If you are a designer, a programmer, or a photo/video editor, odds are you have a dual monitor setup at home or at work. It is definitely a great way to boost productivity and gives you more room to work with. But configuring a dual monitor setup can be a bit of a hassle at times, especially when you don’t have much desk space to work with.
This is more of a problem when you work on the go than while sitting at home. If you frequently take your work from place to place, you might find that just having your laptop screen can be limiting. Let’s say you want to follow a tutorial on one screen, and work on the other, how would you go about doing that?
Well, you can make a simple upgrade to your portable setup. A portable monitor can make your life much easier. It doesn’t matter what type of work you do, a secondary portable monitor can help you get more done.
But high-quality portable monitors can get expensive. This, of course, depends on screen size, resolution, and build quality. Don’t fret, as we’ve rounded up some of our favorites so you’ll find the best one for yourself in this list.
The Gechic 1503H is the first portable monitor on our list, and for good reason. This is a no-nonsense portable monitor that is made for getting things done as accurately as possible. It has an IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. It has a minimal design, a crisp display, and a very durable stand.
The design language here is pretty simple. There aren’t any flashy logos on the front of the display. The bezels are a bit thick for modern standards, but that’s not too much of an issue when you’re focused on work. The connectivity is on the left side of the display. We have an HDMI port for video input, A VGA port (a bit dated for today), and a USB Type-C port for power.
Sadly, this Type-C port is paired with a Type-C to Type-A cable, and the monitor doesn’t play well with other third-party cables for some reason. Gechic could have made this a USB-C powered monitor for video as well, which is the only real complaint I have.
The image quality is excellent. It has 301 nits of brightness, so you can use it outside in shade with ease. The IPS panel is excellent, and it provides for superb viewing angles. There’s not much input lag either, which means you can pair it with a Nintendo Switch or other console if you want.
Overall, it might not have many bells and whistles, but when it comes to overall quality, this is the best money can buy.
The ASUS Zenscreen MB16AMT is another excellent choice for professionals on the move. It’s almost the polar opposite of our top pick, as it comes with a lot of bells and whistles. This feature-packed portable monitor might be a bit pricey, but it’s a good option if your workflow requires a secondary display with a touchscreen.
The best part about the design is how lightweight and sleek it is compared to its competitors. The thin bezels are a nice touch as well. The magnetic cover serves well as a powerful hybrid stand, and it offers different angles of elevation. The touchscreen is responsive and feels good. The stylus is decent, but it’s not the most accurate thing out there for artists.
Let’s talk about the screen. With a crispy 1080p IPS panel, image quality is as good as we expected. The non-glare coating works great outdoors, and with 250 nits of brightness, it is used outdoors without much issue. However, the colors can get a bit dull for our taste.
The Zenscreen has a built-in battery, and it can run on that for 4 hours. This is amazing if you are low on juice or need to pair it with a phone. The one cable connectivity is another great feature. It works with a wide variety of platforms as well, whether it be macOS, Windows, smartphones, etc.
The only thing that will cause hesitation when you decide to buy this is the quality control issue. People have reported that it isn’t the most durable thing in the world. But those are few and far in between, and if you take good care of it, that shouldn’t be a problem.
The AOC I1659FWUX might not be the sleekest and it might not have the most seductive design. However, it’s not supposed to be the most feature-rich portable monitor out there. AOC decided that they wanted to offer exceptional value for money, and they have done just that with this great product.
This portable monitor has quite a generic design language. With thick black bezels at the front and a large AOC logo to go with that, it’s not exactly the most gorgeous monitor in the world. However, when it comes to getting things done, that doesn’t matter as much. It can fit in most briefcases or laptop bags.
The best part about this monitor is that it is powered just by one USB 3.0 Type-A port. You don’t need any separate cables for power or for the signal. This is impressive considering the price. The image quality is excellent with great viewing angles, deep blacks, and surprisingly good color reproduction. In terms of performance, this monitor is impressive.
However, there are two small issues worth mentioning. First off, it doesn’t play well with Linux and can be a bit of a hassle to set up. The build quality isn’t exactly the most premium thing in the world either. But considering the value for money, this a great pick on a budget.
4. Huion Kamvas 13 (2020 version)
Best For Artists
- Perfect for digital artists
- Accurate stylus is a joy to use
- Laminated display results in better accuracy
- Some issues with macOS
- USB-C cable not included
Screen Size: 13.3-inches | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Video Input: USB Type-C, HDMI | Power: AC Adapter, USB-C
Up until now, we’ve covered portable monitors for mostly video editors, programmers, etc. You can also use any of the above three monitors for gaming if you want. However, let’s mix things up a little bit and show some appreciation to the digital artists out there. If you are looking for a great pen display for drawing on the go, the Huion Kamvas 13 is a great option.
Huion drawing tablets have always been in the shadow of Wacom tablets for a while now. This is mainly due to marketing and brand recognition, but Huion has caught up. The Kamvas 13 2020 is an exceptional portable monitor which is actually a pen display first. The 1080p 13.3-inch display is laminated, which means it is more accurate to draw on. And yes, you can treat it just like any other monitor to watch videos on it.
There is a set of programmable buttons on the left, which can be customized to any software that you use. The battery-free pen is excellent, and it offers 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity. Huion also includes a stand which is a nice touch. It performs well with a variety of drawing and illustration software.
Input is handled by a proprietary 3 in 1 dock. You plug in the HDMI and USB connections into this dock, and the dock plugs into your laptop. Apart from that, you can also use a USB Type-C cable for both power and signal. But you’ll have to buy that separately from Huion, as finding the right cable is a hassle.
Overall, considering the value for money, this portable monitor is the best choice for digital artists always on the move.
5. GeChic 1102H Portable Monitor
Best For Photographers
- Lightweight and extremely compact
- Tripod/Camera mounting options
- Great image quality
- Bland/Boring design
- OSD controls can be frustrating
Screen Size: 11.6-inches | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Video Input: HDMI, VGA | Power: USB 3.0, Built-in Battery
The GeChic 1102H is a great compact portable monitor that isn’t marketed towards photographers per se, but it could be a great budget picker for filmmakers and professional photographers alike. At 11.6 inches, it is incredibly small and easy to carry. The design is mostly made out of plastic, but that’s not too big of a deal.
The mounting brackets for tripods and cameras are made out of metal, which does instil some confidence. The monitor has a micro HDMI input and a VGA input. For power, you will need to attach a USB 3.0 cable, but it is worth mentioning that it has a built-in battery inside. It can run off that battery for about 4-5 hours.
It is the smallest and most lightweight monitor on this list. At 480g, it’s easy to forget that you are carrying it. This is important if you are already lugging a log of heavy camera gear around. Apart from the slightly boring design, and the OSD controls being hit or miss, there’s not much wrong here.