There is no denying the world has changed the past couple of years. I don’t just mean in response to COVID-19, though it absolutely started the work from home conversation, there are a lot of products that exist to match our flexible lifestyle. Nintendo Switch’s two distinct modes has absolutely resonated with people, battery backups have moved to rechargeable power stations and even monitors are evolving. Among the various brands trying new ideas is INNOCN with their line of adaptable portable monitors. We had the distinct pleasure of checking out their PF15-Pro model, which boasts multiple inputs, 1080p picture, strong viewing angles and a 5000mAh battery pack so you can enjoy it without being near a power outlet, but is it a must for those looking for a bit more form a monitor or does it sound better in practice?
I was pleasantly surprised by PF15-Pro’s presentation. The initial packaging is a generic brown box with an image of PF15-Pro, some key features on the side and basic power information on the back. Inside is very similar to how Surface Pro bundles are done. There is a generic white package, holding the case, and another box for PF15-Pro. For the second box, it’s white with a lovely picture of the product, along with key technical specifications on the back.
Inside PF15-Pro’s box is the monitor held snuggly in place by a plastic inlay. Under the screen are two boxes that contain all your resources, including a small cleaning cloth, two different USB-C cables (power and display), a micro-HDMI to HDMI adapter, card that mentions the three year warranty and a few documents.
From the second I picked up PF15-Pro I was surprised by a couple things. Despite the weight being listed as 2.2 lbs, the large and somewhat awkward 15.6” size makes it feel considerably more heavy than you might think. Thankfully, it isn’t just the size that adds to the weight, it’s the materials used and internal battery. The cool aluminum finish looks great and makes PF15-Pro feel well built.
Unfortunately, the included case takes away some of the visual appeal. Despite the front looking reminiscent of Apple’s Smart Folio, the back is rubbery material that has a slightly grey hue. Once inside the look isn’t quite as appealing, though it’s not all bad. The included case makes PF15-Pro perfectly functional, in addition to offering a kickstand. There are also options to forego the case, such as a tablet holder, just make sure it’s able to hold the monitor (our previously reviewed Blitzwolf tablet holder was just short of holding it).
With everything outside of the box, set up is a your milage may vary sort of thing. Initially I had issues getting PF15-Pro to display any kind of picture. Consulting the quick start guide was of little to no help, it was learning two things. The first is PF15-Pro will go black and eventually turn off if no signal is detected. This can easily confuse people, as not even are options present, though there is likely nothing wrong with the device itself. There are also certain restrictions that hubs and other accessories might not be able to handle.
When I initially tried my J5 Create dock, I could not get a picture from USB-C or HDMI. I attempted my ASUS USB-C mini dock and had similar issues. Plugging it directly into my iMac solved the issue, with my Aukey CBC78 dock also working. I faced similar issues with my Surface Pro 7, though restarting the device fixed the connection issue. Unfortunately, I was unable to get Nintendo Switch to connect via USB-C or via the Aukey CBC78 dock, though connecting via HDMI worked perfectly. In a later test, I used my FiiO M11, M11 Pro and M9, all of which use Android OS, though none displayed a picture via USB-C or a dock. My ARM Galaxy Book S worked flawlessly when connected via USB-C, as did my iPhone and iPad with the proper adapter. Odds are any non-DAP Android device, computer with USB-C or standard HDMI connection will work with PF15-Pro, it just might take a little trial and error before it works.
After setting up PF15-Pro, I was pleasantly surprised. When connected to either my OS X or Windows device, I was able to use the touchscreen functionality. This helped my productivity immensely. Now I didn’t need to move my curser over to the second screen or could use it without dedicating space to a mouse. Even being able to start my recording on OBS with a simple tap was handy. This also worked immediately after displaying a picture. The only setting that might need to be changed is what your second screen shows. By default, both OS X and Windows duplicated my screen, meaning anyone looking to use this as a separate screen simply needs to change a single option under settings.
Picture quality was also quite nice. At 400 nits it might not sound like a lot, at least compared to iPhone 13’s 1200 peak and Pixel 6’s 800 nits peak, but it proved plenty bright for most situations. It might not fare amazingly well in direct sunlight but next to both of my laptops it was either as bright or brighter. This made the picture pop in a pleasing way, though anyone looking for a more subdued picture can always change the settings.
Since this is a gaming site, I extensively played on PF15-Pro for a number of recent projects. Let me start by saying, input lag should not be a concern. I had no issues jumping between Metroid Dread, Monster Hunter Rise, Back 4 Blood or even Destiny 2. With Metroid Dread there were several scenes that were heavy on contrast, which PF15-Pro performed well on, along with some bright scenes that looked pretty good. I enjoyed it so much I will likely keep using it with my Switch going forward.
I had a similar experience when gaming on my PlayStation 5. The quality was good enough to use it as an alternate screen if I was on the move or just wanted to play on a different configuration. In fact, had I not recently purchased a basic monitor for Discord/OBS, I would almost certainly use PF15-Pro like that. The rich colors and nicer build just make for a better overall experience.
These situations were also a good test for sound. The dual speakers are a little louder than my phone, delivering more than enough range for light gaming. It’s perfect for a small gathering playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or Metroid Dread, though lacks the depth for games like Back 4 Blood, when audio cues make headphones a must.
The only issue I encountered when gaming was HDR. While PF15-Pro can accept an HDR signal from PlayStation 5, it displays rather poorly. Everything looked washed out and lifeless, neither of which are positive attributes. This can be solved by simply disabling HDR.
Motion was also hit and miss. The 60hz panel is not going to look extremely smooth, it just depends what you’re doing and looking for. I didn’t notice much when it came to gaming, as few console games output 120hz or better, though some little things were somewhat noticeable. Quick scrolling wasn’t as smooth as I was used to, as were quick movements. Odds are most people won’t be bothered by these things, just something that might stand out.
Those concerned with viewing angles can rest assured. After applying a number of viewing angle tests to PF15-Pro, I had no issues with color accuracy viewing it well off axis. When used in normal monitor angles, you probably won’t notice a difference.
When testing movies, the picture quality was quite good. I could tell based off of my source device the color accuracy wasn’t quite perfect, the settings can be adjusted to get a little closer, though it wasn’t bad. At most colors were just slightly more saturated than the source material.
One slightly annoying detail that may come into play is the position and included connections. Everything is on the right side, meaning PF15-Pro works best when placed to the left. Given a good number of devices easily work on either side, it can feel somewhat limiting. Thankfully, all you’ll have is a more exposed wire and/or less length/need to purchase a longer wire. I also would prefer to see a standard HDMI over mini-HDMI, due to how much more common that connection is.
INNOCN Portable Touchscreen Monitor (PF15-Pro) Review Verdict
Once I got PF15-Pro working, I was impressed with the experience. Not only could I freely use this screen via the built-in battery, which gives about four hours of battery life, it looked and functioned well. Best of all, it does exactly what it claims, even offering some additional features. For example, touch screen support is useful for those on the go or want to do something really fast, with some of the smaller choices, like eye care mode, increasing overall functionality. I could easily see using PF15-Pro as larger screen to play Nintendo Switch on the go, get the most out of my articles on the go or simply use it as a huge tablet in bed. For these reasons, it makes for a strong choice for a monitor and easily beats some similarly priced options.
[Editor’s Note: PF15-Pro was provided to us for review purposes. Along with the review, readers can enjoy an additional $66 off on Amazon with promo code INC20PF15.]