Monitor - More
The N2311AZ can also function as a monitor connected to a PC. As an LCD monitor with LED backlighting, the LG N2311AZ is beautiful. I found the display clear and the images crisp. I used the N2311AZ as a computer monitor connected to my laptop extensively while writing this review and I can honestly say it enhanced my computing experience!
Positioning the monitor is quite flexible. The base of the monitor swivels; it has what feels like a spring-loaded support that allows for raising and lowering the monitor. Plus the angle and tilt of the panel are easily adjusted by hand if desired. The LG Cloud Monitor can also be wall mounted using an optional wall mount bracket.
You can even pivot the monitor 90 degrees! Pivot the monitor, then adjust Windows resolution to Portrait mode and you get a vertical screen running at 1080x1920. Viewing web pages in this mode was surprisingly useful, shown in the screenshot below. With the monitor vertical, more of a web page is on the screen, minimizing the need to scroll up and down. Further, the monitor takes up less desk space in this mode.
The LG has three configuration utilities. First, there are five menu buttons on the bottom right of the monitor that provide options for accessing a menu, adjusting volume, auto detection, selecting monitor input and exiting the menu. Second, when the monitor is in PCoIP mode, but prior to connecting to a VM, there is an on-screen menu that is controllable via the monitor's keyboard and mouse. Third, when the monitor is in PCoIP mode and connected, you can access the device from a web GUI via its IP address.
At first glance, the on screen options menu and the web GUI provide many of the same configuration options. However, there are significant differences between the two, so I've created summaries below of each menu's options.
The on screen options are available prior to connecting to a VM via a menu labeled as Options in the top left of the screen, shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Onscreen menu options
The web GUI has more configuration options, shown in Table 2. Note, the web GUI is unsecured and accessible without a user name and password. On the other hand, the device doesn't store sensitive information, so it doesn't seem to be a huge security risk.
Table 2: Browser menu options
Overall, I was disappointed in LG's documentation for the product. The menus in the manual don't match the software on the device and the details in the manual don't cover the full device functionality. Further, the manual is lacking examples and details. I would expect more from a large company like LG.
For example, the LG manual I downloaded from LG's product page shows a menu for Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) options, yet I couldn't find this option on the device. I poked around Teradici's website and found in the firmware release notes that RDP is not supported in the Zero Client software since version 3.3. I'm sure Teradici had their reasons, but I would have left RDP support in the device because it adds to its overall capabilities.
Further, the web GUI is not documented at all in the manual. For a product introducing new technology, I would think the product manual would try to provide as much detail and explanation as possible. Specifically, explanations of the key connection/session options would have been useful.
After poking around the LG and Teradici websites, I found the most useful source of information for the LG Cloud Monitor to be Teradici's PC-over-IP administrator’s guide found under the documentation section of the Teradici support website. To access this website, you have to set up a free account and login.
The PCoIP chip provides the computing power to connect the Cloud Monitor to a cloud VM, PC, workstation, or server. There are seven connection types with this monitor. Here's a brief description of each connection type:
- Direct to Host – This option enables a Cloud Monitor to connect to a PC/workstation running a PCoIP Host Card.
- Direct to Host + SLP Host Discovery – This option simplifies the Direct to Host option by using Service Location Protocol (SLP) to discover available PCoIP Hosts on the same subnet.
- View Connection Server – This option leverages VMware View Client software to connect to Virtual Machines running in a VMware environment.
- View Connection Server + Auto-Logon – This option is essentially the same as the previous, with the ability to save the user name and password for the connection.
- View Connection Server + Kiosk – This options is useful in an environment with a large number of Cloud Monitors where you simply want them to power and connect to a specific VM, without user input.
- View Connection Server + Imprivata OneSign – This options again uses VMware View Client software, but enables authentication through the Imprivata OneSign system, a simplified authentication system targeted at health care providers.
- Connection Management Interface – This option is used to connect with an external connection management server.
The View Connection Server option is the most straightforward. This option is used to connect the LG Cloud Monitor to a VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environment. More simply put, the VMware View is software running on the PCoIP chip, which facilitates connecting to a Virtual Machine housed in a VDI environment.
I use VMware View Client software (ver 4.5) regularly with my day job to connect to a VM. This enables me to use my laptop and corporate VM at the same time. Unfortunately, I was unable to get the LG monitor to connect to my corporate VM. The problem may have been our corporate VDI configurations which likely have not been configured to support a PCoIP solution.
Fortunately, LG provided a VMware environment I could use for testing the Cloud Monitor. Below is a picture of the LG Cloud Monitor (on the right) connected to a Windows 7 VM and running in Dual Screen mode. The monitor on the left is an ASUS VE228 21.5” LCD/LED display.
Dual screen mode
The key thing about this image is what you don't see. There is no PC on the desk, on the floor or hidden out of sight. With a Cloud Monitor, a VM, an Ethernet connection, USB mouse and keyboard and optionally a second monitor, I have a complete desktop computing solution. It is completely quiet and energy efficient, with no fans, CPUs, hard drives, or other components on the desktop.
I used the Cloud Monitor with a Microsoft Optical Wheel Mouse and a standard keyboard made by HP. All buttons and the wheel operated as expected on the mouse. The keyboard also worked as expected, including the Num Lock and Caps Lock indicator lights.