Pertelian X2040 USB LCD

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A small, secondary LCD display – Kyle Lunau

Many a computer enthusiast these days has some sort of secondary display, from a text displaying LCD in your case to a second monitor. The point of this is to be able to display more information at once and still be able to game or watch a movie. Today I have my hands on one such product, the Pertelian X2040 USB LCD. Here is a synopsis of this product from Pertelian:

Software Features

  • POP email checking and reading email headers
  • Unique IM interface to reply to messages while inside a game or other application
  • Full control of supported media applications plus:
    • Sophisticated song search by title, artist, or track number for supported media applications
    • UltraSeek feature which automatically previews tracks in the middle of the song
  • Audio volume adjustment for system and supported media applications
  • Sports Scores – giving you real time sports scores
  • RSS feed aggregate
  • TeamSpeak Support – Finally see who’s talking
  • Real-Time Stock Ticker with detailed stock information
  • Real-Time Network bandwidth usage
  • Expansive system information (CPU usage/Memory usage/IP information/Disk drive usage/Processes and thread usage/Uptime, and TONS more)
  • World-wide weather information and 10-day forcast
  • Quick Memo
  • Pertelian Monitor for eBay – Auction Monitor
  • Forum Watcher
  • IRC Support
  • Customizable hotkeys for quick and easy control

Supported Media and Communication Software

  • Winamp 2
  • Winamp 5
  • Apple Itunes 6
  • Windows Media Player 10
  • AOL Instant Messenger 5.9
  • Yahoo Messenger 7.0
  • GAIM 2.0

General Requirements

  • Windows 2000 or Windows XP
  • Internet Explorer 5.0 or later
  • USB 1.0+ port
  • RAM 64 Megabytes (MB)
  • Free Hard Drive Space 10 MB
  • Microsoft .NET Runtime 2.0 or later
  • Super VGA 800×600 or greater screen resolution

Hardware

  • Hitachi HD44780 based LCD character display
  • LCD inside a compact 4.5″ x 2.5″ x 0.85″ enclosure
  • New larger LCD display sporting 20 columns by 4 lines text display with font size 5×7 dots
  • Built in characters plus 8 user defined characters
  • Electroluminescent light green backlight
  • Also includes Velcro attachment
  • Includes custom stand
  • USB 1.0+ interface
  • Communicate over USB interface with attached 6′ cable

{mospagebreak}

And onto the review!

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The packaging of the X2040 is effective and fairly attractive as you can see.

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The back of the box describes the unit and its functionality. It also shows minimum and recommended system specs.

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And now to unpack this thing!

Included in the package is a stand, the LCD, software, and Velcro

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This is the Velcro hiding on the back of the CD case.

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The LCD comes with a protective film on it to keep it from getting damaged during shipping.

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It looks a bit better without the film.

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So after getting the X2040 installed with its included software we are confronted with this screen. This is the main page of the X2040’s software and this allows you to change the most general settings.

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And this is what we are greeted with on the LCD, but my name isn’t Pertelian :

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That’s better…

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..much better!{mospagebreak}

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Now that that is set up to my liking I’ll go over the features of the software. As you can see, with this tab you can configure the display to indicate when you have new email.

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On the next tab you can configure the X2040’s hotkeys to your liking.

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On the next tab you can configure the display to keep tabs on your instant messenger

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From this tab you can enable or disable the various features of the software and display.

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{mospagebreak}

Now here is the feature that most of you reading will probably be most interested, and that of course is the displays performance monitoring capabilities. You can grab any number of monitoring functions and move them onto the display.

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As you can see there are quite a number of performance numbers the display can keep track of.

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Here is a shot of the forum watcher function of the display

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The weather forecast function…

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System performance monitoring

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Network performance monitoring

Overall

Well I have to say that this is quite the impressive product. It’s functionality and possible uses make it an excellent addition to any PC. As far as the functions of the display goes, I found that the display was extremely useful, letting me keep tabs on various levels of performance even if I was in game.

The hotkeys are extremely easy to use and after a few times using them, I have them memorized. One negative on the hotkeys though: I did find that at times the CTRL-ALT portion of the hotkey would sort of “stick”, leaving me at a Google search trying to figure out why my W, E, and S keys aren’t working while the LCD is having a fit off to the side.

Another negative is that the Forum Watcher tool does not seem to work very well. It will constantly say there is a new post on a forum whether there is or not, and this can be quite annoying. One thing overrides all the negative points though – this thing is DIRT CHEAP coming in at $48.99 USD at thinkgeek.com..

This is an excellent price for any LCD, but considering the software that comes with this one it really is a bargain. So to sum it all up:

Pros:

  • Lots of features in the included software
  • Makes your life easy by automatically keeping tabs on your stuff!
  • Did I mention that this thing is $48.99?
  • Can display a huge number of performance details
  • Hotkeys are very easy to use

Cons:

  • “Sticky” CTRL-ALT
  • Forum Watcher needs some work

Overall

A great gadget for any PC user, I can truly recommend this product to everyone! So what are you waiting for? Buy one for yourself or buy one for a friend, you’ll be glad you did (plus your friend will think you’re buying them a $100 LCD :)!

If you’d like to see a video demo of this product go HERE.

Recently the guys at ForeSight Systems have released V5 of there Pertelian software – this software adds the following functionality:

  • Stock Monitor plugin
  • GameFire plugin
  • Stop Watch plugin
  • Digital Clock plugin

Of course the big part of this update is the inclusion of GameFire, which allows you to monitor player or server statistics. The best feature of this is that you can use it to monitor your favorite game servers and check if they are full, or see what map the server is on, without even starting up the game.

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Given the choice between the Pertelian and the display on my Logitech G15 I would choose the Pertelian. The number of uses and the constant release of new features make the Pertelian a nice piece of hardware to have.

The only issues I have with the Pertelian in comparison with the G15’s display is that the G15 display is capable of doing both text and graphics, unlike the Pertelian which can only do text. I also find the G15’s display to be sharper and more attractive. So I’ll sum up a few recommendations that could be implemented to improve the Pertelian beyond its current state:

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Reduce the size of the bezel around the display to make it more compact and attractive
  • If possible change the green backlight for a blue, or better yet, make it so you can change the color of the backlight

OVERALL

A nice update to an already nice product – gives you all the more reason to check it out.

Kyle Lunau

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