There’s been a push over the past couple of console generations toward a more portable style of gaming. The mobile games fad has began and picked up speed, for instance, and we’ve also seen a greater focus on handheld gaming. What if you’d really prefer to play your consoles on the road, though? Moving around the console is its own issue, but then you’d have to think about a display. Well, think no more: GAEMS’ M-155 Portable Gaming Monitor is here, ready to provide Halo or Assassin’s Creed at a moment’s notice.
The M-155, at just 15″, is one of the smallest monitors I’ve ever used for gaming. It’s also one of the lightest, weighing about as much a large tablet. This plays into GAEMS’ positioning for the device as a monitor for the gamer on the go; it’s easy enough to fit the M-155 into a full-sized backpack, for instance, and since the included sleeve doubles as a stand you can set the monitor up pretty much anywhere. This screen is a tough little thing, too, so don’t worry about jostling it around a bit.
It’s possible to power the M-155 from pretty much any USB port, meaning that you can actually run this monitor from the power supplied by the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. That’s really the intended use for this device; it allows you to take your consoles on the go pretty much anywhere, assured that you’ve got a compatible screen at hand. I didn’t run into any issues powering the M-155 this way, though if you were previously running your console on another screen above 720p then you might encounter some issues getting it to recognize this monitor. You’d need to manually reset the console’s screen settings – a simple process on every modern console once you know how – to get it to recognize the M-155.
Once that’s done, however, you’re in for a treat; well, as much of a treat as you could expect from a 15″ monitor. If you come into this understanding that it’s not going to be an eye-melting 1080p ultra-masterpiece of a screen, then you’re going to be pleasantly surprised with the performance from the M-155. It’s crisp, clear and there’s minimal input delay so it’s entirely possible to game on this thing without too many problems; what’s more, at 15″ you’re not going to miss 1080p. Batman: Arkham Knight on PS4 looked as stunning as ever on the smaller screen, and the ability to set the M-155 up right next to where I’m sitting was a nice perk.
Make no mistake: this is a legitimate monitor, not just a toy. There’s a modest selection of display settings were available and ready to be tweaked, though I didn’t feel that it was necessary to mess with them much – the M-155 does a commendable job of calibrating itself. Even in darker games like Bloodborne or several parts of DmC: Devil May Cry I didn’t have any issues finding my way around. Again, the lack of input delay merits mention as well; even some big-screen TVs run into issues with lag, making gaming an agonizing experience. That doesn’t happen here and it’s nice indeed. You’ll want to watch where you’re sitting, as the M-155’s picture is sensitive to viewing angle, but the light weight of the monitor means it’s easily adjusted to suit your needs.
My only quibbles with the M-155 are relatively minor. First, the device makes one significant sacrifice to achieve its tiny form factor – there’s no onboard sound. You’ll have to hook the M-155 up to another device, be that headphones, speakers or otherwise, to hear anything onscreen. This reinforces the use of this screen as a portable or secondary device rather than a primary monitor. If you’ve got a decent set of headphones with a 3.5mm jack, though, then you’ll get sound as good as you might expect. I wouldn’t have minded an optical jack, but c’est la vie, there’s only so much you can squeeze into such a small package.
The other is that the cables that come with the M-155 are, uh…”small” is a conservative estimate. It’s understandable why this was done given the intended use of the screen, but it can still be a pain. You’ll probably want to supply your own cabling for this monitor if you plan on using it for anything but sitting on your lap with a console less than a foot away. This isn’t a huge deal, since most people have extra cables laying around, but it’s something to keep in mind before you travel if you want a little more room.
All in all, the M-155 Portable Gaming Monitor was designed with some very specific uses in mind. It fills its niche well and it’s not advertised any other way, so you know what you’re getting when you pick one up. If you’re after an ultra-light, ultra-small monitor with display fidelity that can keep up with the big boys, you’ll be happy with the M-155. If you don’t already have a use in mind for it, though, you might be better off with one of GAEMS’ more standard display offerings. Personally, when I’m not traveling, I’ve been using my M-155 as a convenient secondary screen for my desktop PC. Looks great, works well, can’t complain.