Giveaway: Extend your screen space with DisplayLink

DisplayLinkAt CES, we got a chance to sit down with folks from DisplayLink, as well as some other great bloggers, and find out what DisplayLink USB video adapters can do for us. For me, it offers something I haven’t been able to properly experience in years: an extended monitor on my Tablet PC. Let me share with you why that is, how DisplayLink has fixed my problem, and then give two lucky folks the chance to get one each.

First, what exactly does DisplayLink do? Basically, DisplayLink is a USB-based solution for connecting a monitor to a PC. Not usually a problem for desktop and laptop users, but smaller PCs can be pretty restricted with ports. It’s also an easy way to add multiple monitors to any system.

DL2In my case, its killer feature is being able to maintain the same orientation no matter how my Tablet PC screen is oriented. When adding a second monitor to my Tablet PC via its built-in VGA port or the DVI port on its docking station, the video orientation on both screens must match. Unfortunately, in slate mode in its docking station, my tablet is in secondary landscape. This means a secondary monitor displays upside-down. Obviously that’s no good.

The DisplayLink DL-195 adapter solves that problem. It has a bit of flash memory built into it to install the necessary drivers, so the install is plug and play. Resolution is up to 1920 x 1200 or 2048 x 1152 widescreen via DVI. The monitor I’m using is limited to 1280 x 1024 and connects via a VGA adapter.DisplayLinkSpecs

As seen in the top photo, my Tablet PC is in slate mode with display in secondary landscape orientation, while the external monitor is in primary landscape. No matter how I flip the tablet screen, the DisplayLink-connected monitor remains upright. It flickers when I switch orientation, but otherwise stays as is.


Default set up is as an extended desktop, which suits me fine. My Wacom Bamboo functions as if split across both screens. Interestingly, the narrow, smaller control area per screen hasn’t been a problem. I also have a Microsoft wireless mouse as a fall back, and, of course, I can ink on my Tablet PC screen.

I’m not 100% sold on this particular arrangement. I’ve been typing this entry out on my Tablet PC keyboard, screen flipped up, and working on the external monitor. It’s very comfortable, but I need to think about how else to use this system other than to just have a larger display.

So that’s how I’m using the DisplayLink USB video adapter.

To enter to win, tell me how you would use a DisplayLink USB video adapter. Let us know in the comments, and you’ll be entered to win one. Two comments will be chosen at random from all valid entries received by February 8th, 2010 at 11:59pm PST.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents, except where prohibited by state and local regulations.

Update: Sorry for the hiccup. Somewhere between my draft and when I hit publish, everything after the jump got wiped. Should be good now.

Winners: Congrats to Tariq and Dan.

Alleged Apple fanboi, accused Android apologist, and confirmed Microsoft MVP for touch and tablet Mark Sumimoto a.k.a. Sumocat dabbles in all areas of mobile computing with a focus on Windows-based Tablet PCs and pen input. A mobile computing enthusiast since 2004, he pioneered the field of ink blogging via his personal blog, Sumocat's Scribbles. His current tools include a Fujitsu Lifebook T900, TEGA v2, and iPhone 4. Email: sumocat [at]


  1. Hi Sumocat,

    Looks like you have a busy desk there…and what’s witht the ton of cable at the lower left corner? How do you manage them (if at all)?

    Interested to see the DisplayLink in action…

  2. Hi Sumocat,

    Looks like you have a busy desk there…and what’s witht the ton of cable at the lower right corner? How do you manage them (if at all)?

    Interested to see the DisplayLink in action…

  3. Sorry for the glitch folks. Go ahead and post comments now.

    Tamas: I have a Wacom Graphire Wireless tablet sitting in front of those wires to hide them when I’m not using it to control my media PC (you can see its top corner in the photo). The wires run under the desk after they spill over. As to the quantity, I have way too many accessories.

  4. I use the Matrox dualhead2go to attach 2 monitors to my HP2710p tablet docking station. I can run all 3 monitors and do not have a problem with different orientations.

  5. At the moment I can only think of hooking my TC1100 up to my TV, but I’m sure I would come up with something more exciting once I won.

  6. I know our office is behind the times but we were just offered a second-hand 17″ flat screen monitor at work. Of course, I immediately accepted and set up dual monitors. I love the set-up and would like to duplicate it at home. However, at home I have an HP Touchsmart all-in-one which does not have an extra VGA port so I will have to set up a USB connection. The displaylink would definitely come in handy as I possibly add multiple monitors at home. I really need this.

  7. I work for a small non-profit. I have a dual monitor setup, but have wanted to add a 3rd monitor to be able to use monitor 1 for essential day-to-day program monitoring services, monitor #2 for day-to-day program staff support, and monitor # 3 for community collaborative development work.

  8. Yeah I’d love this.
    12.1in. on my x200t is good for traveling, but bad for working at home. This is especially true with my vision problem that requires 3 different pairs of glasses and a pair of contact lenses.
    I used to have an external monitor, but without a dock (too expensive for just connecting a monitor), connecting and disconnecting the monitor is a real hassle.

  9. Dual monitor would help with studying. Tablet with notes in OneNote, textbook or slides on second monitor.

  10. This would be great for any laptop, but especially for a tablet. I’d probably use it as you are doing. I’ve wanted a “digital notepad” on my desktop for a long time, but also want a normal display simultaneously. This would also be great for word processing, since you could have Word (or whatever) in portrait mode while your web browser open on your 2nd screen in landscape.

  11. I’d like to have this solution for my work PC. I have an extra monitor but a generic video card that doesn’t support another video source. Non-profit work can’t buy me a solution and I can’t afford/justify to pay out of pocket. Would be great for viewing spreadsheets and working with a database on two screens. Thanks for the contest.


  12. The perfect extension to my desktop. It’s a slimline case, so limited for Video card expansion. I’ve got it driving 2 monitors now, but would also like it to drive my 40″ that way I can have 2 monitors for working, and one for Windows Media Center playback.

  13. I’m a medical student and I use my tablet PC to take notes from textbooks and journals whiles working on my desk. Something like this would be great because I have to position my Lenovo X61 tablet in a position such that the VGA output is facing TOWARDS me, otherwise my palm accidentally hits the tablet buttons! With the VGA port towards me the VGA cable would have to bend & kink around, damaging not only the cable but also the port over time, not to mention being in the way! However – there are USB ports facing away from me when it’s in this landscape mode that I could use. I’d use a DisplayLink adaptor to drive the unused monitor on my desk so that I can more easily view eBooks, Journals on it as the 1400×1050 X61 resolution can make text quite small to read and – of course – keep up to date with!

  14. Been wanting to add monitors to my tablet for some time this would be a good reason to go ahead and spend the money. Thanks

  15. Coupled with a USB extender (if it works with it), I would send my secondary connection to my DVI-equipped LCD TV and swing all the additional pictures and video across the room.

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