- Smart Design
- Fits Most Laptops
- USB-C Single Cable Operation
- Great Contrast
- Low sRGB Coverage and Poor Color Accuracy
- Slow Pixel Response Time and high Input Lag
- Price Not Competitive
The Stand Steady SideTrak Portable Monitor is a compact portable monitor that has a unique design compared to its already established competitors. SideTrak says that their monitor will fit any laptop starting at 13 inches, making it more portable than the 14-inch and 15.6-inch variants we’ve seen. The Stand Steady SideTrak looks very promising with its smart design, but let’s check out how it performs.
Stand Steady SideTrak Specifications
- Screen Size: 12.5 Inches
- Resolution:1920 x 1080 FHD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Panel Technology: In-Plane Switching (IPS)
- Refresh Rate: 60Hz
- Contrast Ratio: 700:1
- Brightness: 300 cd/m²
- Built-in Speakers: Yes
- Stand: Height – No
- Stand: Tilt – No
- Stand: Swivel – Yes
- Stand: Pivot– No
- VESA Compatibility: No
- Connectivity: USB-C x 1
- Dimensions With Stand(WxHxD): 12.75″ x 8.5″ x .7″
Design and Features
What makes the Stand Steady SideTrak set itself from the competition is its design which doesn’t use the kickstand or tri-fold convertible cover formula found on other portables. The device has matte black finish all over which means it will be able to resist fingerprints and smudges which will be common on a gadget you have to handle with your hands. The display has thick bezels that will make it look less desirable than other products like the Asus MB16ACE.
Build quality for the Stand Steady SideTrak could use some improvements since it’s a little rough in the edges. The device feels sturdy, but the frame’s rails are not as smooth as you’d like so you have to shimmy the screen a bit for it to slide out. The texture on the chassis also looks like it needs a bit more work, but that’s less important compared to the screen’s performance.
The Stand Steady SideTrak is considerably smaller than the other available portable monitors in the market at 12.5 inches. However, the company says that its compatible with laptop sizes ranging from 13 inches to 17 inches. The frame extends up to 29.5 inches so it’s usable for the bigger devices, but the smaller netbooks need to be at least 12.25 inches wide by 8.5 inches tall.
The Stand Steady SideTrak’s system involves you having to attach it to the top shell of your laptop using four magnets with double-sided adhesives. This means 2-in-1s like the Microsoft Surface Go which has a kickstand built-in won’t be compatible. Once it’s latched on, you only need to slide out the screen and swivel it slightly towards you to extend your view space.
It makes your otherwise ultra-thin notebook considerably thicker by adding less than an inch of thickness. However, this system makes the Stand Steady SideTrak more portable than the rest, since you don’t have to find a separate space for it in your bag. Setting up also takes less time once you are ready to work since you don’t have to do some folding magic to prop your secondary display up next to the computer.
The Stand Steady SideTrak also doubles as extra armor for your thin and fragile laptop, so attaching it is more a win in any situation. You can also use it for a secondary device since there is an extra set of magnets in the package, but we’d keep those as spares in case of losses.
The Stand Steady SideTrak also only uses one connection via its USB-C slot for both signal and power transmission. This gadget doesn’t have an internal battery so it will share with your laptop’s, but it only consumes 4.5 watts of juice. The included USB-C cable also has a type-A adapter at the end but do take note that you need to download the DisplayLink driver for DisplayPort over USB support.
The Stand Steady SideTrak doesn’t have OSD controls so you are left with its default setting. You have to use your laptop’s display menu to adjust the brightness, but RGB sliders and the like are not part of the package. This limitation is the biggest setback for the Stand Steady SideTrak, but we know some wouldn’t bother trying to calibrate it since it’s only a secondary display.
Display and Performance
The Stand Steady SideTrak sports a 12.5-inch IPS panel with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, 60Hz refresh rate, and a 30ms response time. The backlight is rated at 300 cd/m2, while contrast sits at 800:1 which is typical for portable monitors. These specs seem scary for anything other than menial computing tasks, especially since the pixel response time is incredibly high for a modern monitor.
The Stand Steady SideTrak also has an incredible pixel density of 173 PPI, so it is considerably sharper than your typical office display. The screen looks crisp and sharp, but some users with anything less than 20/20 vision might struggle with reading and the like. Scaling can be used, but it’s not always an option since the view area is limited.
The Stand Steady SideTrak cannot provide a vibrant output since its color coverage is limited to 69% of the sRGB gamut. That’s common for portable monitors, but colors like red or green won’t be as punchy on this display. DeltaE average is decent at 2.7, but there is no way to improve it since the gadget doesn’t have a fully-equipped OSD.
What’s great about the Stand Steady SideTrak’s IPS panel is its strong performance in contrast with a maximum of 1150:1 at full brightness. You are going to want to use this device at 100% backlight capacity since it can only muster up to 150 cd/m2 which is half of what the brand promises. Gamma is also off at 2.05, so some images will not look balanced.
Panel uniformity for the Stand Steady SideTrak is decent since there are no visible leaks or clouding on the display. Smaller portable monitors typically do better in this regard compared to their desktop counterparts, but its mainly because they are smaller. Quality control is much easier to apply, but you should still be wary of manufacturing tolerances.
The Stand Steady SideTrak is unusable for gaming since it blurs a lot compared to other IPS-based portable monitors. Even watching fast-paced action movies will reveal some trails, so you might have to look for better options if your main purpose is entertainment. However, to be fair, that is not the case for this product because it is targeted more for productivity and multitasking than personal enjoyment.
The Stand Steady SideTrak doesn’t support FreeSync, so naturally, G-Sync compatibility is out as well. You don’t need a lot of GPU horsepower for games to run on this screen anyway, but we don’t see anyone buying this monitor for gaming anyway. We were not able to measure input lag, but the Stand Steady SideTrak is the most sluggish we have seen so far.
Thoughts on the Stand Steady SideTrak
The Stand Steady SideTrak’s excellent design and functionality makes it a good purchase if you want extra view space for your work. The ability to attach it to a laptop and just slide out the screen when needed is considerably better than dealing with unstable kickstands or tri-folds. It’s also fantastic that the device is compatible with a lot of laptops, but some 13-inch models like the Dell XPS which are even smaller will not be compatible with the design.
Unfortunately, the only superb thing going for the Stand Steady SideTrak is what’s mentioned above since its performance is a mixed bag. Contrast is strong for an IPS screen, but other aspects like brightness, color quality, and responsiveness are all sub-par. You also don’t get an OSD to work around these flaws which for some users, outweigh the benefits of the product’s fantastic design.
About the Author:
Paolo is a gaming veteran since the golden days of Doom and Warcraft and has been building gaming systems for family, friends, and colleagues since his junior high years. High-performance monitors are one of his fixations and he believes that it’s every citizen’s right to enjoy one. He has gone through several pieces of hardware in pursuit of every bit of performance gain, much to the dismay of his wallet. He now works with Monitornerds to scrutinize the latest gear to create reviews that accentuate the seldom explained aspects of a PC monitor.