SOLO 4K Ultra HD Portable Monitor
The SideTrak SOLO 4K Ultra HD Portable Monitor is a very useful portable tool for remote work. With its sleek design and 4K resolution, the monitor is perfect for use in a variety of settings - especially for creative professionals. It is easy to transport and doesn't require any type of software for operation. The location of the connection ports makes cable management a little awkward and the price is a little high, but the quality of the monitor is worth the investment.
- EASE OF USE
Portable monitor provides a powerful mobile workstation companion.
A few weeks ago, we released a review of the SideTrak SOLO PRO HD 15.8” Portable Monitor. SideTrak does a great job creating products for mobile workstations. Their monitors are beyond amazing and while the HD option is great for basic tasks and enhancing productivity while you are on the go, the next iteration – the SideTrak SOLO 4K Ultra HD Portable Monitor – is ideal for creative professionals who need a higher resolution for their content creation purposes.
SideTrak currently has two 4K monitor models – a touch screen compatible version and a standard monitor. This review will focus on the standard portable monitor. The screen is a 4K monitor that is designed for creative projects, gaming, and streaming high-resolution content. It has an anti-glare LED display and comes with a cover that doubles as a kickstand.
The portable monitor features a 1000:1 contrast ratio and 3840 x 2160 resolution (4K UHD). This resolution indicates that the monitor has twice the horizontal and vertical resolution of full 1080p HD monitors. This is the 4K resolution recommended and recognized by the television industry. There is another 4K resolution (4096 x 2160) that is recognized as a 4K resolution for cinema projectors.
The portable monitor also features HDR & FreeSync technology. FreeSync helps provide a smooth viewing experience, especially when used for gaming. AMD FreeSync is a technology that helps to fight screen tearing, stuttering, and input latency during fast-paced games and videos.
HDR, on the other hand, stands for ‘high dynamic range’ and is designed to enhance the display’s contrast ability. HDR pushes the limits of standard broadcast contrast levels and provides a brighter, more colorful image for viewers. These two technologies – HDR and FreeSync – are a powerful combination to add to a 4K monitor.
The SOLO 4K portable monitor also has a wide color gamut, 8-bit color display, and DCR (dynamic contrast ratio) to enhance the other features of the monitor. The monitor is fully adjustable through onboard settings. The brightness, blue light filter, volume, and display settings are all adjustable.
Dimensions & Weight
- Dimensions: 14.5″ x 8.9″ x 0.4”
- Weight: 2.5 lbs
- Screen Size: 15.6″
- Panel Type: TFT
- Display Type: LED
- Resolution: 3840×2160
- Brightness: 340 cd/m2
- Response Time: 25 ms
- Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
- Power Consumption: 6W
- Operating System: Windows, Chrome, & Mac
- Ports Required: Thunderbolt USB-C or USB-A and HDMI (may require 2 cords)
- Device Size: Any
- Download: Not Required
What’s in the Box
- Solo 4k Freestanding Portable Monitor
- USB-C to USB-C cord with USB-A adapter
- Mini HDMI to HDMI cord
SideTrak makes using their portable monitors super easy. I used this with my MacBook Pro (M1, 2021) and didn’t have any issues with it whatsoever. With my machine, I used the provided UBS-C cable to connect the monitor and it was immediately recognized as a second screen. Once it was connected, I just used the monitor as I normally would.
As a photographer and online content creator, I do end up using a second screen quite a bit for layouts and photo editing. It is hard to compete with the MBP’s screen which has a Liquid Retina XDR display (3456-by-2234 native resolution at 254 pixels per inch). But, the 4K SOLO monitor holds its own. There were a couple of observations I made about the portability and general use of the SOLO monitor.
I had an opportunity to take a quick out-of-town trip with this monitor in tow and was able to set it up in a hotel lounge area. This was a perfect opportunity to test it out because I had my 16-inch MacBook Pro, the monitor, my phone, and my camera with me. The first thing I noted was that I was able to set it all up on a small dining-style table and I still had room to spread out a little. If I had paperwork, I would have still had room to lay that out, too.
The second thing I noticed was the layout of the ports and buttons on the monitor. There are four ports on one edge (2 x USB-C, 1 x HDMI, and 1 x headphone jack) and one port and three buttons (1 x USB-A, power, up/down buttons) on the other edge of the monitor. The placement of the onboard buttons was convenient. You could easily reach along the edge of the monitor, feel where the buttons were, and be able to use them.
The only downside to the placements of these interface points is that the cables stick out and you are limited to which side you want the monitor to sit on. The USB-C cable is long enough to stretch to the left or the right side but it could put a strain on the cable or make for unruly cable management. This is a very minor criticism, in my opinion. I would have liked to see a short cable included with L-shaped USB connectors this way I can keep the second screen right up next to my Mac without hardly any space between them. THat’s just me being picky.
The third thing I noticed while using the monitor was the kickstand design of the case. I love that the case is dual-purpose. The case is protective for the monitor and its screen but the kickstand function of the case is lacking stability. I was able to get the joints to pop out the way they were supposed to but the kickstand slipped out of its locked position a few times.
This made me wary. With that in mind, I’m looking for other options to keep the kickstand stable because I really like using this monitor when I’m on location. The viewing angle was great, but it just wasn’t very stable. This could be a user error but it happened more than once so I am not sure.
Finally, the screen is supposed to be anti-glare but it does show quite a bit of reflection. When I was working in the hotel lounge I mentioned, that it was early afternoon. There was a large bank of windows to my left and tons of natural light spilled into the area I was sitting in.
This made it a bit difficult for me to do any type of color correction on photos because the monitors (on my laptop and the portable one) were reflecting the light in the room and I had to avoid the glare from the windows. The laptop screen did a better job with the glare than the SideTrak did. In fact, the SideTrak screen is much more glossy than my MacBook Pro’s screen.
Aside from these fairly minor observations about the SideTrak SOLO 4K monitor’s performance and function, I really enjoy using it. The monitor has come in very handy and I’m looking forward to using it for a long time. It’s found a permanent home in my Laptop bag so I can remember to always have it with me on the go. It’s just that awesome!
Having a second monitor can be a godsend especially when you are responsible for creating content such as videos, photos, or any other visual medium. The SideTrak SOLO 4K portable monitor is ideal for this type of purpose. It’s also great for other purposes such as gaming and even just watching videos.