LG StanbyME Go 27-inch Briefcase Design Touch Screen
“The StanbyMe Go is a blast to use, never mind the practicality.”
Built-in streaming apps
Solid picture quality
Suitably bright for shaded outdoor use
High brightness shortens battery life
Maybe it’s because I’m a child of the 1980s, but LG’s StanbyMe Go portable briefcase TV gives me serious Cloak & Dagger vibes (we’re talking the Dabney Coleman classic, not the newer Marvel series). It looks like the kind of briefcase that would hold secret files or some kind of specialized hacking system. It’s got cool factor oozing out of it.
But the important question here is: What do you have left when the cool factor wears off? After all, once you’ve already surprised all your friends with what it is, what’s left is what it can actually do. What can — and maybe more important, what can’t — the LG StanbyMe Go do?
Table of Contents
Case in point
The LG StanbyMe Go — yes, that’s StanbyMe, not StandByMe — weighs 28 pounds. That’s not nothing for something you’re meant to lug around. It’s not going to give you a hard time toting it from your car to a picnic table, or across the parking lot to your friend’s tailgate. But unless you’re a real hardcore hiker, you’re not going to wanna take this thing backpacking.
The metal doesn’t feel super heavy, but it does feel durable – this case isn’t just for show.
I suspect most of the StanbyMe Go’s weight can be attributed to its lithium-ion battery pack, but I reckon some of it may be due to the case. The metal doesn’t feel super heavy, but it does feel durable. This case isn’t just for show; it’s designed to protect the TV and batteries inside, and I get the feeling it will. As much as I’d like to have a spare StanbyMe Go around that I could abuse by swinging hammers at it and dropping it from increasing altitudes, I do not. That job remains open to anyone with a spare $1,200 and no emotional attachments to cool tech.
Speaking of lithium-ion batteries and altitude, the StanbyMe Go seems like exactly the sort of device that is going to cause you trouble if you take it on a plane. Maybe it’s OK to forget that you packed a couple of little camera battery cells in your checked luggage (editor’s note: It’s not!), but imagine answering for this thing after it goes through the checked luggage scanner. I suppose you could treat it as carry-on luggage. But do you really want more of the TSA’s attention in your life? Because this is going to get that for you. I guarantee it. Besides, unless you’re flying first class, this isn’t fitting in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.
So, where could you take it? We’ll get to that in a moment. Let’s get through the rest of the important specs first.
And what’s in the briefcase?
The StanbyMe Go charges off a standard two-prong power cable. These are easy and inexpensive to replace if you happen to lose it.
Flip the two latches, open up the case, and you’ll be greeted with the display lying flat on the bottom level. Behind that is the speaker system — and a little reminder that Dolby Atmos is a brand now, and not the name of a specific audio experience. But we will talk about that audio soon.
Lift the TV panel and you’ll find that it has a remarkable range of motion. You can position it up high, settle it down low, and if you want to watch vertical videos, you can simply rotate it.
The screen itself is a 1080p LCD touchscreen. So, yes, you can control it like a giant tablet. But, also, LG includes a magic-motion remote with the kit so you can use it like the television it is.
Because this is a TV right? I’ve been calling it that for a while. I have seen others call it that. But, is it? Really?
Technically, no it is not. It does not have a TV tuner built-in. So if you wanted to post up in the parking lot and erect an antenna for the purposes of pulling down your local broadcast stations, that isn’t happening.
That is the only thing that prevents this from being considered a TV — and that’s by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) definition, not my own. Aside from the lack of a tuner, this behaves like an LG TV. And that includes LG’s webOS system and all the apps and functionality that come with it, just like LG’s TVs that you can’t carry with you. You can stream Netflix, use Apple AirPlay, play stored media, and even connect devices via HDMI. And yes, that includes game consoles.
LG claims the StanbyMe Go, just like the original StanbyMe, will last on battery power for up to 3 hours. That should be a red flag to you by now. Any time something with a battery is claimed to last “up to” any particular time, you should probably just immediately cut that down by about 30%. On its best day, in Eco mode and low-power mode, you will indeed likely get about 3 hours. However, you probably are not going to want to use it that way. To get the best brightness from this TV, you’ll want to run it in a high-power mode, which will cut down the battery life. So you might want to have some backup power available for longer viewing sessions. Might I recommend one of our favorite portable power stations?
Now, we come to what I think may be the most valuable portion of this review: How bright does it get?
Before I get into telling you how many nits this thing can put out and then explaining what that actually means for you, let me make you aware of the so-called “Outdoor TV market” and what’s going on with that whole thing.
My experience with enjoying TV outdoors, specifically on outdoor TVs, stretches back a long way. It started with my first SunBriteTV 11 years ago — I really put that thing through the wringer. A little over a year later, I tried out another SunBriteTV. More recently, I experienced the beast that is the Samsung Terrace. Along the way, I’ve done plenty of RV-ing, during which I have tested plenty of non-outdoor TVs, as well as outdoor-specific models made for RVers from the likes of Furrion.
The StanbyMe Go is very much not an outdoor TV.
I’ve seen ’em all. And even those TVs that claim to be good for full sun? Well, they are visible, that’s true. But they also are insanely expensive. There are indoor TVs that can get as bright as some outdoor TVs, but those super-expensive things put all the money into processing and nothing into weatherproofing and dustproofing.
True outdoor TVs are on their own very specific, usually very expensive, level. I point that out because the StanbyMe Go is very much not an outdoor TV. It’s a portable TV that can go outdoors, and I actually prefer that. This is way more flexible and useful to me than a fixed, always outdoors TV.
But this also means you need to take care to protect the StanbyMe Go — and temper your expectations a bit. Take it to the beach? Sure, but be prepared to vacuum out the sand. Taking it camping? Cool, just don’t put it next to the cooler and expect it to handle a spilled soda. Taking it tailgating? Awesomesauce — unless that sauce is BBQ sauce, in which case, not so awesome for this TV.
Generally speaking, you’re going to want shade for this TV, either made by nature or provided by you. Without shade, you’re gonna have to juice up this TV, and that brightness-goosing is going to hit the battery.
This portable TV — in vivid mode, with all power saving disabled — can put out about 500 nits full-screen. Matter of fact, that’s as bright as it gets for HDR highlights, too. To get that kind of brightness, though, you have to know how to turn off all energy saving, which I missed while shooting the tailgating scene in our video. The TV is not as bright as it can actually get in that segment.
The onboard battery will get you through most movies or a few episodes of your favorite show.
Toward the end of our video, we get a better shot, though on a slightly darker day, and it is a better representation of what the Stanbyme G0 at its brightest looks like outdoors, unless it is a cloudless day with full sun. So while 500 nits is great inside — that’s not enough punch to put up much of an outdoor fight against the brightest object in our solar system.
With a canopy — be that the 10-by-10 pop-up type or the stand-of-Douglas-fir-type — you’re going see this TV just fine. For about 2 hours or so. Which leads me to my next point.
If you’re going to tailgate with this thing or want to watch it for any significant amount of time in the car or while camping, etc., I suggest having some backup power along so that you can power it directly or charge it back up. Or maybe you can just charge it off your EV or from your car if you’re driving.
The onboard battery will get you through most movies or a few episodes of your favorite show. And if you’re in a dim or dark environment, go ahead and turn on low-power mode and you can get through most movies that aren’t made by Peter Jackson. But for extended fun, you’ll need some power.
I should also mention that the StanbyMe Go’s onboard sound system is totally respectable. It’s plenty loud for in-car listening, watching in a hotel, camping in a quiet place, or even chill tailgating. For more raucous environments, I would suggest using a larger external speaker either via Bluetooth or using the aux-out port.
Look, this thing is just fun. I love it. I’ve had a blast playing around with the StanbyMe Go. I think the most important thing for you to know is that even on an overcast day, it’s still bright enough outside to challenge this and most LCD TVs for visibility. Plan to find it and yourself some shade for the best outdoor enjoyment. Otherwise, there’s no reason you can’t take the StanbyMe Go anywhere you want entertainment.
The next important thing for you to know is that it costs $1,200. It might come back down after several months but, well, I’m not sure LG is going to make (or sell) a ton of these things, so this might be one of those times you’re better off getting one soonish if you really want one.
And if you do get one? Can we start an Instagram hashtag and show our StanbyMe’s in the craziest places across the world? That’s about the only thing I can imagine that would make the StanBy Me Go anymore more fun than it already is.