Storage

Review: OWC USB 2.0 Display Adapter

Some small form factor computers do not have external display connections, but with the OWC USB 2.0 Display Adapter that does not matter.

While the form factor of the typical notebook computer may be shrinking to netbook or Apple Air sizes, the need for more display screen real estate is increasing. For some computers, there are no external display outputs; there are only the typical USB 2.0 ports. However, with the OWC USB 2.0 Display Adapter that is the only external port you need.

Specifications

  • Operating systems: Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista
  • Host interface: USB 2.0
  • Video interface: VGA or DVI
  • Supported modes: Extended desktop, mirrored desktop, and primary display
  • Resolutions: 640 X 480 up to 1680 X 1050 depending on model
  • Power: Bus-powered
  • Requirements: 1.2GHz CPU, 256MB RAM, USB 2.0 port, Super VGA (800 X 600), and 30MB hard disk space
  • Price: $100
  • Additional vendor information
  • For a closer look, check out the TechRepublic Photo Gallery of this product

Who is it for?

The OWC USB 2.0 Display Adapter is designed for users who need to extend the video display of their computer beyond one screen but do not have an external video port available. The most likely user for this display technology is one with a netbook computer or other small/thin device. The devices history is closely tied to Apple Computer and the Apple Air, for example.

What problem does it solve?

For users carrying netbook PCs or other small devices, there is often a need to display what is on the screen beyond the confines of a built-in monitor. The OWC USB 2.0 Display Adapter provides that capability without requiring an external video port.

Features

  • Installation: The software installation and configuration from the accompanying CD-ROM is quick and easy. Because the technology is based on the established Display Link applications, this device just works out of the box.
  • Multiple displays: The software can support up to six USB display adapters, so adding extra displays is not a problem.
  • Hot plug: Attaching and detaching monitors does not require that the system reboot to accommodate the change.

What's wrong?

  • Niche: The OWC USB 2.0 Display Adapter works great, but if you have already have an external video port the device is redundant and not necessary. This means the adapter has very specific market.
  • Performance: While the performance for general activities like PowerPoint presentations is adequate, multimedia will bog down the adapter. Once again, you will want to use an external video port or the built in display for high pixel rate applications.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

The OWC USB 2.0 Display Adapter works like a charm for those users needing its specific set of features. If you have no external video port on your computer, then you can use this adapter to display information on larger or multiple screens. However, if you do have an external video port, this device may often be redundant. Your particular requirements will determine how useful the device will be.

User rating

Have you encountered or used an OWC USB 2.0 Display Adapter? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

About Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

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