If you’ve got a large, permanent desk at your home or office, it’s cheap and easy to connect your laptop to one or more external displays. However, if you’re on the go, you can’t lug a 27-inch monitor in your bag nor can you likely fit it on a tiny hotel or coworking table. That’s where the best portable monitors come in.
Portable monitors typically range from 14 to 17 inches and most come with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, though some can hit 4K and the cheapest models may be just 1366 x 768. These monitors weigh just a couple of pounds and most of them can draw power directly from your laptop’s USB ports, meaning you don’t have to carry yet another power brick in your bag.
Most portable monitors are designed for productivity work, providing a helpful second screen for your laptop that’s often the same height as its built-in display. However, people also use portable monitors for console or PC gaming, with some operating at up to 144 Hz. You can even connect one that uses HDMI to your Raspberry Pi.
Below, we’ve listed the best portable monitors you can buy right now. If you want to stay productive on the road, don’t leave home without one. For your permanent desk, check out our lists of best gaming monitors, best 4K gaming monitors and best budget 4K monitors.
- Make sure it connects to your device(s). Some monitors connect over standard HDMI, which lets them work with almost anything, while others use USB-C’s alternate mode. A select few provide DisplayLink connectivity, which allows them to plug into any USB 3.0 capable port, even an old-fashioned type-A connector.
- Pay close attention to monitor kickstands. A kickstand can be a make-or-break proposition for some portable monitors. The best portable monitors have a built-in kickstand that allows you to easily adjust the display for the best possible viewing angles. On the other hand, some monitors have separate, magnetic origami-style covers that double as a kickstand. These are rarely (if ever) better than a good built-in kickstand and can ruin an otherwise good display experience.
- Battery or no battery? Most modern portable monitors draw power over USB-C, either via a dedicated wall charger or by drawing power directly from your laptop. However, some models, like the Asus ROG ROG XG16AHPE and XG17AHPE, have a built-in lithium-ion battery that allows you to game without being plugged into a wall. So, if you prefer to connect to your laptop via HDMI, you could do so with just a single cable with battery-equipped monitors.
- Productivity or Gaming? Most portable monitors come with a standard 60Hz refresh rate, which is perfectly fine for productivity tasks and suits most consumers. However, some alternatives like the Asus ROG ROG XG16AHPE and ViewSonic VX1755 offer up to 144Hz refresh rates and support for Adaptive-Sync technologies for those that want to game on a portable display that’s larger than what their laptop natively offers.
For more guidance picking a monitor of any resolution – gaming or otherwise – check out our PC Monitor Buying Guide and list of the Best Computer Monitors.
The Best Portable Monitors You Can Buy Today
The Asus ROG Strix ROG XG16AHPE is a gaming-centric portable display that supports a 144 Hz refresh rate and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility from its IPS panel. That’s a nice departure from the standard 60 Hz panels typical in this class. The ROG XG16AHPE also is formidable on the endurance front, thanks to its built-in battery.
The ROG XG16AHPE measures 15.6 inches diagonally and has the typical 1920×1080 resolution. Thankfully, the IPS panel provided excellent viewing angles in our tests, but it features a rather odd kickstand that cuts diagonally across the back of the monitor. However, we found that this unorthodox design allows the ROG XG16AHPE to easily transition to portrait mode.
The aforementioned built-in battery’s capacity is 7,800 mAh and is rated for 3 hours when operating at 144 Hz. In our testing at 144 Hz, our runtimes managed to come in right around Asus’ factory estimate.
The Asus ROG ROG XG16AHPE doesn’t come cheap at $399, but its gaming and color performance are commendable. The built-in battery also comes in handy if you want to cut down on the number of cables needed when operating out in the field.
More: Asus ROG Strix ROG XG16AHPE Review
The Viewsonic VX1755 shares a similar design theme with the Viewsonic TD1655, right down to its black front, minimal bezels, color scheme and downward-firing speakers. It is constructed of high-quality plastic, with metal being reserved for the pop-out stand.
It supports a 144 Hz refresh rate like the ROG XG16AHPE, and backs that with AMD FreeSync Premium Adaptive-Sync technology. Not only could you pair the VX1755 with a laptop to expand your workspace or simply provide a larger screen to game on (versus, for example, a laptop’s built-in 13-inch display), but you could easily use it with an Android smartphone (via USB-C) or with an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 console.
When it was time to hit our benchmark stand, color performance was similar to the VD1655, which is below average. We measured 64.2 percent of the sRGB color space and just 45.5 percent of DCI-P3. On the plus side, we measured 250.6 nits for brightness, which is dead-on with ViewSonic’s 250-nit claim.
Despite its larger screen and 144 Hz refresh rate support, the ViewSonic VX1755 is priced identically to the TD1655 at $299. We’d consider that a bargain for a gaming-centric portable monitor with solid build quality.
More: ViewSonic VX1755 Review
The Lenovo ThinkVision M14t comes in a bit on the smaller side compared to other portable monitors, measuring in at 14 inches across. It maintains a 1920 x 1080 resolution at 60Hz and features excellent image quality from its 8-bit IPS panel.
Lenovo boasts 300 nits brightness with the ThinkVision M14t, although on our light meter, it peaked at 250 nits. One of the standout features of the monitor is support for 10-point multi-touch input. A stylus is also included if you’d like to draw or write text on the screen. The stylus has multiple sensitivity levels when drawing, and the built-in handwriting recognition in Windows 10 and Windows 11 can convert your handwriting into ASCII text.
When it comes to connectivity, we should mention that the only way to connect the ThinkVision M14t to a laptop is by using USB-C (DisplayPort Alt Mode), which is a limiting factor. Many monitors in this price range (and cheaper) at least offer HDMI connectivity as an alternative.
If the $449 price tag is too high for you, Lenovo also offers the ThinkVision M14 priced at $200 less.
More: Lenovo ThinkVision M14t Portable Monitor Review
For most gamers, 144 Hz is more than adequate, particularly for a portable monitor. However, if you’re an eSports gamer and need even more speed, the Asus ROG Strix XG17AHPE is a great choice, because it can do up to 240 Hz.
If you thought that the Asus ROG Strix ROG XG16AHPE was brawny, you haven’t seen anything yet. Its overachieving sibling, the ROG Strix XG17AHPE dives deeper into enthusiast gamer territory with a larger 17.3-inch IPS display.
The monitor has two USB-C ports (DisplayPort Alt-Mode supported) and Micro-HDMI for connectivity, features a 3ms response time, boasts a maximum 300 nits brightness, and a contrast ratio of 1,000:1.
Given its size, the Strix XG17AHPE is a bit on the hefty side, weighing in at 2.3 pounds. However, that added weight includes a 7,800 mAh battery, which recharges over USB-C with Power Delivery 3.0 support.
In our testing, the monitor lasted roughly 2 hours per charge when running full-bore at 240 Hz at 80 percent brightness, with the speakers blaring at full volume. On the opposite end of the spectrum, pegging the refresh rate at 60 Hz with 50 percent brightness saw runtimes extend to four and a half hours.
If you’re looking for a portable monitor that can handle output from a laptop, gaming console or even a Raspberry Pi, the ROG Strix XG17AHPE is an excellent choice.
More: Asus ROG Strix XG17AHPE 240Hz Portable Monitor Review
If you need your portable monitor to do video or photo editing, it helps to have vibrant colors and lots of pixels. Not only does the Zion Pro feature a dense 3840 x 2160 resolution for a 15.6-inch monitor, but it also uses AMOLED display technology that allowed it to cover the full DCI-P3 gamut in our tests. This means rich colors that are unmatched in this category, but the infinite contrast means that you get inky blacks and a huge color gamut.
On the connectivity front, you’ll find one HDMI 2.0 port and a single USB-C port. Two speakers are onboard; there’s even 10-point multi-touch for those that like navigating through the Windows 10/Windows 11 user interface using your fingers. This is truly a portable monitor that won’t disappoint when it comes to color performance and features.
However, no monitor is perfect, and the Zion Pro gets some demerits for its icon-based OSD and tedious adjustments needed for proper calibration. We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention the price, which comes in at a hefty $600. But if you’re looking for a beautiful display that can match (or exceed) the color performance and clarity of the best built-in laptop monitors, the Zion Pro is hard to ignore.
More: Zion Pro AMOLED UHD Portable Monitor
Discounts on the Best Portable Monitors
Whether you’re shopping for one of the screens that made our list of best portable monitors above or something else, you may find savings by checking out our best monitor deals page, along with our lists of Dell coupon codes, Lenovo coupon codes, LG coupon codes, HP coupon codes, Monoprice coupon codes and Newegg promo codes.
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