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Kefeya S1 USB C/HDMI 1080P External 14" Monitor Review

07 Jan 2024 0 Comments

Hey There YouTube, this is sjm 4306 back with another monitor review video. This time we're looking at the Kefeya S1, which is an external monitor attachment thing for your laptop that you can use in both landscape as well as portrait modes. This guy retails for, I think, just above $200, but it's currently on sale for $149.99. So yeah, let's see if this is worth it and what exactly your money gets you.

Okay, here's the Box. Everything's boxed up really nicely. I have already opened this. It's actually set up right there. I'm using it to edit the video. It turns out that I never filmed the unboxing, or maybe the file got deleted somehow, can't find it. So I'm just going to take you through what the packaging looks like. Nice magnetic flap, you got a little finger tab pole thing here. It came with a bag to carry it around with, so that's definitely good. It had a protective sheet thing. I think I do still have footage of me peeling that. So ASMR time for that whenever I see this protective film sort of stuff. ASMR time, let's get it.

That was very satisfying. Foam padding like all around, very well packed, no worries of this getting damaged during shipping. And a little box divider thing under which is the manuals and stuff. They do have a very nice infographic thing showing you what's included in this kit, how to attach things, etc., etc. There is like a jog wheel for a built-in menu system, so you can adjust things. And yeah, there you go, and that's that. We do have a little manual here with pretty much the same information. I'm guessing as the quick start guide call out thingy, just maybe a little bit more detailed.

And I believe it does have a section for how to actually set up and configure the screen in different OS's. Yeah, there we go. So yeah, pretty in-depth, pretty good to go. I already know how to use external monitors. It's just an external monitor. So I'm just going to put this all back and meet you guys at the computer. So give me one sec for that.

Okay, so here we are. I've used this for a little bit. Let's punch out there for a little bit. The carrying case, let's start with. Very nice, very like a soft kind of foam on the one side to protect it. The other side is a bit harder, it's sort of felt-lined, all on the inside though. So undoubtedly this will protect the display. Obviously not from any, I wouldn't carry this out if it's raining because it's all open design, so water can easily get in. But in terms of protecting it from small dings and bumps, this will work just fine.

Obviously, if you drop this, your screen's probably going to be cactus. But that goes without saying. I really like a lot of the other screen manufacturers that come with cases don't have a carrying pouch for the cords. So that is one place where this has done magnificently. There's ample space inside here for all the cords that it comes with, so very happy with that. I guess let's just take this out and get this set up. So it just slides out here, and I'll demo setting it up for you guys.

I did want to talk about one thing though. So if we look at the cords it comes with, it comes with like, you know, standard run-of-the-mill USB-A to USB-C that's just for power. I don't think this has any data pins, probably. The main USB-C to USB-C cord is very helpfully right-angled on the one side. I would like it if both sides had the right-angle connector, not a deal-breaker, but yeah, this is a decently lengthy, it's like about 2 feet long, very thick cord, nice metal, you know, end parts here, yeah, this is a very nice cable.

The second cable that comes with this is important. You do not want to lose this. This has USB-C to HDMI, and I think they're doing something maybe a little naughty. I don't think there's any converter chip in here. I think this is straight wires into the connector.

And if you see one of the USB connectors, it might be really hard to see, actually, let me punch in. So yeah, you can see in the molding it says, type C1, it says type C2, and then it says HDMI, and they're all USB-C connectors. So I think they're using the USB-C connector not as a standard USB-C connector, they're using it for the special wired cable that just passes through HDMI signals. So I'd be wary if they were smart, they would have put protection on this, but I'd be worried about plugging in like a power USB-C cable into this, 'cause it could fry the circuitry inside of it.

So I would be very careful about that and only ever use this cord. HDMI input works just fine. I had this plugged into my the Ion Loki Max U and outputting HDMI. I just got power from like a USB power bank, and I was able to play over that. That worked just fine. I've demoed that unit before in the past. But yeah, let me just show you guys how to actually set up and use this. So give me one sec for that.

Okay, so I'm fully booted up, we're good to go. I have the USB-C connector, just going to plug this in. In terms of the setup of this, I think this is one of the better implementations, if I'm being honest, of the whole side mechanical screen thing. The hinges on my laptop do seem strong enough to kind of support this without using the tilting foot in the back for the most part. I would probably still set that up and use that to kind of support the screen because it is a little bit wobbly, but you could definitely get away with the current hinges on my laptop, get away with having this screen attached without having to use extra support. I will get to that. We'll flip this around in a second, and I'll get to what I don't like about that tilting foot.

The implementation is a little bit not bueno, but yeah, you can see here I get an entire second screen, instantly recognized. Windows is a little bit finicky though about this sort of stuff because my internal monitor's resolution is 4K, and you can see here it displays as a big thing, a big display on my internal monitor, and the external one's like the quarter of the size because this display is 1080p, which is good but not as good as 4K. But for the price, yeah, you're not going to get a 4K display for the price that this monitor is going for, which I believe last I checked was like somewhere around the $200 range.

It might be a little bit cheaper than that, which is not bad for one of these external displays. Here you can see this monitor. There we go, I have it set to 150%, 1080p. You can see that's the internal display. Now I want to see the external. There we go. So you can see here, just about 60 Hertz, 59.94 for some reason. Only has 8-bit color depth. It is RGB. This display does have pretty good viewing angles. And this image is not the best to show it off because it's not very high resolution, but yeah, the display in general looks very nice. If I just switch it over here, it does have pretty good viewing angles. Up-down, pretty decent as well, as far as I can see.

And yeah, definitely usable. It is 1080p resolution, so yeah, I can just pull up, for instance, YouTube, and I'll pull up one of my videos just full screen. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this has built-in speakers. So because it's transmitting over HDMI, I am actually playing through the built-in speakers, which sound tiny and aren't great, but they're better than not having any speakers at all. So right now, yeah, we're 1080p playback, and the image looks fantastic. Have no complaints over that. So just going to turn down the volume on this. Yeah, very happy with the monitor. Having this extra... Let's pull up something like an application that you might actually use this external monitor for.

Okay, so this is a demonstration of something that you might practically want to use an external second side monitor for. Here I have Eagle open. I have the schematic editor in my internal display, just for example, and I have the PCB over here on the side window. And I can go through and make changes on this, and yeah, we can edit a PCB on two monitors.

So normally when I use only one internal monitor, I have to keep switching between... I have to keep clicking this to switch between the two different monitors on the same screen, the two different views, whether it's the schematic editor or the PCB. But I can have both up at one time, and this is fantastic. I obviously would not use this on my lap like this. This would be pretty flimsy, and I'd be worried about damaging the hinges or something. But if you have this set up on a table and you wanted to use a laptop like a desktop replacement and do some PCB editing, this is fantastic.

So that's really cool. I'm going to exit. Okay, so the other thing that I wanted to test was... you could actually conceivably use this as a vertical monitor. And to do so, just remove it from the computer. We're just going to try to not smack this into my computer. Just set it up vertically and you can use the base as well, a base. So now I have a vertical monitor. All I have to do is go into display settings and switch it from landscape to vertical, which is right here. So it'll be portrait, and no, I wanted portrait reversed or flipped portrait. Flip, there we go. So now it's in the right orientation. My taskbar is at the bottom there, and I can just keep the changes on that.

And now, because of the viewing angles on this monitor, pretty decent, you can see here, now it's roughly the same height as my internal monitor. So that's great. Because this is a 16:9 aspect ratio, you get a lot of vertical space, not a lot of horizontal, but a lot of vertical. So for instance, let's pull up like a datasheet of some kind. Let's see, where would I have anything like that? So pull up a window, FD-525 service manual, sure. So this is for a Sony Watchman, apparently I was working on this at some point, and yeah, there you go. So can I fit this to the window? I hate the new Adobe Acrobat, by the way, used to be way better when it just had a toolbar at the top that didn't hide all the icons, and the stupid floating toolbar thing is crap. Give me a second on how to set this to the right width without having... Well, I guess I could just zoom out. Yeah, there we go. So I could see the entire page at once, and the resolution is high enough that, yeah, sure, I can actually read everything there without any issues, and I can just scroll through long PDFs and have this open on the side. I will say, so there is a little jog wheel here, and there is a menu.

Right now, if I go into the menu, it's still horizontal, even though I set it to vertical in Windows. The monitor itself doesn't know it's being used as a vertical screen, so everything's sideways, unfortunately. So we are set to only 50% brightness, so I'm going to bump that all the way up, and now we are at 100%. This is markedly brighter. Let's just X out. There we go. This is like noticeably brighter. Now it's actually brighter than my internal monitor, and this looks fantastic. This is perfectly usable as a PDF viewer, a vertical PDF monitor, that is really cool. Just, oh God, I hate Adobe now.

There we go. Just scroll around. You can see everything. That is really cool, having this as a second PDF monitor sort of thing going on there. So yeah, definitely will be using this as such. The unfortunate thing, if I punch out again, is it uses up all this desk space. Then you can't flip the monitor to the other direction and sort of, what I wish you could do is if I can just back this out for a sec, I wish you could... I wish you could flip this over completely. The hinge stops you. It goes to about 180° and stops. I wish you could do this like an A-frame and then set it down, and then the display would sort of look like if it had rubber feet on it, that'd be great too. You could sort of do this with it where you have it's supporting itself, but if the monitor were on this outside portion, if you could flip it over, then you could use this just as like an easel tablet sort of thing and it uses up far less desk space. You can see here, it only uses up that much, as opposed to jutting out like a foot and a half. That would be fantastic. The way that the hinge is implemented right now, you cannot do that, unfortunately. And while we're at it, things that I think could be improved.

This foot mechanism, it works, it's super cheap. I wish it were one of those spring-loaded ones that have like a button at the bottom to click and stop it from springing out more. Those are so much easier to adjust. Here, you have this weird key turn thing that you have to turn, slide it out to whatever the desired height is, and then slide it into the locking thing, and then it'll lock it, kind of. But this doesn't work great. It's kind of hard to slide. It's almost impossible to do with one hand. You definitely need to grab it with two hands, and yeah, I'm not a big fan of this. I don't foresee myself using that really.

The other thing that I noticed is that this does work when connected to a Nintendo Switch for video display. Not all monitors do this, so to get this to work with the Switch, you actually have to connect the AC adapter that came with the Switch to one connector and the other connector to the Switch. This way, it'll charge the Switch while also sending video to the display. It works great, and the Switch only outputs at 720p, so the image isn't as crisp as it could be, but it looks fine.

I played a little bit on here, and it works great. Overall, I think this is probably one of the better iterations of these portable type displays. However, there is one issue that I found. You can hook this straight up to an Android phone, for instance, if you have a Samsung that does Dex output, where it'll have USB-C video out in desktop mode. It can power this display, but if you put the brightness of this display above about 80%, it'll power cycle. This happens because your phone can't supply enough power to light up the screen at higher brightnesses, leading to a soft lock situation. The only way to get back into the menu to turn down the brightness so that the phone can power the display properly is to plug in a power adapter into the second port.

As for the menu, you can decrease the brightness there and then run this straight off of a phone. I could actually demo that if you give me one sec. Let's bump this down to like 80%. Okay, it's set to 80% now, so I can disconnect this and then plug this into the phone that I'm recording through. This should be interesting to see. It's powering from my phone, and my phone says connected to an external display. Shortly, you should be able to see an infinite view of cameras, as it's my camera taking a picture of what the camera sees. That's mesmerizing, but you can use this with an Android phone that does video output. Due to the aspect ratio of my phone, you get massive black bars here, and there's no way in the settings to remove the black bars or punch into the image.

Other than that, there are settings like HDR mode on/off. This display definitely gets bright enough to make use of HDR. You can manually change the video source if you want to switch between devices. There's also a menu setting for blue light control. You can control the volume manually and mute it manually toggle that on and off. To navigate the menu, press the center button to enter the menu, press and hold to go back out one level, and left and right arrows adjust the volume.

Overall, it's pretty cool and useful. I will definitely be using this, but I wish you could rotate the screen more than 180° and use this like a tablet without having a big flappy bit in the way. Overall, I think this is one of the better renditions of this type of external display. I will definitely be using this, and it feels safe to mount this display to my laptop lid without damaging it because it isn't super heavy, and everything's well designed for that purpose. Anyway, I rambled on for long enough. Hopefully, you guys enjoyed this video. Once again, huge thanks to the manufacturer for sending this for review. If you are interested, I will have links down below. They have a couple of different-sized models and whatnot. All these companies do. Anywho, I will see you guys in the next one. Bye!

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