A portable monitor is an incredibly handy gadget to have for home offices, gaming and travel. This review shares my experience with the Sidetrak Solo portable monitor, including both pros and cons.
I’ve been working from home for well over a decade now! And let me tell you, I wouldn’t be able to do that without the help of the right technology.
I’m always trying new technologies and thought it would be helpful to have a secondary screen for my home business. My latest tech addition is a Sidetrak Solo HD freestanding portable monitor, which was was gifted to me by the brand.
I loved it so much that I wrote this review to give you a closer look at my experience. I’m also an affiliate for Sidetrak, so I’ll earn a small commission if you order one of these awesome monitors through my links.
- Is a Portable Monitor Right for You?
- Sidetrak Solo is a Quality Portable Monitor
- Pros and Cons of the Sidetrak Solo Monitor
- Where to Buy Sidetrak Solo
- More Tips and Reviews for You
Is a Portable Monitor Right for You?
If you’re trying to decide if a portable monitor is right for you and your family, here are some of the most common uses:
- Add a second screen for daily use in your home office more for efficient work tasks
- Easily share images or video with real estate clients with a second monitor
- Hook up to small laptops to use as a main screen
- Keep your kids busy with an educational show while you work
- Use as a portable display with your streaming stick or device when travelling
- Great extra laptop monitor for sharing creative projects with clients by mirroring your screen
- Create an interactive homeschooling environment
- Makes the best portable gaming monitor
Sidetrak Solo is a Quality Portable Monitor
I am impressed with the Sidetrak Solo and its great features. It’s truly a quality portable monitor that’s easy to set up and use with most devices.
Easy to Set Up
To get started using it, all you have to do is plug it into the side or back of your laptop with the included USB-C cable. If your computer or device doesn’t have a built-in USB-C port, they also include a USB-A to USB-C cable and an HDMI cable that you can use together to power the screen from your device.
Since my Dell XPS laptop uses USB-C ports, it’s really easy for me to use. I like having a second screen while I’m working. It’s a lot easier than jumping back and forth between applications or tabs. It really saves so much time.
Sleek, Portable Design
Even though it’s small, it works well when we travel. It has a sleek design that makes it super portable and it has a built-in kickstand for easy viewing. It only weighs 1.9 pounds and measures 14.25″ x 9″ x 0.5”. So I can even tuck it in my laptop bag and barely notice it.
Just make sure to protect the screen as it doesn’t include a cover (we’ve tucked it in a padded envelope before for a quick fix). Sidetrak actually sells an affordable protective case, so be sure to add that to your order.
Great Screen with Few Limitations
The Sidetrak Solo monitor has a 15.8” screen, which gives you plenty of screen to work with whether you’re using it for work or entertainment. The quality of the picture is really great too.
The anti-glare LCD display has a full HD resolution (1920×1080) with a 800:1 contrast ratio, a wide color gamut and adjustable brightness. The screen aspect ratio is 16:9, so it’s very similar to phones held in a landscape position.
The screen itself isn’t as nice as my high-end laptop screen, which has a 4K resolution rather than a 1080p resolution, but it works great as a second monitor nonetheless. It even has a blue light filter option, so you can protect your eyes if you’re working on your extra screen late at night.
I like that the monitor has low latency and a good refresh rate of 60 Hz. It uses FreeSync technology so we can stream our favorite shows or family movies without them looking distorted.
I was impressed with how well it syncs with my laptop. There’s really no lag time (it has a 8ms response time), so when watching a movie on both screens at the same time, the audio syncs up perfectly.
If your family is into gaming, the Sidetrak Solo also works great as long as the games play at 60 frames per second (fps) or less.
It even has touchscreen capabilities that works with most devices (the touchscreen apparently doesn’t work with Apple devices). I love the convenience of having a touchscreen, so I wouldn’t consider a second monitor that didn’t have that feature.
One thing to know is that some devices aren’t powerful enough to allow you to turn the brightness up very high on the monitor. When I connected it to my Samsung Galaxy S20 phone, I wasn’t able to turn the brightness above 44% without the screen rebooting. That’s a tradeoff since the Solo monitor doesn’t need its own power supply. But you can make it work by plugging the Sidetrak Solo screen into a separate power source following this guide.
And, while it does work in portrait mode, you have to manually switch the mode through the Menu button (which is also the power button). It can be inconvenient to use in portrait mode because of the ports and power button location. There’s also no screen autorotation like you get with phones and tablets, which is fine since it’s not a feature I’d use often anyhow.
Multiple Sound Options
In addition to built-in speakers, it also includes a headset port, so you can use headphones, ear buds or external speakers if you don’t want the sound coming from the device. I appreciate having multiple sound options.
Works With Most Operating Systems
One thing I think is really neat about the Solo Sidetrak monitor is that it’s super compatible. Meaning it works with most operating systems, including Mac, PC, Chrome, PS4, Xbox, Raspberry Pi & Nintendo Switch.
So if you’re shopping for portable screens for any of these devices, the SideTrak Solo should be compatible. Some operating systems require you to use both the regular USB cable and the HDMI cable in order for them to work together. So if you have trouble powering your secondary display at first, give that a try.
In addition, if you want to use a streaming stick with the Sidetrak monitor (like a Fire TV or Roku stick), you’ll need to use the HDMI adapter to connect it to the display’s mini-HDMI port. We have a Roku stick as part of our family’s travel gear, so I can’t wait to test this monitor out on our next road trip.
Pros and Cons of the Sidetrak Solo Monitor
Overall, I believe the Sidetrak Solo is one of the best portable monitors and provides a good value to families who travel, people who work from home and gamers that like to be able to play wherever they go.
|High-quality, compact monitor with a lightweight design||Some devices need two cables to function|
|Touch screen with adjustable display settings||Touchscreen doesn’t work with Apple devices|
|Great HD picture quality in HDR mode||Portrait mode is challenging to use (due to power button/cable placement)|
|Works with nearly all operating systems||Not 4K resolution|
|Built-in speakers and headphone jack||Higher price point ($399)|
Where to Buy Sidetrak Solo
I usually recommend buying directly from the manufacturer of most devices. It seems to make support and warranties easier in the long term (this monitor comes with a 1-year limited warranty). So, I recommend buying from the Sidetrak website.
If you’d rather shop somewhere else, it’s also available on Amazon. Sometimes I like to pop over to Amazon just to read customer reviews even if I don’t plan to buy from them.
Other Sidetrak Portable Monitors
If you like the idea of a Sidetrak Solo portable USB monitor, but are curious about other options that are either less expensive or an upgrade to this model, check out these other displays from Sidetrak:
- Sidetrak Solo 4K (same as this item with a better screen resolution)
- Sidetrak Solo Triple (2 freestanding monitors for each side of your device)
- Sidetrak Swivel (attaches to the side of your laptop screen and swivels out)
- Sidetrak Swivel Triple (2 extra monitors to attach to either side of your laptop)
- Sidetrak Slide HD (attaches to the back of your laptop and slides out to the side)
- Sidetrak Select (desktop monitor)