Innovative technology is the cornerstone of modern society. Forward thinkers with bright ideas and the drive to create solutions that solve problems (small or big) are genuinely my heroes. Sometimes I love to stop and reflect on just how far we have come in my own lifetime. It’s not just the world-changing inventions that really excite me though – sometimes people identify a small gap in existing technologies and produce a cracking solution that is both simple and effective. I have just got my hands on one of these – the espresso Display 15″.
Disclosure: espresso provided Blog of Dad with the espresso Display 15″ and Flip Case 15″ for the purpose of review and ongoing use. Any thoughts expressed about espresso products in this article are based on my own experiences. For more information, visit my disclosure statement.
espresso Display 15"
The espresso Display 15″ is a magnificent innovation in a deceptively simple package! The more I use it, the more uses I find for it. When used with a laptop, the productivity benefits of dual monitors can’t be overstated, especially when touchscreen functionality comes into play. But the espresso Display is also surprisingly at home amongst a desktop setup despite the smaller screen. The touchscreen functionality is already a great addition and it has the potential to be a gamechanger when Windows 11 drops – especially when you consider the versatility on offer with the Flip Case, MountGo and MountPro attachments.
Incredibly thin (5.5 mm)
Multiple connection options
Simple to use
Included HDMI cable a little short
Powered by laptop battery
Mobile monitors aren’t exactly new, but the espresso Display is an innovative take on the concept. An impressively successful Kickstarter campaign and international recognition through a 2021 Red Dot Good Design Gold Award are certainly indicators that the espresso Display has identified and filled an important gap in the market.
The impressive design is two-fold. Firstly the monitor its self is stunning in all the right ways, but secondly espresso have a selection of innovate accessories that take the espresso Display to a whole new level. They sent me the Flip Case 15” to test as part of my espresso setup, but there is also a MountGo and MountPro option.
As a proud Australian, I must take a quick second to point out that espresso Displays is a home-grown concept, from right here in Sydney! Of course, that fact doesn’t make it better, but it is a genuine thrill to see young Australians with a vision and enthusiasm bring a cracking, innovative product to life!
espresso Display 15″ – First Impressions
The espresso Display 15″ certainly makes a statement even before it is turned on. At just 5.5mm thick and with generous use of premium aeronautical-grade aluminium, the Display 15″ looks fantastic! I don’t think it would look out of place alongside even the sleekest of high-end laptops.
The rear side of the espresso Display 15″ is a glorious flat sheet of aluminium with the espresso logo prominently displayed in the middle and an “espresso Displays” label at the bottom. The logo is simple and understated, again helping the espresso Display to look fantastic in any environment.
The top and side bezels are beautifully ultra-thin, while the bottom bezel is substantially thicker and carries the espresso logo. This provides the Display 15″ with a convenient space for hand-held use, as well as containing the connection points, volume controls, headphone jack and on-board speakers. There is an additional black border between the bezel and the screen. The speakers aren’t anything to write home about, but they do the job when a better option isn’t available.
The other key contents of the box include a USB Type-C cable, a HDMI to Mini HDMI cable and a USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable. For those users with suitable equipment, the USB-C connection is an all-in-one wonder that enables power, display and touch functionality through a single connection. Those with older devices will get the same touch experience, but will have to tolerate a second connection. I’m in that boat and it really isn’t a big deal, it just isn’t as… futuristic!
Interestingly, The espresso Display 15″ has ports for all three of those cables, with the second USB-C port designed to power the Display when using it with certain smartphones. It is a clever little inclusion that demonstrates espresso’s desire to make this display as versatile as possible.
Flip Case – First Impressions
The Flip Case is a simple, sleek protective stand and cover that uses magnets to attach to the espresso Display 15″. It’s microfibre construction is a good match for the espresso Display, combining to create a slim, ultra-modern aesthetic.
Despite being an extremely simple design, it did take me a couple of minutes to figure out how to correctly attach the Display to the Flip Case. For some reason my brain just couldn’t wrap around the setup. A quick video later and it was bleedingly obvious how it worked!
The screen protective side of the Flip Case has a series of hinges integrated into it that double as an adjustable stand. At first glance the visible grove looks a little like a fold in a piece of cardboard, but a little bit of experimentation reveals that it is a surprisingly robust and versatile setup. I could position the espresso Display in just about any orientation I wanted, from almost vertical to reasonably flat. Of course, the espresso Display can be used completely flat by folding the stand flush and lying it on the table.
Thanks to the magnetic connectivity, the espresso Display can also be positioned vertically on the Flip Case. For some users, this will be a nice-to-have feature that they take occasional advantage of, but for some professions this is an absolute game-changer in mobile productivity!
Remember that the Flip Case is one of three mounting options offered by espresso, with the MountGo and MountPro offering even more innovate ways of using the device. And thanks to the magnetic connections, users can quickly and easily switch between mounting options based on their needs at any point in time – as long as they purchase the accessories. That Red Dot Good Design Award is beginning to make a whole lot of sense.
Turning the espresso Display 15″ on was as simple as plugging in the USB Type-C to USB Type-A cable. The screen flashes a quick espresso logo, then almost instantly appears in bright and vibrant detail.
I am very impressed by the quality of the 15.6 inch, 1080p IPS espresso Display. With 141 pixels per inch, text and images are crisp and clear from a standard viewing distance. The IPS panel means viewing is pleasant from most angles and the advertised 99% coverage of the sRGB range seems like an accurate claim. I don’t have the equipment to test this, but the vibrant, accurate colours produced by the espresso Display are impressive!
I spent some time wandering through my old photo blogs, enjoying the colours and sharpness rendered on the espresso. These are images that I know well, so I know how they are supposed to look. I was also thrilled by the contrast, especially in the black and white photos from Japan.
Video was just as vibrant and enjoyable. The 60hz refresh rate delivered a smooth and enjoyable experience while watching 1080p videos and fast-moving NRL replays on YouTube.
espresso Display 15″ – Use
I have been testing the espresso Display 15″ as a second display on a Windows 10 laptop and a third display on a Windows 10 Desktop. Both of these devices use the HDMI and USB Type-C to USB Type A connections.
Laptop – More than double the screen space
I started with the laptop, because portability is the main game with the espresso Display. It worked like a charm, instantly powering on (drawing power via the USB connection) and duplicating the image from my main display. With both devices sporting 1080p screens, there were no quirky resolution issues. Switching to “extend” is a simple task on a windows device and in no time at all I had a glorious dual-monitor setup on my laptop.
The productivity advantages of a dual-display setup are huge! My PC has vast amounts of screen real estate, so whenever I switch to the laptop I am frustrated by the limited space. The espresso Display 15″ allows me to bring that familiar productivity with me on the road and it is fantastic! Of course, there are times when you are not going to pull out a second monitor while working on a laptop (on the train, for example), but the espresso Display is sleek enough to not look absurd while working at the local café.
Such a setup also adds major flexibility to those who deal with clients or present work from their laptops. In the midst of Covid, the espresso Display 15″ provides a brilliant alternative to crowding around a single laptop screen. By duplicating the display onto the espresso monitor, you can maintain appropriate physical distance while both looking at (and even interacting with) the same image.
For personal use, the 15.6 inches of screen more than doubles the amount of space I now have to work with. My usual setup is to have a word processor open on the main laptop screen and websites, PDF documents, Teams, emails or any other sources open on the espresso Display.
The touchscreen is accurate, responsive and pleasant to touch, which means I use the espresso panel as naturally as I do my laptop touch screen. Those without a touch-enabled laptop will be likely appreciate the extra versatility even more! Even Mac users can take advantage of the touchscreen, although they do have to purchase the espresso Mac Touch Software.
The espresso Display 15″ supports the usual multitouch functions of Windows, such as pinching to zoom on webpages and swiping from sides to access menus. The glass seems more immune to fingerprints than my laptop screen, although over time they do start to appear. espresso include a small square cleaning cloth, to keep the screen looking great!
The most obvious negative of the espresso Display 15″ that I can see is that it will drain the laptop battery faster than normal. This isn’t unexpected, as the espresso draws its power from the laptop and doesn’t have its own battery. This isn’t a major concern for me as the vast majority of my laptop use is within easy reach of a power source. I didn’t notice a drastic impact in my testing, but I don’t have any specific data to provide accurate power use details.
As more and more workplaces move away from the traditional office setup and innovate arrangements such as hotdesking and partial working from home models are embraced, the espresso Display is made for this world!
While the espresso Display 15″ is most at home beside a laptop, I wondered whether I could find a use for it in my desktop PC setup. I am always looking for new ideas that can increase productivity or give me a better user experience.
Touchscreens are commonplace in modern laptops but they are still a rare sight in the desktop space. To me that seems odd, especially as brands such as Microsoft are investing more and more into creating touch-friendly user interfaces. The next iteration of Windows (11) promises an even better touch experience and even the integration of Android apps, so now is a great time to seriously consider a touch display on a desktop!
Adding the espresso Display 15″ to a multi-monitor desktop setup was just as easy as using it on a laptop, except for a small Windows quirk that is worth noting. When I first plugged in the espresso Display, the touch interface attempted to control my primary monitor. This was terribly confusing, especially as the monitors have different aspect ratios, which meant that my presses on the espresso didn’t even line up with what I saw on the PRISM+. Thankfully the solution is simple – a quick adjustment to the touch settings allowed me to select the espresso and from then on touch has worked perfectly!
I added the espresso Display as a third screen, sitting on quite a flat angle under my 34″ PRISM+ UWQHD monitor. To the right side of these is a 27″ ACER IPS Display in portrait mode. This gives me a ridiculous amount of screen space, but it also gives me great choice, with each monitor able to fulfil specific tasks.
In my experience, there is no such thing as too much screen space. Like many people, in my usual workday I have Microsoft Teams, Email apps, multiple browsers, and word processing applications open at a minimum. Multiple screens allow for less juggling of multiple windows – I can have everything I need right where I can easily find it.
In this configuration, the espresso Display works really well as a dedicated email window or Microsoft Teams window. I don’t look down on it all day (which wouldn’t be great ergonomically), but it is there with information immediately available when I need it!
Of course, a beautiful touchscreen monitor is underutilized if simply used for showing Teams messages, so I found some far more impressive uses for it:
Multiple Desktop Uses
Firstly, my five year old daughter is just beginning to get interested in the digital world. She is beginning to share my interest in games, but also loves playing around with digital art – especially since we discovered NVIDIA Canvas.
The espresso Display 15″ makes these things much more accessible to her, as a mouse and keyboard is a very difficult thing for a little person to master. Our kids are touchscreen natives, so to be able to add that functionality to the traditional desktop PC brings our two preferred worlds much closer together. We bond in many different ways, but it is always great to have another way to connect and have fun together! The Flip Case means that I can easily reposition the espresso Display to make it easy for her to use, although the length of the included HDMI cable can be a limiting factor.
Secondly, the smaller size of the espresso Display (when compared to 34″ monitors) makes it perfect for a compatible battle-screen or dash app. In my favourite genre, for example, the RealDash app can be used to display valuable information in my peripheral vision as I race around the track. Other games, such as Battlefield 4, have a Battlescreen functionality that can be used to show valuable information such as the game map.
The third advantage of the espresso Display in a desktop setup will be more apparent when Windows 11 lands later this year. Android apps on a Windows machine is an exciting prospect, but these apps are made for touch input. The espresso Display 15″ is a tantalising prospect as a secondary display for running these touch-based apps. The espresso Display 15″ may well be a gamechanger in the way I interact with my desktop PC, giving me a thoroughly modern user experience! Obviously this is mere hypothesis as I don’t yet have my hands on Windows 11, but it is an exciting idea!
The real beauty of the espresso Display 15″ is that I can easily attach it to my desktop when working there, then easily move it to the laptop when working there. That advantage is so great that I am seriously considering the MountPro and attaching it to a fully articulating monitor arm.
espresso Display 15″ – Final Thoughts
The espresso Display 15″ is a magnificent innovation in a deceptively simple package! The more I use it, the more uses I find for it. When used with a laptop, the productivity benefits of dual monitors can’t be overstated, especially when touchscreen functionality comes into play. But the espresso Display is also surprisingly at home amongst a desktop setup despite the smaller screen. The touchscreen functionality is already a great addition and it has the potential to be a gamechanger when Windows 11 drops – especially when you consider the versatility on offer with the MountGo and MountPro attachments.
The Flip Case is a simple but fantastic accessory for the espresso Display 15″ and I would describe it as essential for anyone looking to take the Display beyond the four walls of their home (if for no other reason than to protect that stunning screen from damage). It is easy to use, can be positioned in a variety of ways, and the magnetic attachment means moving the espresso Display in and out of it is a very simple task.