Display output capabilities for just about any Chromebook has been possible for years. But a recent discovery by Chrome Unboxed suggests that Chromebook setups with multiple displays are possible too. And that doesn’t require one or two displays to be set up to output from multiple ports either.
With proper hardware, it’s actually possible to output video to as many as three displays from a single USB-C port. Better still, that’s with each display set at its own resolution.
When did any Chromebook begin being able to output to multiple displays?
It isn’t immediately clear when any Chromebook actually gained the ability to output to multiple displays like this. But, based on the preliminary investigation, it should be possible from any Chromebook. Or at least any USB-C-enabled Chromebook.
Chrome Unboxed tested the feature with some pricier devices such as the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 and Pixelbook Go. But it also tested the feature and found that it worked with the much cheaper Lenovo Chromebook C340 and ASUS Chromebook C223. So there doesn’t seem to be any pattern to which Chromebooks will work with multiple displays.
More importantly, in each of those Chromebooks, the feature worked flawlessly, if the right adapter is used. The source notes that, for instance, the Plugable USB C hub worked. But the VAVA USB C dock only worked some of the time. Name brands should offer the best results regardless of whether a top-level Chromebook is used. So brands like HP, Dell, or the above-mentioned Plugable should work.
The test setup also included multiple display resolutions, including one output at 3440×1440 and another at 1920×1080. That’s setting aside the very different resolutions for the internal display across those Chromebooks.
There does appear to be at least one likely culprit for this feature’s addition
Now, while the exact rollout of this change isn’t obvious, it does appear linked to updates that began to be added over a year ago. Namely, those were updates to allow for multi-stream transport specifically for daisy-chaining. Google’s end goal from that, of course, was to improve productivity with Chromebooks, particularly in a workplace environment. The multiple display output capabilities spotted now appear to be a happenstance resulting from those updates.