One of the main things that the PC enthusiasts hate about laptops is the fact that these devices aren’t as powerful as the desktop PCs. However, if you’re traveling a lot, you have no choice – lugging around both a good a PC and a full-size monitor just isn’t convenient. No matter how much you’d like to play “Dark Souls” or “Call of Duty” while on vacation, it’s next to impossible to bring a suitable monitor even if you have a small form-fitting case PC. Luckily, with the advent of USB Type-C and USB 3.0 connections, now it’s finally possible to buy the best portable monitor for an affordable price.
There are already dozens of different models on the market, and finding out which one is the right for you isn’t exactly an easy task. Don’t worry – we’re here to help you out!
5 Best Rated Portable Monitors Reviewed
GeChic 1303i 13.3″ 1080p (Best for Gaming)
- Multi-touch capacitive touchscreen
- DisplayPort, VGA, and HDMI
- Full HD
Our Rating: 9.3/10
The first product we’re going to take a look at is for those looking for that sweet spot when it comes to the overall size of the screen. The GeChic 1303i’s screen isn’t 7″ or 15″ – as the name suggests, this is a 13.3″ portable monitor intended for those on the go. The Taiwanese company managed to manufacture a beautiful little product that comes with a Full HD (1920 x 1080) screen which produces over 16 million colors, creating detailed images that are guaranteed to leave you in awe.
But that’s not the best thing here – the 1303i’s screen is also a multi-touch capacitive touchscreen. This gives the user far more flexibility than the standard portable monitors, and it’s a feature that deserves some special praise. This model requires no driver installation and can be easily connected to computers, game consoles, smartphones, and digital cameras thanks to its outputs (DisplayPort, VGA, and HDMI). The 13.3″ size and the weight of 2 pounds make it an excellent choice for those on the go, as it can easily fit into most laptop bags. It’s simply a convenient and an easy-to-carry model that’s guaranteed to suit most people’s needs.
Toguard 7″ Ultra-Thin High-Res 1024 x 600 Monitor (Best Budget Option)
- Lightweight Slim Design
- VGA, HDMI, AV/RCA
Our Rating: 8.8/10
This little portable monitor comes with a sleek, slim design and can seamlessly blend into any kind of tight area, taking a lot less space than some other models we’ve tested. Of course, its size makes it one of the most portable options that the money can buy – this thing easily fits into even the smallest handbags. It comes with VGA, HDMI, and AV/RCA ports, which means that you’ll be able to use it as your PC monitor, DSLR monitor, CCTV security monitor, in-car monitor, and for many other purposes.
As the name suggests, the screen resolution stands at 1024 x 600. Even though we’ve seen better, we have no complaints – the Toguard 7″ delivers images with excellent detail and offers quite a pleasant visual enjoyment. Below the screen, you will find a set of touch buttons: Power, Volume Up, Volume Down, Menu, and Mode, all of which work quite nicely and make the operation very convenient. The multi-language menu of this monitor is able to complete various settings, like, for example, the rotation of the screen. We should also mention that the Toguard 7″ is also an environmentally friendly product – it meets the Energy Star standards.
Lilliput 7″ USB LCD Video Monitor UM70 (Lightweight Product)
- Power Over USB – No external power adapters needed
- Lightweight Design
- Screen size: 7 inches
Our Rating: 8.8/10
Next up is Lilliput UM70, which would be an ideal choice for those looking for something both affordable and lightweight. All you need for this product is a single USB cable – there’s no need for extra requirements, like power supplies or extra graphical cards. With UM70, you’ll be getting an instant secondary screen for your gaming tools, PhotoShop tools, email, widgets, spreadsheets, Skype, Twitter, and even videos. The resolution of the Lilliput 7″ stands at 800×480 (WVGA). It’s not the best on the market, but still, it provides the user with a clear and clean view of the images.
The way in which this product works is very simple – once you have installed the correct driver, you can just drag the applications from your main screen to this one. And, since this is a USB device, its presence won’t have an adverse effect on the performance of your main computer, which is quite convenient. With a reasonable price and a convenient size, we think that this is a portable monitor worth considering for purchase.
AOC E1649FWU 16″ 1366 x 768 16ms LED LCD Monitor (Great for Travel)
- Glossy and Thin Black Bezels
- Vibrant Colors
- Weighs Only 3 Pounds
Our Rating: 8.6/10
The AOC E1649FWU is a product made for business travelers, and for all those looking for an extra screen that won’t take too much space in their bags. This portable monitor looks very attractive, featuring a glossy black bezel that surrounds the beautiful 16″ screen. The edges are curved, and the backside is bulbous, giving the product a weight of 3 pounds. Once you install the appropriate drivers on your PC or a MAC, the screen of this monitor will activate instantly whenever you connect it with a USB cable.
The 1366 x 768 panel is very convenient when it comes to reading small texts, like in the Google Docs, but it’s also good for viewing video and pictures. While we were watching 1080ps videos on it, we’ve noticed how vibrant the colors are when compared to some other models – and that’s a big plus in our book. During our testing period, dragging windows and video from our primary screen to AOC E1649FWU was always very smooth, and there was never any stutter or similar issues. In our opinion, it’s a perfect choice for mobile office employees who’d like to add some digital real estate to their laptops.
ASUS MB168B 15.6″ WXGA 1366 x 768 (Ideal for Laptops)
- Ultra-Light (800g) Option
- USB – No need for Power Adapters
- Protective Sleeve / Monitor Stand included
Our Rating: 8.4/10
This is a thin and an ultra-light (800g) portable monitor manufactured by one of the most famous computer hardware companies in the world – the ASUS. There will be no need for additional power adapters, sources, or cables here – all you need is a USB cable (2.0 or 3.0). The product features a beautiful 15.6″ display that sports a resolution of 1366 x 768, as well as the aspect ratio of 16:9. The panel is encased in a well-made plastic shell that also has a metallic-finished back. There’s a small power LED on the front, some control buttons and ports on the left side, while the rear panel features no ports, buttons, or cables of any kind.
The MB168B runs on the manufacturer’s EzLInk technology, which means that the display adapter is already built into the monitor. You won’t need a second graphics card to run it – the moment you plug it in, the screen of your primary monitor will be mirrored to this one, which makes it an excellent choice for the laptop owners. You’ll also be getting a protective sleeve which has the secondary function of a monitor stand, and works very well. ASUS did it again – it’s one of the best models on the market!
Types of Portable Monitors
If you’ve ever shopped for an HDTV, Blu-ray player or a PlayStation 4, you have probably heard about HDMI. Even though it seems to be just another one of many TV connections, HDMI is more than just a port. It’s more of a set of rules that allows the high-definition devices to communicate with each other. HDTVs, for example, have more pixels, a wider screen, and a faster refresh rate than their older NTSC cousins, which means that they need more data and they need to receive it digitally. And that’s where we come to HDMI – it’s a standard that creates high-bandwidth connections between electronic devices.
You can probably see what the primary benefit of owning an HDMI portable monitor is. With it, you won’t experience lags while the video is being transferred from your main to your secondary (portable) screen, and the visual experience will be far more pleasant for the eyes. Luckily, there are many models with HDMI ports on today’s market, and one just has to do a bit of researching to find an HDMI model that suits his or her needs. Take a look at our reviews and you’ll certainly find a model for yourself!
Whether you’re someone who travels a lot or someone who just likes the simplicity of portability, the portable monitors with USB connections are able to make a huge difference in your productivity. By expanding your computer display’s real estate, you will have a lot more space to work in, removing the clutter and making the job a bit easier. In simple words, two screens are better than one. With that in mind, you should definitely check out the USB-powered models – they are the easiest way to add an extra screen to your Windows or Mac OS computer.
All you need to do with it is to install the appropriate drivers and then just plug the monitor into your PC’s USB port – and that’s it! The secondary screen will be activated instantly, allowing you to drag and drop apps as much as you like. Another great thing here is the fact that the most of these monitors are also powered through the USB port. This means that there’s no need for an additional source of energy, making these kinds of screens even more portable and very power efficient. They’re an excellent choice for people who are always on the move.
When you’re a business person who’s constantly on the move, you can’t bring a desktop PC with yourself, and you have to use a laptop. And the biggest problem with laptops is that their displays are much smaller than those of the desktop PCs, and working on them can become very hectic, with all those opened windows and tabs. This is where the portable monitors come in – they provide the user with more screen space and make the work a lot more convenient and comfortable. You can control them with your laptop’s keyboard and simply drag and drop apps however you like.
Fortunately, these things aren’t as expensive as they once were. There are dozens of different brands and models of portable monitors on today’s market, coming with various features and at different prices. The thing that makes them convenient for the laptop owners is the fact that they come in 14″, 15″, and 16″ sizes, which doubles the screen area and quickly removes the lag that appears with multiple windows. Many of them also come with full HD resolutions and useful accessories, like stands or covers. If you’re looking to buy one, check out our reviews – we’ve tested all of this year’s popular models.
The Complete Guide to Buying a Portable Monitor
The thing that makes laptops desirable is their portability – unlike the traditional desktop computers, laptops can be used literally anywhere. But there are still some things that work better on bigger screens, such as online classes, video editing, online trading, and general multitasking. But what if you still want to stay mobile and accomplish these tasks with ease?
The solution would be to purchase a portable monitor. These things can be connected to laptops via the USB cables and give the user more screen real estate and can be carried anywhere, just like laptops. With dozens of different models on the market, choosing the travel monitor that will suit your needs the best can be a real chore. That’s why we compiled a list of features that you should look for while buying one – take a look at it!
The primary purpose of a portable monitor is to own a screen that you can carry with yourself. Therefore, picking a model with a significant weight isn’t exactly a wise decision – it will make the monitor less portable, and you’ll have a hard time carrying it in your bag. It can also put a great strain on your back if you decide to carry it in a backpack. The more useful features you want in your model, the more it is going to weigh. Try to find a sweet spot between the features and the weight.
Since your new portable monitor will spend a lot of time in backpacks, suitcases and other kinds of bags, you’ll want it to be durable. Many models come with stands that also act as protective sleeves – look for those. The protective sleeve can do quite a good job when it comes to protecting the device from breakages, dents, and scratches. If you want even more protection, search for a good aftermarket protector (but keep in mind that this thing will also increase the monitor’s weight).
Portable monitors are made with outdoor use and productivity in mind, which creates the need for high resolution. The resolution, in simple terms, means how clear the display will be. If you want really clear images on your portable monitor, go for the highest available resolution – Full HD (1920 x 1080). If you want to make the usage seamless, make sure to get a model whose resolution is the same as the one on your laptop. The apps will look the same on both screens, and that will help you to stay concentrated while working.
Just like the modern smartphones, some models will rotate the screen as you turn them around. The horizontal direction, for example, is perfect for watching movies, while the vertical direction is the one you want to use while browsing web content. If you’re planning to use your model for all kinds of tasks, you should certainly get a monitor that can automatically rotate the on-display content.
Ease of Use
When you’re finally on vacation, one of the last things you’ll want to do is to spend ages setting up your new portable monitor. That’s why you should look for the models with Plug & Play compatibility, which will allow you to use the device within seconds of connecting it to your laptop. In most cases, the OS will automatically download the appropriate drivers, which is quite convenient.
As you can see, there are some points that should be taken into consideration if you don’t want to end up with a device that doesn’t suit your needs. Remember them while choosing your first device, and we can guarantee you that you won’t have any issues later!
Benefits of Using Portable Monitors
It’s easy to see the main purpose of the portable monitors – these things were made to be easily transported from location to location. These are smaller than the standard monitors, and their average screen size measures 14″. Even though these displays were available during the ’90s, only now have they become genuinely popular thanks to the advent of the fast USB technology. With this kind of USB connectivity, you won’t have to carry an AC adapter with you – you can use the USB cable to both connect the portable monitor and to charge it. There are many benefits to using a travel monitor – so let’s have a look at some of them.
They are mobile
This would, of course, be the primary purpose of owning a portable monitor. As it is small in size and doesn’t weigh too much, you can carry it everywhere with you – simply put it into a laptop bag along with your notebook. Smaller versions can also be carried in handbags and the bigger ones in backpacks.
They give you more space to work with
Laptops usually have much smaller displays than the desktop PCs, which makes multi-tasking a real chore on them. With a portable monitor, you will be able to handle multiple apps and windows much more easily, and won’t have to constantly switch between them on a single screen. You can simply drag and drop a window onto your secondary screen and thus make more free space on your primary display.
They consume less power
Unlike the bulky, traditional desktop monitors that can’t work without AC power, the portable monitors are charged through the USB ports and are far less power-hungry. They only need some 5 Volts to work, which is quite similar to standard smartphone chargers. This makes them really efficient and very easy to work with.
They are scalable
Unlike the desktop monitors, their portable cousins are much more scalable. This means that you’ll be able to connect more screens to one laptop if the need arises. With the traditional displays, the limit usually stands at 2 if you don’t buy some special equipment to increase the number. This figure is higher with the USB-powered monitors – you can connect six of them out of the box. And with Windows Multipoint Servers, this number can be increased up to 14!
They are economical on space
Since they’re smaller, the portable monitors don’t take too much space wherever you decide to put them at. Of course, that’s exactly why they don’t offer as much screen real estate as the regular PC monitors, but they can still allow you to make better use of the area you have. You can use 5 USB-powered monitors in the space of two regular, desktop screens.
These benefits that we’ve listed are exactly why these products are becoming more and more popular as the time goes by. The advent of the speedy USB technology finally gave people on-the-go an opportunity to add some screen real estate to their laptops – if you’re among them, check out our reviews and find a model for yourself!
In our opinion, the portable monitors are must-have computer hardware for all laptop-users who are constantly on the move. This secondary screen can make working with multiple windows and apps much easier, especially for people who use 14″ or 15″ notebooks. They can also be used by gamers who like to carry their consoles with them – you can simply hook up your PS4 to it and play your favorite games on the go! These devices require no additional AC adapters, as they can be charged via USB cables. This level of portability is exactly the thing that makes them more and more popular.
In our reviews, we’ve tried to go over the primary features of the most popular models that are currently on the market. If we had to choose our favorite, that would be the ASUS MB168B – it presents an almost flawless solution for all of your secondary screen needs.