Cinq Brings an Extra Screen to Laptops for $249

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Once you’ve got a dual-monitor setup at your desk, it’s hard to go back to single-screen computing. In other words, using a laptop, with its one measly screen, stinks.

Fortunately, Sideline is on the case with its Cinq companion monitor, a portable secondary screen that clips to any laptop and runs on USB power, using DisplayLink. Although it’s not the first USB-powered screen on the market, it’s the first one I’ve seen that attaches to the laptop itself by a set of rails and a clamp. Once attached, the Cinq can swivel around and switch between horizontal and vertical orientation.

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As Cinq’s product photos demonstrate, it’s perfect for lounging barefoot by the pool in your slacks and tie, convincing yourself and the world that you’re getting real work done:

Or for impressing all the ladies at the airport lounge–until they realize you’re just wasting time on Tweetdeck:

The Cinq’s LED-backlit screen measures 10.1 inches with 720p resolution, and weighs 15 ounces. It has a response time of 16 ms, and viewing angles of 45 degrees on either side. The Cinq software is compatible with Windows and Mac, and it includes a built-in SD card reader, just in case your laptop doesn’t have one for some reason.

One thing Sideline isn’t talking about is the screen’s effect on your computer’s battery life. Obviously, it’ll vary by laptop, but don’t expect to get as much juice as you did without a second screen in tow.

Although Cinq’s product page still says its in pre-order, Slashgear reports that the Cinq is now shipping. I’ve e-mailed Cinq support to try and get a firm answer. (UPDATE: Ben Nickey, Sideline’s CEO, told Techland that the Cinq will be shipping in roughly three weeks. As for battery life, he said his MacBook Pro ran for about four hours with one Cinq attached, and about 2.5 hours with two extra screens, compared to about six hours without them. Video and other power-intensive tasks will drain the battery faster.)

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