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Review: Portable 144Hz FHD HDR 17.3-inch gaming monitor for under $150? ZSCMALLS delivers

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ZSCMALLS reached out to me about reviewing their portable Full HD 17.3-inch screen, and since I only own one PC monitor that’s also a 49″ Ultrawide, it can be challenging connecting it to some of the Mini PCs I review, so I jumped at the chance when they offered to send me a sample.

Before we dig in, here are the specifications of it.

ZSCMALLS 17.3-inch 144Hz Portable Monitor

Dimensions

15.55 x 9.65 x 0.49 inches

Weight

1,98 lbs / 900 g

Display

IPS LCD
Resolution 16:9 1920 x 1080 Pixels @ 144Hz
Color Gamut 100% NTSC, 100% sRGB

Brightness

350 cd/㎡
Contrast Ratio 1000:1

Viewing angle

178 Degrees

Adapter

5V 3A Power Adapter

Connectivity

Left side:

  • 1x Mini USB (for Mouse or Keyboard)

Right side:

  • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C (Power and video)
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x Audio jack port
Accessories

Folding smart cover case

Price

$199.99 (MSRP)

ZSCMALLS offers three different sized screens on its Amazon page, currently all under $200. There’s this 17.3-inch FHD screen I am reviewing, a 15.6″ 1080P screen at $79.98 and a 14.5″ 4K UHD screen at $199.99.

I say on its Amazon page, because after reaching out to my contact I was told that ZSCMALLS do not even have a website yet, they are a Chinese company operating out of US and European (Germany) warehouses for their worldwide shipping, but don’t let that fact put you off, since they are supplied by Shenzhen KST Electronic Technology Co., Ltd who have been around for twenty plus years supplying various ODMs.

What’s in the box

  • 1 x 17.3” Portable Monitor
  • 1 x Smart Cover Case
  • 1 x Type-C to Type-C Cable (for power & video)
  • 1 x Mini-HDMI to HDMI Cable (for video only)
  • 1 x USB to Type-C Cable (for power only)
  • 1 x 5V 3A Power Adapter
  • 1 x Instructions/User Manual

In case you were looking for more specifications, like I did, the instruction manual doesn’t offer much at all in the way of disclosing what we have, and there’s no branding at all on the bezel or around the back of the monitor, which could be pleasing to some people.

The instructions appear to relate to two different screens, the one I am reviewing is listed under “Instruction B” and show the placement of the ports and buttons on the left and right of the screen and explain in more detail how to use the Stand Cover and cables.

Design

ZSCMALLS 173-inch monitor

The back of the monitor feels cold to the touch and feels like brushed aluminum, in the middle there’s screw holes for the smallest VESA compatible mount (75 mm x 75 mm / 2.95 inches). Helpfully, on the left and right each button or port has a description. On the bottom right there’s the sticker with certifications and the model number. There’s no branding to be seen here.

ZSCMALLS 173-inch monitor

The front is pleasing with minimal bezel around the top and sides, the bottom bezel uses the same material as the back, a strip of black brushed aluminum.

The sides measure at just over one centimeter at 0.49 inch / 1,24cm. Upon holding it and pressing in different areas, I’m pleased to report I didn’t hear any creaking, or see any joints that were giving way. It is definitely a sturdy build for something so light and thin. The bottom bezel also allows for gripping without getting the screen dirty with fingerprints.

On the left of the screen we have the OSD controls and power indicator along with a micro-USB port which allows connection of a mouse or keyboard. The third button down controls volume and the fourth, brightness. These buttons also act as a plus/up and minus/down when an OSD item is selected. On the right side you have a standard HDMI port and two Type C USB ports.

It is possible to connect the screen via either of the two USB Type C ports if the device you are connecting to supports it, meaning you get power and a picture over one cable, brilliant!

Usage

It’s not disclosed anywhere what level of HDMI it is, considering this screen came out in 2021 (if that detail is correct from the Amazon page) we can safely assume HDMI 2.0b. After reaching out to my contact to confirm I received the following reply “HDMI Standard (Type A) port: Supports 1080p high-definition video and multi-channel digital audio”, hmm sounds like HDMI 2.0b then.

There are no drivers for this portable screen, so it is detected as a Generic PNP Monitor. I did run Windows Update just to check but nothing was detected.

Although HDR is shown as one of the features of the screen, Windows cannot detect a HDR certification. However, going in to the HDR settings page, it does show that HDR is supported. After doing some searching online, I am led to believe that there is not a lot of FHD (1080p) content that is HDR anyway. Coincidentally, I do have one film that is 1080P and HDR, and that is the 1982 Blade Runner movie. I can confirm that it appears to work when the OSD HDR option is set to AUTO, although I had to manually toggle HDR in Windows 11 to see any difference.

ZSCMALLS 173-inch monitor

As you can see, there’s a bit of backlight bleed here, but for a screen you can currently pick up for just $149.99 we should all remember to keep our expectations in check.

Gaming

I did a bit of light gaming and although it took a while to get used to the smaller 1920 x 1080 screen resolution, I did not see any tearing or ghosting in the few Quake Champions team deathmatch rounds that I did. I normally game on my 5120 x 1440 Ultrawide, so there’s definitely that.

Although I do think the display could be a little brighter, it didn’t really affect my gameplay too much but that is just a bit of wishful thinking on my part. Overall I think it is suited for gaming on the go, but it isn’t going to replace your main display.

The viewing angles are really great too, I mean I usually don’t spend an awful lot of time sitting off to the side of a screen I am watching, but say you had two or three people watching a film or some cat videos or something, you can all easily follow the action without having to sit directly head on.

As is the norm for Chinese companies selling their gear on Amazon, the specs are all over the place, and I suspect this is because the same Amazon page for this screen has customer reviews for a 15.6-inch variant, meaning at some point the page was “updated” to this newer model of portable screen, which is a bit of a shame because then you aren’t getting the accurate score or reviews for it.

For example, nowhere in the specs is the response time of this screen listed, so I attempted to manually check it using the UFO Test, and came to the conclusion that it is 9ms, not great, but also not bad.

In addition, the weight is listed at 1.25 pounds (566 grams) in the Product information, but in the Product Description a bit further down the same page, it is listed at 2.2 pounds. I weighed it myself and the latter is actually the correct weight of the product (2.2 lbs / 900 grams).

Conclusion

I’m just going to say it, it’s a great screen for what it costs. You can operate it with just one cable. It has great specs and the colors pop. It’s not as bright or vibrant as a full-sized monitor, but what can we expect with cheap portability like this?

ZSCMALLS 173-inch monitor

If you can get past the mangled specs, and that ZSCMALLS doesn’t have a dedicated website, then you can pick it up at $50 off on Amazon right now. Normally selling at $199.99, but until September 30 it is discounted by 15% down to $169.99 and a further $20 off when you apply the in-page coupon.

My contact also says they honor RMA requests and returns through Amazon, but for $149.99 you can’t really go wrong. It’s a big thumbs up from me.

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ZSCMALLS 17.3" Portable monitor

Pros

HDR
144Hz
Sturdy build
Bang for buck

Cons

Only FHD
FHD only HDR
Lack of spec documentation

 

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