If you're on the go and want something for both work and gaming, you'll need a portable monitor, but with so many options out there, which one is best?
Portable monitors may not be as powerful as some of the best gaming monitors, but they do pack a punch for their size, and nowadays you can actually get 4K portable monitors which have impressive refresh rates too.
The best portable monitor has to tick off a few boxes. It has to be lightweight and slim enough to make for easy travel, and it has to have a quality display, such as an IPS, that delivers good viewing angles and colour.
Portable monitors aren't really for high-stake gaming, which we'd say you should stick to either a 240hz or 360hz monitor, but they can be used in a pinch to give you a smoother gaming experience than what your existing laptop screen can provide.
Portable monitors are fundamentally extra screens so they're great for gamers, traders, designers or writers. We've picked some of what we think are the best around, based on specs, reviews and features they offer so you can kick off your search in the best way possible.
Let's get to it!
Best Portable Monitor
Best Portable Monitor - Lenovo Thinkvision M14
Manufacturer: Lenovo | Screen Size: 15 inches | Connectivity: USB-C | Resolution: 1920x1080 | Brightness: 300 nits | Weight: 570g
The Lenovo Thinkvision M14 represents one of the best options for a portable monitor out there, especially for those working on the go.
A 15-inch screen should give you plenty of space for completing tasks and Full HD credentials with a 1920x1080 resolution also make this a decent option for watching videos. It's also an IPS panel which should also offer great viewing angles.
You'll also find connectivity via USB-C which works for both charging and video input, so you can connect up a laptop for either purpose and utilise a dual-screen set-up too.
A weight of 570g also means that the Thinkvision M14 is a relatively portable display too.
Best Portable 4K Monitor - UPERFECT True 4K Portable Monitor
Manufacturer: UPERFECT | Screen Size: 15.6 inches | Connectivity: USB-C, Mini HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Brightness: 400 nits | Weight: 860g
If you're wanting more than the usual Full HD panels then the UPERFECT True 4K Portable Monitor might just be the portable choice for you.
A resolution of 3840x2160 means this portable beast offers a 4K UHD resolution and also supports HDR. Combine this with 400 nits of brightness and a contrast ratio of 1000:1 and you've got a seriously capable panel.
Moreover, a screen size of 15.6 inches should also be big enough to take advantage of the gains of 4K quality, but also be compact enough to make this a portable choice.
This UPERFECT monitor also features an aluminium outer shell meaning it should also be quite a sturdy option, and you'll also find all sorts of ports, including USB-C, Mini HDMI and even a 3.5mm jack.
Best USB-C Portable Monitor - Asus Zenscreen Touch (MB16AMT)
Manufacturer: Asus | Screen Size: 15.6 inches | Connectivity: USB-C, Micro HDMI | Resolution: 1920x1080 | Battery Capacity: 7800 mAh | Brightness: 250 nits | Weight: 898g
For the best candidate with USB-C connectivity, look no further than the Asus ZenScreen Touch (MB16AMT).
USB-C connectivity is a must-have for fast data transfer and even charging a number of devices with ease.
This display also features its own integrated 7800mAh battery meaning it can recharge itself which can be handy if your laptop is running low on power.
You'll also find bundled stereo speakers with this display and a brightness of 250 nits which should be crisp enough for day to day working, along with the Full HD panel on offer, too.
Best Budget Portable Monitor - AOC I1601FWUX
Manufacturer: AOC | Screen Size: 16 inches | Connectivity: USB-C | Resolution: 1920x1080 | Brightness: 213 nits | Weight: 816g
If you're going for a more wallet-friendly option, the AOC I1601FWUX is worth checking out.
You're getting a 16 inch IPS Full HD panel here is as good as monitors double or triple the price and a brightness of 213 nits should keep images looking sharp.
Moreover, you'll find what we think looks to be a sturdy kickstand, and the ability to pivot the AOC I1601FWUX so it can be used in a vertical fashion.
USB-C connectivity is also bundled in with this AOC offering. and there is a touchscreen version of this panel available.
AOC also make some of the best budget gaming monitors, so that definitely puts this portable pick in good stead.
Best Portable Monitor For Gaming - Asus ROG Strix XG17AHP
Manufacturer: Asus | Screen Size: 17.3 inches | Connectivity: USB-C, Micro HDMI | Resolution: 1920x1080 | Refresh Rate: 240Hz | Battery Capacity: 7800 mAh | Brightness: 300 nits | Weight: 2.88kg
The gamers in the audience will be pleased to know that we've got an option for them - it's the incredible Asus ROG Strix XG17AHP.
As for standout features, you're getting a sharp brightness of 300 nits and a 17.3 inch Full HD panel with a 3ms response time and highly accurate colours, making this a portable monitor with some cracking credentials.
There's also support for VRR thanks to this monitor having AMD FreeSync bundled in which should help to offer some tear-free gameplay.
You'll also find connectivity through either USB-C or micro HDMI, giving you a couple of different options, and the same 7800 mAh integrated battery as the Asus ZenScreen Touch (MB16AMT), giving you plenty of juice whilst gaming.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you're stepping into the world of portable monitors there are a few questions worth knowing the answers to, that come up time and time again.
Here are our two cents on some of the most frequently asked.
How are portable monitors powered?
You can power portable monitors in two ways: either via a USB-C cable from your laptop or with rechargeable batteries as we'll get onto later.
Much like wireless headphones, having battery units in a product increases the weight and can increase the thickness of the device too, so choose wisely if you're going to be taking this monitor on the move.
Do portable monitors have HDMI ports?
Yes, but most have mini-HDMI ports or USB-C ports. If you don't fancy getting a brand new cable for your device, you could easily purchase an adapter.
Do I need an integrated battery with a portable monitor?
Opting for a portable monitor with an integrated battery like the Asus ROG Strix XG17AHP will give you that little bit more usage time, as it doesn't need to draw power from anywhere else.
However, it isn't a must-have if you don't mind others like the Lenovo Thinkvision M14 which will draw power from your laptop via its USB-C connection whilst in use.
Can I use a portable monitor as a tablet?
Given that some portable monitors like the Asus ZenScreen Touch (MB16AMT) have a touch screen, it is possible to use them as a tablet.
There is one small caveat to this - you then need a device that has a desktop version of its mobile operating system. For example, Galaxy phones have Samsung DeX which allows for any supporting device to connect via USB-C to a monitor which can then be used as a tablet.
Can you connect a portable monitor to a desktop?
Much like the case with laptops, you can connect a portable monitor to a desktop via the bundled USB-C port and use it as your main driver if that's what you're into.
Or, if you want to have it as a secondary screen that you only use for some of the time, then having something convenient like a portable monitor could work pretty well.
How much should you spend on a portable monitor?
You can spend anywhere between $150 and way above for one of these handy displays, but generally speaking, you should be able to find something with good resolution, good colour, and high refresh rates around the $250 mark.
Of course, 4K displays will be more expensive, however, at typically smaller sizes you'd don't actually need 4K for it to still look sharp.
Read More: The Best USB-C Monitors - Our Top Picks