Use An Extra Monitor With A Sewell vDeck USB to VGA External Display Adapter

As photographers we can really benefit from a second, and in some cases, a third monitor.

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The problem often is how to connect the new monitor. Unless you have a video card with two monitor ports on it and especially if you want to add a third monitor, this can turn into a real technical challenge. There is actually a fairly simple solution to this with the Sewell vDeck USB to VGA External Display Adapter.

This simple device claims to be able to drive a monitor while using only a USB port. How well does it work? Continue reading to find out.

How Does It Work

IMG_8219The Sewell vDeck USB to VGA External Display Adapter not-surprisingly is exactly what it’s name implies. The device plugs into your computer via a USB cable and on the other side has a VGA connector to connect to your computer.

Now I have tried several USB/VGA adapters in the past and their performance has always been extremely poor. Most of them suffer from really bad screen times, low resolution, or other types of problems.

Because of my experience with similar products, my expectations were quite low when I received the vDeck to review.

The installation process is pretty simple, just install the driver from the CD, and plug the device into a USB port and a monitor onto the VGA port. The setup process should only take you a minute or two.

The Results

IMG_8220If I am going to test this, I am going to push it as much as I can so I connected a Dell 24” widescreen monitor that has a native resolution of 1920×1280. I had absolutely no hope that this was going to work.

To my complete surprise, not only did the monitor come right up, it came up in full native resolution. Ok, just because it came up, how good can this little business-card sized box perform. I grabbed some windows and dragged them around the screen, poor performance will cause an “echo effect” instead of smooth moving of the window around. The windows moved smooth showing that the vDeck really did have enough horsepower to drive a screen this size.

The only issue I came across was I couldn’t quite get the color balance dialed in quite right. I used a Huey Pro to calibrate the screen but it didn’t seem to make any difference. Not that the color was too far off, but it was visible to me since my main monitor is calibrated so I could see a little color shift in it. As a second monitor for email, web browsing, Photoshop tool bars, etc. it was just fine. As a primary screen for editing photos the color shift would concern me a little. It is entirely possible that Sewell will be able to fix this with a driver update. My guess is that it simply isn’t applying the color profiles from the Huey Pro.

Summary

Considering that a good video card will set you back $150 or more, the vDeck at $69.95 can be a very affordable option. Considering you don’t have to know the difference between PCI, PCI-X, PCI-Express, etc, the vDeck is dead simple to get up and running and actually works pretty darned good.

I would certainly recommend it, even with the minor calibration issue because I expect this will be fixed soon, for adding a second or third monitor to your system. While my monitor size is just outside of what the vDeck is rated for, it actually performed quite well. If you need to support bigger monitors with DVI or HDMI connectors, the USB to DVI is $79.95 and the Minideck is $99.95.

For more information about the vDeck and a comparison of the different units, check out: http://sewelldirect.com/Sewell-vDeck-USB-to-VGA-External-Display-Adapter.asp

KerryG

Kerry Garrison lives in Castle Rock, Colorado with his wife and two dogs. With 10 years of experience shooting products and 5 years of experience in the wedding industry, Kerry brings a good deal of technical know-how and can explain topics in easy-to-understand terms.

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4 Responses

  1. cbjason says:

    Is this JUST a USB-VGA setup? No power cables? Does the USB have to be powered? Can you use the USB port from the other monitor? Is the monitor easily detected to extend your desktop across it as a 2nd or third monitor? Would've been nice to see it in an actual setup, side-by-side too…

    • kgarrison says:

      Yup, USB on one side, VGA on the other. You can probably use the USB port on the monitor if it is acting as a hub from the PC. Once installed it acts just like a any other monitor. I was pretty impressed with how well it worked.

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