The Super Thin and Lightweight Espresso Display Is a WFH Dream Come True

Illustration for article titled The Super Thin and Lightweight Espresso Display Is a WFH Dream Come True
Photo: Catie Keck/Gizmodo

At the start of our new work-from-home normal and before I was able to get my home office in order, the thing I immediately noticed was that I missed my office’s monitor setup. I have one now, but it’s a little hefty and doesn’t easily move around the various workstations of my apartment I switch between throughout the day. That means I’m either at my standing desk, or I’m stuck without a second display.

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This, of course, is hardly the worst problem to have as far as work-from-home woes. (Bad wifi certainly takes the cake there.) But if you’re a mover like I am, you may find that you’re at your desk in the morning, at your kitchen table in the afternoon, possibly at your couch for an hour during the day, and wherever else you’re able to go to help you focus on your tasks. That’s why I found that I adored the portability of the Espresso Display, a $299 screen that can move with you throughout the house and beyond thanks to it being super light and very thin—much like a tablet. In my tiny apartment, it allowed me to make any surface I was working at feel like a desk, and it helped the space of my workflow feel far less crowded when it wasn’t limited to just my 13-inch MacBook Air screen.

The Espresso display connects either by USB-C or HDMI and comes in two sizes: a 13-inch display and a 15-inch display. The larger of these two retails for $349, and if you can swing it, I think you’d be much happier dropping the extra $50 on the larger screen. While I love the 13-inch display, it did sometimes feel a little small—particularly compared to what I was used to with my larger Acer monitor. That’s especially true when you take into consideration the bezel that chews up about an inch of space toward the bottom of the screen, though less on the top and sides.

The picture on this screen is quite good and definitely one of the things I love most about it. You will likely have to play around with the color settings when it’s straight out of the box, though. I noticed the display I was shipped had a little bit of an orange tint to it, but I was able to easily fix this in display settings. The other thing to note is that it doesn’t get iPad-levels of brightness. I had the brightness cranked all the way up while I was testing it and it still seemed a little on the dimmer side. Though this, too, can be tinkered with a bit depending on your color settings. Just don’t expect any miracles.

But the thing that truly sold me on the Espresso is how light and thin it is at just 5.5 mm, as well as how easy it is to toss in a backpack. Once things start returning to normal, I can see myself bringing this portable display with me to work from a coffee shop (space allowing, of course). The design is thoughtful too, and it’s easily mounted several ways depending on which type of accessory you choose—though you will need to buy a mount yourself, and that’ll add at least another $49 for the Flip Case or $69 for the magnetic aluminum MountGo.

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I loved the MountGo’s ability to be oriented with a tilt and adjusted for height. It just grips straight onto the back of the Espresso. And it folds up into a neat little square that can also easily be thrown in a bag. Obviously $69—while nice—for a mount is pretty pricey, especially when you consider how much you’re already dropping on a display that does one thing and not much else (as opposed to a tablet, for example). But I’m planning to buy the Espresso for myself and will probably splurge on the MountGo as well—I liked it that much.

Again, this is an expensive work-from-home gadget given what it is. If portability isn’t something you need to worry about with your monitor setup, you may be better off spending your money on a larger display like the Dell UltraSharp 25 USB-C Monitor, which is fantastic and was discounted to $340 at the time of this writing. But if you’re a remote worker who finds yourself switching up your workstation throughout the day, I don’t think you’d be disappointed with the Espresso Display.

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DISCUSSION

larsvargas
Lars Vargas is still suspicious of 2021's motives

This “review” that reads more like a rehash of a poorly-written press release left me wanting for more information.

Basic stuff like screen resolution (FHD 1920 x 1080 for both sizes, apparently) and other stuff. Plus you left out that it’s a touch screen. Oh and it doesn’t have any battery (I wasn’t actually expecting that). Does it seem durable enough for road warriors, or just the occasional toss into a bag?

Suddenly the price doesn’t seem all that bad. And it might even work with my Samsung tablet and phone for DeX mode, which could be kind of fun.

However, their site really doesn’t appear to have good and consistent information. If touch capability for Macs included or do you need the $39 software? What about PCs? Linux support for touch? And the display PPI for 13" and 15" is shown as 141PPI, which can’t be true for both if they’re the same resolution.

Despite being something I want to get, the lack of substance in this review and the product’s pages tells me I need to wait this one out.