ASUS MB168B+ preview: Full HD USB 3.0 monitor

Notebooks, especially affordable ones, still don't have the best screens. The most common resolution remains 1366x768 and viewing angles are limited, with less than perfect colour rendering. So what can you do if you need more work space? One option is the ASUS MB168B+, a portable USB 3.0 display. We took a closer look and came away impressed.

The ASUS MB168B+ is a clever solution. It's powered by the same USB connection that transmits the video signal. It's nice that it's USB 3.0, and the monitor has Full HD resolution. It's lightweight and thin, definitely portable enough to bring along on business trips.

The ASUS MB168B+ has a very nice design. The 15.6-inch panel is housed in a chassis that fits in the Zenbook Ultrabook line of products, with a metal back with a circular pattern. The screen is 8 mm thin and weighs about 750 grams. That's more than a tablet, but reasonable considering its size.

The only buttons consist of a power switch and a rocker for adjusting the brightness and contrast. When you use them, it opens a software window that's installed when you connect it.

With the screen you get a sleeve that also has room for the USB cable. The sleeve even serves as stand. It takes a little getting used to how it works, but it's surprisingly stable.

The USB 3.0 connection supplies enough power you don't need another power source, and having only one cable is very practical. Other USB monitors we've seen needed a double USB plug, a separate power supply or were smaller with a lower resolution. It's too bad the monitor itself has a mini-USB port. It's a bit of a flimsy connection, a slight movement can interrupt it. The cable measures about 40 cm, enough for most settings, but a little more length would have been welcome for added flexibility, along with a sturdier port. This more due to the design of the USB standard than that ASUS implemented it incorrectly. A proprietary connector would not have been a better option. You can read the rest of this preview on hardware.info.