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The best portable monitors: Work from anywhere

A portable monitor can be a helpful asset to mobile professionals who have to travel for business or anyone who wants a second monitor but doesn't have a lot of desk space.
taylor-clemons
Written by Taylor Clemons, Staff Writer on

A portable monitor is a great way to add a secondary display to your laptop screen for easier multitasking or for playing PC and console games on the go. 

These small-form screens connect to laptops, tablets, and game consoles via mini HDMI or USB-C cables for fast, consistent video playback as well as power for the monitor. Some portable monitors even have integrated batteries for use without power over USB-C; and while their battery lives are on the short side (about 3 or 4 hours at most), they're a great option for mobile professionals who can't always be near a wall outlet for a typical desktop monitor or need USB-C connections for other peripherals as well as mobile gamers who want a quick round of Smash Bros. with friends. 

I've gathered a list of the best portable monitors available, and I've broken down their features to help you decide which one is the best monitor for your needs as well as your budget.

Also: How to choose the right monitor layout for working from home

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Lenovo

Size: 14-inches | Panel type: IPS | Resolution: 1080p | Touchscreen: Yes | HDR: No | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Power: USB-C

The Lenovo ThinkVision M14t is a well-rounded portable monitor that's great for creatives, mobile professionals, and typical office workers. The 14-inch screen delivers crisp 1080p HD resolution with a 60Hz refresh rate for smoother video playback, and it supports touch inputs so you can have better control over programs, apps, and presentations; a stylus is included, so you won't have to worry about spending extra cash in order to get the most out of your new monitor. The display connects to your laptop via USB-C, and a second USB-C port allows you to connect other devices like storage drives, smartphones and tablets, or wireless mice and keyboards to complete your workstation. The integrated stand allows you to adjust the angle of your screen for more comfortable viewing, and the built-in blue light filter helps reduce eye strain during long days at the computer.

Pros:

  • Touchscreen with stylus included
  • USB-C passthrough
  • Adjustable stand

Cons:

  • Only 2 USB-C ports
  • No integrated speakers
  • No HDR support
asus-rog-strix-portable-monitor.jpg
ASUS

Size: 17.3-inches | Panel type: IPS | Resolution: 1080p | Touchscreen: No | HDR: No | Refresh rate: 240Hz | Power: Integrated battery

Laptop or console gamers looking for extra screen space or a reliable display for on-the-go gaming will love the Asus ROG Strix portable gaming monitor. It has a 17.3-inch screen that provides crisp 1080p resolution and a truly impressive 240Hz refresh rate for buttery smooth action, and the 3ms refresh rate provides near-instant reactions to your inputs. It features adaptive sync compatibility to match the screen's refresh rate to your console or laptop to prevent screen tearing and stuttering as well as USB-C, micro DisplayPort, and micro HDMI ports for connectivity options. The integrated battery gives you up to 3 hours of play time on a single charge, and a quick-charge feature gives you 60 percent power on 1 hour of charge. This screen also has a headphone jack for private listening while you game on the go, and the integrated kickstand allows you to use the screen in either landscape or portrait mode for more play options.

Pros:

  • Adaptive sync
  • 240Hz refresh rate
  • Decent battery life

Cons:

  • No HDR support
  • No integrated speakers
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ASUS

Size: 21.6-inches | Panel type: OLED | Resolution: 4K | Touchscreen: No | HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Power: USB-C

If you're a creative professional, and money is no object in your search for the perfect portable display, the Asus ProArt PQ22UC is a perfect option. This display uses an OLED panel to deliver up to 99 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut and incredible 4K resolution for more vivid, lifelike image quality; and if you're an animator or video editor, the 0.1ms response time gives you near-instant on-screen reactions to your inputs, and the 60Hz refresh rate provides smoother playback. This display supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10 for enhanced detailing and a truly impressive 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. It connects to your laptop via USB-C or micro HDMI, and both picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture modes make it easy to multitask in different programs or pull up reference images while you draw, paint, and animate. 

Pros:

  • OLED
  • 4K monitor
  • Dolby Vision/HDR10

Cons:

  • Not touchscreen
  • No integrated speakers 
  • Expensive
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Dell

Size: 14-inch | Panel type: IPS | Resolution: 1080p | Touchscreen: No | HDR: No | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Power: USB-C 

The Dell C1422H is a great option as a portable monitor for anyone who wants a screen on the smaller side. The 14-inch display features an incredibly thin and lightweight design that is great for slipping into a laptop or carry-on bag when you want a second screen for working on the go. With 1080p resolution, a 60Hz refresh rate, and 6ms response time, it's a well-rounded display for typical office work. It connects to your laptop via USB-C, and an extra USB-C input lets you charge devices, connect external storage drives or connect peripherals like mice and keyboards. The integrated stand lets you adjust the viewing angle for more comfortable use, and with a peak brightness of 300 nits, you'll be able to easily see your screen in almost any lighting environment.

Pros:

  • Good refresh rate and response time
  • Dual USB-C inputs
  • Good screen brightness

Cons:

  • Not touchscreen
  • No HDR support
  • Can't use in portrait mode
viewsonic-portable-monitor.jpg
ViewSonic

Size: 15.6-inches | Panel type: IPS | Resolution: 1080p | Touchscreen: Yes | HDR: No | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Power: USB-C 

Mac and iOS device users aren't left out when it comes to portable monitors. The ViewSonic TD1655 is designed to be a perfect fit for your Apple workstation, with a sleek, durable aluminum chassis to match your MacBook or iPad and a scratch-resistant touchscreen. It connects to your laptop or tablet via USB-C or mini HDMI, and the included stylus makes it easy to handwrite meeting notes, make precision edits to photos, or create digital paintings and drawings. The 15.6-inch screen weighs about two pounds and features an incredibly thin design that is perfect for slipping into a laptop bag; and the magnetic cover keeps the screen protected while in storage or during travel, while the integrated kickstand lets you adjust the viewing angle for more comfortable use. 

Pros:

  • Touchscreen
  • Stylus included
  • Aluminum chassis with magnetic cover

Cons:

  • No integrated speakers
  • No HDR support

How did we choose these portable monitors?

Aside from price, I chose portable monitors with varying screen sizes, connectivity capabilities, and power sources. I also chose portable monitors suited for different applications like office work, graphic design, and even gaming.

Which portable monitor is right for you?

Once you've locked down the best budget your portable monitor, you then have to identify what you want the display to do for you. Do you want to play games while out and about, or do you want a secondary screen for easier multitasking while tackling work projects and presentations? While shopping for a portable monitor, you should keep in mind what screen size, refresh rate, resolution, and connectivity works best with your setup as well as keep mindful of the monitor's power source. Portable monitors with integrated batteries have varying charging and battery life times while those that get power via USB-C connections can drain your laptop battery faster.

Portable monitor

Price

Resolution

Screen size

Lenovo ThinkVision M14t

$485

1080p

14 inches

Asus ROG Strix XG17AHPE

$489

1080p

17.3 inches

Asus ProArt PQ22UC

$3,899

4K

21.6 inches

Dell C1422H

$329

1080p

14 inches

ViewSonic TD1655

$299.99

1080p

15.6 inches

What sizes do portable monitors come in?

Portable monitors will consistently have much less real estate than their desktop counterparts, but you still have a variety of options when it comes to display size. Most screens will be somewhere between 14 and 17 inches, making them similar to a typical laptop display and therefore perfect for mobile professionals or anyone who doesn't have a lot of desk space. However, there are a few, like the Asus ProArt PQ22UC, that are closer to 22 inches, making them better suited for creative professionals and digital artists who may need more room to edit photos and video or create digital drawings and paintings.

What are portable monitors good for?

Portable monitors are great for anyone who may need extra screen space while working on the go or while using a smaller-than-average work desk. Since these mobile screens are about the same size as a laptop or tablet display, they're great for slipping into a laptop bag for when you're meeting an off-site client to go over project details or finishing up a presentation on your business flight. They can also be great for mobile console or PC gaming, as long as you choose a portable monitor with a high enough refresh rate to provide smooth playback away from home.

Do portable monitors have batteries?

Some portable monitors do have integrated batteries, like the Asus ROG Strix XG17AHPE. These models have decent enough battery lives considering their use cases and configurations; you can typically get anywhere from 2 to 4 hours out of your battery-powered portable monitor, which is perfect for playing Mario Kart with friends or finalizing commission details with a client during an off-site meeting.

Are there alternative portable monitors worth considering?

There are a lot of options out there if you're in the market for a portable monitor. Here's a shortlist of products I thought were great choices:


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