The world needs more gadgets like LG’s briefcase TV

LG's StanbyME Go is the most uninspiring gadget thing I've ever reviewed. It's a 27-inch touchscreen TV built into (and protected by) a large military-grade briefcase — with an integrated sound system, HDMI connectivity, and the same webOS software that runs on the company's regular TVs.

Theoretically, you could bring it anywhere, but at 28 pounds, the StanbyME Go is far from a light load, and calling it very portable is a stretch. Road trips are no problem, but I've never been brave enough to take this thing on a flight. For one, I didn't want to deal with TSA checks on this gadget that looks like Impossible Goal Prop. But the briefcase is too wide to meet carry-on requirements on most airlines.

But this…this is very unique. And that's what I've realized over the past few months while testing the dreadfully named StanbyME Go. You can take this briefcase TV tailgating; You can bring it camping; If you're traveling somewhere, this can be a mobile entertainment and gaming solution for you or the kids. I have some friends who say they'd be willing to use something like this in place of a projector in rooms where a permanent TV might be unwanted. When the time comes to pick it up, that excitement often wanes.

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Besides its weight, the biggest thing going against the StanBME Go is the $1,200 that LG is asking for what, at the end of the day, is a very simple 27-inch LCD panel. It's a 1080p screen with plenty of viewing angles and a peak brightness of 500 nits. It's good enough for indoor viewing, and as long as you're not in direct sunlight, I've found it good enough for most outdoor use as well. (The display's anti-reflective coating helps a lot here.) But if you're judging this thing based on display specs alone, it would be crazy to pay $1,200 for it. I'd be desperate for a 4K OLED version of the StanbyME Go, although the price will probably top $2,000. The exclusivity of this product is naturally part of why it is more expensive than many people expect.

The display's maximum brightness of 500 nits is fine in the shade or on a cloudy day.

The claimed Dolby Vision HDR support is ridiculous considering the limited brightness of this display. The same applies to the four-channel “Dolby Atmos” speaker system, though I was surprised by its thoroughness considering the audio is coming from unconventionally constructed drivers on one side of the briefcase. And despite the fact that the speakers are positioned Back Sound remains clear when the screen is raised. Just don't expect much in the way of immersion or enveloping finesse here. If you need more impressive sound while tailgating, you can always add a larger Bluetooth speaker.

At nearly £30, the StanbyME Go may be a tall order.

To see any value in StanbyME Go, you must Effort And appreciate the sum of its parts. That average screen is attached to a very strong articulating arm that lets the display be used in three different ways. It can lie flat for touchscreen games like chess or while playing music from your phone on the speakers. Pull up the screen and you can put it in landscape or portrait orientation; The latter could be useful if you want to mirror your phone and scroll through your TikTok feed — or perhaps give a presentation on the road. I rarely bother with vertical mode, but the versatility is nice.

It can basically go wherever you want.

The 27-inch screen is 1080p and lacks local dimming, but it still looks quite good when you're watching something.

The StanbyME Go is so smart that it automatically turns off its display and powers down whenever the briefcase is latched. The rugged outer shell is tough enough – LG claims it passed 11 different durability tests – and while I didn't intentionally try to put LG's review unit through my own torture testing, my testing It definitely had a few bumps over the weeks and even a minor drop while the case was open with the screen up. It survived them all without any problems. But rudeness only goes so far; The StanbyME Go doesn't offer any water resistance, so be careful if you're using it by the pool or near a lake while camping. That's a big difference between this, a TV that can be used outside, and a real “outdoor TV” that can withstand the elements and be bright enough to fight the sun – much more so than the StanBME Go. For money.

The StanbyME Go makes an entertaining travel game station – and you get LG's signature low input lag.

There's a dedicated cradle for the remote inside the case, and if you take that off, there's a section underneath to store the power cable when you don't need it. The power input is covered by a protective flap, and there's another flap that protects the HDMI/eARC port, the USB-A port (for media on external drives), and a switch that conserves juice when you're not there. To do this may drain the battery. Using the TV for a while. LG says the StandbyME Go's battery will last for an average of three hours. In my experience, you can squeeze out an extra hour if you activate webOS's energy-saving features, but they usually come at the expense of brightness, which isn't impressive to begin with.

There are some preloaded games that take advantage of the touchscreen.

Can your OLED TV play bar games this well?

In fact using the This briefcase TV looks just like any other LG model. All the standard picture and sound modes are present. But most LG sets lack a touchscreen. Don't have the remote at hand? You can navigate around with smartphone-like gestures: swipe up from the bottom of the screen to go home or swipe down from the top for quick access to brightness and volume controls.

It has an HDMI port and a USB-A port into which you can plug media drives.

LG includes some very simple games like the aforementioned Chess and bar games like Photo Hunt. But their novelty wears off fast, so you'll want to plug in a console for the real thing. Of course, this means you have to provide Power Whatever HDMI devices you're using, that can be tricky when on the go and especially outdoors. A portable power station will prove extremely convenient in these situations.

LG has all the popular streaming apps in its store, but if you want to watch them from the cabin or tent while camping, you'll find yourself tied to your phone for a regular internet connection.

A four-channel, 20-watt speaker system is built into the upper half of the briefcase.

The briefcase is large but easy enough to keep hidden when not needed.

I have a soft spot in my heart for weird gadgets, which come along very rarely these days. Most big tech brands play it very safe and only release products with mainstream appeal. From that perspective, I applaud LG for not only doing something Little Different but still offbeat. If the StanbyME Go cost a few hundred dollars less, I would be able to recommend it for reasons beyond the exclusivity factor. It's heavy but thoughtfully designed. It's one of those attention-grabbing tools that people will ask questions about whenever they see you using it.

More weird gadgets like this please.

But the TV packed into this briefcase is only average – and that's low when you consider the price. My hope is that the StandByME Go won't prove to be so unique that LG won't give it another try. Because this first attempt is unique and often quite plain fun, But at $1,200, the simple reality is that until LG figures out the right formula (and price), most people are better off with a more traditional tablet or portable monitor.

Photography by Chris Welch/The Verge

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