You love your new laptop, but with limited display sizes, a second monitor is a great option, especially for doing graphic design or any work where you have multiple windows open at once. Of course, you want to be able to take your second monitor with you anywhere you take your laptop, so a portable monitor is the way to go. Of course, you’ll sacrifice some things for portability, most notably resolution, but also refresh rate.
What to Consider
It stands to reason that when looking at monitors, you’d be interested in resolution. However, we’ve found that the selection of 4K monitors is very slim, and those that are available aren’t worth the added expense. As such, all the monitors making this list are 1080p. There are, however, a few things you’ll want to consider.
Connectability: You’ll want to make sure that you can connect your laptop to your monitor so check to see what type of inputs it has. Having more than one option is always should you want to connect it to another device like your phone.
Power source: As you will be taking your monitor to places that may or may not have power outlets available, it’s important to check how it is powered. Many portable monitors are powered via your laptop using the same USB-C cable for transferring video, while others have their own rechargeable batteries.
Weight: The real measure of a device’s portability is its weight. Lighter is, of course, better, as you will be carrying it along with your laptop in your bag.
How We Selected
We sorted through many reviews from reputable sources such as Forbes, Best Products, PCMag, and The Strategist to find the best portable monitors available. Taking price, specs, and uses into consideration, we devised the list below to help you pick out one that will work with your setup and budget.
1. BEST OVERALL
Lenovo ThinkVision M14 Portable Monitor
A universal favorite among critics, the Lenovo ThinkVision M14 earns high marks for its screen quality and portability while remaining competitively priced. This 14-inch IPS display has a 1080p resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio. It is capable of 16.7 million colors and has been praised for its brightness.
The screen is attached to the base by a hinge that allows you to angle it from -5 to 90 degrees. There is also an adjustable riser so that you can set the screen at the same height as your laptop’s display. The ThinkVision M14 weighs just 1.25 pounds, so you can easily carry it with your laptop in your bag.PROS
Only connects via USB-C
2. BEST TOUCHSCREEN
Asus ZenScreen MB16AMT Portable Monitor
If you have a need for touchscreen capabilities and have the budget, this Asus ZenScreen is the way to go. The 15.6-inch display supports 10-point touch gestures like pinching, swiping, dragging, and scrolling on most newer Windows and Android machines. Plus, it has a 7800mAh battery built-in that will go for four hours before you need to recharge.
The 1080p IPS screen has a 178-degree viewing angle, while the stand, which folds to use as a case when you’re not using the monitor, lets you orient it horizontally or vertically. With USB-C, USB-A, and micro-HDMI inputs, it also has plenty of connectivity.PROS
Plenty of inputs
3. BEST BUDGET
Auzai ME16Z01 Ultra Slim Portable Monitor
Frequently available for $200 or less, the Auzai ME16Z01 nonetheless has many of the features of more expensive monitors. This 15.6-inch IPS display gives you full HD (1080p) resolution, a 60Hz refresh rate, and a plethora of input options (two USB-C and a mini HDMI). It’s also super portable; it’s only 0.14 inches thick and weighs just 1.4 pounds.
You won’t get a lot of bells and whistles and the speakers don’t sound great, but this is a good option for those looking to get a portable monitor without breaking the bank.PROS
Stand isn’t great
4. BEST ATTACHABLE
SideTrak Slide Portable Monitor for Laptop
Of course, it makes sense that if you’re going to use a second monitor with your laptop, you will want the two displays to be side by side.
SideTrak has taken that idea one step further and made a monitor that attaches to your laptop. The 12.5-inch monitor’s framework attaches to your laptop using magnets. And while it can be easily removed, it doesn’t need to be as the display slides into the framework on the back of your computer when you’re not using it.
The IPS display boasts a 1080p resolution, though it isn’t as bright as some other monitors, nor does it have as wide of a color gamut. Still, weighing just 1.5 pounds, it is a very convenient way to add a second monitor to your laptop.PROS
Can stay attached when not in use
Display is a little dim
5. READY RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX
Lepow Z1-Gamut Portable Monitor
Another value-driven monitor, the Lepow Z1-Gamut is one of Amazon’s best-sellers. It’s with good reason as it gives you a lot of bang for the buck. At 320 nits, it’s a very bright screen, and such vibrance is then coupled with a wide color gamut. The 15.6-inch IPS display is full HD (1080p) and supports HDR.
Even better, bundled with three cables (USB-C to USB-C, mini HDMI-HDMI, and USB-C to USB A), it has everything you need to start using it right out of the box.PROS
Includes three cables
Sound is lacking
6. BEST FOR MACBOOKS
Asus ZenScreen MB16ACV Portable Monitor
If you’re looking to add a second monitor to your MacBook and you happen to have a newer iPad model, one option is to use Sidecar to wirelessly pair the two. If you don’t have an iPad or simply want a larger second display, look for one that you can connect via USB-C, like our pick from Asus.
This 15.6-inch IPS display can be oriented either horizontally or vertically, is flicker-free, and has a Blue Light filter to reduce eye strain. Its 1080p resolution may look a little dull when next to your MacBook’s Retina screen, but is otherwise sufficient for most uses.PROS
USB-C power delivery
Kickstand is less versatile