A few weeks ago I reviewed the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop Computer, a $99 Windows 10 computer that is the size of an iPhone 6-Plus. Its performance exceeded my expectations, so I wanted to be able to use it with a full screen, rather than cobbing it to my iPad mini. But I didn’t want to spend a lot. After all, I had spent under $100 for the computer itself, so I would feel foolish paying more than that for a monitor.
The Kangaroo doesn’t have a sound jack, so the only way to get sound out of it is through its HDMI port. That meant I wanted a monitor with HDMI capability and speakers built in. At first I thought I was out of luck. It didn’t look like I was going to find anything under $200. Then I happened on the Walmart.com site, where they were selling a Sceptre 20 inch HDMI-able LED monitor for $67. Now, I have bought cheap monitors in the past, though never this cheap. And my experience has been that you generally get what you pay for. But what the heck… why not try it for $67. I’m glad I did.
The Sceptre E205W-1600 monitor has a 20″ LED display with 1600 x 900 resolution, 5,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, a 5ms response time, and ports for DVI and VGA, as well as HDMI. It has standard monitor features like a Kensington lock port and a tiltable screen. The actual LED digital screen is 19.5″ on the diagonal. It can also be mounted on a wall.
Like most monitors, this one has settings so you can tweak the brightness, color, speaker volume and so on. However, I found that I liked what I saw right out of the box. Hooking it up to the computer was easy, and, in my case, amusing. I thought it was funny because the monitor is so much bigger than the computer I hooked it up to. Setup was very easy: I popped the stand into its base, plugged the power cord into its receptacle on one side of the rear panel, and the HDMI cable into its receptacle on the other side, and into the computer. In other words, you just plug it in and turn it on and it works.
The screen tilts 5 degrees forward or backward, but you do have to be careful. A monitor this inexpensive has to skimp somewhere, and the plastic stand does seem stiff and fragile. This is not a big issue, as most people will adjust it once and leave it.
I am not going to say this monitor has ultra-high resolution. But the colors look right, and the picture is sharp. I do some graphics work on that computer, and the screen is great. I watched Adele’s new video on Youtube, sizing it to display full-screen, and it looked pretty good. Up close it looked a little fuzzy, but have you ever watched a movie from a foot away from your TV? It also did not seem to loose any sharpness when viewing from an angle.
The sound wasn’t terrific, but when you consider that the built in speakers are necessarily small, with no sub-woofer (and again, the thing was only $67), that is to be expected. Adele sounded tinny and vibrate-y. But, of course this is only a problem if your computer only delivers sound through its HDMI port, not an issue for 99% of computers. For my use, I am more in need of a sharp picture than great sound, and the Sceptre delivers that very well.
I really didn’t want to spend again what I had spent for the computer. I had a spare keyboard and mouse in the closet, so the only expense would be for a monitor. I needed that to be cheap and usable. I certainly got more for my money than I expected.
I noticed on the Sceptre Web site that the company also makes televisions, audio devices, accessories, and things like car cameras and battery jumpers. I would definitely consider buying another product from the company if I have a need in the future. My $67 was certainly well spent.