InterView Display Does Double-Duty
If you're finding the landscape of your current computer display a bit confining, do what engineers, digital artists and financial traders have been doing for years: double up with two screens. EVGA's $650 InterView TM 1700 adds a new twist to the dual-display world by placing two 17-inch displays on a cleverly designed stand that lets you arrange the screens in a variety of ways, including facing in opposite directions.
Made of sleek anodized aluminum, the InterView looks more like a modernist sculpture than a monitor stand -- and it allows both the displays to be independently swiveled from 90 degrees side to side and rotated 180 degrees vertically. Each screen can display a wide variety of computer resolutions, from 640 x 480 to 1440 x 900.
In front, there are LEDs along the stand's flat base to show which monitors are active, a brightness adjustment and an Auto button that resynchronizes the source with the displays to optimize their settings. There's also a three-port USB hub. A USB 2.0 port and DMS video port are in back.
The display also comes with a dual DVI-IM-to-DMS input cable so that you can connect it to two computers (also included are adapters for VGA-output computers). All the power and video cables can be hidden inside -- a nice feature.
The InterView can be set up with one computer, creating a wide panoramic view (assuming the computer has a dual-port graphics card like the Nvidia GeForce 9500GT that can plug into the InterView's DMS input port). On the downside, there's an annoying 3.5-inch gap between the two screens for their bezels and the stand.
However, the InterView comes into its own displaying the output of a pair of computers. I set it up with two PCs: one running flash animation and the other used primarily for e-mail, writing and Web research. Later, I set up one PC as a TV to watch a baseball game while I worked on the other. It worked surprisingly well -- I expected to hurt my neck looking back and forth, but it was easy to adapt to tracking two screens at once.
At one point, I created an immersive wraparound viewing space with the displays set at an angle of about 120 degrees. Later, I lined the two screens up flat for a wide work zone.
For those working in tight quarters, either of the InterView's displays can be completely flipped over so that two people can sit on either side of a table or desk and each have a display to look at. The beauty is that, as the screen is turned over, it automatically reconfigures itself so the image is always oriented up.
A big bonus is that the two screens can be quickly folded in against each other, closing them as one would close a book and taking up a modest 15.5 by 7 inches of desktop space. It might not sound like much, but if you're working on confidential material, slapping the two screens together is an easy way to hide what's on them.
The displays themselves are fine, with good rich color, sharp contrast between black and white on type and reasonable brightness. Between the two screens is a microphone and a 1.3-megapixel Webcam that can be aimed up and down. The displays work with Windows, Linux and Mac OS X systems, but the included Webcam software runs only on Windows.
What needs to be fixed?
The InterView isn't perfect, of course. Unlike the less ambitious HP Dual-Monitor Stand, the InterView displays can't be adjusted up and down to accommodate users of different heights, which is strange for such an otherwise versatile design.
While it's impressive that the device gets by without a cooling fan (many dual and quad monitors have them), the InterView can get quite warm, an indication that it might actually need one. More to the point, while the screens have a microphone, they lack speakers (the wide flat base would be a perfect place to hide a set).
Finally, while I really like the dual-monitor approach, for some people two screens is just not enough. Other products, like Digital Tigers' Zenview line of monitors, can accommodate three, four and even eight displays.
EVGA's InterView is a clever amalgam of mechanical design and electronics that is a perfect solution for people who want the convenience of two displays and/or who need to share their displays with others. The InterView is a model of flexibility that at $650 is reasonably priced way to create a larger view of the world.
Brian Nadel is a freelance writer based near New York and is the former editor in chief of Mobile Computing & Communications magazine.