SPUD is a huge, foldable portable display for your smartphone or a second screen for your laptop.
Smartphones are always going to be the best compromise between displaying content on the largest screen possible while still sliding effortlessly into your pocket. That could certainly change once we perfect roll-up displays or mobile projection, but until then we’re limited by screen size or clever ideas that pop up on Kickstarter.
The latest of those ideas is the Spontaneous Pop-up Display (SPUD), which takes your smartphone and converts it into a 24-inch display without sacrificing portability.
A portable 24-inch display may sound like a contradiction, and it would be if it weren’t for the fact SPUD collapses down to the size of a paperback book when not in use. Think of it like an umbrella. To use it simply open it up, connect your phone at the rear, and enjoy 24-inch high-definition visuals. It won’t crack as it’s made of a flexible polymer, and if it gets dirty you can simply wash it.
The 16:9 screen offers a resolution of 1,280 by 720 (720p) using rear projection, and while best suited for use with a phone, there’s nothing to stop you from plugging in a tablet or even a laptop via HDMI or wireless so it can act as a second display. Inside there’s a battery offering between 3-6 hours of power depending on how high you set the brightness, but you can also plug it into a power outlet.
When expanded, SPUD is reminiscent of old CRT monitors with a footprint of 21 by 11 by 14 inches, but folded away it only measures 5.64 by 2.17 by 7.52 inches and weighs just under 2 pounds. Where it does fall down is on price. The Kickstarter Super Early Bird price of $349 has already gone, and the $379 Early Bird price is disappearing fast. So you’ll likely end up paying $399 for a SPUD.
As with all Kickstarter projects, you’re taking a risk by backing such a project even if this one has reached its funding goal already. Nobody knows what the quality will be like or how durable it will be with repeated use. If you’re desperate for a large portable display you can throw in your bag, it may be worth putting down $400. For everyone else, there are a number of smaller USB-powered displays out there for under $200.