As photographers, we are constantly looking for new gadgets and devices that can help us with our capturing or editing.
This TAIHE Gemini review looks at one of the most affordable portable monitors on the market today.
What Is a Portable Monitor?
Travel photography is an ever-growing area. Many of us, myself included don’t want to be rooted in the same place for long periods of time.
We want to be on the road, experiencing life as it comes our way.
Some of us can get by with a tiny laptop and a bag, split between clothing and camera gear. What happens when you need more screen to work from.
Perhaps you need something with a little more chutzpah than what you already have.
A portable monitor is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a monitor that is can be easily taken from place to place. The benefits are immense. It allows you to work at home with more screen space.
For me, it means I can use the dual monitor option on Lightroom, giving we a single image view and library view at the same time.
It also allows me to educate people on a one to one basis anywhere in the world.
They see the portable screen while I set up everything on the laptop, hiding all the unnecessaries. If I fancy working on any planes, trains or automobiles, my son can watch his cartoons while I work, keeping mommy happy.
By no means are portable monitors new. However, good ones at an affordable price are.
What Is the TAIHE Gemini Good for?
The TAIHE Gemini comes in two different formats; the FHD and the UHD. Both are 15.6-inch monitors. The FHD version is touchscreen and the UHD has a 4K display. There are a few other differences.
The UHD is slightly thicker, has a 100% Adobe color gamut, a higher resolution, and different input connections, et al.
We have the TAIHE Gemini FHD, so that is the one we will be concentrating on.
TAIHE Gemini launched on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter in January 2019. It fully funded its goal in ten minutes. And then tripled it in the next 30 mins.
When it finally finished, it had reached over $1 million from over 3,500 backers.
After giving the backers six stretch goals (screen protector, improved USB 3.0 input) and a referral option, they went to Indigogo. They raised another $1.2 million from 400 backers, completing an 11,000% increase in their goal.
The benefit of the TAIHE Gemini FHD screen is its touchscreen capacity. No mouse is needed. This is great for when two people are using the same setup.
This device comes with a built-in battery and patented kickstand, meaning you don’t need anything else for it to work.
The battery will last 5 hours, enough for most short travel stints.
It plugs into your laptop, desktop, minicomputer, and in most cases, android phone. The many inputs allow versatility along with portability.
Depending on how you plan to use it opens up a world of possibilities.
Editing, social media sharing, photography business usage – you don’t even need a constant electrical connection.
TAIHE Gemini: Specifications
- Screen Size: 15.6” TFT-LCD
- 10-point Capacitive Touchscreen
- Thickness: 8 mm
- Weight: 2lbs
- Brightness: 300cd/m2
- 5000 mAh Rechargeable Battery
- Battery Life: 5 hrs
- 1920 x 1080p resolution
- NTSC 70% color gamut range
- Refresh Rate: 60hz
- Dual Speakers
- Inputs: Mini HDMI x 2, Type-C, Micro USB x 2
TAIHE Gemini: What’s Included?
- TAIHE Gemini FHD Touchscreen Monitor
- 2 x USB 2.0 female to micro male OTG cable (0.1 m)
- 1 x USB 2.0 male to type-c male cable (1.5 m)
- 1 x HDMI to Mini HDMI cable (1.5 m)
- 1 x type-c male to type-c male cable (1.0 m)
- Remote Control
When unpacking the box, I was excited to give the TAIHE FHD a try. It was well packaged with purpose cut foam, and the whole bunch of cables was sitting at the bottom of the box.
With crowdfunding devices, it’s rare to have everything included, so it was a nice surprise. Typically, when you back a project, you have to select which device to use your item with.
This is something I appreciated with this company.
The matte screen was covered with fingerprints, but not an issue at all. It reminded me that the product was packed by real people and not just a machine.
This made it more personal in a way.
One issue I did notice with the construction of the screen was little indents into the connecting areas. This came from workers or machines fitting the screen together, but it made the device feel a little cheap.
More often than not, these new companies have to cut corners.
This design flaw didn’t create any issue with the device, which I’m happy to say.
The most important thing to say about crowdfunding sites is that items that seem too good to be true often are. I was suspicious of purchasing items from IndieGoGo or Kickstarter as I’ve had items never arrive. These guys followed through.
I happily found out that the screen was partly charged. This allowed me to try it immediately with my laptop. They provided me with all the necessary cables.
There was no instruction manual, so I guessed there was no need. It would be nice to have a link to an FAQ page for any questions or problems.
What Made Me Buy the TAIHE Gemini FHD
There were three main reasons I saw a benefit with the TAIHE Gemini portable monitor. Firstly, it would be useful for photography on the road.
As a travel photographer, I don’t want to carry around a lot of equipment. Sometimes a laptop is too much.
Having a bigger touch screen means I don’t need a keyboard or mouse.
Thirdly, my son loves the touch screen iPad. An iPad (yes, ours is cracked, glitchy and barely works) comes at the same price as the Gemini portable monitor, yet much smaller.
There are many benefits with the iPad, but I saw the benefits of the TAIHE version.
It lets me tether to the laptop, So I have control over what he watches. In today’s world, it isn’t easy to monitor what videos pop-up on his channel.
I can change it quickly without having to fight him for it.
I get to work while he has the screen. Either sitting on a train, or at home.
The UHD version came at a higher price and didn’t feel I needed the extra size (10 mm instead of 8mm) or resolution.
At the time, the touch screen addition wasn’t shown, so I didn’t think about it.
It didn’t connect immediately when I plugged in the Mini HD cable. This forced me to try the buttons on the side.
A few minutes of selecting the type of port I was using (mini HD) and changing the laptop settings, and it worked. The resolution was better than the very old Dell I have.
I found the buttons a little fiddly, and, down to me, I didn’t realize the labels were on the back of the flip-pad. It worked great horizontally and vertically.
When I changed the orientation, it changed automatically.
Next, I tried my iPhone with the type-C cable and input connector but to no avail. This was down to me not having the correct cable. It came as an added feature after I had received the item. A quick trip to the store should solve that.
The screen’s flip-stand opened a little bit, but not all the way. It felt that it would break if I forced it. After double checking that it should give me a 180° movement, I tried again. After the touch spot was ‘broken in’, it worked perfectly.
I sat my son in front of it to try it out. WordPress for me, Youtube for him via the connected screen. He couldn’t get the touchscreen to function, and neither could I. This might have something to do with the tethering.
As I couldn’t connect my phone, I’ll have to wait to try to see if the touch screen works that way. I already know (if it works) that it will be a huge advantage to my work on the road, son or not.
I look forward to obtaining a Raspberry Pi, so I can build a mini computer with the TAIHE portable monitor. This way, we can stick it on the wall and hopefully connect something useful to it.
Such as the house’s sound system, heating, or just have a touch screen calendar/image slide show.
TAIHE Gemini: Uses
Personally, I see a few ways where a portable monitor could work and benefit my workflow.
There are also possibilities, given the right approach and set-up, that can help photographers across many different fields.
At Home: Desktop or Laptop
This screen is perfect for the home or office. It gives you the chance to have two screens that don’t take up too much desk space.
The benefit here is it doesn’t need to be continuously plugged in to use.
It stands alone with its patented kick-stand, and can even be placed on a wall bracket if you so wish. It can be packed away when not in use.
At around 16” with an 8 mm thickness, it can be hidden anywhere.
On a shelf between books, in the laptop compartment of a bag or safely tucked away in a drawer.
On the Road: Laptop Setup
Having this beauty on your desk at home or the office is beneficial but doesn’t give the screen the freedom it was built for.
The multiple inputs mean you can use this device with most laptops. This allows you to use it on the road.
When I’m editing images, I like to have something in the background. A larger than life screen allows you to work from two webpages side-by-side.
Most laptops come in 13-17” versions. This means it might not be enough for writing, editing or most applications for your photography business.
With this screen, you can use it when you need to. If you don’t need it continuously, then it will fit in your bag, or hidden under your laptop.
This is a perfect system for when you need to share screens for photography project collaborations. Plug it into your laptop, and away you go.
If you travel and photograph for clients, they would really appreciate having a screen where they can see your tethered shots.
It’s not only useful and practical but makes you look that little bit more professional.
On the Road: Phone Setup
If your smartphone has a desktop application, then you don’t even need a computer. Just hook up your Samsung Galaxy Note with Dex or a Huawei device that supports Easy Projection.
It will work with my iPhone SE, which is perfect for me, as long as I use the iPhone to HDMI cable (sold separately).
If you have a compatible smartphone and editing software, such as Lightroom Mobile, you might be able to do most of your editing.
Throw in a GNARBOX, and you have an editing suite that lets you share and upload immediately.
On the Road: Raspberry Pi
If you don’t have a compatible smartphone and don’t fancy dragging a screen and laptop around on your travel, why not make a small computer.
The TAIHE Gemini is compatible with Raspberry Pi.
If you’re unsure what this device is, it is a very low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor.
Along with a standard keyboard and mouse, and a little programming, you have a small computer.
Attach it to your screen, and your possibilities open up. You might not be able to edit on it, but it can be used for many things.
Think of a touch screen and an editable schedule. Perhaps a slideshow of your images for that business meeting.
On the Road: Mini Computer Editing Suite
One idea I’ve been toying with was to create a powerful editing suite for working away from home. The plan was to stick a touch screen monitor in the top part of a Pelican case, and place two tethered Mac mini’s in the bottom of the case.
An external power outlet would power the stuff inside, and a fan built into the case to keep it all cool. This system would have more editing power than a laptop, and more protected when traveling.
It isn’t the cheapest option around, but it might be a good idea for those who need a little more oomph. This system would fit somewhere between a desktop and laptop system.
It’s a good option for travel photographers and videographers.
TAIHE Gemini: What We Like/Dislike
- Remote Control
- Built-in battery
- Anti-glare screen
- 72% color gamut
- TAIHE Gemini: The Future
- When plugged into a laptop, touch screen ability didn’t work
There are benefits to this portable monitor. Touchscreen monitors have been around for a while, so it is nothing new. But I liked supporting a smaller team who want to break into the market.
I would choose local over global any day, as long as it provides.
There is no manual, and you don’t need one as it should connect and change it’s orientation automatically. But, there is no obvious place for questions as they arrive.
The customer service hasn’t been proved yet.
I asked a few questions which were not answered. They are a small team who are dealing with many orders – way beyond what they expected.
A FAQ page would stop customers and users popping up in their email feed constantly.
Indigogo and Kickstarter projects can be touch and go. You ‘back’ an item, and it’s pot luck whether it makes the final goal and gets made.
After that, you might have to wait months to years for the product to release. If at all.
The guys behind TAIHE saw an opportunity and took it. And they provide the product well. Well packaged, well thought out and nicely done.
The only qualm is concerning the photography aspect.
The Gemini FHD only has 72% color gamut. This means that using it to edit your images will be a problem. The representation of colors is not true and will differ from printed versions.
If you’re not so concerned with true colors, then it’s fine.
By backing the UHD version, you get 100% Adobe color profile and a higher resolution of 4K. The price is a little more expensive but worth it. As an added feature, the touch screen is possible at a $90 fee.
Overall, we are happy with the monitor and look forward to using it in the future.