Laptops alone aren’t always the most efficient when it comes to working remotely, traveling, or portable gaming setups. Whether you need a remote work solution to increase productivity on the go or are simply looking for a way to make the most of your laptop, investing in a portable monitor is an excellent choice.
Portable monitors come in all shapes and sizes, and most include USB-C connectivity these days, making the setup easy, but with so many options on the market, it can be hard to decide which is right for you. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list to help you find the best portable monitor for your needs.
What is a portable monitor?
A portable monitor is a lightweight, slim display device that can be connected to your laptop or other devices. It’s a great way to get an extra screen for work or entertainment purposes while on the go, or to easily expand your laptop set up for remote work at home. They typically range from 13-17 inch displays with resolutions anywhere from 1366×768 to 4k, and only weigh a few pounds. Most options these days include USB-C connectivity to easily connect and draw power from your laptop so you don’t need to carry around heavy charging bricks.
Why Should I Buy a Portable Monitor?
If you clicked on this article, chances are you’re already interested in purchasing a portable monitor, but if you need more convincing, here are some of the best uses for portable monitors:
1. Better Productivity On the Go
A portable monitor is the perfect way to increase your productivity when you’re working remotely. With a second screen, you can have multiple programs open side-by-side for easy reference, or split up tasks into different windows for easier multitasking. You can also dedicate one window to a task that requires a lot of attention, such as typing in Word or editing photos in Photoshop.
2. Portable Gaming
Portable monitors are also great for gaming on the go. The larger, extra screen makes the gaming experience more immersive and they’re lightweight and can easily be transported, making them a great way to take your favorite console games with you on trips or vacations. With a portable monitor, you can set up a gaming station anywhere, anytime.
3. Small Presentations
Portable monitors are great if you need to give a presentation to a small group. You can easily connect your laptop to the monitor and have a larger image for everyone to see.
4. Preview Screen for Creatives
Portable monitors can be used as preview screens for creators who need to view their work in progress or share their work with clients on the go.
5. Watch TV Shows and Movies
Portable monitors are also a great way to watch movies or TV shows on a bigger screen while traveling, especially if you want to share the screen with a travel buddy.
Our Picks for the Best Portable Monitors
- Lenovo ThinkVision 14” (Best Portable Monitor Overall)
- InnoCN 15.6” (Best Portable Monitor for Creatives)
- AOC I1601FWUX 15.6” (Best Budget Portable Monitor)
- SideTrak Swivel 14” (Best Attachable Portable Monitor)
- ViewSonic 15” (Best Touchscreen Portable Monitor)
- ASUS ZenScreen 15.6” (Best Battery-Powered Portable Monitor)
- NexiGo 300Hz (Best Gaming Portable Monitor)
1. Lenovo ThinkVision 14”
Best Portable Monitor Overall
Our pick for the best portable monitor overall features a crystal clear Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution of 16.7 million colors and a 300nit brightness level.
The Lenovo ThinkVision 14” comes with two USB Type C ports that provide improved convenience for multiple connections. It supports DisplayPort 1.2 Alt Mode and PD2.0, allowing you to conveniently view the laptop display on your main monitor. This ThinkVision monitor has an anti-glare coating and low blue light technology to reduce eyestrain from extended usage—perfect for competitive gaming marathons or all-night video editing sessions. With a tilt-adjustable design, and a weight of only 1.26 pounds, you can easily adjust according to your preferred working angles on a desktop or any other non-planar surface such as an airplane tray table. It also comes with a protective sleeve for travel.
We think this is a solid choice all around for the majority of users, with good picture quality, brightness, and a fair price point. The only downside would be that it comes with only USB-C ports.
2. InnoCN 15.6”
Best Portable Monitor for Creatives
Our pick for the best portable monitor for creatives features a large 15.6” display with a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels and a best-in-class contrast ratio. Plus, a 60 Hz refresh rate ensures smooth operation and minimal input lag when multitasking between projects.
With its USB Type-C and mini HDMI connections, you can easily connect multiple devices directly to the monitor. You also get integrated touch functionality and an integrated 5000mAh battery.
Whether used in full second-screen mode to add extra space for work or play, mirror mode as a shooting companion, or span mode to turn longer pages into single-page content – whatever you need it to do, it has you covered!
The only downside to this option is the price point is a little high and although we appreciate the large screen for seeing detail with creative projects, it may not be the most portable option on the list.
3. AOC I1601FWUX 15.6”
Best Budget Portable Monitor
For those looking for the best portable monitor on a budget, the AOC I1601FWUX is an excellent option. This slim and lightweight 15.6-inch monitor has a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels along with an IPS panel that delivers great picture quality from any angle.
The best features of this device include a sturdy stand, pivot adjustment, blue light filter, anti-glare coating, a screen protector, and an integrated USB Type-C port that allows you to connect your laptop or tablet directly for a second-screen experience. It also has integrated speakers that provide decent sound quality.
Some negatives you should be aware of with this monitor are it does not include an HDMI port and the color gamut is limited so this monitor will not work well for graphic artists, video editors, or other creatives, but we think it’s a solid choice for business users.
4. SideTrak Swivel 14”
Best Attachable Portable Monitor
The SideTrak Swivel is our selection for the best attachable portable monitor. This option attaches directly to your laptop with a metal plate and a powerful magnet. It swivels 360 degrees and rotates 270 degrees, making it ideal for sharing your screen with a colleague or friend.
This 14-inch portable monitor has a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 and comes with IPS technology, which provides exceptional picture quality from any angle. Plus, it features an anti-glare display that reduces eye strain even after long hours of usage. Additionally, the SideTrak Swivel is easy to set up, is one of the lightest screens on our list at around 1.3 pounds, and has an anti-glare protective coating.
It is compatible with most devices with Windows, Chrome OS, and macOS laptops via Thunderbolt USB-C or USB-A and HDMI connectivity. The only thing to be aware of is that your laptop hinge must be strong enough to stay open with another screen attached.
5. ViewSonic 15”
Best Touchscreen Portable Monitor
The ViewSonic 15-inch portable monitor is a great choice for anyone looking for a touchscreen experience. It features a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080, an anti-glare coating, and a 16:9 aspect ratio. The best feature of this model is the integrated 10-point multi-touch capacitive touch technology, which allows you to interact with the monitor more naturally and gives you a realistic experience.
In addition, this portable monitor is compatible with most devices and includes 2-way USB-C and HDMI connectivity. Plus, it comes with a foldable stand so you can adjust the angle of the screen to your preference and a screen protector.
The ViewSonic 15-inch portable monitor is one of the best touchscreen options out there, but it is also the heaviest on our list at 2.2 pounds, so it may not be the most portable option.
6. ASUS ZenScreen 15.6”
Best Battery-Powered Portable Monitor
The ASUS ZenScreen 15.6-inch portable monitor is a great option for anyone looking for a battery-powered device. This ultra-slim and lightweight model has an impressive maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080. Other features include flicker-free technology for reduced eye strain, an LCD backlight for improved visibility, a built-in stand, touchscreen capability, and a selection of connectivity options including HDMI and USB-C.
The best feature is the integrated 7800mAh battery that allows you to use the monitor anywhere without having to worry about finding a power outlet. The battery lasts up to four hours on a full charge and recharges quickly via the USB-C port.
The ASUS ZenScreen 15.6-inch portable monitor is great for those who don’t want to mess with plugs and need to work anywhere, but it is on the expensive side compared to some of the other portable monitors on our list.
7. NexiGo 300Hz
Best Gaming Portable Monitor
This monitor is a relatively new option, released August 3rd, 2022, but the refresh rate at 300Hz for a portable monitor is unmatched.
The NexiGo 300Hz portable monitor has a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 and is equipped with IPS technology for the best image quality from any angle. It also boasts a 1000:1 contrast ratio, an HDMI port, anti-glare coating, G-Sync compatibility, and 3ms response time — all great specs that make this the best portable monitor for gaming. This portable gaming monitor also includes a foldable stand for easy setup and storage and an included remote.
The NexiGo 300Hz portable monitor is perfect for gamers on the go, but it is also the largest screen on our list, at 17.3″, which may be too large for some users.
What to Look for When Purchasing a Portable Monitor
When selecting the best portable monitor for you, there are a few features that you should consider.
1. Display Size:
When selecting a portable monitor, it’s important to consider the size of the display. Generally speaking, most portable monitors range from 13-17 inches, which is the best size for portability and travel. If you need a bigger display for work or gaming purposes, you may want to opt for a larger monitor, although it will be bulkier and heavier.
The resolution of a portable monitor will determine how sharp the image quality on your portable display appears. Most portable monitors range from 1366×768 to 4K resolution for the best quality viewing experience. Higher resolutions are best for gaming and creative work such as graphic design and video editing.
When selecting a portable monitor, you’ll want to make sure it has the right ports and connectivity options for your device. USB-C is becoming increasingly popular and makes it easy to connect your laptop or tablet without any extra cables. Several portable monitors connect via HDMI, so you may need an adapter if your device doesn’t have an HDMI port. There are also options available that attach to your laptop via metal plate or adhesive.
Most portable monitors will connect to your laptop and draw battery from it, but some also come with their own battery power, so make sure you check before purchasing. Battery life will be an important factor to consider if you choose one with a built-in battery. Look for a portable monitor with at least 8 hours of battery life for the best results on the go.
5. Refresh Rate:
The refresh rate of a portable monitor will determine how quickly an image can be displayed on the screen. Generally speaking, most portable monitors have a refresh rate between 60 Hz and 144 Hz, with some models offering up to 240 Hz or even 300 Hz. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother your viewing experience will be, making it great for gaming and other activities. Most users will be best served by a refresh rate of 144 Hz or higher.
If you still have questions, check out our article on what to look for when buying a monitor.
A portable monitor is a great way to enhance your viewing experience on the go. Whether you’re looking for something small and light enough to take with you on trips, or if you need more powerful specs for gaming, there are plenty of options available that can fit any budget. We’ve listed the best portable monitors currently on the market to make your decision easier. Make sure to consider display size, resolution, connectivity options, battery life, and refresh rate when selecting a portable monitor that best suits your needs.
Good luck in finding the best portable monitor for you!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do portable monitors work with phones?
Yes, some portable monitors can be connected to smartphones via USB-C or HDMI. However, the display size of a phone is significantly smaller than that of most portable monitors, so you may not get the best viewing experience out of it.
Do portable monitors come with a stand?
Some portable monitors include an adjustable stand while others do not. If yours does not come with a monitor stand, you can always purchase one separately.
Are all portable monitors compatible with laptops?
Most portable monitors are designed to be used with laptops and will easily connect via USB-C or HDMI. However, make sure that the port types match up before purchasing a portable monitor to ensure maximum compatibility.
Will a portable monitor work with my Macbook?
Many portable monitors will be compatible with Macbooks and other laptops. However, if the monitor is not compatible with your device, it may require you to purchase an adapter or splitter cable in order to use it properly.
Are portable monitors good for gaming?
Yes, many portable monitors are suitable for gaming. Look for a portable monitor with a higher resolution and refresh rate to best enjoy your gaming experience. Other features to consider include connectivity options and battery life.
Do portable monitors have a built-in battery?
Some portable monitors do come with their own battery power, while others need to be connected to a laptop or other device to draw power from. Make sure you check before purchasing so that you know whether the monitor will require its own battery. Battery life will also vary, so it’s best to read reviews and do research before selecting a model.
Can I use two portable monitors at once?
Yes, depending on the type of portable monitor you have and how many ports your laptop or other device has. Some models offer dual-monitor capabilities, while others will require an external device such as a USB hub. Make sure to check the specifications of your monitor before attempting to connect two monitors at once.