ASUS ZenScreen MB16AC USB-C Display Is Working Much Better With Modern Linux Distros
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 24 February 2019 at 10:01 AM EST. 14 Comments
HARDWARE --
A year and a half ago shortly after the ASUS ZenScreen MB16AC USB-C Portable Monitor launched, we checked it out under Linux. This lightweight, 1080p 15-inch portable display could be made to work with the binary DisplayLink driver, but in trying it out now with Ubuntu 18.10, it's now a pleasant out-of-the-box experience.

Since originally testing the ASUS ZenScreen MB16AC back in 2017, there's been a lot of USB Type-C improvements to the Linux kernel, work on the DisplayPort Alternate Mode, and a lot of other kernel improvements in that time. This weekend I decided to dust off the ZenScreen and see how it would behave on modern Linux distributions, Ubuntu 18.10 and Ubuntu 19.04 daily in particular.


When connecting it to a Dell XPS 9370, I was pleased to see that right away the display was working -- even when it came to the Plymouth password prompt for the full disk encryption. The ZenScreen continued working out fine on Ubuntu Linux without any issues.


The performance for this DisplayLink-based display was quite good with no visible lag when carrying out web browsing and office document work using LibreOffice. Even with glxgears the rendering was smooth though I wouldn't recommend gaming with this USB-C display.


The ZenScreen really works out quite well now on Linux with a very smooth, fully-functioning experience out-of-the-box and without the need to install any drivers, at least with this up-to-date distribution.

This USB-C display continues to retail from the likes of NewEgg for around $250 USD.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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