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Lenovo ThinkVision M14 Monitor Review

There's very little to dislike about Lenovo's stylish yet practical portable monitor, whether you need it for work or personal use

Should I Buy The Lenovo ThinkVision M14?
If you're looking for a portable monitor with a high quality screen then the ThinkVision M14 does the job brilliantly.

As long as you're ok with USB-C connectivity and fiddly buttons.

Price When Reviewed
  • $249
Having a second monitor can be great, but being able to take it anywhere you go is even better. That’s what the Lenovo ThinkVision M14 offers is a compact and lightweight design with an excellent screen.

Design & Build
At just 4.4mm (not including the kickstand) and 570g, the ThinkVision M14 is one of the thinnest and lightest monitors you’ll find. You can slip it into a rucksack and barely notice it’s in there.

Since these devices are designed to travel with you, Lenovo has hit the nail on the head here and the monitor looks rather nice too thanks to this svelte chassis. The bezels around the display are also nice and small.
A kickstand almost half the height of the main section flips out when you need it and, of course, folds away for travel. It’s got just the right amount of tension to make it easy to adjust but keep the screen in place.

You can adjust between -5° and 90° thanks to Yoga-like hinges for a lot of flexibility and the stand has rubber feet to grip to wherever the monitor is placed.
Apart from the two USB-C ports and Kensington lock slot, there are three buttons. These are for power, brightness and a low blue light mode. Lenovo supplies the M14 with a USB-C to USB-C cable and a fabric sleeve.

A minor downside is that the buttons are a little fiddly to use and there’s no on-screen menu to make any adjustments if you care about that. However, I didn't find I needed the buttons much at all.

Screen Quality & Features
The display itself is 14in with a 16:9 aspect ratio so gives you a decent amount of space while remaining compact. Lenovo offers a Full HD resolution here, a 6ms response time and an IPS panel.

There’s little to complain about as the ThinkVision M14 really does deliver what it sets out to do. This combination of specs will provide the vast majority of users with exactly what they need from a portable second monitor.
I even found the display to go over Lenovo’s claim of 300nits brightness, with a Spyder Pro measuring it at 324nits. Colours are decent too with 99% of sRGB and 75% Adobe RDG - not that many users will need accurate colour from a second monitor.

The brightness dips to around 125nits in blue light mode (or B as it comes up on the screen), of course, and this is actually how I found myself using the monitor most of the time, switching to A only when I needed a boost in brightness.

Either way, the screen has a matt finish so I didn’t have any issues with glare, unlike my glossy laptop.

You might be wondering why there are two ports on the M14 and it’s so you can also plug in a power cable. The monitor can run from your laptop’s power alone, but you might also want to charge at the same time.

This ‘power pass through’ is handy, needed even, but I often found that my laptop wasn’t charging despite the power cable being plugged in.

The main thing to check before buying one is whether it will work with your device, most likely a laptop. You’ll need to connect to a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort 1.2 Alt Mode.

If you’re worried about support, then simply having a USB-C port on your laptop will almost certainly mean the monitor will run. However, if you’re thinking about plugging in something like a smartphone or Nintendo Switch then it’s unlikely to work.

The latter is a shame if you want a portable monitor for gaming but Nintendo requires the console to have power at the same time so you'd need to run it through a hub, as I couldn't get it to do anything despite power pass through.

If you’re unsure, check the specifications of your device or contact the manufacturer as the specs often don't specify.

Price
The ThinkVision M14 isn’t cheap, but this is a high-end portable monitor so the asking price of £249 (US$249 or AU$379) is reasonable and matches rivals like MSI Optix MAG161V.

You can buy it from Amazon, eBuyer, Box and BT.
Whether you’ll use it enough to justify spending that much on one is up to you but for the regular traveller who will benefit from a second screen with minimal hassle, it’s likely to pay for itself by way of improved productivity.

If you need something cheaper then you can take a look at the Acer PM161Qbu or Asus ZenScreen MB16ACE.

Verdict
There’s not a huge amount to say about the ThinkVision M14 and that’s a compliment. It does the job it’s designed to do very well indeed.

It’s an unusually stylish product for the business side of tech with it’s very thin design, excellent kickstand and tiny bezels.

The buttons are a little hard to use, but you won’t need them very often. Importantly, the display is high quality and the M14 is very easy to use with USB-C. My main issue was the power pass through didn’t always work.

You will just want to check if your device can output video to it before buying one.

Specs
  • Display: 14in Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS
  • Brightness: 300 nits
  • Color gamut: National Television Standards Committee (NTSC) 72%
  • Response time: 6ms with OD
  • Eye-care tech: Low blue light
  • Ports: 2 x USB-C (DP1.2 Alt Mode)
  • Cable: USB-C to C
  • Weight: 570g
  • Thickness: 4.4mm (display component only)
  • Stand tilt: -5° to 90°
  • Foot tilt: 0° to 90°
  • Security: Kensington lock slot


View my Flipboard Magazine.

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