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  • Soon Kai Hong

LG StanByME Review: Impressive In More Ways Than One

When we first heard about this, we were a little confused as to how this would fit in anyone’s lifestyle. But we’ve since tried it for about two to three weeks and safe to say, we are still a little confused. However with that said, there are a few specific use cases in which this is really great for. Let’s take a look at the LG StanbyME.

In a nutshell, what the LG StanbyME is, Is a wireless 27-inch monitor that can also be used off the grid and you can move it to wherever you want it to be. Now of course there’s more to it than that but that basically sums up most of what this is capable of.

But let’s start off by talking about the design, which in our opinion, is really elegant. The entire construction is pretty simple, with the large round base on the bottom, a sturdy vertical pole that acts as both your handle to move it around and to attach the monitor arm to, and of course, the monitor itself. Lastly, everything is finished in a really soft looking cream color which will easily complement any room and accentuate it.

Speaking which, you’ll have access to multiple adjustment options. You can rotate a full 180 degrees and use it in portrait mode, you can swivel 130 degrees, up to 50 degrees of tilt and just about 20 centimeters in height adjustment. As for the monitor itself, it’s 27-inches, utilizes an IPS panel, has resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 running at 60Hz, fully touch capable, and supports quite the number of features found LG’s lineup of TVs such as Image Enhancing, AI Upscaling, HDR10 Pro, HLG, Filmmaker Mode and more. All thanks to the inclusion of an A7 Gen4 Processor which is basically the same processor that can be found on their A1 and B1 series of OLED TVs, just without the 4K moniker.

Flip around to the back of the monitor and this is where you’ll find it fully covered in a soft touch fabric material which not only gives it a bit of character but also being quite practical as well as this is where you’ll find the speakers. It’s a 2.0 sound system that’s capable of 10 watts of power.

Now 10 watts might not sound like a lot, but we assure this can get plenty loud and sounds really good. More on that later.

There are a couple of physical ports despite the wireless nature of this device. Underneath the soft tab will house a HDMI 1.4 port and a standard size USB port. Along the back edge is also where you’ll find the NFC logo which will allow you to wirelessly mirror content from any other device. Now it does come with a remote, so you can easily control the display from afar should you not be near it to utilize the touchscreen, but if say the remote isn’t within reach or you’ve misplaced it, you can still adjust some basic settings like volume and power via physical buttons on the back edge as well.

But now back to the display itself, and let’s start by talking about the software that it runs. Because this is unlike a standard monitor and more so like a TV, and just like LG’s lineup of TVs, this runs on webOS Smart.

The main homepage is going to be quite simplistic in nature. Right off the bat, you can access to favorite apps such as Netflix, HBO Go, YouTube, Spotify, Twitch and much more. All these come preloaded and arguably, are probably going to be your main use of this device. You’ll also be able to easily toggle AirPlay, HDMI or USB input and you can easily see the time, the weather and temperature and more.

We would say that the overall software experience is pretty intuitive and if you’re used to any of LG’s TVs, this will be really straightforward and downright similar.

As for the image quality itself, this isn’t the best out there but it is definitely good enough. For a start, it’s 1080p, which isn’t that fancy a resolution at 27-inch, especially when you consider monitors out there that have 1440p or 4K resolutions at this same screen size. However, if you think about the use case of this monitor, it’s actually plenty to work around with.

Most of the time, you would simply be streaming Spotify to it to listen to music, or perhaps mostly binging on YouTube or Netflix and the like. So in all those scenarios, you would mostly be simply viewing content. In which case, 1080p is still plenty sharp for the average viewing distance you would be using this with. Colors are great and vibrant as expected from an IPS panel and it does also get plenty bright, perfectly usable in a large living room. Again, for the primary use cases, 1080p is more than enough.

We then come to one main advantage this has over almost any other monitor out there. THe speaker system. As we’ve shared earlier, this is just a 2 channel setup capable of 10 watts of power and it’ll support a variety of audio codecs wirelessly. The speakers on this are honestly really amazing. The highs and mids and clear and crisp and there’s still a little bit of bass despite the thin form factor. If you turn it up to a moderate volume for casual listening, it does fill a large living room relatively well and sounds comfortable in the sense that it’s kind of like listening to music in a cafe.

Not overbearing but yet still enjoyable to listen to.

If you want to turn it up however, you can and this gets really loud. For context, what we say is a comfortable listening volume, just like in a cafe, would be somewhere between 10-20. Anymore than that, and it gets really loud to the point where you can kind of enjoy it like you’re watching the latest blockbuster on your TV. It can get that loud. Which is a plus point, I guess?

But now let’s put all that aside and talk about why you would want such a monitor or TV per se.

We can only really think of three main scenarios.

The first is to use a secondary display in your living room, especially more so if one of your family members is hogging the TV. In this scenario, you basically don’t need to share or be forced to watch content you don’t want to watch. It’s your own personal TV and you can basically use it wherever you please.

The second scenario would be in your bedroom or study room. This can be used as a second monitor should you wish to do so or perhaps you just want a TV like experience without sacrificing the space or your walls can’t wall mount anything, this would bring that versatility into the room. You can also choose to tilt it down and place it beside your bed if you want to just watch from the comfort of your bed. You do you, this allows it.

The third scenario would probably be in the kitchen though we would suggest against it unless you have an open kitchen design. If you’ve an open kitchen design, you can simply place the StanbyME near the counter and you can easily watch a cooking tutorial on YouTube or simply have a large screen to have a reference for your recipe.

But that’s about it from what we can think of and test. There are of course many other scenarios but in most of them, if you’re going to be restricted to a permanent working space or environment, you wouldn’t need the wireless freedom that this provides, a regular monitor setup would suffice.

Which brings us to the shortcomings of the StanbyME. First up, the battery life.

Battery life is honestly quite poor. LG claims just about 3 hours of battery life and though we’ve managed to get more than that, nearing 4, it still isn’t that great. It’s basically enough for you to watch one long movie or just barely enough for two short movies. Considering the size and heft of the base, we expected way higher battery life, at least six hours or so, but an average of 3 is what you're going to be working with and that’s really a bummer.

The next thing is the maximum height. At its highest position, this has a height of 1.26 metres in landscape mode, or just under 1.4 metres in portrait mode. Basically if you’re using it standing, it’s quite short. If you’re going to be standing and using it, you’ll find yourself looking downwards most of the time.

Lastly, it’s the price. Believe it or not, the StanbyME retails for just under 1,800 Singapore Dollars (1,799 SGD) which translates to roughly 1,300 US Dollars thereabouts.

That is a lot of cash. No two ways about it. For that same amount of money, you can get a 55-inch 4K TV from LG themselves, or add a little more and you get a slightly larger 65-inch 4K or upgrade to a 55-inch 4K OLED, again from LG themselves.

If you talk about other brands, you can get multiple TVs even. And if you compare to monitors, you can easily get really high refresh rate monitors at 1080p for half the price, or up the resolution to 1440p while still enjoying high refresh rate, or even get 4K.

Now of course, none of those will be to work off the grid and you can’t just move it wherever you want. But even so, the price for the StanbyME is quite steep given the specs and what you’re getting out of it. Honestly, we would say that a price of roughly 1,200 Singapore Dollar or just about 900 US Dollars will be much more suited and much more appealing. But it is what it is.

To end it off, it really depends on what you’re looking for. We do quite like it and definitely enjoyed it. But just understand that the LG StanbyME, while pretty impressive, is going to be quite the purchase.

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