Samsung UbiSync 7
Coming together with the SyncMaster 2263DX, the UbiSync 7 is actually a standalone solution. It can be used in pair with any other monitor or even without a second monitor at all. Hopefully, the UbiSync 7 will soon be selling apart from the 2263DX. I’m sure there’ll be interest to this solution on the user’s part if there is appropriate informational and advertising support.
The specs are not impressive in comparison with larger models, but you’ll see shortly how good this monitor is in reality.
The mini-monitor resembles a photo-frame except that it has a minimum of controls and lacks a connector for flash cards or USB drives.
The stand is fastened on a hinge so you can change the angle of its tilt and inclination to orient the UbiSync7 just as you please in portrait or landscape mode. Yes, although Samsung’s promo-materials and photographs always show the mini-monitor attached to the large monitor, it can actually be just placed on the desk all alone.
The single connector the UbiSync 7 needs is a standard mini-USB port (the engineering connector you see next to it in the photo is not utilized in practice). The monitor receives both power and signal via USB.
The UbiSync 7 is not the first USB-interfaced monitor to visit our labs, actually. We once reviewed the 19-inch Samsung SyncMaster 940UX. The UbiSync 7 follows the same design. It has a DisplayLink chip that receives compressed video stream from the PC, uncompresses it and displays on the screen. For this to work, you have to install a driver to create a virtual graphics card.
The mini-monitor doesn’t need any special hardware support. The only requirements are a free USB port and an OS supported by the driver. Currently, the driver works under Windows 2000, XP and Vista (32-bit version only) as well as under MacOS X (beta-version). The system identifies the UbiSync 7 as an ordinary monitor connected to a DisplayLink Graphics Adapter. The latter is not real hardware but a software emulation on the driver level. So, you can do everything with the mini-monitor as with any other monitor.
The Samsung SPF-83V photo frame wasn’t quite stable in our tests, but the UbiSync 7 is different in this respect. I started it up at the first attempt under Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2 and ran it without a single failure for a few days.
The drawback of the USB connection is the need for a rather advanced CPU. The CPU load would be a few tens of percent when the monitor’s screen was updated. On the other hand, this is hardly a real problem considering that junior models of dual-core CPUs are quite cheap nowadays, single-core CPUs quickly becoming obsolete.
The mini-monitor has its own controls even. It lacks an onscreen menu, so these are just touch-sensitive buttons for turning the device on and adjusting its brightness. A blue Power indicator is placed near the Power button. It shines at work, starting to blink when you reach the top or bottom limit of the brightness adjustment range but you are still pressing the appropriate button.