best portable monitor

8 Best Portable Monitor Picks for Travel (November 2019)

Are you looking for the best portable monitor to take with you on your travels, or to purchase for your tech setup, but have no idea where to begin? Identifying the best portable monitor for you simply comes down to your needs. Whether you’re shopping on a budget, need specific USB C connectivity for your new Macbook, or are a serious gamer and want 4k resolution, there is a portable monitor on the market that is right for you.

In this article, I take a good look at 8 of the best portable monitor picks on the market. Each portable monitor suits a different type of user, from Mac users to gamers. Together, we’ll look at the numbers and features behind each portable monitor, and also understand the pros and cons of each one. This way, you can make an educated decision about the best portable monitor to buy for you, specifically.

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Quick Picks

Don’t have time to read through the article? That’s not a problem! Take a look at our quick picks to get you directly to the portable monitor that best fits your needs.

Best Overall Monitor: GeChic 1503H 15.6” Portable Monitor
Best Asus Monitor: ASUS MB169B+ 15.6” Portable Monitor
Best 4k Monitor: U Perfect 4k Computer Portable Monitor
Best USB C Monitor: Newsoul 15.6” Portable Monitor
Best Monitor for Macbook: Newsoul 15.6” Portable Monitor
Best Portable Gaming Monitor: G-Story GS173H Portable Monitor
Best Large Monitor over 15.6”: Planar Helium PCT2235 22”-27” Monitor
Best Budget Monitor: AOC USB Portable Monitor
Best Touchscreen Monitor: G-Story 15.6” Ultrathin Touchscreen Portable Monitor

8 Best Portable Monitor Picks

If you’re ready to roll, let’s dive right in and look at 8 of the best portable monitor picks and the reasons why they would be a great purchase.

Best Overall Monitor

This pick is suitable if you’re looking for a portable monitor for travel that scores well across the board and isn’t too specialized.

GeChic 1503H 15.6” Portable Monitor

Check Price on Amazon
Screen Size:15.6”
Connectivity:HDMI | VGA | USB C
Display Resolution:1920×1080
Display Type:LCD HDR
Weight:1.75lbs
Refresh Rate:60Hz

If you’re eager to operate on the industry-beloved 1080p display, and you want a portable monitor with plenty of oomph, then GeGhic’s 1503H is a portable monitor you should definitely take a closer look at.

With its Full HD and IPS LCD display, you get 1920×1080 of crystal-clear definition. To accompany this, the 170 degrees vertical and horizontal viewing angle gives you a wide spectrum of scope for optimal viewing, while the LED backlighting installment gives you exceptional brightness.

At 1.75lbs, it’s one of the lightest on the market, and for the specs you’re getting, the USB connectivity is enormously impressive. To accompany the portable monitor, GeChic has also included some great hardware. The monitor comes with a vertical and horizontal detachable stand, giving you a range of angles to position your portable monitor from. You do also get limited touchscreen capabilities, depending on your setup.

Connectivity-wise, it covers a good range of bases. With both HDMI and VGA, you get connectivity with many laptops, computers, mini PCs, and gaming consoles, while the USB C connectivity allows you to connect to computers and laptops equipped with the newest version of USB. All-in-all, it’s a sleek, multi-function portable monitor, with an impressive display and an excellent choice to travel with.

Pros

  • You get astounding image quality at full HD resolution, superior to many portable monitors in the same space on the market.
  • USB powered, which is remarkable for the specs, and no powerpoint required.
  • Very lightweight, which makes it ideal for travel.

Cons

  • The buttons and the physical interface are not the sleekest.
  • With this particular model, you will need two cables to use the power, video, and touchscreen features, unlike other models from GeChic, which do it all with one cable.
  • On the higher end of the spectrum in terms of price, so if you’re purchasing on a budget, it may be out of your range.

Best Asus Monitor

If you’re keen to purchase an Asus portable monitor specifically, here is my top pick for the brand.

ASUS MB169B+ 15.6” Portable Monitor

Check Price on Amazon
Screen Size:15.6”
Connectivity:USB 3.0 | USB 2.0 (backwards compatible)
Display Resolution:1920×1080
Display Type:LED HDR
Weight:1.76lbs
Refresh Rate:75Hz

Asus have been pioneers in the portable monitor space for many years now. Even though today, there are more options on the market than ever before, Asus is still highly regarded by many who shop for portable monitors. For those who swear by the Asus brand, I’ve selected the MB169B as their go-to portable monitor.

Asus boasts this is the world’s slimmest and lightest USB monitor (November 2019), and for a simple USB connection, the specs you get are mightily impressive. With a Full HD LED Display, across a 1920×1080 resolution, coupled with an impressive 75Hz rate, you get an excellent picture quality.

In addition to the portable monitor, Asus also gives you a durable protective sleeve and a two-way adjustable stand, accompanied by the Asus Smart Case, which gives you an auto-rotating display. There’s a great deal of tech and durability packed into those portable monitor extras that save you hours of time looking around for stands.

Finally, the blue light filter helps reduce eyestrain and is an excellent feature that has paved the way for many more portable monitors to add this feature to their displays. Oh, and if you would like to save yourself money, you also have the option of purchasing the WXGA version rather than the Full HD version, which drops you down to a 1280×800 display, but does save you a great deal on the price, if you simply need the portable monitor to function, and not dazzle.

Pros

  • The specs are mightily impressive for the size and the singular USB connectivity, and you won’t need to plug into a power source.
  • The blue light filter is a great feature, as eyestrain is a common problem with portable monitors.
  • At 1.76lbs, its incredibly lightweight and easy to travel with.
  • The smart case and stand are great additions, and because you’re dealing with Asus, you have great support and a wide userbase to tap into.

Cons

  • USB 3.0 (2.0 backwards) connectivity only is a huge drawback, considering how so many other portable monitors on the market offer impressive cross-functionality across HDMI, USC-C, and the like.
  • The monitor does not work with MacBook or MacBook Pro, a common choice for many travelers, and you will need to check your laptop or computer specs for compatibility while making sure you’re operating on Windows 7+.
  • Due to its ultralightweight frame, its more fragile than other portable monitors. If you’re going to travel with it, make sure it is well protected.
  • Ultimately, if you need a USB lightweight, portable monitor with impressive specs, it’s great. But beyond that, its features are limited. Worth purchasing if you want to use it with a Windows laptop or computer, but not much else.

Best 4k Monitor

If you don’t want to sacrifice on 4k resolution, but still want all the functionality of a portable monitor, this pick is for you.

U Perfect 4k Computer Portable Monitor

Check Price on Amazon
Screen Size:15.6”
Connectivity:Mini HDMI | USB C | USB PD | Mini DP
Display Resolution:4k 3840×2160
Display Type:LCD HDR
Weight:1.9lbs
Refresh Rate:60Hz

Unwilling to compromise on your screen resolution, and want only the best for gaming and watching movies? Then U Perfect is here to enthrall you with their 4k portable monitor.

Naturally, we have to start with the display. With this portable monitor, you get a whopping UHD 3840×2160 resolution display, with IPS panel included. The 300cd/m color is crisp and vivid, and with a 178-degree viewing angle, you get a quality picture even from the tightest of angels. With a 60Hz refresh rate, the display also runs well and smoothly.

The monitor also comes with plenty of extras. Along with the portable monitor, you get a leather case, 1x HD chord, 2x Type-C chords, and a 100W power adapter. The adapters are great if you’re still operating on HDMI or USB 3.0, and need an adapter for the transfer.

Naturally, with all that juice, it’s an excellent gaming monitor. If you need it for work, streaming, or other internet-based tasks, it’s going to have more than enough power to keep you covered.

Connectivity-wise, if you’re operating on older machines, you will need to rely on their adapters. But with Mini HDMI, USB C, USB PD, and Mini DP covered, you have scope to connect a range of computers, laptops, gaming consoles, and other devices, without much trouble.

Pros

  • The quality of the display and all its features are breath-taking. Few on the market can come close to this level of display quality for the size of the screen.
  • Synchronize time between the monitor and your device is 3-5ms, which is ultra-fast, and again impressive.
  • The adapters and extras included with the portable monitor purchase are welcome additions.

Cons

  • With both Mini HDMI and USB C, there may be a lot of adapters required for your devices and hardware. The adapters need to be firmly pushed in.
  • On-screen UI for the monitor is a little clunky and not the best thought out.
  • It will connect solely with a USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 2 cable, but you will need to purchase this separately.

Best USB C Monitor

Here is my pick for a portable monitor if you’re specifically looking for USB C connectivity.

Newsoul 15.6” Portable Monitor

Check Price on Amazon
Screen Size:15.6”
Connectivity:HDMI | USB C | USB PD | OTG | Mini DP
Display Resolution:1920×1080
Display Type:LCD HDR
Weight:1.99lbs
Refresh Rate:60Hz

If you’re looking for features by the bucket load and USB-C connectivity, feast your eyes on this delicious little number that Newsoul has brewed up.

Display-wise, it has a mightily impressive list of specs. With the Full HD 1080p IPS screen, you get an incredible quality picture packed into a 15.6” screen. In addition, the 178-degree full viewing angle give you excellent picture quality from whatever angle you view the screen, and the built-in eye care technology helps reduce eye strain, for the times you spend hours looking at the monitor.

Additional features include an impressive built-in dual stereo speaker. Admittedly, you’ll probably have your own sound setup, but if you do opt to use the internal speakers, the quality holds up, and some, for a portable monitor speaker.

With a fluid LCD HDR display, 60Hz refresh rate, and at a light 1.99lbs, this portable monitor does boast an impressive range of specs and features.

Finally, we come to connectivity. Newsoul has gone above and beyond to make this portable monitor functional with as many devices as possible. With USB-C, HDMI, Mini DP, OTG, and USB PD that gives you a connection to USB 3.0, as long as you have the correct cables, you have a wide range of devices to connect this impressive portable monitor to.

Pros

  • Covers connectivity across USB 3.0, USB C, HDMI, and Mini DP, meaning laptops, computers, gaming consoles, keyboards, smartphones, tablets, and mice of all kinds can be connected.
  • An incredible range of features and specs make for an excellent display.
  • Comes with 1 x HDMI cable, 1x Type C to Type C cable, 1x Type C to USB A Cable, 1x Adapter, a smart cover, and a blue light screen protector, which save you plenty of time looking for these additions.

Cons

  • Naturally, all that functionality does not come cheaply.
  • The brightness range is a little limited compared to other portable monitors on the market.
  • The screen protector and smart cover are welcome additions, but they’re not the best or most durable products on the market. If you want to invest in covers with a little more muscle, it’s worth looking at what else is out there.

Best Portable Gaming Monitor

If your portable monitor is a purchase purely for gaming, you’re going to need a portable monitor that pulls out all the stops when it comes to display rate and functionality.

G-Story GS173H Portable Monitor

Check Price on Amazon
Screen Size:15.6”
Connectivity:Headphone | HDMI | USB-C
Display Resolution:4k 3840×216
Display Type:LED UHD
Weight:2.54lbs
Refresh Rate:60Hz

A true titan of a portable monitor, G-Story’s GS173H was very much built with gaming in mind. Over 15.6”, you get a gorgeous Ultra HD 4k 3840×2160 resolution display, with high dynamic range support to support the display in even the most intense of battles. If that wasn’t enough, it comes with FreeSync technology to eliminate screen stuttering and produce an incredible quality image. The FPS/FTS Game Plus function, on top of everything else, elevates your picture quality when playing in high-intensity FPS game modes.

With a combination of HDMI and USC C, you have all the connectivity you need to connect game consoles, laptops, and a variety of other devices.

Complete with a leather cover to carry it on your travelers, a screw-on stand, and remote; this is a portable monitor that pulls out all the stops and reaches a level of quality gamers simply need for an excellent experience.

Pros

  • For gaming, they really have added an almighty array of features and specs for a phenomenal gaming experience. Few portable monitors can come close to what this offers.
  • Although 60Hz stated, on some consoles, up to 120Hz refresh rate can be supported.
  • For its weight, it’s very sturdy and durable.

Cons

  • Ports are not positioned in the most accessible places, particularly if you have the case on. You may need longer wires.
  • Speakers, if you use them, are on the back, meaning the sound projects away from you.
  • The frame itself is a little clunky, and not the sleeked designed portable monitor on the market.

Best Large Monitor

Want to go larger than 15.6”, but still have a monitor that you can travel with? Try the pick below:

Planar Helium PCT2235 22”-27” Monitor

Check Price on Amazon
Screen Size:22” | 24” | 27”
Connectivity:HDMI | VGA | DVI-D | USB 2.0 | USB 3.0
Display Resolution:1920×1080
Display Type:LCD FHD
Weight:7.9lbs
Refresh Rate:60Hz

If you’re looking for a portable monitor that’s more desktop or small television size, rather than laptop or tablet screen size, Planar Hellium’s PCT2235 range comes with some impressive specs.

Starting at 22”, with the option to move to 24” or 27”, you get a smooth and fluid Full HD LCD display, operating at 60Hz refresh rate over 1920×1080. To hold and tilt this portable monitor, you also get the choice between a Helium Stand, or Duel Hinge Stand, if you order the 22” or 24” version. This gives you an excellent range of tilt, from 15-70 degrees.

With built-in touchscreen, you also get an excellent range of connectivity options. HDMI, VGA, DVI-D, and both USB 2.0 and 3.0 will cover you for a range of consoles, devices, and laptops, excluding models that work with USB C technology. The integrated speakers, while not ground-breaking, more than hold their own for a portable monitor, if you did need to use them as a backup audio option.

If you’re willing to sacrifice some of the portability, such as the bulkier weight, and obviously size, this is a great large monitor to take with on your travels for both work and entertainment.

Pros

  • The touchscreen is a great addition and is very responsive to even the driest of fingertips.
  • The Vesa mount and accompanying stands are welcome additions and allow you to create a stern structure for this larger monitor.
  • With HDMI, VGA, DVI-D, and USB options, you have a wide range of connectivity at your fingertips to use for a wide selection of devices.

Cons

  • You will need a power outlet to operate the screen, at to use the touchscreen, at times you’ll need up to three cables plugged in (power, video, USB) for the monitor to work.
  • The Touchscreen is not pressure-sensitive, so it’s not recommended for artists and creatives who need pressure sensitivity in their chosen software.
  • Lacks some of the features, such as IPS, found in other portable monitors.

Best Budget Monitor

Sometimes, if you’re traveling extensively, or you don’t want to spend the Earth on your tech, you simply need something that works well within a suitable budget.

AOC USB Portable Monitor

Check Price on Amazon
Screen Size:15.6″
Connectivity:USB 3.0 | USB-C
Display Resolution:1366×768
Display Type:LED
Weight:2.4lbs
Refresh Rate:60Hz

If you’re looking for a portable monitor that’s simple, gets the job done, and is on the lower end of the price scale, then AOC’s USB portable monitor has you covered.

Feature-wise, admittedly, it is a little lighter than some of its counterparts. However, the 1366×768 resolution is still accompanied by a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio and 200 cd/M2 Brightness. The picture may not be the sharpest, but for someone looking for a monitor to simply plug in and get on with things, the specs are more than up to scratch.

If you purchase more than one AOC portable monitor, you can use them all simultaneously with your laptop or computer. The software to achieve this is simple enough to install, and this feature gives you peace of mind if you do want to travel with more than one monitor. No power source is required for these monitors. You simply plug them in, and they work from there.

This portable monitor also has an excellent built-in flexi-stand, which can be used to view the monitor in both portrait and landscape orientation. It’s a neat little feature that really enhances the travel-like nature of the monitor, particularly with the addition of auto-pivot mode.

There are two USB 3.0 versions, one with HD and the other full HD, if you’re looking for even better picture quality. There is also a Full HD USB-C version via the DP alt mode if you need USB-C connectivity. If you are shopping on a budget, and you’re not too precious about display quality or features, this is a great choice of portable monitor.

Pros

  • The built-in flexi-stand allows for both orientations and helps save space as you won’t need a stand.
  • Now power source required as they plug straight into your laptop or computer’s USB port.
  • For the price, you’re still getting a solid range of specs, such as an industry-standard 60Hz refresh rate and LED display.

Cons

  • With only USB 3.0 and USB-C (with the upgrade) connectivity, you’re very limited with the devices you can connect it to.
  • At 2.4lbs, it’s one of the heavier portable monitors out there.
  • With a 1366×768 display resolution, and lacking many of the features higher-end portable monitors boast, you are going to notice the lower quality display, color ratio, and have more issues with glare.

Best Touchscreen Monitor

Need a portable monitor that integrates touchscreen technology, so that you can use both your keyboard and fingers, simultaneously? Luckily, G-Story have a monitor for you.

G-Story 15.6” Ultrathin Touchscreen Portable Monitor

Check Price on Amazon
Screen Size:15.6″
Connectivity:Headphone | USB-C | Mini HDMI | Micro USB
Display Resolution:1920×1080
Display Type:LCD
Weight:2.31lbs
Refresh Rate:60Hz

If you’re grown accustomed to touchscreen and want your portable monitor to have this functionality, then G-Story’s touchscreen portable monitor has the potential to be a great addition to your traveling tech setup.

As picture quality goes, this portable monitor boasts some impressive specs for its size. With a 15.6” display size, coupled with FHD picture across a 1920×1080 dimension, you can enjoy even the most action-packed of movies, or intense gaming battles, in a quality environment. The welcome 60Hz refresh rate and 220cd/m2 brightness only help the display hold its own.

This feature is further enforced by the addition of FreeSync and HDR function, which will work overtime in the background to drastically reduce the issue of the display stuttering and blinking. The FPS/FTS game plus function is also a great feature if you’re a big FPS gamer. For gamers of all types, this portable monitor possesses all the tools to deliver a quality picture.

Moving on to connectivity, and if you’ve moved to a USB-C supported laptop, you’re not going to have any issues. The micro USB and mini HDMI connection give you connectivity across all the major consoles, including Playstation 4, Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, and PC, in addition to a range of smartphones.

The touchscreen itself recognizes all ten fingers, and it’s very responsive. Physically, it’s a sturdy piece of gear, and the built-in speakers and headphone jack are great additions, even if it’s unlikely you’re going to use them.

Pros

  • Few portable monitors on the market offer touchscreen, and even less a touchscreen feature as responsive as this.
  • A strong, sturdy portable monitor for such an ultrathin frame. The smart cover does wonders to protect the screen, and the built-in stand is very durable and doesn’t wiggle.
  • The good specs, accompanied by the gaming features, make the display an excellent choice for those wanting to game and watch video while they travel.

Cons

  • All the features mean the screen drains the battery quickly, and it does need a power supply.
  • At 2.3lbs, it’s heavy for a portable monitor.
  • The absence of USB 3.0 connectivity is frustrating, considering how so many people still operate on a USB 3.0 laptop.

Understanding Portable Monitor Jargon

best portable monitor

This section will cover jargon and areas relevant to portable monitors specifically. However, if you’d like to learn more about the likes of screen size, aspect ratio, and dimensions, be sure to visit the ‘understanding the jargon’ section of our Best Ultraportable Laptops for Travel article.

The Difference Between LED and LCD Display on a Portable Monitor

You’ll notice that on portable monitors, the display type will either be LED or LCD. Both are liquid crystal displays, but whereas LCD displays use fluorescent lights to display the picture, LED displays use light-emitting diodes, hence the abbreviation.

Unless you’re keen to nerd out on the technology, don’t overly worry about what that means. The important things to note are the pros and cons of using LED or LCD. In short, LED produces a better picture quality than LCD. This is for two reasons. The first is the use of RGB (red, blue, and green) colored lights, which produce a sharper image. And the second is the fact light-emitting nodes can be dimmed, there are fewer issues with light glare.

However, it is worth noting that the difference between the two is far more noticeable on large, high-res televisions, where picture quality is very much under the spotlight. For a portable monitor, the difference is much less noticeable. Both LCD and LED provide a high level of picture quality.

As LED will often cost more, if you are going to use your portable monitor more-so for entertaining and gaming, it may be worth thinking about investing in an LED screen. If your portable monitor is being used for work, and casually watching entertainment, both will provide you with a high-quality picture.

What is a Portable Monitor Refresh Rate?

Very simply, a monitor’s refresh rate is the number of times, per second, it can update the display with new images, information, graphics, and so forth. Naturally, the higher the number (measured in Hz), the more seamless your picture quality will be, no matter how much motion.

All the portable monitors on this list have a Refresh Rate of 60Hz and above, which is more than acceptable for monitors of such size. If you do invest heavily in your streaming or gaming monitors for a home or desktop setup, however, there are rates of 120Hx, 240Hz, and even higher, on the market.

How to Connect a Monitor to a Laptop or Device and Understanding Connectivity

You’ll notice there is a wide range of connectivity ports on so many devices, and unfortunately, it is something you’re going to need to understand before you purchase a portable monitor.

To connect your device to the monitor, you’re going to either need a cable or an adapter and a cable. Let’s say, for example, your laptop has a HDMI port, and your portable monitor has a HDMI port. All you need to connect the two together is a HDMI cable. Simple enough.

However, if your laptop has a HDMI port, but your portable monitor has a mini HDMI port, you would need an adapter. This adapter would probably be called ‘HDMI to mini HDMI,’ and you would connect your HDMI cable to it. The HDMI cable would plug into your laptop and the adapter into the mini HDMI cable on your portable monitor.

Before you purchase, it’s important to note down all the ways your device(s) can connect, by looking at the ports on their side or rim. Then, cross-reference this with the portable monitor you’re looking to buy. Often, the monitors will come with cables included, but you will need to double-check this. If you have different ports, you’ll definitely need to invest in the right type of adapter.

Portable Monitor Summary

One last time, here are my best portable monitor picks for travel, according to specific needs:

Best Overall Monitor: GeChic 1503H 15.6” Portable Monitor
Best Asus Monitor: ASUS MB169B+ 15.6” Portable Monitor
Best 4k Monitor: U Perfect 4k Computer Portable Monitor
Best USB C Monitor: Newsoul 15.6” Portable Monitor
Best Monitor for Macbook: Newsoul 15.6” Portable Monitor
Best Portable Gaming Monitor: G-Story GS173H Portable Monitor
Best Large Monitor over 15.6”: Planar Helium PCT2235 22”-27” Monitor
Best Budget Monitor: AOC USB Portable Monitor
Best Touchscreen Monitor: G-Story 15.6” Ultrathin Touchscreen Portable Monitor

You Might Also Like to Read

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