Workings from your laptop can be a nightmare. Especially if it’s really small – you can’t even split a screen properly without wanting to head to the eye doctor for new glasses! And switching between desktops and tabs? Don’t get me started.
At A Glance: Our 4 Picks for Best Portable Monitors
So, if you are frustrated working on the go (even if you have a great travel laptop) then you are in for a treat. I have spent a few hours or so looking for the best portable monitors for your laptop to make your life and work on the go oh so much easier. (You’ll love it when you can fit it in your luggage!)
First, I’ll show you what makes a good portable monitor, and then we’ll check out the best ones that are currently available. Whether you use a portable monitor as your primary screen or a handy secondary screen is up to you.
Best Portable Monitor
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Best Touchscreen Display
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BEST FOR GAMING
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ULTRA LIGHTWEIGHT AND PORTABLE
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We’re kicking off this review in style, with this 15.6” Asus monitor. It is available in both HD and Full HD resolutions, and you should choose one that is best suitable for your work needs. Just keep in mind that the HD version is about $40 cheaper than the other one.
This budget portable monitor is equipped with a USB A port, and you need just one USB cable to get it working. It works with Windows devices that are running Windows 7 or later, and Mac devices with at least OS X 10.8.3 (Mountain Lion). There are some issues with Mac compatibility, but as long as you download the right DisplayLink driver, the screen should work fine with your device.
This 15.6 inch portable monitor is incredibly slim at 8.5 millimeters, and it also weighs only 1.76 lbs, making it one of the lightest portable monitors around. Overall, it is one of my top choices, especially when you also consider the price and everything you get for your money.
A great alternative to this is the Asus Zenscreen Go MB16AHP. It is more expensive but comes with a USB C port and a mini HDMI port, great viewing angles to make the most of that full HD – 1920 x 1080 display.
This portable monitor is probably the best value for money you can find. It is really affordable and if you’re looking for something under $100, then this is my top recommendation. It has a 15.6 inch screen size, with a maximum resolution of 1366×768 (HD). And it requires just one USB cable for both power and video, which makes it ultra-portable.
The portable monitor has built-in speakers, auto-brightness control as well as autorotation. It is also compliant with VESA 75 mm wall mounts, which is handy for home mounting.
Compatibility is a mystery – the manufacturer simply states that the AOC portable monitor is compatible with both Windows and Mac devices. You have to install a DisplayLink driver to get it working on Windows 10. A lot of satisfied customers have confirmed that they got it to work with their Mac devices with the proper driver.
This particular portable monitor is lightweight at 2.4 lbs, although not as light as the Asus Zenscreen. But the difference isn’t huge, and it’s light enough to be considered portable. Overall, it might not be the best around, but it is certainly the best in its price range.
The SideTrak portable monitor is a unique and somewhat novel idea for a second screen. It basically attaches to your laptop screen and can travel with you.
If you are wondering if it will fit your laptop, they have stated that it is compatible with most Mac, Linux, and Chromebook laptops.
Another cool feature is that this portable monitor extends out and rotates up to 270 degrees. So it is great as a presentation device or when using it while collaborating.
In terms of specs, it is a 12.5” FHD IPS portable monitor with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. The brightness is not on the “awesome” side of things, but decent at 300 cd/m and it weighs in at 1.65 lbs, which is light enough.
It comes with a USB C cord with a USB A adapter to power it from your laptop – with an overall power usage of 4.5W it is very efficient. Just be aware that it is not providing even an extra single USB C port to work with.
Overall, a handy portable monitor that will suit those looking for a lightweight way to extend your screen.
This portable monitor is very similar to the previous one, but there is a large difference. This particular GeChic is a portable touchscreen monitor – a 10-point Multi-Touch capacitive touchscreen, to be more precise. So, if you’re looking for the best portable monitor that comes with a touchscreen, I believe that this is your top choice.
It is compatible with both Mac and Windows and most gaming consoles, as well as wireless devices such as Chromebox or Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. And it features HDMI and VGA ports. Just keep in mind that Mac devices are not compatible with the touchscreen function. So, if you’re looking to get a screen for your MacBook, you’re better off getting something else.
The image quality is great for a 15.6” monitor with 1920×1080 resolution. The built-in speakers are slightly better than on the previous model, but not by a lot – earphones or a Bluetooth speaker are still a must if you really need the sound.
The main benefit of this great portable monitor is in its weight and size. It is slightly thicker than most portable monitors, coming in just under 1/2 an inch. Additionally, it weighs 2.34 lbs, so it is also heavier than some. So overall, it is a really good product that you will not regret getting.
The ASUS ZenScreen 15.6 inch portable touchscreen monitor (Model MB16AMT) is another popular choice.
This is still quite a portable monitor at 15.6 inches, and it comes with a decent 1920×1080 resolution. Asus has included an internal battery, which is great if you are working somewhere where power is limited (no laptop drain).
Although this is truly a portable touchscreen monitor be aware that it is not always fully compatible with every device. Windows devices get full supports, as do some Android devices but Macs have limited abilities.
This ASUS Zenscreen portable monitor comes with a pen in case you really want to take advantage of the touchscreen abilities, and at the bottom is a joystick/button for controlling all of the functions.
In terms of connectivity, it has a few options – micro-HDMI and USB C, or you can also opt for USB A if you want. Of course, all the cables you need come provided by Asus.
If you’re not looking to get a huge monitor, then maybe this one is just right for you. This HP EliteDisplay is a 14” monitor, with a resolution of 1600×900. Unfortunately, it is not Full HD, but 720p is still high definition and will give you good image quality.
One upside of this monitor is that it requires a single USB cable to connect to your device. But, you will have to install the right drivers for your device, and that it takes some time to set up the EliteDisplay. But when you manage to get it working, you can expect to see some really crisp colors.
This portable monitor has a cover that is integrated with its design – so, it doubles as a stand. It will not only protect your portable monitor but also allows you to set it up without having to use any additional accessories.
It is about 1.3 cm thick and weighs about 2.75 lbs, which is heavier than most portable monitors. Note: this HP monitor is not officially compatible with Mac devices. But you could get it to work on your Mac if you install the proper drivers. However, I cannot guarantee that.
If you are used to smaller screens and are looking for a 13.3” portable monitor, then definitely consider getting this one. It is extremely lightweight at only 1.41 lbs, it has built-in speakers and the image quality is amazing. The Elecrow portable monitor is a great choice for gaming because it has Full HD resolution (1920X1080) and a response time of only 5 ms – the fastest so far.
This monitor features several different ports – USB and HDMI ports, as well as an earphone jack (3.5 mm) and a separate power port. So, you will need at least two things to get it working – an HDMI cable and an adapter that will supply it with power. So, it is slightly less portable than a monitor that works with just one cable.
It is compatible with any device that has an HDMI output. Windows, Mac, Linux, PS 4, Xbox etc. Additionally, the Elecrow also comes with a metal rack in the box, which I am not a fan of. But at least it is compliant with VESA 75 wall mounts. And at 1.5 cm, it is the thickest monitor in this review so far.
Overall, this a good portable monitor if you’re looking for something smaller. It has excellent image quality, 170-degree viewing angles, and is easy to set up because (no drivers). Plus it is not heavy and it’s under $150, so it’s quite a bargain.
Another option worth checking out is the Desklab Portable Monitor from a company based in Hong Kong. Their portable touchscreen monitor comes with 4K resolution, which is impressive for such a monitor. However, if you want to save a few bucks, there is a cheaper 1080P version as well.
It is quite slim in profile, although the bottom does have a bit of a chin because of all the ports they have provided. Speaking of which, there are 2 USB C ports, a HDMI port and a standard USB A port. There is also a 3.5mm audio out so you can watch movies on the go without disturbing those around you.
I actually use this portable monitor with my Macbook Air and it is super easy to attach. All you need is a HDMI cable (and a dongle for a Mac of course) and you are good to go. The Desklab monitor is also compatible with almost any other device too – from gaming consoles and tablets to laptops and desktops.
A couple of other nice features worth mentioning are the built-in stereo speakers and the fact that it is touchscreen, which offers a lot more flexibility than a standard monitor.
GeChic is really popular in this particular market because they have such a wide array of products. So, I have to include at least one other portable monitor of theirs – this time a 13.3” one. And just like the other two GeChics, this portable monitor has built-in speakers, HDMI and VGA input ports, and an incredibly compact and light design. With only 1.32 lbs, it is the lightest monitor so far.
It’s compatible with Mac, Windows and various gaming consoles– basically, if your device has an HDMI output, you will be able to connect it to this GeChic monitor. And when you do so, you will get great image quality, since it features Full HD resolution. You can also adjust the colors and brightness of the screen however you like, which is a big plus.
The monitor comes with a USB C cable to get it working, and even a micro HDMI adapter so that you can connect it to your DSLR. In addition to that, you will also get an aluminum stand in the box. This can be handy if you use this as your main or second screen.
However, this portable monitor does have the same issue as the previous two GeChics – lousy sound quality. But you can always play the sound from your laptop, or connect it to an external speaker to get a better listening experience. And at least you don’t have to bother with any drivers – because it uses an HDMI input, this monitor powers up as soon as you plug it into your device.
Would you like a portable gaming monitor with a 2K resolution for under $125? If the answer is yes, then this is the monitor for you. The EleDuino is a 10.1” portable monitor that weighs mere 0.77 lbs. The 2560X1600 resolution will give you excellent image quality, and crisp and bright colors.
In general, smaller monitors have the advantage of using little electricity. This basically means that you power them up with a power bank or even your phone’s charger. And you might just be forced to use it since you do not get a charger for this portable monitor – just a power cable. It would be fine if the EleDuino required only a single cable but it doesn’t; you will need to use the HDMI adapter to connect it to your device. But at least that means that it’s compatible with pretty much any device you could think of – that has an HDMI output, of course.
This portable gaming monitor is equipped with two built-in speakers, which give you decent sound quality. If you’re not satisfied with it, you can always plug in your headphones or external speakers into the headphone port.
The downside? If you’re using it as a dedicated gaming monitor, it is pretty small. Sure, it’s larger than your smartphone and tablet, but if you’ve ever tried gaming on an 11” laptop, you’ll know what I’m talking about. However, as a second monitor, the size is pretty decent. Additionally, you don’t really get a lot of items in the box. Neither a stand nor a cover is included, so you have to purchase those separately.
One of the first featured products in this review was an AOC portable monitor. And this one is very similar to it, with the largest difference being in the size of the screen. This particular monitor features a 17.3” screen with a 1600 x 900 resolution. And it is large enough to be your only monitor, which I absolutely love.
Additionally, if you already own a 17” laptop, this would make a great second display and allow you to really personalize your display setup. And in terms of portability, this AOC monitor weighs only 2.8 lbs, which is great considering its size. But it is on the bulkier side, with a thickness of 1.8 cm.
This monitor features a USB 3.0portand it requires just one cable for both device connectivity and power supply. This also means that you have to install the proper drivers for your device.
But if you manage to do that, you should not experience any issues with its performance. And the AOC portable monitor is compatible with both Windows and Mac devices, along with your smartphones and various gaming consoles.
A really cool thing about this monitor is that it has a built-in flexible stand, which will hold it in place both horizontally and vertically. Also, although it may appear like a really attractive gaming monitor due to its size, it has a response time of 10 ms.
That is too slow for some more demanding games, and you will experience mouse lag. But if you want to use it for work or for other purposes, you will barely notice it.
There are a few things that you want to have in a really good portable monitor.
First of all, it needs to be large enough so that you can work properly. Especially if you own an 11” or a 13” laptop – you will want to get a monitor that is larger than that. Otherwise, what’s the point, right?
Keep in mind that although bigger is better, it also needs to still be portable. So have a think about what kind of bag, purse, or backpack you are going to be carrying it around in. What size laptop can that fit for example? No idea? Check out the product page from the manufacturer and look for the internal length/width or any mention of laptop sizes. Worst case, send them an email.
It needs to be lightweight, of course!
If you’re dragging around a 10lb monitor, you might as take your desktop computer with you, right?
A really good portable display should weigh less than 3lbs. That way, it will be easy to carry around, and it won’t add too much weight to your luggage for travel.
Even if you are never going on a plane with it, imagine adding a large rock to your bag every time you head out the door to work!
But if you need a really large monitor, you will have to compromise on weight. However, you will struggle to find a true portable monitor that is 20″ or bigger. But you can find a regular monitor that is extremely slim and lightweight.
It should also be easy to connect to your laptop, preferably with a regular USB port. That will allow you to pack lighter since you won’t need all those cables. it requires
If you own a MacBook Air, you don’t even have an HDMI port, and getting a portable display with one would be a waste of money. However, there are certain advantages to a monitor with HDMI input, for one there is no need for drivers. So this one is up to you – you might want a monitor that can work with just one cable, but it’s a bit more difficult to set up, or a monitor that requires a few more cables, but requires nothing other than them.
And since we’re more about travel than about tech, that’s what we will be focusing on in this particular review. You should also pay attention to the general specs of the portable vmonitors that are featured in this review –
So, with all of that in mind, I think you now have a pretty good overview of what your ultimate portable monitor should look like. And I’m sure that you’ll love at least one of these top ten portable monitors in 2021!
So out of all these portable monitors, what are your top choices? That slightly depends on what you need the portable display for. And that’s how we’re going to rank them.
If you’re just looking for the most portable monitor ever, one that you can carry in your purse or in your hands because it’s so small and lightweight, I would suggest the EleDuino 10” Portable Gaming Monitor. With a weight of only 0.77 lbs, it is definitely the winner in this category. And it has excellent image quality, with a 2K resolution. The only downside is that you don’t really get anything except the monitor and a couple of cables, but that’s not a big deal considering the price.
If you are in need of a good, gaming monitor, I have to recommend the Elecrow 13.3 Inch Portable Monitor. It is by far the best one for gaming because it has the quickest response time – only 5 ms.
Additionally, the monitor has Full HD resolution, it is compatible with all devices that have an HDMI output and it is still really portable since it weighs less than 1.5 lbs. Pretty much the only downside is that you won’t have instructions on how to set it up, but I’m sure you can figure that out yourself. And if not, Google is your best friend.
In terms of touchscreen portable monitors, we only reviewed one here. That’s because they aren’t really compatible with Mac devices since OS X doesn’t work on a touchscreen. But if you’re dead-set on getting a portable touchscreen monitor, then the GeChic On-Lap 1503I Portable Monitor is the best choice for you. It’s sleek, lightweight, and has Full HD resolution. Just be prepared to invest in a pair of external speakers, because the sound quality of the monitor is pretty disappointing.
And last but definitely not the least is a monitor that I consider to be the best portable money in terms of value for and just the overall best package. It is the ASUS MB169B+/MB168B USB Portable Monitor. It is slim, lightweight, affordable and you only need one USB cable to get it working.
Of course, that also means that you have to install the proper DisplayLink drivers, but that’s just a couple of minutes of your time (if you know what you’re doing). Plus it has a protective case that doubles as a stand, which will definitely come in handy when using it as a second screen.
And those are my top choices. Of course, you should still get the monitor that you loved at first sight – all of the ones that we checked out in this review are the best that Amazon has to offer. So go ahead and check them out there, compare the prices – that’s usually one factor that most people aren’t willing to compromise on.