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Review: Lilliput 339DW Monitor

My first monitor screens have been screens designed for in-car cameras. 2x AV inputs and good for reversing cameras when, say towing. The advantage of them is that there are plenty available on sites such as eBay for around the £15-20 ($20-30) mark. Their main disadvantages are that firstly there is no 5.8GHz Receiver built-in so you need to supply your own and secondly the contrast ratio is lousy. As I try to aim for sunny days when flying, it can be really hard to make out the picture even with a sun hood.

Not knowing what to look for, I turned to Google for guidance. Having used video Tx/Rx units across different (incompatible) frequencies I wanted one that supported the full 32 that might be used. Black Pearl, Boscam and Lilliput seemed to be the leading contenders. For reasons that now escape me (next time, I'll make a note in case I ever decide to write a review) I opted for the Lilliput. Dual Diversity (two antennae for receiving the signal) seemed like a good idea and the high contrast ratio (800:1) was in line with my need for a brighter screen. One reason that I do remember is that it is a full 1280 pixels across x 800 high. A lot of monitors are around the 480 / 640 / 720 px and since I was using (at the time) a Nikon D5100 with 4,928 x 3264px resolution, clearly the better the screen, the more representative the picture will be.

The unit arrived very well packaged. Inside was the screen, sun visor, two 'rubber duck' antennae, the battery, a small instruction manual and a sticky label crib sheet with the dip switch settings for the channels (a duplicate of the one stuck on the back).

No problem with charging the battery and the autotune works well, picking up the frequencies that I was using. I had a play around with the Picture in Picture mode which is absolutely fine although for real life this is not something that I will need. I see both the camera AV out and the system OSD (on screen display) values simultaneously, obviating the need for two screens (or PiP)

The sun visor connects with velcro and, although it felt flimsy, after 6 months of use, now, including bundling it into transportation boxes fully assembled, it has not caused me any problems.

You can set the screen up as one screen, taking the best signal from the aerials, or split screen, one side, one aerial, or PiP. Each aerial has its own dip switch set so they can be set to the same or different frequencies. I guess that you could have two transmitters and two receivers. With different orientations, this could prevent signal dropout as the drone rotates.

I originally mounted the screen on the tripod that my clients use (I work with two screens, one for me, one for my clients to stop them hovering over my shoulder all the time). There is a standard thread on the bottom to mount it onto a tripod. However, after using it for a while and reaslising that I don't always have clients present, I have grabbed it for myself and given my clients the old £20 eBay screen. This screen is fantastic to use and there is absolutely no comparison between the two. If I could afford it, I would buy a second for my clients. I can't, so they are stuck with the duff one.

The picture is fantastically clear and bright with a wide viewing angle. I have changed one of the supplied antennae for an 'egg whisk' one and have experienced no issues from the Receiver side at all.

Lilliput 339 top view Lilliput 339 back view Lilliput 339 display Lilliput 339 mounted

As you can see, I'm a great improvisor. The brackets are spare brackets from a magnetic lock. This assembly is a bit top heavy so there is an extra strap to take the weight. Think of it as a 4-point harness.

The more observant of you will also notice the external battery. The big downside that I have found with the Lilliput is its battery life. It's about 1.5-2 hours and whilst that sounds a long time, a project can easily take longer than expected and I found that the screen was going blank on me. Without spare batteries, this was a big problem. By adding an external (large capacity) battery, of which I have spares, I am now able to keep going for as long as needed.




Click here to find Lilliput Screens on Amazon



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