I love unique gadgets – especially when they work alongside my MacBook Pro. MIMO Monitors has kindly graced me with the opportunity to review one of their most popular models of external USB-powered touch screens – The iMo Eye9.
The iMo Eye9 is a 9-inch portable touchscreen monitor. It’s USB-powered, supports either a Mac or PC, and has a host of potential uses, from displaying pictures or video alongside your computer, to keeping your twitter stream in one place, to showing your boss a chart you’ve completed while maintaining control of your computer. I’ll take a deeper look at this device, and share with you my impressions.
The first think I noticed upon removing the Eye9 from its package was its built quality. While it’s housing is made of plastic, the device does not feel cheap or flimsy. It;s build is solid, and it has a satisfying heft to it. I was amazed at the protective nature of the packaging, although this did add considerable bulk.
The Eye9 immediate struck me as very professional in appearance, and I immediately found myself thinking of ways that I might use it to benefit my everyday computing.
What’s In The Box?
The box, which is very well packaged (though a bit bulky), contains everything you need – the monitor itself (along with a sturdy and protective hard plastic cover), a detachable webcam, a desktop mounting stand that allows for either portrait or landscape orientation, some software and manuals, and all the necessary cables you need to operate the device.
Setting Up The Eye9
The first thing I noticed when I set up the monitor for the first time is that the drivers that were included on the packaged disc did not work well with the Mac. After updating the drivers from MIMO’s web site, however, everything worked fine. The device is simple to set up – just install the software, restart your Mac, and then plug it in vial the included 2-headed USB cable (2-headed because some computers don’t have sufficient power in their USB ports – my 2011 MacBook Pro was fine with only 1).
Using The Eye9
I was thrilled with the Eye9 at first – it seemed to work exactly as advertised. The touch screen functionality worked well, and I was able to display everything from iTunes , to my Twitter feed, to a 1080P video stream on the device, which, though USB powered, never choked on any of my content – impressive, and other USB monitors I have used have difficulty with high-bandwidth applications like video.
When I decided to turn the Eye9 90 degrees, however (makes it nice for Twitter or RSS), the troubles began. It was easy enough to set the rotation in my Mac’s display settings… but once I had rotated the monitor, the touch functions did not work correctly. In doing some internet research, I found this to be a common problem that MIMO is said to be working on even now. The webcam had an excellent 1.3MP resolution, and worked well in all configurations.
What I Liked
There are a lot of things to like about the Eye9. I especially appreciated it’s excellent built quality, and its high degree of versatility. While it includes a desktop stand, it’s also a simple matter to pick the monitor up and use it like a tablet – which can be especially useful for showing content to other people. I appreciated the fact that it doesn’t require a power adapter, and that it was able to handle all the content I threw at it.
What I Didn’t Like
There are a few things that I think could have been done better. The driver implementation for the Mac, while functional for the most part, was buggy, and clearly still in development. I didn’t feel like the drier was finished and ready for consumer release. I also worried somewhat that the screen, while matter, was still quite glossy. After getting use to it, however, I didn’t find it all that bothersome.
The iMo Eye9 is a solid device – it’s 9″ screen is large enough to handle many different auxiliary tasks, though some might desire a larger screen (MIMO does make a larger model). It’s very solidly built, easy to set up, is compact and fairly light weight, and works very well, being able to handle any task I threw at it. For this that have need of a small auxiliary monitor, I would certainly recommend it.
For it’s utility, strengths, and merits, I award the eye9 a 3.5 out of 5. I felt the need to take away some credit for the buggy driver implementation on the Mac, as well as the fact that it doesn’t serve a striking and immediate purpose for the majority of users. It is, however, a solid contender in its area, and a device that is worth paying attention to. For more information, or to purchase the eye9 ($229), visit the manufacturer’s website.