You travel a lot, or you’re responsible for presentations at your office. Maybe you need a second screen for some projects, but don’t need a dedicated second monitor cluttering up your workspace all the time.
Portable monitors have come a long way, and there are quite a few options that pack a lot of power in a small size. We’ve compiled a list of some good options for portable monitors and answered some questions you might have about how to pick the right one. Let’s take a look.
How to choose a portable monitor
Let’s go through the different things that you should think about when buying a portable monitor.
How portable are you willing to go? When the screen is turned off, it might look really convenient to have that seven-inch screen, but if you plan to work with a lot of documentation, you might regret going that small when you can’t read the text.
On the other hand, if you need to run a single dedicated app on a side window, you may not need a full 24 inches of screen space.
Consider what it is you’ll be doing with this portable monitor and make realistic choices about the size. Smaller size equals more portability, but larger sizes give you more comfortable viewing. Choose wisely
We’re assuming that if you need a portable screen, you aren’t necessarily editing high definition RAW photos full time on it. Portable usually means something temporary, and with that said, you can sacrifice some resolution. There aren’t any portable 4k screens out there just yet, but plenty offer full HD resolution and excellent color clarity to give you some real estate while you’re traveling or delivering that presentation in your boss’s office.
You’ll want to check the compatibility of your monitor extensively. Portable monitors sacrifice all the ports in the name of keeping things simple, and some just won’t connect the way you want them too. Make sure that the monitor you choose is compatible with your laptop or system, resolution and color clarity included.
The Best Portable Monitors
This AOC portable monitor is a 16-inch display powered by USB. It’s an ultra-thin LED with 1366 x 768 high definition resolution and a 500:1 contrast ratio. It has a brightness of 200 cd/m2.
The monitor is ultra light, coming in at just over two pounds. It has a foldable flexi-stand for viewing in both landscape and portrait modes, and it has an auto-adjust to sense the viewing orientation, so you don’t have to change your settings manually. It uses a USB 3.0 connection for faster transfer rates.
It gives you the option of using multiple monitors with the DisplayLink function, so the portable monitor can be used as a secondary viewer if needed. It’s VESA compliant to flat mount or wall mount more permanently.
It supports over 16 million colors and has a response rate of eight milliseconds. It’s compatible with both PC and Mac by downloading the appropriate software. Be sure to check the minimum program requirements because this monitor doesn’t work with much older operating systems.
-automatic orientation settings
-works with both Mac and PC
This Asus portable monitor is a USB connected, 15.6-inch display with a 1920×1080 resolution. It comes with EZlink technology and a display that auto-rotates as you change from landscape to portrait.
It connects via USB-3 which both powers and transmits data. It’s an IPS monitor that allows more light to pass through for viewing wider angles and receiving brighter colors. It’s backward compatible with a USB-2 laptop or device.
It weighs just under two pounds and is a mere .3 inch deep. It comes with an Asus smart case and an auto-adjusting stand for viewing different orientations. It’s a slim, light, portable monitor with full HD functionality.
The color is good, but it doesn’t run a full-color gamut. If you’re doing office work or watching movies, this won’t be as noticeable as it would be to photo editors or designers.
-one of the lightest monitors available
-doesn’t run a full-color gamut
GeChic 1303i Touchscreen Portable Monitor
GeChic’s portable monitor is a touchscreen monitor with a 1920 x 1080p resolution and a ten point multi-touch capacitive touchscreen. It is USB powered and compatible with a multitude of systems, including Mac, PC, smart devices, and other monitors.
You can adjust the monitor to three different angles, 720, 620, and 520. There’s a magnetic strip located in the outer case that allows this adjustment. It’s connectable through USB ports, HDMI, VGA, and DisplayPort.
It reduces lags through an HDMI chipset. You can view in both landscape and portrait orientation, with adjustable color preferences including movies, games, standard settings, and vivid settings. It supports 16.7 million colors.
It has a flat back design so it can be used on a tabletop. It’s a driver free monitor that connects easily through a plug and play technology so you can instantly set up your workstation. It connects to both mini-PC and raspberry PI, Intel NUC, and other types of devices.
-driver free monitor
-Mac touchscreen capabilities require extra software
Lilliput 7-inch USB LCD Video Monitor
Lilliput is an ultra-portable monitor coming in at just seven inches of screen space. This type of monitor is good if you need dual screen options but can’t carry around a full sized monitor.
It features a resolution of 800 x 480, which is very clear for the dimensions of the screen. It has a contrast ratio of 16:9 and adjusts automatically for portrait and landscape orientation. It’s powered by USB 2.0 and doesn’t need a power supply on its own. It also doesn’t need a VGA or VGI cable to connect to your computer.
It’s an LED backlight, so it has a bright display despite its smaller size. It’s compatible with Windows operating systems including Windows 7, Vista, and Windows XP. It’s perfect as a backup or travel monitor for someone who needs it to pack right in the laptop case.
-the most portable monitor available
-doesn’t need its own power supply
-resolution isn’t crisp
HP EliteDisplay S140u
The HP EliteDisplay is a portable 14-inch screen with a resolution of 1600 by 900. It has a contrast ratio of 16:9 so despite its limited resolution and relatively limited size, it still functions as a well rounded external, portable monitor.
It doesn’t require much power, which could save a lot of battery in the long run. It connects through a USB cable and comes in a wrap-around case that folds back to rest on a magnetic strip to support the monitor. You can view in both portrait and landscape mode. It works with most operating systems.
Color clarity isn’t full gamut, but it offers enough depth and brightness to handle mid-range tasks that aren’t too color heavy or detail oriented. It’s great for travel, but it doesn’t provide touch screen capabilities or its own power source.
As a mid-size portable monitor, HP gets the job done without too many unnecessary frills. It’s a plug and play design right out of the box.
-the 14-inch screen is large for a portable screen
-16:9 contrast ratio
-clunky for a portable monitor
ViewSonic’s portable monitor is a slightly larger, 24-inch monitor with full HD 1920×1080 resolution. It has a 16:9 aspect ratio and an LED display. It functions as a touchscreen that’s 10 point multi-touch and scratch resistant.
It has high brightness and a contrast ratio of 50 million:1 with a 178-degree viewing angle. It offers one of the best, brightest portable viewing experiences available. The screen itself has an anti-glare coating, plus it includes two embedded speakers.
You can connect to different media through an HDMI port, DisplayPort, and VGA inputs. It’s compatible with the latest versions of both Windows and Linux.
The monitor is a muted black finish with a frameless design. It comes with a stand that can be detached and folded when you don’t need it. Plus, it’s VESA mountable.
-24-inch viewing screen
-1080p HD resolution
-needs manual calibration for more accurate color clarity
Elecrow’s portable monitor is a USB powered, ten-inch monitor with an HDMI connection. It has a maximum 1080p resolution of 1024 by 600 with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
It features vivid color with a range of settings and calibrations, so you get something close to what you need for your target application. The HDMI display connection ensures full HD resolution, but you also have the choice of connecting through other types of ports, including USB, VGA, and AV. It has embedded speakers with decent sound.
It connects not only to your laptop, but also to your gaming systems, DVD players, and other types of compatible devices. It’s a bright, LED display, and the monitor comes with an adjustable, multi-angle stand for viewing. It’s compatible with Raspberry Pi systems. It’s outfitted with ports that can be accessed through such control boards. It includes an infrared controller.
-compatible with Raspberry Pi
-can connect to a variety of devices
-native sound is mediocre
Something really unique for those looking to run a dual screen set up with a laptop is Packed Pixels wing monitor. It clips to an existing laptop screen to expand real estate and make dual screens possible.
It’s a 9.7-inch retina display with a 2048×1536 that fits onto any Thunderbolt or DisplayPort compatible computer. THere’s no additional power supply needed because of the included USB connection. It uses the same type of technology and display as Apple’s iPads.
The brackets slide off and on and are readily compatible with different sizes and thicknesses of laptop screens. They can be mounted in portrait or landscape mode and can face away from you for display or presentation purposes.
It isn’t supported by HDMI or VGA, but it offers smooth transmission of data that’s free of any lag. USB-C requires an adaptor. You can mount two different monitors to either side of a laptop screen provided the laptop has two dedicated outputs.
-attaches directly to the laptop via portrait, landscape, and reverse orientations
-limited output connections
Which portable monitor helps you meet your needs? Let us know in the comments below and where you’ll be using your portable monitor the most.