While carrying a laptop to work means that you can quickly move around the office and in between meetings, one of the downfalls is that you inevitably feel that you need more screen space. Or you get tired of using a trackpad. Or you long for the luscious space of a full-sized keyboard. All of these things can be simply achieved in an office by plugging in the required peripherals, but this instantly transforms your once nimble laptop into some kind of tethered paperweight, tied down by countless cables and connections. And should you need to move to another desk, you have to unplug everything from your laptop and reconnect it at another location. Enter the Philips 231P4, replacing all of those countless laptop connections with a single cable.
Build Quality & Design
At first glance the 231P4 really just looks like a run of the mill 23” monitor. It features a sturdy detachable base which makes for easy adjustments for an optimal viewing angle, as well as two small sensors on the front which help the monitor conserve power (more on that later).
But swing around to the back and you’ll see that the 231P4 also features connections for USB, Ethernet, audio, and video. Essentially you just plug all of your devices into the 231P4 directly rather than into your laptop, and then plug in a single USB cable that connects your laptop to the 231P4 and its associated peripherals.
As mentioned before, once you’ve connected up your various peripherals to the 231P4, it’s as simple as connecting the single USB cable to your laptop, waiting a few seconds, and you’re good to go. Initially you’ll have to do a bit of housekeeping in Windows, which includes downloading the necessary software and drivers to make the 231P4 fully functional. Once these are installed, you then have to further configure things such as audio output, so that sound is played through whatever audio device is connected to the 231P4, and not through your laptop. Video output at 1920 x 1080 means that you can either mirror your laptop screen or extend the display, whichever you prefer. The 231P4 is certainly an improvement from staring at your tiny laptop screen, and anything plugged into the USB ports showed up seconds later as connected on my laptop.
Lastly, the two sensors on the front of the monitor detect when you’ve stepped away from your desk, and can dim or sleep the display to conserve power. It’s a nifty little trick and is quite efficient for hiding what you’re working on when you’re not at your desk.
The Philips 231P4 is a simple solution for any office that has an abundance of laptops over desktops, with people constantly disconnecting and reconnecting various devices. It makes a once mundane task much easier while still offering users the flexibility of access to their most essential peripherals.