A portable monitor helps you stay mobile, accomplish other tasks with ease, and expand your screen real estate so you can get a lot more done in the time you are given. It also comes with great features, takes up less space, and serves as a good backup when your main screen is out of order.
With the dozens of different models, sizes and styles available today, it can be a real chore finding one that’ll suit your needs. We’re going to explain in detail what to look for when choosing a portable monitor.
Size is an important factor depending on your needs and lifestyle. Large display monitors are good for presentations and gaming, while smaller or medium-sized ones are useful for people who travel often or attend school because they’re easier to carry around. The sweet spot is a mid-sized 12- to 17-inch monitor like the AOC I1601FWUX USB-C Portable Monitor, which is easy to carry around as you travel, good for entertainment, and doesn’t easily get damaged like larger screens.
Smaller portable monitors that are 11.6 inches and below are still easy to travel with and use, but the display is smaller, so it may not be favorable depending on your needs. Make sure the size you pick can fit in your backpack or laptop bag, otherwise you’ll only be adding to the weight you’re already carrying.
If you’re doing basic projects, work or assignments that require simple programs like Google Docs or MS Office, 4K resolution is more than enough, as such programs don’t need higher resolutions.
Check for an HD display to get sharper images and clearer pictures and a bezel display for a higher-quality picture and edge-to-edge screen. Lower-quality displays than HD only deliver dull pictures or images that can make you strain if you’re using them for long hours.
Anything with full HD (1920×1080) or similar to your computer’s resolution will be ideal for seamless usage and will serve you better over a long period of time.
Check the monitor’s contrast ratio so you can get the highest quality resolution plus great performance. You could get many with 600:1 but 1000:1 is the best recommended ratio and will ensure you get a better display.
It’s also important to get the color ratio right, as this affects your experience as you watch or use the monitor. You can tweak the display to your liking in your display settings or from your keyboard.
A portable monitor should be lightweight so that it’s easier to carry around in your bag or luggage while also supporting your work. It also reduces any strain on your back if you’re carrying it in a backpack.
Check for the features you need in a monitor is the ideal weight, like the Lenovo ThinkVision M14, which is only 1.26 lbs. Not only is this easy to carry, but it also helps you avoid overweight baggage costs if you’re traveling by air.
Ease of Use/Connectivity
Setting up your portable monitor shouldn’t be a chore. To avoid this, check for models with plug-n-play compatibility so you can easily and quickly connect to your laptop (preferably with a regular USB-C port) and use it. This way, you can also pack lighter as you won’t need to carry around too many long and bulky cables for your monitor.
Check the ports on the monitor and ensure they match those on your computer/laptop. If they don’t match, you may need to buy an adapter.
Ideally, a portable monitor with a UDMI port is considered a universal port and is efficient in terms of connecting your laptop to other displays.
Most recent models have USB ports type A and type C like the ASUS MB169C+, which offers the high-resolution display you need, but type C is more powerful and much faster, as it can charge your monitor faster while offering a quality display.
Extra ports like HDMI and ports for headphones are good to have for entertainment purposes like listening to music, gaming, or watching videos and movies.
A portable monitor should come with a built-in battery that’s at least 5000mAH for efficiency, so you can use it away from a power outlet for a good amount of time.
It should also use minimal power so you can have more time to use it, especially when there’s a power failure, and to extend the battery life. Check for a lithium-ion battery-powered monitor because such batteries are small but have high-voltage handling capacity.
Also check the power source to see whether you can charge the monitor using a USB cable. If not, you’ll have a harder time finding ways to power it, as it can’t charge from your laptop.
Touchscreen is often touted as an optional feature for a portable monitor. If you have a need for it, then you should look for one that comes with touchscreen capability.
A portable monitor with touchscreen capability can be more expensive than others and draws more power, too. Make a decision whether you need the touchscreen feature before you shop.
The market may not be as big right now, but there are still some good options to pick from if you want a portable monitor with touchscreen support. A good example is the Asus ZenScreen Touch (MB16AMT), whose screen supports 10-point capacitive multi-touch input so you can use standard finger-based touch gestures like scrolling, stretching or pinching to control it. It also has a stylus pen whose soft end allows you to scroll and tap on links and has other touch functions as well.
The portable monitor you pick should be durable, as it’ll spend most of its time in different kinds of bags, and you want to protect it from dents, breakage or scratches. You can get a protective sleeve, though many models come with this as an extra. Get an aftermarket protector if you want even more protection.
High-quality audio is good for gaming, watching movies, video-conferencing or Zoom meetings and much more. Check for a portable monitor with a high-quality speaker system that’s able to adjust the volume up and down.
Another good-to-have extra is auto-rotating orientation, as this helps you use the monitor with all kinds of tasks. Some portable monitors also come with foldable stands to prop up the monitor and double as protective covers for the display.
We hope you now know what to look for when choosing a portable monitor. Brand is a non-issue as is price, because they’re not the best way to tell the monitor’s value. Happy shopping!