"For instance, the quality of the camera & lenses you own, the training & time it takes to create a desirable brand, post delivery of images, and my favorite, retouching the photos. I've owned a lot of laptops & monitors and really how they operate matters to any creative"
For most mainstream Windows PCs, that should be fine. For everything else, it could be more problematic. Running over USB-A can also limit resolution and color fidelity due to lower bandwidth. That said, some portable monitors support micro HDMI and even VGA.
The final significant factor is brightness. If you plan to use your portable display outside, you want as much of that as humanly possible. Most are limited, only topping out at a little over 200 nits. Aim for the brightest you can get while considering that more glowing screens will use up even more battery when powered by your laptop.
Portable monitors were some of the hottest tech products for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2022, and we expect them to be in demand this year as well. The lack of competition from well-known display vendors (LG, Samsung, Dell, HP) has led to a flurry of smaller and not-so-small players vying for a slice of an increasingly bigger pie. Four of the top 20 best-selling monitors at Amazon at the time of writing this column were portable monitors. Their versatility and portability - which standard business monitors do not offer - make them firm favorites for hybrid workers or commuting staff that yearn for extra productivity.
To narrow the list of portable monitors, we compared them across numerous aspects, like their size, weight, display type (1080p or 4K), and connectivity options (USB-C, USB-A, VGA, micro HDMI, etc.). We also looked at their latency, design, and stand and checked for touchscreen functionality, among other features.
These displays are much slimmer and lighter than traditional computer monitors. And, because they're that much more portable, some can even be attached directly to the back of your laptop to flip open when you need them.
If you're short on space but big on demand for extra screens, it may be worth considering investing in a portable monitor. There are some perfect ones around, and they don't have to cost enormous money.
For those with complicated workflows when doing productivity work or graphic design, having that extra screen can help organize it. You can keep all your apps and tabs visible simultaneously and don't have to scroll to find what you're working on. And they're straightforward to set up since most portable monitors connect using just one USB cable. They come in a few different resolutions and sizes, so no matter your needs, you'll find something that works, even if you want one that can go head-to-head with the best 4K monitors.
The Asus ZenScreen MB16A Portable Monitor is one of the nicest-looking USB monitors we have seen, and it comes with several features and design considerations that make it an incredibly handy device and one of the best portable monitors.
However, it is heavy on the wallet, with the ZenScreen proving more expensive than many other portable monitors on this list. Nonetheless, the build and image quality of this screen makes it well worth the extra money. Fans of Asus' ZenBook laptops should be particularly interested in this device, as it has a design that compliments Asus' high-end laptops nicely.
This monitor is extremely slim and light and fits snugly into a laptop case or backpack sleeve. We also love the stand, which attaches to the front and back of the screen with magnets that anchor the I1601P in place - and it doubles as a screen cover.
The Intehill 4K portable monitor is a well-constructed monitor with a plethora of ports. However, there is no PSU in the box - as shocking as that may be. While it lacks a kickstand, the magnetic support and cover almost make up for it, making this monitor usable as is, without necessarily needing an added accessory. This 17.3" screen boasts a 4K resolution and features accurate IPS hardware.To power this display (if not running via a single Thunderbolt) a 30-45W USB-C charger will need to be sourced, but once that is taken care of, this monitor is fairly easy to work with.
Digital nomads and traveling creatives will have more than enough pixels and features to work from anywhere with this 4K OLED touchscreen portable monitor. InnoCN has opted for a 4K OLED display so content creators can have a true-to-life color with low latency, six digits contrast ratio, and the deepest blacks possible while on the go. At the same time, the device's integrated battery is capable of powering smartphones and tablets.
Unlike some portable monitors on this list, the InnoCN Pu15-PRE comes at a premium. However, its 15.6-inch panel, aluminum frame, and three-year warranty help justify its cost. The included TPU sleeve protects this portable monitor while in transit and also doubles as a stand, but it does make the monitor a bit heavy.
We considered how many types of connections (USB-C, USB-A, VGA, etc.) the monitors supported and the number of connectivity ports they had. We looked at the display brightness and the viewing angle width.
Importantly, we assessed how minimal the latency was and how good the display looked, in terms of the color accuracy and saturation. We also analyzed how ergonomic the monitor stand/cover was and what type of user the monitor would be best suited for.
Being able to work from wherever you can is important if you work remotely or on the go. Working on a laptop isn't the most productive, and that's where portable monitors are beneficial. They make it easier to be productive, giving you extra screen space to use. Most support USB-C connectivity, so you can power them up and display an image with a single cable. There are a few downsides, though, as picture quality isn't as good compared to regular desktop monitors, meaning portable monitors are better to use as a secondary screen.
We've bought and tested over 270 monitors, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best portable and the best travel monitors. For more options, check out our recommendations for the best USB-C monitors, the best monitors for MacBook Pro, and the best office monitors.
The best portable monitor we've tested is the espresso Display 15 Touch. Overall, it's a decent portable monitor with a few neat features to improve your workflow. You can connect to it via one of its USB-C ports, and it works with a variety of devices, including smartphones that support external displays. It has a responsive touchscreen that works well with Windows and macOS PCs, letting you easily complete work that requires touch movements, like content creation. It also has a few extra features, like a rotation lock that adjusts the image into portrait mode when you turn the display.
What makes this better than most portable monitors is that it's available with different accessories too. One of those is its stand, which offers decent ergonomics, letting you place the screen in a few different ways. You can also get a case with a kickstand instead if that's what you prefer. On top of that, it has great color accuracy and displays a wide range of colors in SDR, meaning the picture quality is good for a portable display.
If you want to save money, check out an upper mid-range option like the ASUS ProArt PA148CTV. It has many of the same features and offers similar performance to the espresso Display 15 Touch, but there are some trade-offs for the cheaper price tag. While it has a touchscreen like the espresso monitor, it isn't as responsive and doesn't work with macOS devices, meaning you can't use the touchscreen if you want to connect to your MacBook. It also has slightly worse picture quality because it has a worse SDR color gamut and volume, but the color accuracy is still excellent.
It has a few advantages over the espresso, like if you want to use it in a well-lit environment because it has decent peak brightness and much better reflection handling. Like the espresso monitor, it also has two USB-C ports that you can use to connect your devices, and it also has a Micro HDMI port, which is helpful if you have a laptop with HDMI but not USB-C.
Although portable gaming monitors aren't as common as portable monitors for work, you can still find some options if you want a high refresh rate for gaming on the go. If you're interested in that, the ASUS ROG Strix XG16AHPE is a great choice. It's mainly for mobile gaming or if you need something on the side of your main monitor, and it's better than the espresso Display 15 Touch and the ASUS ProArt PA148CTV for this. It's great for gaming because it has a fast response time, resulting in crystal-clear motion with almost no noticeable blur behind fast-moving objects. It also has extremely low input lag for a responsive gaming experience.
If you aren't a gamer and want to save money on a portable monitor for work use, then the Dell C1422H is a good choice for a mid-range option. You don't get the same 144Hz refresh rate as on the ASUS ROG Strix XG16AHPE, which is why it isn't as good for gaming. Instead, it's similar to the ASUS ProArt PA148CTV because it also has a 14-inch screen and 1080p resolution with two USB-C ports, but it doesn't have a touchscreen or Micro HDMI input. The lack of a touchscreen is the trade-off you have to make for getting something cheaper, but the touchscreen support on the ASUS is limited anyways. 781b155fdc