ViewSonic TD1655 review: Second-screen wonder
For second-screen addicts like me, the TD1655 is a solution to a long-standing problem
Blame the pandemic if you will, but I simply cannot forgo my multi-monitor setup, no matter whether I’m poring over multiple Excel sheets or writing a story like this while keeping my notes or browser windows open on the second screen or watching a live sports/tech event and keeping an eye on the socials. It’s quite simple - more screen real estate = more productivity, a formula that sadly has me shackled to my desk in my pursuit for multi-screen productivity heaven. And then the ViewSonic TD1655 landed on my desk, and it may be just what the doctor ordered! This is no ordinary monitor, though. With its go-everywhere form-factor, this is a touchscreen monitor that’s designed to go where you want to go, just as easily as a laptop or a tablet.
Carrying the TD1655 along with my MacBook Air, it’s equal parts sizeable yet portable. It’s about the same footprint as a slim 15-inch laptop (and can easily be mistaken for one!) and weighs just under a kilo. While the plastic chassis keeps things light, the clincher when it comes to design is the fold-out metal kickstand a la the Microsoft Surface Pro. It provides 45-degrees of movement, which allows for multiple (viewing) angles of use, or even used in portrait orientation if that’s your preference. In the box is an included folio case, with a soft folding cover that attaches magnetically to the rear, to protect the display while in transit. I’ve carried the MacBook Air and the TD1655 along with me on several days, and never have I had the folio case shift in the bag to expose the display.
Controls are via a five-way toggle on the rear, which lets you adjust video inputs, color/brightness/contrast adjustment etc. For a device this slim, it doesn’t scrimp on the connectivity options, with two Type-C ports, a mini-HDMI port and an audio jack, and the box includes a Type-C-to-C cable, a USB-A-to-C cable and a mini-HDMI to full-sized HDMI cable, aside from the 60W charger. With the included charger, you can either power your laptop via the display or the display via the laptop, which is a convenient arrangement. Stereo speakers on the rear mean you can watch the odd video in a pinch, but they’re very average sounding speakers, so they’re best connected to an external pair or a pair of headphones.
The 15.6-inch, 1920x1080-pixel display on the ViewSonic TD1655 is, as expected, the main attraction, providing a large, sharp second screen for work or entertainment. It’s an instant productivity boost, with the sharp second screen allowing for multiple windows and apps to be spread across the screen. The IPS LCD panel is bright and vivid but, set side-by-side next to the Air or a MacBook Pro’s display, I did notice color accuracy issues. This won’t matter if you use the second screen for spreadsheets or watching YouTube videos or scrolling through social media, but it isnt the screen to recommend to anyone in the creative/design trade who wants to use the display for working on the go.
The added bonus is that this is a touchscreen with support for 10-point multi-touch input and gestures, which makes it a solid companion if you already have a touchscreen Windows machine and want the same capabilities to extend to the second display…or if you want some touchscreen joy if you’re a Mac owner. Bear in mind, you will need to install additional software to enable the touchscreen capabilities on a Mac. There’s a stylus included in the box, which is good for folks who like to avoid touching their grubby fingers on the screen and for the odd doodling, but it doesn’t boast of anywhere near the same latency or touch response as what we’ve seen on Apple Pencils/iPads. Aside from laptops, you can use the TD1655 on Android smartphones and tablets/iPads, but you’ll likely need the power adapter unless your device can drive enough power from the USB-C port. No in-built battery, though… which could have been useful in some situations.
For second-screen addicts like me, the TD1655 is a solution to a long-standing problem. There’s absolutely no question about the productivity benefits this delivers, and its form factor and kickstand allow it to be carried and used practically anywhere. The convenience and portability comes at a price, but for the right set of use cases, the TD1655 delivers in spades.
Pros: Plenty of ports, useful metal kickstand, bundled accessories/cables, sharp expansive display
Cons: Color accuracy issues, middling speakers, no battery and limited Mac support
Price: Rs. 33,500 (MRP), available at Rs. 26,799 on Amazon
Tushar Kanwar is a tech columnist and commentator, and tweets @2shar