The Xebec Tri-Screen 2 is a unique addition to anybody who wants to increase their screen real-estate for a more productive workflow.
When I first heard about this tri-screen, I thought it was an interesting concept that could have gone either way: poorly executed that it wouldn’t be useful at all, or well executed that it adds value to having something added to your laptop. Fortunately for me—and the friendly team at Xebec—the latter is true of this unit and I’m very happy with this addition to my 2021 14″ M1 Pro MacBook Pro.
As I told the Xebec team upon first using the unit, it made for a fun experience for me to be able to realize I have that much more screen real estate to work with when editing my photos.
It’s like a big hug
The Xebec Tri-Screen 2 with the two screens pulled out. The large rubber padding stretches away with the grey band providing the resistance needed to “hug” the monitor of your laptop. It’s a very simple concept—but one that works really well!
If you have some of the newer laptops out in the market today—complete with multiple USB-C display charging ports—then you’re all set without having to worry about anything else. Just connect the USB-C to USB-C cable from your laptop to each Xebec screen and the monitor turns on. It’s as simple as that. For those without USB-C connections, the package comes with two USB-A to USB-C adaptors so you should have no problems getting this up and running.
Seen in the photo are the following:
- Two USB-C to USB-C cables (left)
- One USB-C male to USB-C female extension cable (top)
- Two USB-A to USB-C adapter (bottom)
- One USB-C to USB-C charging 90 degree adapter (bottom)
- A velcro cable strap, and
- Two mini-HDMI to HDMI cables (right).
Xebec Tri-Screen Adapter
For anyone that doesn’t have a USB-C display port connection (one USB-C that powers and provides video out) they also sell the Xebec Tri-Screen adapter (pictured) which is a USB-A port (or USB-C port with included adapter) to connect to your laptop, leading to HDMI and USB-C ports to connect to the Xebec monitor. One adapter is for one monitor only so check ahead of time how many you may need.
Once connected to your laptop, be sure to check if your display settings are correct for each monitor.
On the Mac, go to your Displays setting and change the Use as: option to your desired method:
- Main Display
- Extended Display (defaults to)
- Mirror for Built-in Retina Display
- Mirror for RTK HDR (2) (Left screen)
You can leave the Resolution to Default for Display, but if you want to enlarge elements on the screen, then choose something like 1280×720.
I left the Color Profile and Refresh Rate at their defaults.
The Xebec Tri-Screen 2 is surprisingly easy to use—and weighing just two pounds, it’s very portable. Just pull it out of the bag, stretch the unit to fit around your monitor and put it in place with the kickstand. Then pull out the two monitors and connect the cables. That’s all there is to it. For an even faster setup time, I packed the Xebec already wrapped around my laptop inside my bag.
I Need Power
With just one USB-C to USB-C cable, I’m good to go. The spare USB-C port on the bottom of the Xebec Tri-Screen can be used to connect another peripheral however power-hungry peripherals like my CFExpress card reader could not be used as I received an alert stating more power was needed to operate it.
I Need Support
The kickstand folds down from the back of the Xebec Tri-Screen. It also extends outward so you can adjust the angle of the screen, however I did feel the kickstand to be quite weak when fully extended. I prefer to just leave it contracted and angle as needed.
Xebec Tri-Screen Screen
As with any monitor, the brightness and contrast of it will dictate how well you can see it in various lighting conditions. Testing the Xebec Tri-Screen 2 in both indoor and outdoor areas, I can say that it is easier to view indoors. The screen has a menu system where you can adjust the brightness and contrast, however even at 100% brightness I felt that it was a little darker than my MacBook Pro screen when viewed outside.
Regardless, the Xebec Tri-Screen 2 is still very usable in either conditions! If you find it harder to view, you can always adjust the viewing resolution of each screen (independent of one another) to enlarge what you’re seeing.
How I use the Xebec Tri-Screen 2
You can imagine there are many ways to use two additional screens to your laptop. Everyone has their own needs, so their configurations will be different from my needs. If you’re stuck on how to use it though, here’s a few scenarios I found the Xebec Tri-Screen 2 to be handy in:
|Photo Editing||Lightroom||Safari browser|
|Video Editing||Finder||Davinci Resolve||Preview monitor|
|Blogging||Lightroom browser||Safari browser||Notes app|
|Presentations||Lightroom browser||Keynote||Notes/Finder apps|
Having an entire monitor dedicated to viewing the preview of my video is awesome!
Just a note that if you want to use Adobe Lightroom in full screen mode on a specific monitor, you will need to load the app from that particular window. You will not be able to move the app from one screen to another—despite there being an option to do so in the Windows menu bar.
If you have other use-cases that you think might work well, feel free to comment down below!
If you live in a condo or apartment and you just want to get out for a different view, the Xebec Tri-Screen 2 lets you work outside at a local park without having to sacrifice the screen real estate offered by a larger monitor.
The full specs are available on the Xebec’s website, but here’s a screen capture of the summary of the specifications.
I want more!
As wonderful as the Xebec Tri-Screen 2 is, there is always room for improvements. I’ve listed some features that could make for a better unit for perhaps a future version. In no particular order:
- Each monitor having the ability to tilt up at most 45 degrees so that we can adjust the angle of view for when we’re standing up and looking slightly down on the screen. Think the LCD screens of our mirrorless cameras.
- A glare/reflection coating to better manage glare
- Brighter capability so we can see clearer outside
- Button markers on the front of the frame for the set of buttons on top (just like you see on the bottom of the frame); this way I don’t have to get up to see where the buttons are to change the on-screen menu.
- Thinner bezels
- Higher resolution monitor
An alternate: what about just one screen?
Having two extra screens are great assets to have, but what about having one extra screen that is slightly larger in size (11″-13″ diagonal). A higher resolution would be great to have, but a balance of that and battery power should be considered.
Here’s a quick drawing of a possible alternate version should the Xebec team ever want to explore something like this. The overall wrap-around case will need to adapt for the screen to pull upward, but that should be easily done. Further, the frame will be half as thick since it only needs to accommodate one screen!
If possible, the ability to tilt the screen forward and backward once extended would be the sugar on top.
See my review of the XEBEC Tri-Screen 2 on YouTube by clicking play below.
Have you ever used the Xebec Tri-Screen 2 before? Do you use multiple monitors for your workflow? Let me know in the comments below!