All of us have felt the need of having a desktop monitor while travelling at some time or the other. Regardless of whether you are on vacation or continuously on the move, the call of work cannot be ignored. Portable monitors, therefore, are an absolute necessity if you are someone who has to work while travelling.
Portable monitors can have two types of connections – USB and HDMI. There are certain differences between them, and each one has their own pros and cons, but the choice ultimately belongs to you. The fact that portable monitors find utility in all spheres of life – be it programming, gaming or professional work – is an added bonus. Not only do they satisfy your urgent requirements of working on a presentation irrespective of time and place, but also make sure you do not have to compromise with screen size while you are on the move.
It is a well known fact that most portable monitors in the market are not perfect. However, to think that these products are not high on productivity will be to fool yourself. Despite their imperfections, they offer just enough to satisfy customers in everyday life.
In this buying guide, let us review the most popular portable monitors in the market and handpick the best among them so that you can narrow down your list without much effort.
Portable monitors can be either USB powered or have HDMI connectivity.
USB monitors – Most portable monitors these days feature USB connection. Since these screens require a single USB cable to power up and connect to other devices, they do not require an external power unit. This not only makes setting the system up faster and hassle-free, but also makes the product convenient for travel and working on-the-go. Most importantly, these models are cheaper than their HDMI counterparts, and therefore, more popular. Several brands like ASUS, AOC, HP and Lilliput offer USB monitors at great prices on Amazon.
HDMI monitors – Monitors with HDMI connectivity can be connected to an array of other gadgets like smartphones, cameras etc. Since these monitors are more expensive, they are not too popular. As expected, there remain only a handful of models on Amazon when it comes to HDMI monitors.
The AOC e1659Fwux Pro is the first USB powered portable monitor with full HD resolution from the company. It is a powerful 16-inch display with 300cd/m2 brightness and an impressive 500:1 contrast ratio. The USB 3.0 technology effectively does away with slow data transfer rates and ensures impeccable performance. The design is stylish enough, with the piano-black glossy finish giving it an elegant look.
One of the best things that many customers have vouched for is the stability of the stand. No matter at what angle you place it, the screen remains firm and steady. It is fully powered via USB and no power cord or VGA cable is required. It is compatible with Windows 7, 8 and 10.
The only con is that it is a bit on the heavier side in comparison to its competitors in the market. If you are not comfortable with carrying a slightly heavier monitor around, AOC’s e1659Fwu Ultra Slim monitor (discussed below) might be an option for you.
The ASUS MB168B is marketed by the company as being the slimmest and lightest monitor in the world with a single USB 3.0 connection for data transfer as well as power. On the outside, the model looks sleek and elegant. The metallic finish further gives it a fine touch.
It comes with a two-way adjustable stand and a protective sleeve that makes travelling with it a hassle-free experience.
On the specifications front, the numbers are great. The 15.6 inch HD display comes with a 1366 by 768 resolution. The brightness is claimed to be 200cd/m2 and the contrast ratio is 500:1.
The EzLink technology by ASUS is a much-appreciated plus. Its function is to automatically restore application window positions during connection and disconnection, and also offer the option of auto-switching between landscape and portrait modes according to your needs.
If you are rather fond of HDMI monitors and are ready to dole out a few extra bucks, here’s something for you. As a reputable electronics manufacturing company, GeChic is known for offering portable monitors with HDMI and VGA connectivity. The 2501C mobile monitor continues to be a highly rated model in this category, with a lot of Amazon customers expressing their satisfaction regarding the make.
The 15.6 inches high definition display boasts of a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels that ensure sharp, clear images in any environment at different angles. At only 2.27 pounds, the product is noticeably lightweight and therefore, ideal for packing and travelling. It uses real video input and allows connection to a variety of devices like smartphones, cameras, laptops, DSLRs and others. The stylish black cover that comes along with the product has the ability to double as a stand if such a need arises.
The ASUS MB169B+ model has a lot of features similar to the MB168B variant mentioned above, but there is one thing in this model that particularly stands out. It is backwards compatible with a notebook or a desktop PC USB 2.0 port. This means, even if you don’t have access to the USB 3.0 which is obviously a lot faster, easier and better for high quality images, you do not need to worry.
The monitor uses a single USB cable for both power and video signal. Like the previous ASUS display, this too features the EzLink technology. It is fast, convenient and user-friendly. The design is minimalistic, but attractive, and the product comes with a smart case. It has a 3-year manufacturer warranty.
The GeChic 1303H model is compact, lightweight and an overall perfect device to carry while travelling. If you are planning to increase your productivity during a vacation by setting up a mobile workstations, this is the monitor you must use as a second display to your laptop. This portable monitor comes with HDMI connectivity; so you do not need USB for transferring data. Interestingly, this product can be connected to both Mac and Windows operating systems, and is available in mirror or extended mode.
When it comes to screen size, some may find the 13.3” inch screen to be slightly smaller than what they want. As for gaming while on the move, it’s just about the right size. Further, the 1080p display comes as a major boost, and the company claims zero lag while using it as a portable screen for Xbox and PS4. The fact that you can use it both in portrait as well as landscape mode makes the product all the more lucrative for purchase.
This is a relatively cheaper model at just below $100. It has a 16 inch display and a resolution of 1366 x 768. It is similar to the Pro model in that this monitor also uses USB 3.0 connection and the same signal interface for operation. The ultra slim design permits convenient storage and better portability, making it ideal for those who cannot compromise with work even during trips.
The 1101H model is one of the recently launched GeChic monitors that support HDMI, VGA as well as MiniDisplayPort inputs. The screen size is a letdown at 11.6 inches, but the superior quality IPS panel more than makes up for it by offering 178 degree wide viewing angle. It can be connected to PCs, Macbooks and laptops as a secondary display, and is compatible with gaming consoles, tablets and smartphones.
AOC e1759Fwu 17-inch Ultra Slim USB Powered Portable LED Monitor – The specifications for this 17” monitor are quite impressive – 1600 x 900 HD resolution, 220 cd/m2 brightness, contrast ratio of 650:1, aspect ratio of 16:9. It features USB 3.0 technology for faster and easier transfer of data. The ultra slim design makes it lightweight and easy to carry around. It comes with a flexible stand and a neat case for protection.
A full HD 1080p display coupled with a 15.6” wide screen, a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and an aspect ratio of 16:9 is what makes this monitor a prominent addition to this list. It requires no driver installation; so you can simply plug and play. It is thin, lightweight (1.75 lbs), and hence, extremely portable. It has both HDMI and VGA inputs, and is priced at $349.99 on Amazon.
The GeChic 1002 is a great example of a portable touchscreen monitor. It has a sleek design with a 10.1” wide IPS panel that allows smooth experience. It is a USB powered monitor that can be connected to laptops, PCs, cameras and smartphones via real video inputs as well like VGA and HDMI. No driver installation is required for its use.
There are a few specific features that you need to keep in mind while purchasing a portable monitor. Some areas like contrast ratio, brightness and response times will never be as good as a primary desktop monitor; so fretting over these is simply a waste of time and energy. You need to know and appreciate the features that can be improved upon and the criteria that a good portable monitor must meet.
Connectivity – These monitors come with either HDMI connection or USB connection. Each of these have been talked about earlier, and by now, you must be pretty sure about the kind of product you are looking to buy.
Screen size – This is an important issue when it comes to using portable monitors as secondary displays. The standard size is 15.6 inches, but a couple of inches on either side of the spectrum won’t do much harm.
Resolution – There are two kinds of standard resolution – HD and FHD. Resolution determines how clear your images will be on the screen. Understandably, higher the resolution, higher is the price.
Price – The price range for portable monitors on Amazon is markedly wide. You need to understand that a number of factors like screen size, resolution, connectivity etc. go into determining the price of a particular product. Moreover, factors like brand value which you can compromise on also come into play. Being clear about what suits you the best and which features are completely redundant for you is the secret behind buying the best portable monitor.
The fact that so many options are available in the market makes choosing a decent portable monitor a frustrating affair. Specifications can be quite puzzling when it comes to portable displays; so you need to understand which the ones that actually matter are. This guide was solely dedicated to a better understanding of portable monitors and the best ones available on Amazon. In that regard, we hope it has helped you in deciding on your pick in this category.