Thoughts on The Lenovo ThinkVision M14

Lenovo ThinkVision M14The Lenovo ThinkVision M14 is a portable monitor, intended for use with a laptop. The only connector you can use is USB-C only; and for best results, you need to use the one supplied by the manufacturer. I have plenty of USB-C connectors, but I found with my Acer Spin 3, the monitor has trouble being recognized. Even with the supplied cord (which is just two male USB-C’s end-to-end), recognition of the monitor under Windows 10 can be very dicey.

It appears as though it obtains both its power and its signal through the same USB port, since it appears to have no internal battery; and while it always powers up when connected, getting it recognised by the OS is the problem. It appears to power up, then after a few seconds of black screen, goes into standby mode. I can disconnect and reconnect the USB cable to get it to cycle on in hopes that the OS will pick it up, and several minutes are often consumed in getting it to power on with the desktop in display, adn then disconnecting again if it goes on standby. Very frusttrating when this happens.

The monitor actually has 2 USB ports, one on each side, and I wondered if I could make things easier if I use one of them for power. While it didn’t mind being hooked up to a 3-5V power source, it also didn’t improve its chances of being recognized by Windows, emphasizing the fact that it isn’t necesarily a power issue.

When it works, it works quite well, and renders graphics surprisingly well for something which appears to have such low power needs.  The controls on the side of the base are very limited, but I seem to get along without them, since the monitor appears to “do the right thing” (when it finally connects to my laptop, that is).

Like all things portable, I often get a little paranoid about the breakability of this monitor lying in its felt casing (which came out of the box) in my backpack. I have had this one for a few months, and no signs of cracks yet. The monitor itself is quite rigid, but at $280 I wish that they could add more protection to their monitor, since I would find it hard to believe that consumers would just leave these at home. Otherwise, what’s the point?

It is a common sore point I also have with cell phones, laptops, tablets, and all manner of devices that have somewhat large glass screens with scant protection. The reason Apple and Samsung can charge upwards of $1100 for their cell phones with virtually no protection is because we let them. Who’s stopping them from ripping people off like that? Certainly not the customers lined up for several blocks outside an Apple Store whenever a new cell phone gets released. If the latest $1300 iPhone 14 Pro can’t survive a 6 foot drop, then why charge $1300 for something so delicate? Again, it is because we let them, and the world is teeming with people who have a wealth of cash but suffer from the worst kind of FOMO imaginable.

The ThinkVision is far from $1300, but it is still pricey for what it does, and should also be adequately protected. I wouldn’t mind paying slightly more if I know it is protected and will be around for a few years.

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