsung smartphone can use DeX mode — with an external keyboard and mouse linked to the phone — fairly easily. And that's with a single cable too.
Now, where the company diverged from that, though, is on the HDMI input side. That's because the manufacturer packs in an HDMI to mini HDMI cable. That doesn't power the display and isn't at all standard, representing the sole major caveat to connecting more standard electronics.
A Nintendo Switch will connect since it features USB-C output — so long as a power source is connected to the display first. So will most Chromebooks. For a PC, Playstation, or other electronics that'll work too. But if that cable gets damaged, another one will need to be purchased — going from HDMI to mini HDMI.
That notwithstanding, the pack-ins go a long way toward getting things started. And the requisite cables for connecting other things don't typically cost more than $10 to $20 on Amazon or in-store.
The key drawback to all of that is that a power source is needed and not included — aside from the cable. This display requires around 15W (5V/3A). And most USB Type-C Quick Charge chargers can provide that.
Lower supplies can be used to an extent. But under some circumstances, using a power source that's too low will cause the display to turn off. For instance, DeX Mode from a connected Samsung flagship via a single cable required the screen to be kept below half brightness.
None of that is too serious a problem since power banks are relatively cheap and USB-C charging bricks are now the standard. But it could be an issue for some users.
Audio with the AUZAI ME16Z01 portable monitor is not perfect but sets a high-value standard anyway
Audio is an important aspect of any on-the-go media consumption or productivity experience as anything else. That's particularly true with regard to entertainment, such as gaming and binging a TV show or movies. But it's equally important when it comes to many work-related tasks. So finding good speakers on a portable display isn't necessarily unheard of. In fact, it's a standard many buyers look for.
Over the course of my review of the AUZAI ME16Z01 Portable Monitor, I continually found myself amazed by how good its speakers actually are. Despite its focus on having an ultra-slim frame, almost no room for the components, AUZAI includes two speakers in this gadget. Those are mounted along the bottom edge, where the frame is its thickest. AUZAI split those to sit around a quarter of the way in from the left- or right-hand edges.
The speakers are unassuming to look at. The company embedded them to point downward and into the material of the included stand. That kind of positioning typically diminishes the audio in any electronic device. But here they aren't just loud enough to hear clearly at just 10-percent volume. The audio itself is clear and exceptionally well balanced relative to the component's size.
It's fair to say that bass tones are slightly under-represented, of course. That's likely down to size too. Audio in the lower registers just doesn't have the punch that would be present in a high-end portable speaker or high-end displays. But the speakers' balance makes up for that to a large extent. The tones are still present and accounted for, and there's enough punch that it never became annoying.
For a better experience, there's no Bluetooth connectivity or any other wireless tech here. That's likely to help keep costs down. But there is a 3.5mm headphone jack and sound over that port is true to the source. That is to say, I found the quality to be equal to any device — whether a Chromebook or gaming system — that I plugged into it. Or at least as good as a pair of wired headphones attached directly to the source would have been.
There are undoubtedly portable monitors that put out better audio on that front as well. You'd be hard-pressed to find one at anything near the low price that this AUZAI portable monitor is sold for.
Is this worth the money?
All things considered, the AUZAI ME16Z01 Portable Monitor easily earns its 4-star ranking following a thorough review. That's not necessarily because of its display quality, audio, or any other individual aspect. Trade-offs are the name of the game here.
The hardware feels like it would break if placed under too much weight — for instance, in a backpack or bag. But it's easily among the most lightweight external displays on the market. Its footprint isn't huge either, only taking up a fraction of what it's overall size is, in terms of surface space. That makes it ultra-portable for those who need that in an external display.
Conversely, audio clarity is great from the two bottom-firing speakers. But the focus on mids and lack of real punch is definitely a caveat. Headphones can solve that and are how most people will use this outside of the home at any rate. In that same vein, video clarity and color vibrancy could use a boost. And glossy displays aren't necessarily the best under direct sunlight. But there are plenty of built-in features to alleviate the majority of those problems.
There are really only two screen caveats that are unfixable. That's the fact that there is some darkening around the edges and especially in the corners. And viewing angles aren't the best either.
Finally, mini HDMI isn't a common connection option but also not impossible to find. And the company includes one mini HDMI to HDMI cable in the box. That's alongside USB-A to USB-C and USB-C to USB-C cables.
But all of that goes out the window with consideration for the price tag. This is, at its heart, a budget-friendly external display panel. With consideration for the caveats and trade-offs here, the pricing makes sense. In fact, the AUZAI ME16Z01 Portable Monitor fills exactly the role it's marketed for. It's a high-value display for playing games and extending the screen size for better entertainment or work on-the-go.
On that front, it's an easy recommendation unless a higher quality display is absolutely needed.