Jul 10, 2023
The 8 Best Portable Monitors of 2023
Improve your productivity and playtime on the road with one of these lightweight second screens. Jump to a Section We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on
Improve your productivity and playtime on the road with one of these lightweight second screens.
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Travel + Leisure / Kristin Kempa
Arguably one of the most frustrating things about being on the road is giving up your precious double- or triple-monitor setup and making do with only a small laptop, tablet, or smartphone display instead. If you see your productivity taking a nosedive — or even your pleasure in watching movies or playing games diminishing — then it’s time to add a portable monitor to your bag to reclaim the screen space you’re missing.
The best portable monitors instantly extend your visual workspace, increasing your options for blazing through emails while simultaneously playing reruns of your favorite show, or working on a tedious spreadsheet that requires multiple browser windows instead. Best of all, these options all weigh less than 3 pounds, so you won’t have to worry about adding too much bulk either.
It lasts 3.5 hours on a single charge, delivers wireless mirroring support, and has a blue-light filter to help minimize eye strain.
While it’s quite thin with built-in speakers, it’s a bit heavier than other models.
Go ahead and extend your workspace on business, or personal, trips with an additional 15.6-inch, full HD display with the ASUS ZenScreen Go. This sleek and portable design has an adjustable kickstand for 178-degree viewing angles with vibrant color and clarity. The wireless mirroring feature (which supports iOS, Android, Chrome OS, and Windows devices) comes in handy for pulling up something on your phone and instantly displaying it on the monitor. It also easily adapts whether your phone is in landscape or portrait mode thanks to a built-in G-sensor that automatically senses display orientation.
One major selling point you’ll quickly appreciate is the blue-light filter technology to help protect your eyes from this harmful light. The package includes a Micro Mini HDMI-to-HDMI adapter, USB-C cable, and power cord and adapter, plus the unit itself has two USB-C ports. There’s also a 3.5-mm headphone jack on the display.
Price at time of publish: $300
The Details: 13.7 x 5 x 1.7 inches | 2.4 pounds | LED | 1920 x 1080 resolution | 3-year warranty
The SideTrak Swivel fits any laptop size and doesn’t require a table so it’s ideal to use outdoors or on the couch.
The display is not as bright as we’d like and it’s not compatible with laptops that have a kickstand.
No table to rest an extra monitor on? That’s no problem for the SideTrak Swivel and its patented 360-degree swivel design that securely attaches to the back of your laptop with a device-safe magnetic plate. (It's also possible to adjust the built-in kickstand if you want to use it freestanding or in portrait mode as well.) It can even remain attached as you walk around or put your laptop away in your work bag or personal item and hit the road.
This product is compatible with Microsoft, Google, and Apple laptops, and easily rotates 270 degrees for your viewing needs or swivels 360 degrees for collaboration with others. There are two sizes available — 12.5 or 14 inches — with only a nominal weight increase between the two, too.
Price at time of publish: $320 for 12.5-inch
The Details: 12 x 7.4 x 0.7 inches (12.5-inch) or 13.38 x 8.1 x 0.7 inches (14-inch) | 1.3 pounds (12.5-inch) or 1.5 pounds (14-inch) | LCD | 1920 x 1080 resolution | 1-year warranty
This monitor is a budget-friendly way to expand your productivity on the road plus it includes a lifetime warranty.
There is no battery, so you’ll need to charge it with your laptop or the included wall charger.
The price of portable monitors is coming down and this model from MNN can a real steal (especially on sale). No, its display and features won’t rival some of the pricier models on the market, but it does deliver a very usable second screen that travels well. It works in both landscape and portrait mode and comes with a scratch-proof smart cover to help keep it protected when not in use. Gamers will love that it’s even compatible with Xbox One, PS5/PS4, and Nintendo Switch, so it’s ideal for work and play. You’ll only need one USB-C cable to connect to the power supply and display video, too.
Price at time of publish: $200
The Details: 14.48 x 8.85 x 0.3 inches | 2.1 pounds | LCD | 1920 x 1080 resolution | Lifetime warranty
This 16:9 widescreen resolution makes for great gaming, movie-watching, and multitasking on projects.
It only supports USB-C connectivity (read: no HDMI) and there are no integrated speakers.
Dell decided to get in on the portable monitor game with its debut, the Dell 14 Portable Monitor. We’re glad they did because this product ticks a lot of boxes for the average traveler, starting with the fact that it weighs less than 1.5 pounds and is less than a quarter-inch thick at its slimmest point. While display controls are limited, the display is big and bright with a sturdy hinged stand that bends from 10 to 90 degrees for adjustable viewing. It’s also easy on your eyes with ComfortView technology that reduces blue-light emissions. Top it all off with two USB-C ports for extra connections.
Price at time of publish: $289
The Details: 12.7 x 8 x 0.6 inches | 1.3 pounds | LCD | 1920 x 1080 resolution | 3-year warranty
It’s so easy to install, you’ll be up and running with three screens on Mac, Windows, Linus, or Chrome in 15 seconds.
M1 and M2 Macbook Air and Pro chips that only support one extra display will require an adapter.
Why settle for just one or two screens when you can have three? With the Xebec Tri-Screen 2, you can pull up a spreadsheet on one, have another dedicated to research, and not miss a beat in your email inbox with the third. This setup fits any laptop that’s 12 to 17 inches, and attaches via a resistance band and grips (so no magnets or adhesive needed). The kickstand provides a little extra support, and extends for use with heavier laptops. The dual screens each rotate 180 degrees, have adjustable brightness, and connect via the included USB-C. However, each one is 10.1 inches wide so it’s better for extended-view use.
Price at time of publish: $499
The Details: 12 x 7.5 x 1.0 inches each | 2 pounds | LCD | 1920 x 1200 resolution | 1-year warranty
At just 1.26 pounds, you’ll never have to think twice about packing your Lenovo ThinkVision M14.
There are limited display customization options and only two USB-C ports.
Anyone tired of flimsy kickstands on portable monitors will embrace the Lenovo ThinkVision M14 with open arms. Its built-in kickstand and flip-out foot deliver the perfect height to line up with your laptop and tilting options offer optimal viewing — it even feels secure in portrait mode. Plus, the monitor is ultra-slim and ultra-lightweight, so you’ll never have to second-guess if there’s room for this handy accessory. The power pass-through is another helpful feature, and allows you to charge both the M14 and your laptop with one single adapter.
Price at time of publish: $284
The Details: 3.82 x 12.72 x 8.23 inches | 1.26 pounds | LED | 1920 x 1080 resolution | 3-year warranty
With crystal-clear 4K resolution and 10-point touch, this is the ideal portable monitor for creative professionals.
At 2.9 pounds, this model is on the heavier end of the spectrum.
The SideTrak Solo 4K Touch offers exceptional picture quality plus everything you need at the swipe of a finger, including adjustable brightness, a blue-light filter, and volume and display settings. With USB-C ports and a Mini HDMI port, it’s compatible with Windows, Chrome, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, iPhones, and Androids — and the plug-and-play design means you’ll be up and running in no time on all your favorite devices. You’ll likely also appreciate the freestanding monitor’s magnetic cover that doubles as a stand when traveling doubles (though it does prevent you from using it in portrait mode).
Price at time of publish: $480
The Details: 14.5 x 8.9 x 0.4 inches | 2.9 pounds | LED | 3840 x 2160 resolution | 1-year warranty
Gamers will welcome the built-in battery with up to 3 hours of runtime and a dedicated gaming menu of on-screen display settings.
The awkward kickstand design limits tilt angle options.
Take your gaming to the next level with the ASUS ROG Strix 15.6-inch portable monitor, which offers a 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time for fluid visuals. This full HD monitor has an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a built-in high-capacity battery with a quick-charge feature that’ll give you two hours of playtime after just a one-hour charge. You’ll receive a USB-C cable, a USB C-to-A adapter, and a micro HDMI-to-HDMI cable for easy connection to a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or game console while traveling or at home. When not in use, place it in the handy sleeve for protection. If you’d like to take your set-up to the next level beyond the kickstand, there’s a universal tripod socket, too (tripod not included).
Price at time of publish: $349
The Details: 8.88 x 14.19 x 0.46 inches | 1.98 pounds | LCD | 1920 x 1080 resolution | 3-year warranty
A portable monitor is only a welcome addition to your electronics collection if it can properly hook up to your devices, and that means you’ll need to understand which connections you have. You’ll notice that USB-C and micro-HDMI connections are the most common, so if your device doesn’t have those, then you’ll need to purchase an adapter. You’ll also want to check whether the portable monitor has a built-in battery (and how long that life is, if so), so you know how it will get power. If there’s no built-in battery, you’ll need to draw charge from your laptop (through a USB-C cable) or rely on an AC power outlet.
Are you planning to use your portable monitor to watch movies? Is it mostly for business trips with no standalone monitor for work or presentations? Will it be used primarily for after-hours gaming? There are plenty of jack-of-all-trades portable monitors that can handle all three of those scenarios with ease, but some brands and models truly excel at just one of those use cases; if you are focused on mainly using it for one specific task, make sure you’re choosing a model that shines in that area.
Even though we’re somewhat conditioned to think bigger is better with certain displays — like a big screen TV or larger smartphone — that may not necessarily be the case for your portable monitors. If you plan to mostly use it as an extra monitor while working remotely at home, larger sizes may be appealing. But if your plan is to take it on the road for vacations, business trips, or a generally nomadic lifestyle, a more compact option would be ideal for space-saving purposes.
It depends on the model, but the most common ways are through USB-C, USB-A, or HDMI cables. Usually the product will come with the essential cables for most setups, but you may find it necessary to buy an adapter depending on which ports your device has. Some portable monitors also offer screen mirroring, which allows you to wirelessly duplicate or extend your phone or tablet screen to the portable monitor.
Portable monitors are designed to extend your display — whether that’s from a phone, laptop, or tablet. However, like a desktop monitor, a portable one has no independent functionality as it’s not a computer or a television.
Some portable monitors gain “pass-through” power through the USB cord that links the monitor with your laptop. Others come with an AC adapter or power brick that you can connect to an outlet. Finally, some portable monitors have built-in rechargeable batteries that you can operate independently without the need for a power source as long as they are charged up — but know that battery life is typically only a few hours on these.
Yes, bringing a portable monitor on a plane is no different than bringing a tablet or laptop in your carry-on or personal item — these electronics are of no concern to TSA or airlines. However, you’ll want to be sure you have enough room to use it without encroaching on your seatmate’s space. With limited tray-table space, you may discover there just isn’t enough surface area for your portable monitor in-flight and only at your final destination.
Jill Schildhouse is a Phoenix-based travel writer who spends roughly 90 nights a year on the road, and her biggest gripe about traveling is leaving her two huge desktop monitors behind — one small laptop screen really dampens her ability to multitask. Now that she’s discovered the power of portable monitors, she’s stressing less about deadlines.
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