One of the main issues most PC enthusiasts have with a laptop is that the device isn’t typically as powerful as a desktop PC. However, when you’re traveling, it’s just not convenient to lug around both a computer and a full-size monitor wherever you go. No matter how badly you need to play “Final Fantasy XIV” or “Doom” while on vacation, it’s been almost impossible to bring a decent monitor with you even if you build a small PC in a form-fitting case. However, with the advent of the USB 3.0 and USB Type C connections, it’s finally possible to purchase a high-quality portable monitor at a low cost.
Even if you’re an expert on choosing a regular monitor, there is an entirely different set of specifications to consider when selecting a portable monitor. In this guide, we’ll break down what a portable monitor is, what to look for when buying a portable monitor and show you some of the best portable monitors on the market today.
What Are Portable Monitors?
The purpose of a portable monitor is easy to discern: A portable monitor is a monitor that you can easily transport from one location to another. Portable monitors are smaller than your usual monitor, with screens that measure at around 14 inches on average. While portable monitors were available as early as the ’90s, it’s only because of the advent of high-speed USB technology that makes them both affordable and high quality in today’s world. With USB connectivity, you no longer need to carry around an AC adapter, a cable to connect the monitor to your PC and other various equipment; instead, you just need one small USB cable to connect the monitor to your computer.
Why You Should Use a Portable Monitor
If you’re finding yourself frequently traveling and want a monitor to display your movies in games in Full HD resolution, then you’re the type of person who needs a portable monitor. With a portable monitor, you can turn any location into a hub for movies and games, including a hotel room, the airport or a conference room. A portable monitor isn’t going to replace your standard monitor when you’re at home; however, it’s a perfect solution for when you’re on the go and still need a high-quality monitor for work or leisure.
What Else Are They Good For?
For some users, a setup that involves two or more monitors is a boon when it comes to increasing productivity. A portable monitor allows you to add a second screen to a laptop without needing to purchase an entire laptop. In under a minute, you can connect a portable monitor to your existing laptop, configure the necessary options in your operating system and enjoy your new secondary display.
What Are Some Important Features to Look for in a Portable Monitor?
The three most important factors to look for when purchasing a portable monitor is its resolution, the connectors and the built-in stand. Having an idea of the primary activities you want to use the portable monitor for will allow you to purchase the best one for you.
The resolution for a portable monitor can range from lower resolutions such as 1366 x 768 to an impressive 1920 x 1080. If you’re planning on using your portable monitor for gaming and watching streaming content, then you’re going to wait to aim for as high of a resolution as you can afford. If you’re planning on watching Netflix on a 1366 x 768 monitor, then you might as well just look at the hotel television as the picture quality will likely be much better. However, if you’re just planning on browsing websites such as Reddit, a 1366 x 768 portable monitor will work just fine.
Every portable monitor is going to come with a USB 3.0 connector; after all, it’s impossible to connect it to your computer without one. However, if you’re looking to ensure that your portable monitor is compatible with future technology, you’ll want to look for a monitor with a USB Type-C port as well. While USB Type-C isn’t standard yet, the significantly faster speed of this connector means that companies are adopting it a fast rate. If you’re planning on using your portable monitor for some Xbox One or PlayStation 4 gaming, you’re going to want to ensure that the monitor has at least one HDMI port as well.
A stand is another crucial feature that your portable monitor needs to have; without one, that’s just one more thing you need to pack. Luckily, most portable monitors come with a built-in stand that can support the monitor in an upright position. However, examine the quality of the materials used for the stand, as a low-quality stand will have your monitor constantly tipping over. Look for a stand that uses high-quality PVC plastic to ensure your portable monitor can remain upright for hours at a time.
What Else Makes a Good Portable Monitor?
In a standard monitor, you’ll want to look at specifications such as the refresh rate, the maximum resolution and unique features such as curvature of the screen. However, with a portable monitor, many of these features are going to remain the same across all of the top-rated portable monitors. Instead, you’ll want to look at features such as the weight of the monitor, the rotation function, how easy it is to use and its durability.
The whole purpose of a portable monitor is to have a screen that is easy to travel with you. Picking a portable monitor with a significant weight will make it harder to carry around. For example, a portable monitor with a large weight may put an enormous strain on your back when carrying it around in a backpack. The more features you want in a portable monitor, the more it’s going to weigh. It’s up to each user to find the perfect balance between weight and features.
Like an iPhone or Android device, some portable monitors will allow you to rotate the orientation of the screen. For example, the horizontal direction is perfect for Netflix while the vertical orientation is ideal for reading websites. If you’re planning on using your portable monitor for multiple tasks, choosing one that automatically rotates the orientation is an excellent choice.
Easy to Use
When you’re on vacation, the last thing you want is to spend an hour setting up your device. A portable monitor that is Plug and Play compatible will allow you to start using it within seconds of hooking it up to your computer. Your operating system will automatically download all of the necessary drivers and leave you with more time to spend enjoying your device.
Since your portable monitor will frequently find itself in suitcases, backpacks and other travel bags, making sure that it’s durable is a top priority. The stand on many portable monitors also doubles as a protective sleeve. The protective sleeve on many portable monitors will do an admirable job of protecting your device from scratches, dents and breakage. If you’re looking for even more protection, you’ll want to look into an aftermarket protector for your device. However, you’ll want to keep in mind that an aftermarket protector will increase the weight of the portable monitor.
Ten of the Best Portable Monitors
Now that you know what to look for when selecting a portable monitor, you’re ready to select one of your very own. However, even when knowing what to look for, it can still take hours to parse through the hundreds of portable monitors that are available on the market today. Luckily for you, we’ve already done the hard work by selecting the ten best portable monitors currently available. Each of these monitors will appeal to a different audience, but they all have one thing in common: No matter which portable monitor you buy, you can rest assured you’re getting a high-quality product.
Before we get into the reviews, here’s a handy comparison table of the ten best Portable Monitors that made the list.
|1. GeChic 2501C 15.6-Inch Portable Monitor||HD USB-Powered Portable Monitor with Built-In Speakers & Audio jack|
Plug & Play (No driver installation needed)
|2. ASUS MB169B+ 15.6-Inch Portable Monitor||15.6-inch Full HD portable USB-powered monitor|
Auto-rotating display bundled with the ASUS Smart Case – a two-way adjustable stand and protective sleeve
|3. Eleclink 10.1 Inch Portable LCD Display||10.1 inch LCD Display|
Resolution 1024x600 with wide screen LED backlight
|4. AOC e1659Fwu Ultra Slim Portable LED Monitor||16" (15.6" viewable) display|
Foldable flexi-stand for portrait or landscape view
1366 x 768 high definition resolution
|5. AOC e1659Fwux Portable LED Monitor||Compatible with Windows 10 using the most current displaylink.com driver|
1920 x 1080 full high definition resolution, 500:1 Contrast Ratio
|6. GAEMS M155 HD LED Performance Portable Gaming Monitor||60 Hz refresh rate|
3.5mm stereo jack
|7. HP ELiteDisplay G8R65A8#ABA 14-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor||1600 x 900 pixels|
14 in screen
|8. ASUS MB169C+ Portable Monitor||Blue Light Filter to reduce eyestrain|
Single USB-C cable for power supply
1920 x 1080 pixels
|9. ViewSonic TD2230 22-Inch 1080p 10-Point Touch Portable Monitor||22-Inch Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) Touch Screen Monitor|
HDMI, DisplayPort, USB 3.0, and VGA Inputs
3-year Limited Warranty
|10. GeChic 1303H 1080p Portable Monitor||Full HD 1920 x 1080p resolution and True Color (16.7M)|
Connects to Mac Mini, MacBook's, Laptops, Smartphones, Cameras, Game Consoles, Tricaster Mini, and other devices via HDMI, VGA, Mini Display
While GeChic isn’t a household name, don’t let that turn you off of the GeChic 2501C 15.6-Inch Portable Monitor. This portable monitor not only features an audio jack for your headphones but also built-in speakers, allowing you to carry even less with you when you travel. In addition to a VGA input, this monitor also has an HDMI input for your video game consoles. As a Plug and Play model, the GeChic 2501C 15.6-Inch Portable Monitor requires no driver installation. At slightly over two pounds, the GeChic 2501C 15.6-Inch Portable Monitor is one of the lightest portable monitors on the market today.
The ASUS MB169B+ 15.6-Inch Portable Monitor is not only light, but it’s also slim, which will allow you to carry this portable monitor in nearly any bag. The Full HD display provides crisp images and vibrant colors at a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080. This portable monitor will automatically rotate the screen to match the orientation, making it suitable for an array of activities. Not only is the ASUS MB169B+ 15.6-Inch Portable Monitor compatible with USB 3.0 cables, but it’s also compatible with USB 2.0 cables as well. The protective sleeve that ships with the ASUS MB169B+ 15.6-Inch Portable Monitor also doubles as a stand.
If space is an issue and you’re just looking for a monitor to browse the Web, then you’ll love the Eleclink 10.1 Inch Portable LCD Display. Even though this monitor only sports a maximum resolution of 1024 x 600, the LED backlight ensures it will work perfectly for reading in any lighting condition. The Eleclink 10.1 Inch Portable LCD Display features a broad array of video inputs, including VGA, USB, HDMI and RCA. The package even includes a remote control and an HDMI cable at no additional cost.
Even though the AOC e1659Fwu Ultra Slim Portable LED Monitor only sports a maximum resolution of 1366 x 768, it features a beautiful picture thanks to the 500:1 contrast ratio and 16:9 aspect ratio. This portable monitor is compatible with Windows operating systems ranging from Windows 7 to Windows 10. This portable monitor also takes advantage of the Plug and Play aspect of Windows no matter which operating system you use. The slim design of the AOC e1659Fwu Ultra Slim Portable LED Monitor makes this device a perfect fit for those who frequently travel. The AOC e1659Fwu Ultra Slim Portable LED Monitor also includes a stand that doubles as a protective sleeve.
The AOC e1659Fwux Portable LED Monitor is nearly identical to the AOC e1659Fwu Ultra Slim Portable LED Monitor except for a few key differences. The AOC e1659Fwux Portable LED Monitor sports a 1920 x 1080 resolution and is fully compatible with nearly any wall mount. This portable monitor also features a 60Hz refresh rate, ensuring that there is no ghosting, blurring or tearing no matter how frantic the action gets on the screen. As the stand is built directly into the monitor, the AOC e1659Fwux Portable LED Monitor ships with a separate carrying case that will keep the device safe while you travel.
While almost all of the portable monitors on this list are primarily for PCs, the GAEMS M155 HD LED Performance Portable Gaming Monitor specifically targets gamers and gaming consoles. With a 60Hz refresh rate and 720p resolution, this portable gaming monitor ensures a lag-free and smooth experience. The protective sleeve features both interior and exterior protection to ensure that your portable monitor gets to its destination in one piece. In addition to an HDMI input, the GAEMS M155 HD LED Performance Portable Gaming Monitor also features a 3.5mm headphone jack.
While many of the portable monitors on this list are standalone, HP markets the HP ELiteDisplay G8R65A8#ABA 14-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor as a secondary screen for your laptop. This portable monitor allows you to create a dual display in any environment and with any Windows laptop. The built-in stand can prop this portable monitor up to any surface, and the included USB cable lets you quickly connect this portable monitor to any laptop. The high-resolution display presents your data in crisp, vibrant images.
ASUS is best known for their innovation, and the ASUS MB169C+ Portable Monitor continues that tradition. This portable monitor is the first portable monitor in the world to feature a DisplayPort over USB Type-C connector. It’s also a Plug and Play display that is compatible with all recent Windows operating systems. Despite having an array of impressive technology packed inside of it, the ASUS MB169C+ Portable Monitor only weighs 1.76 pounds. This portable monitor also takes advantage of the proprietary ASUS Eye Care technology. This technology uses a blue light filter to reduce the strain on your eyes. Even after extended periods of use, your eyes will remain just as healthy as when you first started using the device.
If you’re looking for the best portable monitor that money can buy, then you’ll want the ViewSonic TD2230 22-Inch 1080p 10-Point Touch Portable Monitor. This portable monitor is both a tablet and a monitor in one, combining the best parts of both devices into one sleek piece of technology. It uses 10-point projected capacitive touch technology that allows you to take full advantage of the Windows 10 operating system. The touch screen is as responsive and accurate as any tablet. The IPS panel on the ViewSonic TD2230 22-Inch 1080p 10-Point Touch Portable Monitor rivals the screen on any regular monitor. The display on this portable monitor features wide viewing angles, vivid colors and sharp images. In addition to a VGA input, the ViewSonic TD2230 22-Inch 1080p 10-Point Touch Portable Monitor also features both DisplayPort and HDMI inputs. The glass faceplate uses a unique design that helps protect it from scratches and cracks.
If you’re looking for all the features of the ViewSonic TD2230 22-Inch 1080p 10-Point Touch Portable Monitor but in a smaller size, then you’ll love the GeChic 1303H 1080p Portable Monitor. This portable monitor features a 13.3-inch screen that has wide viewing angles, dark blacks and bright whites. Your movies and video games will look just as good on this small screen as they do on a 50-inch television. Not only does this portable monitor work with Windows devices, but it will also work with Macs, smartphones, game consoles and even cameras. If your device has an HDMI, VGA or Mini Display input, the GeChic 1303H 1080p Portable Monitor will work with it. With a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution and over 16.7 million colors at its disposal, this portable monitor will display an amazing picture. At only 1.3 pounds, this portable monitor is so lightweight and compact it can even fit into a purse.