It’s easy to forget that the backbone of mobile productivity is still the laptop computer. While we’re increasingly able to do more with our smartphones and tablets (and with some, including Apple head Tim Cook predicting that the tablet market may someday eclipse the PC market), the fact is that most of us can’t yet do everything from our iPads. While dual monitor set-ups are popular at the office and at home, they’re not exactly the easiest thing to make mobile. Sure, Lenovo tried a dual-screen laptop back in 2008, but those barely made a dent in the market. After all, you don’t need a second monitor all the time, so why not have one as an optional accessory instead?
That is exactly the line of thinking behind the new CINQ monitor, a 720p HD second monitor that works over USB. That’s right, no matter what kinds of video out options you have on your laptop, you simply plug this baby into a USB port on your machine and you’re suddenly running on two screens. You can easily place on the table next to your laptop or even attach to the side of your existing laptop screen with the included mount. Billed as the “ultimate laptop accessory”, the CINQ is a 10.1″ 1280×720 monitor that will work on virtually any kind of computer. Because it encloses a video card (rather than sapping your current video card to power the display), the CINQ external monitor is virtually guaranteed to work on PC and Mac, as well as on laptops, netbooks, ultrabooks, and even desktops.
Did I say second monitor? Maybe I should clarify—you can actually run up to six CINQs at one time, though Ben Mickey, CEO + Founder of CINQ manufacturer Sideline, warned me that a six-CINQ configuration might not run as smoothly as you’d hope. He did have a demo set up running two CINQ monitors from one MacBook Pro, however—one played a video on loop while the other displayed a TweetDeck panel. The demo seemed flawless—no skipped frames or other graphical glitches spotted here.
As you can see in the gallery above, the product includes all the accessories you’ll need—mounting equipment, a stand, the orange USB cable, protective neoprene case, and a screen cleaning cloth. Heck, this thing even has a built-in card reader that can read SD, MMC, MemoryStick and XD. Sideline is currently taking pre-orders for the CINQ external monitor, and I’ve been assured they’ll be shipping it in three weeks. And the price? A cool $249. So check out the CINQ website today, and let us know what you think in the comments.