Research has long shown that using multiple computer monitors can considerably improve your productivity, but the world’s inexorable shift toward mobility has complicated that calculus. For most, a multi-monitor setup usually means being tethered to a desktop and a phalanx of equipment. Those trying to work remotely—or, especially this year, at the kitchen table—have largely resigned themselves to squinting into a tiny laptop screen.
The unfortunately named Vissles presents a surprisingly compelling and simple solution: a portable, 15.6-inch touchscreen that can serve as a secondary display, anywhere.
Conceptually, the Vissles-M looks and acts a lot like an oversize tablet. The 1.4-pound device is just 10 millimeters thick at its thickest point along the bottom edge, where your fingers will find a variety of connector ports and some basic controls, including a volume rocker. Ideally, the best way to set it up is to use a USB-C connection if your laptop has one. If your laptop has only one USB-C port, and/or if you need that port to charge the laptop, you can simply daisy-chain your power adapter through a second USB-C port on the Vissles-M, which will provide power to both the external monitor and your laptop.
Got an older machine without USB-C? The Vissles-M also includes a mini HDMI port that can let you cobble together a solution with a pair of cables that connect using it and a USB-C to USB-A cable. (All of these cables are included, by the way.)
From the moment I connected its USB-C cable to my Windows 10 laptop, the Vissles-M immediately sprang to life, working (almost) exactly as expected. The only hiccup I encountered was that, out of the box, the touchscreen features on the display didn’t work, but this turned out to be a simple Windows configuration issue that was easily remedied. In fact, the biggest challenge I had in working with the unit was dealing with the awkward screen cover, a magnetic, plasticky folder that bends backward to double as a kickstand. It’s not a very elegant solution, and it can be tricky to maneuver on a busy desk.
Otherwise, the device is a dream. The 1,920 x 1,080-pixel touchscreen is responsive, the colors are lively, and while the unit isn’t particularly bright, it’s fine for a secondary display. And because it’s so svelte, it can easily ride along next to a laptop in your backpack, adding little in the way of extra bulk.
While Windows 10 users are the primary target here, the Vissles-M can also connect to a variety of other devices, including macOS and Windows 7 laptops, the iPad Pro, the Nintendo Switch, various gaming consoles, and a variety of Android phones. You’ll want to pay close attention to the cabling instructions in the slim manual should you attempt one of these connections, and note that for many of these devices, touch features aren’t supported. (A few additional quirks exist; for example, on the iPad the Vissles can only work as a mirrored display.)
It’s not perfect—the integrated speakers, a pair of 1-watt drivers, are woefully weak—but I haven’t even mentioned the best part of the Vissles-M: At just over $200, it’s a screaming deal for a versatile and capable device that will immediately make you rethink everything you thought you knew about being productive on a laptop. I love it.