It is nice to enjoy the peace and tranquility of camper van life as I experienced in my recent bothy adventure. Sometimes however you need to get a bit of work done or want to catch up on the latest blockbuster movie while on the move. Bosses don’t seem to understand the reply of van and chill. Traditionally those looking for a display to fill the void would either have purchased a 12V powered motor home style TV or laptop. I opted to break away from the norm and look at lower powered options with the Wimaxit monitor.
Enter the Wimaxit USB monitor
My main pass time is exploring the mountains of Scotland in my VW camper van Harvey The RV. To stay in the hills for longer periods of time I make use of off grid solar power as much as possible. Like everything about life on the road, power management is about being frugal. Whether it be brushing your teeth with a minimal amount of water or scrapping the bowel at dinner, you need to be thrifty. I wanted a do it all device that could entertain at night as well as do work during the day, enter the Wimaxit USB monitor.
High fun low power
The first test was how much current did it draw from the van leisure battery. Running at a maximum of 10 watts of power from a 12V supply the Wimaxit USB monitor is definitely thrifty on power. Coming fully packaged with a power cable, HDMI cable and stand ready to go. In test I was quickly up and running by connecting the monitor to a 12V car adapter as pictured above in seconds. The low energy draw of the screen meant it could run from even a 2A supply. Really impressive given the quality on offer from the full 1080p resolution display.
Monitor mightier than TV
Opting for a stand alone monitor over a purpose built TV was an easy choice. If you intend on connecting a laptop or computer of any sort to a screen then a monitor is the only real choice. TV screens will flicker, lag and not be of sufficient resolution for anything but a short term solution. A bursting sore head after a few hours work while you get eye strain will make you wish you had opted for the Wimaxit USB monitor. Your boss might even thank you the increase in productivity levels from working on the move.
Connecting a laptop or lowered PC to the monitor is a breeze. Two HDMI connections make short work of the majority of inputs. Missing a particular type of connection? Adapters are cheap and plentiful on Amazon. An HDMI to Thunderbolt adapter took care of linking my Mac Book Pro to the screen letting me get editing work done in the field.
On first use of the Wimaxit USB powered monitor I was really impressed by the output. Sound quality was the first thing to strike me. Noise levels were good from the two onboard stereo speakers sitting to the rear of the unit. No need to clutter up your camper van with a wireless speaker here. Sound was perfect for Spotify streaming or even video games.
The picture being output by the screen also really popped. The IPS display meant that viewing angles were good even side on, important when watching from within the confines of a van. Colours stayed vivid no matter where I looked and images were particularly sharp. Being able to output at full high resolution 1080p on the 13.3” screen was a big plus here. Cheaper alternatives can be 720p or less so check the small print carefully.
Useful input options
Being able to run a monitor from USB power opens up a whole host of possibilities. To date I’ve tried mine running with a small Chromecast also powered by USB. Both devices can be ran from a single 12V adapter lowering the number of power lines cluttering up valuable van space.
The cheaply available Chromecast packs a whole host of features. From allowing you to mirror your mobile phone display to the screen. Through to streaming a movie live from the internet. You won’t run out of things to try out on the go to keep you entertained.
Retro video gaming
There has been a huge upsurge in the popularity of retro video games in recent years. Thankfully the devices running them such as the classic SNES pictured also run from low power USB. The Nintendo console slotted perfectly into the monitor and was up and running in seconds playing 1980’s Super Mario. Two control pads so I could even keep guests entertained and enjoying the classic music from the good quality speakers, perfect!
Want to take things one stage further and build your own? Check out the Raspberry PI a low powered fully featured PC. The options are literally endless in terms of projects you could build with the Raspberry PI to be displayed on the USB monitor. Media centre device, internet radio or word processing a WordPress website. The Raspberry PI can do it all and barely draw any voltage while it does it. For those who like to tinker and explore deeper possibilities this would be a great option to try out.
The Wimaxit USB powered monitor really is a do it all display. The amount of possibilities you can try as an input really is outstanding. So far it has taken everything I’ve thrown at it in its stride. Coping with temperature change from freezing cold to hot and sweaty, even contending with high levels of air borne moisture. I’ve been amazed at how much this screen can offer for such a low price point.
Streaming media while parked up in the camper van makes evenings pass quickly. The perfect distraction to long dark winter nights when the stars aren’t visible. What project would you try using yours for? I would love to hear about it in the comments below. Future ideas of mine include making a custom made reversing camera linked directly into the monitor. The possibilities really are as many as your mind cares to make. I can’t wait to explore more with what the Wimaxit monitor really can do.