Review unit on loan from ASUS Singapore
The ASUS ZenScreen Ink MB14AHD is a portable touchscreen display with pen support targeted at office workers. I’m a visual content creator and I’m making this review because I wanted to see how the pen performs for drawing and writing.
Just to give you the bottom line up front, this display is a well designed and well built and it works great as an external display. However, the colour support isn’t good enough for digital artists or graphic designers.
Official retail price is SGD 499.
These are the items included in the box:
- Carrying sleeve
- Warranty info and quick start guide
- USB power adaptor with regional plugs
- USB-A to USB-C cable
- Micro HDMI to full size HDMI cable
- USB-C to USB-C cable
The carrying sleeve is padded and provides some protection for the display during transport. There’s a small pocket to hold the pen, but there are no other pockets for holding cables.
The display uses a 14-inch 1080P 60Hz IPS panel.
There’s noticeable pixelation with 1920 x 1080 resolution which is not surprising.
I measured colour support for 63% sRGB, 48% AdobeRGB, 47% P3, 45% NTSC and a maximum brightness of 147 nits. The colours are sufficient for office-type work and I did not notice anything out of the ordinary except for the limited colour gamut. For visual content work, I recommend a display with at least 100% sRGB.
The display is quite glossy so it’s best to avoid having any reflections on it.
Brightness and colours are affected slightly by extreme viewing angles.
The back surface is matte textured.
On the bottom are several rubber feet that provide good grip on the table. There’s also a tripod mount in the middle.
The built-in kickstand is very convenient and has 150 degrees movement.
The built-in kickstart is designed in such a way that you can deploy the display vertically. The cable sticking out from the top doesn’t look elegant so you may want to get a L-shape USB-C cable instead.
There’s auto rotation feature but it only works with Windows OS and requires you to install the ASUS DisplayWidget Lite app. For Mac or Linux users, you can rotate the orientation manually through the OS display settings.
The ASUS DisplayWidget Lite app also allows you to adjust display settings easily.
This display can be used with a tripod.
Be careful when using the display with the tripod because the tripod mount does not look that strong.
If you accidentally topple the tripod, I’ve a feeling that the display’s bottom may crack as the display is quite thin.
All the ports are located on the left side of the display, the side that is still accessible when the display is deployed vertically.
Navigating the OSD menu is quite easy as the physical buttons beside are aligned to the buttons on screen. Unfortunately, you cannot use your fingers to navigate the OSD menu even though the display is a touchscreen.
Note that some colour settings will be locked depending on the viewing mode selected, e.g. standard, srgb, movie.
The ports are micro-HDMI, 2x USB-C video and a 3.5mm audio jack.
There are two USB-C ports so that one can be connected to external power in case your computer cannot provide enough power through its USB-C to power the display. If you are using micro-HDMI, you will need to connect a USB-C cable to power as HDMI does not transmit power.
There are no built-in speakers.
The display works fine as an external display. Having a dual display setup is great for productivity as you can see more content.
The included ASUS Pen (SA201H) features Microsoft Pen Protocol 2 (MPP) and supports tilt and 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. Since the display supports MPP 2 pens, you can use other pens as well, e.g. Microsoft Surface Pen. No pairing or Bluetooth is needed.
The pen can be stored magnetically at the top of the display.
The pen has two side buttons and the shortcuts may differ depending on the apps you use. There’s some movement to the tip so when writing, there’s audible tapping sound.
The pen is powered by one AAAA battery which is not included in the box.
This display is not designed and made for drawing. These line tests were created with Medibang Paint Pro. I actually wanted to talk about five takeaway points but I’ll just summarise it to just one: the lines have noticeable jitter or wobble when drawing.
When writing, we write fast so there’s no noticeable jitter or wobble. There is some latency as the line is trying to catch up with the pen tip, but this latency is common with even pen displays made for drawing.
The app I used above was Wacom Bamboo Paper and it’s able to capture my handwriting quite accurately.
Writing with Microsoft OneNote performed quite well too.
Overall handwriting and note taking performance is quite good except for the slight latency.
This ASUS display can be used for presentation. You can connect your computer to a projector and the ASUS display, and have whatever is written on the ASUS display show on the projected screen.
There’s palm rejection that allows you to rest your palm on the display while writing. How effective palm rejection is will depend on the app used. Apps that only accept pen input will have flawless palm rejection. For apps that don’t have pen input, you have to rely on palm rejection provided by Windows OS and it’s not perfect.
The display supports 10-point touch and finger gestures work quite well for pan, scroll, rotate and zoom. Finger gesture animation looks rather fluid and responsive.
The main selling point of the ASUS ZenScreen Ink MB14AHD is portability and pen support. If you do not need pen support, you can get cheaper portable touchscreen displays However, those portable displays usually do not have pen support. And even with a portable touchscreen display, the lack of proper pen support means the writing experience will likely be lousy as there is no palm rejection, and it’s common to have broken lines or the pen is less responsive.
This is display is good looking and performs well. The kickstand is very useful. Having an external display is always useful.
The main downside is the limited colour gamut support, relatively speaking compared to other portable displays. And be careful not to drop the display when it’s mounted onto a tripod.
Pros and cons at a glance
+ Compact, lightweight and portable
+ Good build quality
+ 10-point touchscreen
+ Finger gesture response is fluid
+ Rubber feet with good grip
+ HDMI and USB-C video supported
+ Pen support with palm rejection and pressure
+ Good handwriting and note taking performance
+ Built-in kickstand
+ Built-in tripod mount
+ Carrying sleeve included
+ Auto-rotation feature with Windows OS
+ OSD menu easy to navigate
– Limited colour gamut
– 1080P resolution pixelation
– Very reflective screen
– Colours and brightness affected by viewing angles
– Lines have visible jitter and wobble for drawing purposes
– Fragile tripod mount