Elecrow SH080 8-inch mini HDMI screen review

By Rosemary Hattersley. Posted

There are myriad reasons why you might want a vibrant display to use alongside your Raspberry Pi or other hardware. At 8 inches, and with a resolution of 1200 × 800 pixels, this £89 screen is good for a second laptop display with a spot of retro gaming on the side, and we imagine it will work well with other HDMI output devices such as microscopes. It means that a Raspberry Pi enthusiast, keen on keeping things compact, can stick with a miniaturised computing setup without having to squint to see on-screen items.

Elecrow’s own website suggests using this screen with a Raspberry Pi for gaming. We tested the display alongside Elecrow’s CrowPi L – itself a dedicated laptop hull that fits a full-size Raspberry Pi inside and which has an HDMI port. Rather unusually, the screen has a mini HDMI input.  Powering the screen additionally requires a mini USB to mini USB cable. This is less out of the ordinary and, at least, means the screen can be entirely powered by the hardware to which it’s connected, rather than requiring an external power source and plug. One of the more useful inclusions is an adjustable metal stand that can be used to cradle and prop up the display. The three-bar stand is hinged making it easy to angle and support the screen however you please. For the Raspberry Pi 4/400 user without a CrowPi L or laptop setup, however, hooking up this screen will require an adapter: Raspberry Pi 4 has a pair of micro HDMI ports, rather than the Elecrow’s HDMI to mini HDMI cable (with a mini HDMI port on the screen itself). These micro to mini adapters aren’t common, and it would be better if the screen itself had a more common full-size HDMI port.

There is no touch display on this option, so this screen can’t be used to create small kiosk-style projects.

Using the screen

Display-wise, when used as a secondary screen, the Elecrow portable display shows whatever is on the desktop, including folders, files, and the waste basket, but useful items such as the menu bar are only shown on the primary device. The display is clear and crisp, even at lower resolution settings, with generous viewing angles. It’s easy enough to switch between screens using the Appearance editor and Preferences drop-down menu in Raspberry Pi OS. Even if you do this, however, a web page you navigate to, for example, will display only on the other screen, even if you’ve specified that both monitors should show the same content and/or set the Elecrow as the primary display.

For entertainment duties, the maximum playback resolution of 1200 × 800  pixels combines with built-in speakers or an earphone socket. You’ll need to specify HDMI output rather than headphones by right-clicking the volume icon on-screen. Speaker sound was rather patchy, but better using earphones.

Verdict

7/10

A second screen is helpful in all sorts of instances, and Elecrow’s portable version is clearly aimed at entertainment, what with its HDMI, speaker, and earphone connections. The mini HDMI connection and supplied full-size HDMI to mini HDMI cable mean you’ll need an HDMI to micro HDMI adapter for Raspberry Pi 4. That makes this quality display less useful than its bright screen and decent resolution would suggest.

Price £89 / $89

Screen specs:

  • 8-inch LCD IPS display

  • 16:10 aspect ratio

  • 300 cd/m2

  • 1280 × 800 pixels

  • speakers; mini HDMI input

  • 5 V / 2 A USB power

  • 280 g

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