Portable USB monitors are useful in a range of environments. You can use them to expand your PC or laptop view, gaming console, or enjoy your cellphone or tablet on a larger screen. They are ideal if you are a traveling businessman, coder, gamer, or graphic designer that needs a bit more screen space and versatility. We look at the 10 best portable monitors.
House and Tech is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More.
Portable monitors have become extremely popular for all the benefits they offer and there are many great products available. One that we found to be a clear winner is the ASUS ZenScreen 15.6″ 1080P Portable Monitor (MB16AC). It has a 15.6-inch screen with great resolution and clarity. The device is light and compact and easy to use.
We take you through the details of the 10 best portable monitors, look at what you need to consider before investing in one, and answer some frequently asked questions. That will allow you to decide on the one that perfect for your needs.
The 10 Best Portable USB Powered Monitors:
Whether you are a computer expert or merely an average consumer you will know something about the quality and clarity of Asus monitors. This is a 15.6-inch portable monitor that does not disappoint.
The contract and brightness are both impressive and it has a 1920X1080 pixel resolution. The refresh rate is a fair 60 hertz. What makes it practical and versatile is the USB-C connectivity. This offers power as well as the DisplayPort. You can also use it with USB-A with a DisplayLink driver.
It comes at a fair price for the quality that it delivers. Feedback and ratings are extremely positive and this is a top-selling portable monitor. The OSD or onscreen display is effective and user-friendly.
This portable monitor not only works well but looks great. The design is award-winning. The display is thin and has a charcoal frame. Switching from landscape to portrait is a breeze. It will work with “Thunderbolt 3 ASUS Eye Care technology”. This helps to reduce eye fatigue with “ TUV Rheinland-certified flicker-free backlighting and a blue light filter”
The stand is designed to work as a cover when the monitor is not in use. As a stand, it is stable and sturdy. There are several settings according to your environment and your needs and all are easy to set or adjust.
|1920 x 1080 pixels
It was a tough call between this model and the Asus above for first place. This is also extremely popular and receives stellar ratings from many happy customers. It weighs less than 2 pounds and is only 0.6” thick so certainly ticks the portability box. It has an impressive 15.6-inch screen that delivers a quality display.
The ViewSonic VG1655 sports dual USB-C ports for 2-way power. Never be stuck without power when you need it most with this versatile feature. It allows you to connect power, audio, data, and video on one USB and a mouse or external drives on the other.
This is a great option for anyone wanting extra screen space and is popular with gamers as well as business users. The blue-light filter and flicker-free technology improve the experience while also reducing eye strain. You can view the screen with comfort for long periods.
Included in the kit is a durable screen protector that doubles as a nifty stand. The stand works in landscape and portrait.
The quality, portability, and flexibility of this portable monitor make it a leading option.
The AOC portable monitor is a budget option that does not compromise on quality and performance. It has a full HD 1080P resolution on a 15.6 inch IPS display.
It features a USB-C port. The design is small and lightweight so it is great for portable use. Power consumption is low which is another benefit. The cover doubles as a screen folder. You can use it in either landscape or portrait mode and it will auto-pivot if you install a Display Link driver.
To reduce eye strain there is a low-blue light mode.
AOC has built up a reputation for quality products at affordable prices. Contrast and color are exceptional it offers a wide viewing angle on the IPS screen.
This is another quality option from Asus, a brand that we have come to love and trust. It works with DisplayPort/DP (Alt) mode without needing drivers. This works over USB-C and makes the monitor user-friendly and versatile. A single cable is all you need for power and video signal.
At a super-slim third of an inch thickness, this is one of the slimmest portable monitors you will find. It weighs just over 1.8 pounds. Despite the compact light design is still delivers 1920 x 1080 pixels with a 16:9 aspect ratio and 60 Hertz refresh rate.
The blue light feature will allow you to work or play for longer with minimal eye strain. The cover offers protection while also doing a great job as a stand. This works perfectly in landscape or portrait mode according to your needs.
Lenovo are leaders in screen technology and they make a brilliant portable monitor. The ThinkVision M14 is a top-selling option that receives spectacular feedback from happy users. It is a slim 14-inch monitor that weighs a mere 570g. Resolution is FHD 1920 x 1080 IPS and delivers 16. 7 million colors. The refresh rate is 60 Hertz.
The monitor features 2 USB-C ports for convenience and versatility. These allow for DisplayPort 1. 2 Alt Mode and Pd2. 0. A handy feature is that it has a Kensington lock slot for security. Like most portable monitors it has low light technology meaning less eye strain.
The design is sleek and attractive. With ports on both sides, the monitor is easier to work within a range of applications. It is also able to tilt to the ideal angle for your requirements and environment.
This is an exceptional monitor with a range of benefits. It comes at a fair price and has everything you want from a portable monitor.
|1920 x 1080 pixels
If budget is a major issue but you really need a decent portable monitor then you can’t go wrong with this model. You rarely see such quality at this price point. For a value monitor, it has some surprisingly impressive features.
It is a 15.8 Inches FHD 1920 x 1080 pixels IPS screen. The refresh rate is 60 Hertz and 16:9 aspect ratio. The result is a vibrant display with bright realistic colors. The integrated chip allows for flicker-free viewing and it has a blue light filter to reduce eye strain.
The monitor is a breeze to connect and use. It has a USB-C connection from data and power at the same time. It is compatible with most devices you would want to use it with. An HDMI cable is included for added versatility. You also get a smart cover that protects the screen when you are on the move and works as a versatile stand when you are using it.
It is slim and light and extremely practical as a portable monitor. Screen brightness drops to extend the battery life of mobile devices. It also has integrated dual speakers for crystal clear powerful audio.
Although an entry-level priced monitor from a relatively unknown brand it is packed with features and the feedback has been very positive. This unit sells well and most people only had good things to say about it, including the after-sales support.
There are not many touchscreen portable monitors on the market so if that is what you are after this is a good option to look at. It is a 15.6 inch Full HD 1920×1080 Pixels IPS monitor. You can use your fingers or a stylus and ten-finger multi-touch is supported.
There is an LED backlight and brightness and colors are clear and vibrant. You get a decent 170-degree viewing angle (horizontal and vertical).
It has VGA, HDMI, and USB ports making it convenient and highly versatile. It is user-friendly and has a rear dock port extension. This makes it a breeze to use and keeps the setup neat. Despite these amazing capabilities, it is still light and slim.
The stand is detachable and allows for a range of angles to improve your operating experience. The multi-mount kit also adds to the versatility and allows for a range of sturdy and stable mounting options. That is critical when using the touchscreen feature.
Although this portable monitor has a touchscreen and a host of other features it comes at a fair price. Feedback is positive and most users are very happy with the product.
Here is another low-priced option for those on a tight budget. Raspberry Pi fans and many gamers will be familiar with this online brand. This 13.3-inch portable screen is extremely versatile and will work with most devices and gadgets. It is one of the least expensive options on the market yet is still of great quality.
Feedback is positive and there are many happy reports from satisfied customers. It has a 2560×1440 resolution, a 60 Hertz refresh rate, and IPS with a viewing angle of 170° Wide. The aspect ratio is 16:9. Brightness, picture clarity, and colors are impressive.
It uses USB-C and also has an HDMI video input. Another feature is the integrated stereo speakers. The 3.5mmHeadphone Jack might also come in handy for many. It can do power and data over one cable and supports PD fast charging as well as reverse charging.
It is lightweight and compact with a look and feel that is above its price point. Impressive too are the narrow bezels. It comes with a protective case that can be used as a stand. It is easy to adjust for perfect viewing.
All in all, it is hard to fault this portable monitor especially considering the pricing. If you are looking for something inexpensive that is not “cheap” give some thought to this option.
|1920 x 1080 Pixels
This nifty little sidetrak portable monitor is one of the easiest ways to get a bit more screen real-estate. It is incredibly user-friendly and quick and easy to set up. It offers Full HD and IPS for extra viewing. This can increase your pleasure, productivity, or both. It is easy to attach and affordable.
This sidetrack monitor is slim and weighs a mere 1.65lbs. A powerful magnetic connection makes it easy to attach and remove and adds to the convenience and portability. All you really need to do to get up and running is download DisplayLink. This is free and fast.
The sidetrak monitor is versatile and will work with most devices. It has USB-C that supports power and data over one cable. Another great benefit is that it has a low power consumption so will not drain your laptop or other devices.
You can attach the portable display on the left or right and it supports a landscape or portrait orientation. It is also able to rotate through 270 degrees for the perfect view.
|1920 x1080 Pixels
To end on a positive note after many other great products, we have the EliteDisplay S14 14″ FullHD by leading brand HP. This is a 14-inch portable monitor that has a 1920 x1080 Pixel display. As you would expect from HP the clarity and colors are superb. It has a 16: 9 aspect ratio, a 60 Hertz refresh rate, and a 5 ms GTG response time. This makes for clear and uninterrupted operations.
It works off a single USB-C cable for power and data. This makes it easy to set up and use and reduces cable clutter. It comes with a cover that will also function as a nifty stand.
The design is elegant and it is light and thin for easy portability. You can customize the settings according to your preference or for different environments. This includes the response time, contrast, and brightness. It also has a low blue light mode to minimize eye strain. This can all be done with the easy-to-use on-screen display or OSD.
What to look for when buying a portable monitor
Chances are you have not had too much experience in buying a portable monitor. They are relatively new to the market and are now becoming highly popular. As we become more mobile, work becomes more complex, games have multiple layers to them, and we use a range of devices, so we need more screen space.
Once you have experienced a portable monitor you will wonder how you lived without one for so long. While there are many terms that overlap with regular computer monitors there are a few specific things you need to look out for before investing in a portable monitor. This guide will help you make the best choice for your needs.
This is an important factor and much will depend on how you wish to use it and with what device. For a mobile device or simple gaming, you can get away with a smaller screen. For most applications a 14 to 15.6 inch screen is sufficient.
Size and weight
Some portable monitors are more portable than others. While most are light and impressively slim, some are a bit bulkier. If you intend to carry the portable monitor regularly then be sure to look for one that is compact and lightweight.
Most modern portable monitors are highly compatible and will work with most devices and gadgets but be sure to check that it will work with the specific devices you intend to use now and possibly in the future.
Connectivity and power
One of the reasons portable monitors are becoming so popular is the rise of the USB-C port. This allows for both power and data to run over a single cable simultaneously. This makes the system much easier to use. Connecting and disconnecting are faster, there is less hassle and less cable clutter.
Most monitors have a USB-C port and some have two or even more. You do need to make sure that your laptop or device you intend to connect to supports this feature as older USB-C ports might not allow for data and power over one port. Thunderbolt 3 will normally work equally well but double-check to be sure.
The alternative is normally a USB-A or USB-3.0 port to power the monitor and an HDMI connection for the video and audio data.
Another useful feature supported by some monitors is reverse charging. This means that you can actually use your portable monitor to give power to the laptop or device. Power save mode is also handy. This feature will dim the brightness so that it drains less power from the host device.
This is an important factor to consider. Some portable monitors can be power-hungry and will quickly drain the primary device if you are using it without a power connection. Others are a lot more economical and draw only minimal power. This is a factor if you plan to use the monitor on the go.
Ease of use
We have enough to worry about without having hassles connecting a portable monitor. The easier it is to set up and operate the better.
Some monitors will require that you need to download software to operate them. This is normally quick and easy and only needs to be done once so not a major issue. Most, however, are plug-and-play.
You want to be able to change brightness, contrast, color mode, and other display features. You may also need to change the orientation from landscape to portrait or vice-versa. Some can do this automatically which is handy.
A good feature to have is an on-screen display or OSD. This allows you to make these changes with ease. Some allow for customizable settings that you can save for a range of environments.
The majority of portable monitors do not have speakers and rely on the audio of the primary device. If you want this feature you need to look for a model that has speakers. Some have an audio output jack which might be useful to some.
Resolution and screen features
The average portable monitor is Full HD or 1,920 by 1,080 pixels. This is a decent resolution. They do range from 1,366 by 768 pixels up to QHD+ which is 3,200 by 1,800 pixels. You do not want a resolution that is dramatically different from the laptop or primary device as this will not deliver a great user experience.
Other factors you want to look at are the brightness as well as the color range. Expect the brightness to be less than other devices. This is mainly to reduce power consumption.
Two more things to consider, particularly for gamers or those using graphics-intensive applications, are the response rate and the refresh rate. The average refresh rate that is effective is 60 Hertz but for some applications, you might need more than that for a smooth experience. The faster the response time the better.
Touch screen capability
This is not common in portable monitors and has yet to become popular. If this is a feature that you need there are a few options available. They will be a bit more expensive than the average portable monitor. You also want to ensure that it is extremely stable in order to use this feature effectively.
Prices range from just over $100 while some are several hundred dollars. Give some thought to your budget. Avoid the cheap and nasty models as you will be disappointed and they will probably not last very long. If you are on a tight budget there are several affordable options that still offer good performance, quality, and durability.
What is a portable monitor?
It is simply a lightweight compact monitor that can be connected to a laptop or other devices to give you a second screen. Most will also connect to game consoles or smartphones making working and playing on these a better experience. Although a few need their own power, another thing that makes them portable is the fact that they take power from the laptop or primary device.
What are the benefits of a portable monitor?
There are many benefits. If you have ever used multiple screens on your PC or laptop at home or at work you will appreciate the benefits. It allows you to run, view, and work on multiple applications at one time. This saves time, makes life easier, and increases productivity.
For gamers, it adds another dimension to the game and allows you to see so much more at once.
A portable monitor will give you these same advantages wherever you are. You can also connect it to your tablet, smartphone, or gaming device. This will make work or play infinitely better.
Does a portable monitor draw a lot of power?
One of the many reasons for the increase in popularity of portable monitors is that the modern ones draw very little power. The average is about 10 watts although many use way less than this. This allows you to use them with a laptop or other device for extended periods and not worry too much about reducing the battery life.
Most work off a USB-C connection although some models will require their own power. You can also get some with battery packs so they provide their own power.
What is IPS?
IPS stands for in-plane switching, it is a screen feature. It allows for a better viewing angle and improved color.
How do I protect my portable monitor?
Most models come with a protective case. These normally serve as a stand as well. Some of the covers wrap around the entire device giving protection on both sides while others only protect the screen. They generally have a magnet to keep them securely in place.
How do I stand or attach a portable monitor?
A: As mentioned above, most monitors have a case that doubles as a stand. This needs to be stable and sturdy. It should allow for multiple angles as well as landscape or portrait use.
You can also get a dedicated stand and some have a magnetic connector that will let you attach the portable monitor to the side of the laptop.
What devices will my portable monitor connect to?
Most are extremely versatile and connect to a wide range of devices. They are used on laptops, MacBooks, PCs, Smartphones, Tablets, Raspberry Pi, and gaming consoles such as PS3, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox. That is not to say all of them have this compatibility so it is always a good idea to check first.
Do portable monitors have a webcam?
This is not something you will see often. Normally you would use the cam on your laptop or mobile device.
Can I connect more than one portable monitor to a laptop?
Theoretically yes you can. How many will depend on the specs of the machine and the connectivity available?
Is a portable monitor complicated to set up?
No, not at all. Many of them are plug-and-play and you will be up and running in seconds. Some might need a free software download when you install the monitor but this is a breeze. Once you have set the monitor up you can simply plug it in and start using it.
Technology improves at a rapid rate and we all want something better, faster, and more powerful. A portable monitor is one of the best ways to instantly boost your experience. This will allow you the freedom and convenience of a second screen and a much large view. It will allow you to multi-task for improved productivity or a better leisure or gaming experience.
They are affordable, easy to use, and will make your work or play that much better. We reviewed ten of the very best portable monitors and there is something to suit all needs and all budgets. If you only invest in one tech gadget this year make it a portable monitor. You will be glad you did.