Portable laptop second screen: Lepow C2S Portable Monitor Review

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The 3 Best Portable Monitors of 2023

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Photo: Dave Gershgorn

FYI

This guide has been updated to include an upgrade pick, the LG Gram +View.

Rolling up to a café with a laptop and a portable monitor lets the whole room know you’re a busy professional who needs to get work done. But aside from impressing the half-caff crowd, portable monitors are a useful way to add another screen to your laptop, especially when you’re on the go. We recommend the Asus ZenScreen MB16ACV, a quality 1080p monitor that can also work over USB-A if your laptop doesn’t have a USB-C port. And if you’re looking for a higher resolution option, the LG Gram +View has a fantastic 1440p display.

Our pick

Asus ZenScreen MB16ACV

The Asus ZenScreen MB16ACV has a sharp 1080p display that makes a great second monitor for work.

If you want a simple, affordable portable monitor that’s easy to use, we recommend the Asus ZenScreen MB16ACV. It has a 15.6-inch display with a 1080p resolution, which looks equally good while typing up documents and watching videos. Its integrated stand means you can use it in landscape and portrait orientations, and it connects to your laptop via a USB-C cable. You can also download additional software that lets you use a full-size USB cable to transmit video to the portable monitor, so it can be used with older laptops or as a smaller secondary monitor for desktops.

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Also great

Asus ProArt PA148CTV

The Asus ProArt PA148CTV has 10-point touch capability and highly adjustable picture settings, making it great for creative uses.

Not many portable monitors add features to your computer, but Windows users can add a touchscreen to their laptop with the Asus ProArt PA148CTV. This 14-inch, 1080p portable monitor also has a great menu for adjusting color performance and a well-placed tripod mount for use in studio setups. And the software integrations with Adobe Creative Cloud allow you to use touch controls while editing your photos and videos.

Upgrade pick

LG Gram +View

The LG Gram +View has a high-resolution 1440p display that’s great for small text, and a magnetic cover that doubles as a stand.

For a higher-resolution display and great colors out of the box, we recommend the LG Gram +View. Its 1440p display is better than our other picks for working with small text, which is helpful if you spend a lot of time looking at spreadsheets and documents. Aside from its image quality, we liked the monitor’s magnetic cover that doubled as a stand.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Asus ZenScreen MB16ACV

The Asus ZenScreen MB16ACV has a sharp 1080p display that makes a great second monitor for work.

Also great

Asus ProArt PA148CTV

The Asus ProArt PA148CTV has 10-point touch capability and highly adjustable picture settings, making it great for creative uses.

Upgrade pick

LG Gram +View

The LG Gram +View has a high-resolution 1440p display that’s great for small text, and a magnetic cover that doubles as a stand.

The research

  • Why you should trust us
  • Who this is for
  • How we picked and tested
  • Our pick: Asus ZenScreen MB16ACV
  • Upgrade pick: LG Gram +View
  • Also great for media pros: Asus ProArt PA148CTV
  • What about a tablet?
  • Why do portable monitors look blurry with Macs?
  • The competition

Why you should trust us

Dave Gershgorn has reviewed and covered technology since 2015 at publications such as Popular Science, Quartz, Medium, and now Wirecutter. He covers all computer displays for Wirecutter and is a certified display calibrator through the Imaging Science Foundation.

Who this is for

A portable monitor adds a second screen to your laptop if you frequently travel or don’t have a set place to work every day. Some portable monitors, like our top pick, can even be used as displays for a desktop computer or Steam Deck game console.

These portable monitors are a neat way to take a fully fledged work setup on the go, but they’re not the best option if you work at a desk. Standard monitors are typically about the same price, much larger, and a bit higher quality than their portable counterparts.

How we picked and tested

A great portable monitor has a sharp, bright screen and easily connects to a laptop with a USB-C cable. It should be a simple and reliable device that doesn’t need to be tinkered with often, and can be used in both landscape and portrait orientations. We used the following criteria while researching and testing dozens of different portable monitors, including top sellers on Amazon and those well-reviewed on other websites.

  • Resolution: We only considered displays with a 1080p resolution or higher. However, it’s important to also check the visual sharpness of each model, as cheaper 1080p displays can often look fuzzy.
  • Color: A great portable monitor should be color accurate out of the box and have menu options to match the color of the display to your laptop for a more consistent experience.
  • Brightness: Since portable monitors will be taken out to coffee shops, parks, and beyond, it’s important to have a screen that’s bright enough to be usable in sunny conditions. We looked for displays that output at least 250 nits of brightness.
  • Contrast: A monitor with poor contrast will look dull and faded, and images will look flatter. We prefer monitors that have at least a 1000:1 contrast ratio.
  • Price: Portable monitors shouldn’t cost more than a desktop monitor, so we considered models in the $200 to $450 range.
  • Stand: A stand can make or break a portable monitor. We prefer stands that allow the monitor to be used in either landscape or portrait orientation.
  • Size: Most portable monitors range in size from 14 to 16 inches. When physically comparing models, the size difference between 14-inch and and 16-inch monitors didn’t change how we used or carried them. If you have specific size requirements or prefer a small backpack meant for 13-inch laptops, then you might want to consider a 14-inch model. Otherwise, most sizes are similar enough that we prioritized other metrics like color, price, and brightness.
  • Ports: We required at least one USB-C port for video and power. Some models have extra USB-C ports for charging your laptop through the display, but unless your laptop only has one USB-C port and no other way of charging, this feature isn’t crucial.
  • Extra features: Some displays have ¼-inch screw mounting points so they can be mounted on tripods or stands for filmmaking and other custom setups, touch support, or wireless connectivity.

We tested nine portable monitors, including models from Asus, Dell, HP, Innocn, Lenovo, and LG. We used each monitor for at least a day of work in a café away from our regular office, which included typing up documents, working with spreadsheets, watching videos, and chatting on Slack. To ensure that we picked the sharpest display with the best color, we ran side-by-side tests in which the same image was shown on two portable monitors for visual comparison.

We also checked that each manufacturer lived up to its claims by using the Calman Ultimate software and Calibrite ColorChecker Display Plus to verify the maximum brightness and contrast of each display, and to validate our visual assessment of each monitor.

Our pick: Asus ZenScreen MB16ACV

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

Our pick

Asus ZenScreen MB16ACV

The Asus ZenScreen MB16ACV has a sharp 1080p display that makes a great second monitor for work.

The Asus ZenScreen MB16ACV is a basic, high-quality 15.6-inch portable monitor that’s easy to use in landscape or portrait orientations, and it isn’t too expensive. It has one USB-C port to connect your laptop (or other device) and an understated black design.

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

The ZenScreen is easy on the eyes. During our testing, the ZenScreen was sharper and text was more consistently legible compared with other 1080p displays. We found the screen easy to read on for a few hours of work, without feeling like our eyes were straining. Like all of the portable monitors we tested, we did have to adjust the “scaling” settings on Windows and MacOS to make text, buttons, and other parts of the operating system a comfortable size. But once we set the scaling, we didn’t have to adjust it again.

We found the ZenScreen’s color a bit green out of the box, but just a few seconds spent tweaking the settings easily fixed that issue. We prefer the Game Mode picture setting with the Skin Tone set on “Reddish.” This is one of the reasons we really like the ZenScreen MB16ACV: It has a comprehensive menu that allows for granular adjustments of how the display shows color.

It’s bright enough to get work done in an office or a coffee shop. The ZenScreen MB16ACV reaches 250 nits of brightness. If you have a MacBook or higher-end Windows laptop it will likely be a bit dimmer than your laptop screen, depending on your brightness settings. It’s bright enough to do work and casually watch TV, though. The monitor also has good contrast—we measured a contrast ratio of 1010:1, just above our threshold of 1000:1, which means the picture shouldn’t look washed out.

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

One of the standout features of the ZenScreen is its stand. The stand flips out from the ZenScreen’s bottom edge and has small rubberized feet to keep the monitor stable. It’s sturdy, and the hinge stays in place. The stand also has a small cutout on its right side, so that the monitor can be placed in a portrait orientation. In this setup, the display leans back slightly, enough for it to be stable without messing with image quality or making the monitor wobbly. The monitor also has a ¼-inch screw hole on its back, which is the standard screw size for tripods and photo gear, making it easy to mount as part of a mobile photo setup.

The ZenScreen’s one USB-C port is all you really need. If your Windows laptop or computer doesn’t have a USB-C port, you can also hook up the monitor over a normal USB-A port. You just need to download a DisplayLink driver from Asus’s website, and then the display will automatically connect when plugged in. We tested this by running the ZenScreen as a secondary monitor for a Windows desktop, and after installing the driver it worked just as seamlessly as with a laptop.

We also like that the ZenScreen comes with a soft case to protect the display while you’re traveling.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

Many other portable monitors have two USB-C ports. The Asus ZenScreen MB16ACV only has one USB-C port to connect it to a laptop or computer. Having two USB-C ports, one to connect to the computer and another for power to charge that laptop, is useful. But it isn’t totally necessary if your laptop has two USB-C ports of its own, or another way to charge. For most people, one USB-C port is fine, but it’s worth noting.

Some features on the ZenScreen, like auto-rotate and USB-A compatibility, require you to download extra software. This is something to be aware of, but we don’t think it’s a huge deal.

Upgrade pick: LG Gram +View

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

Upgrade pick

LG Gram +View

The LG Gram +View has a high-resolution 1440p display that’s great for small text, and a magnetic cover that doubles as a stand.

The LG Gram +View has a higher-resolution display than our top pick and looks great out of the box without the need to tinker with any settings. It also has a magnetic foldable cover that acts as a stand, making the +View a slim portable monitor that should slip into most backpacks and bags.

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

The Gram +View’s high-resolution display makes text sharper and images clearer. The monitor has a 2560×1600 resolution display, usually known as 1440p or 2K resolution. This means text and images are sharper than a 1080p display. Other monitors offer higher or similar resolutions for hundreds of dollars more, but the LG Gram +View is the cheapest high-resolution portable monitor we could find from a company we trust. It costs $350, so you’ll pay about $150 more than our main pick for better resolution and picture quality.

The +View displays natural-looking colors. It also doesn’t need the settings adjustments that we recommend on lower-cost monitors. This is a good thing, because the +View’s display settings can only be controlled by a Windows app. The app functions, but it’s just a bit slow. The display is also bright enough to easily use in a sunny café or office, with 350 nits of brightness. That’s about a third brighter than our top pick, the Asus ZenScreen.

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

The magnetic stand is also the monitor’s cover. It magnetically attaches to different points on the display, but these points aren’t marked, so it takes a bit of trial and error at first to line up the magnets. Once you have this down it becomes pretty easy to flip back the cover into being the stand. The stand is slightly less stable than some of our other picks, but perfectly usable.

The +View has two USB-C ports, one more than our top pick. It also supports passthrough charging, so you can charge your laptop with its own cable, or plug the power into the portable monitor and charge through it.

Also great for media pros: Asus ProArt PA148CTV

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

The Asus ProArt PA148CTV is built for creative professionals who need an additional monitor on set or as a part of a mobile editing setup. It’s a 14-inch, 1080p display with touch support and integrations with Adobe products, so you can use the monitor as a control panel for software like Photoshop and Premiere Pro.

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

It also has Asus’s fantastic on-screen menu. The menu offers a ton of options for tweaking the colors and image quality.

Touch input worked seamlessly when connected to a Windows laptop. Unfortunately, this monitor will not add touch functionality to macOS. Instead, we recommend our other pick to Mac users, as the extra price isn’t worthwhile if you can’t use the touch control.

What about a tablet?

An iPad can be a good second screen for someone who has a Mac, using the Sidecar feature (as long as the Mac was introduced in 2016 or later, and the iPad is 6th-gen or later). Sidecar lets you connect your iPad to your Mac as a second display, with just one or two easy clicks.

However, we’d recommend against getting an iPad if you only want to use it as a portable monitor. It does have a higher resolution than our picks, but it is physically much smaller. You’ll have less screen space to work with, and it generally feels cramped. A larger iPad Pro would be a better second-screen experience, but then you’re talking about spending $1,000 or more for a second display. But if you already own an iPad, or want to mostly do iPad things and occasionally use it as a second screen, then it’s entirely doable.

Our top pick is a bit cheaper than buying an iPad new, so this advice is best if you already have one, or if you’re choosing between a portable monitor and an iPad.

However, we’re not able to recommend a tablet as a second screen for Windows laptops. Apple’s devices work seamlessly together in a way that Windows devices don’t. Senior staff writer Joel Santo Domingo has used software like Duet Display for years and stands by it as a solution, but we haven’t yet tested these kinds of software solutions thoroughly. We’ll update this guide when we do.

Why do portable monitors look blurry with Macs?

While testing both portable and desk-based monitors, we found that some lower-resolution displays looked significantly worse when used with Macs rather than Windows laptops and PCs. After some research and testing, we think this has to do with the fact that all Mac displays use Apple’s Retina technology.

Mac computers tailor the image they send to an Apple-certified monitor with a process called display scaling. This process is meant to create a sharp, properly sized image, no matter the size of the display. However, newer Macs running Apple’s M1 and M2 chips seem to have difficulty scaling for lower-resolution displays, providing us with results that looked worse than expected. This was most noticeable when using a portable monitor with a Mac running the older macOS Monterey, and though that blurriness improved on Macs running on the latest macOS Ventura, the operating system’s settings made it difficult to get a sharp, properly-scaled image. If you’ve plugged a monitor into your Mac and it looks blurry, we’ve noticed this issue too. We reached out to Apple about this issue, but the company didn’t offer a response.

We were able to find and test one workaround for this problem—macOS software called BetterDisplay. It essentially creates a fake monitor, called a dummy, that your Mac thinks is a shiny, expensive high-resolution display. The Mac sends its scaled-up version of the picture to your dummy, which passes it to your portable monitor where the image looks far sharper than before. The setup process takes a minute or two, but then it configures automatically every time you plug in the display. You’ll need to buy BetterDisplay for $15 for continued use, but if you want to try it out first the developer offers a two-week demo with all features enabled.

The competition

If you want a smaller display to match a 14-inch laptop, the HP E14 G4 is a solid option. It has a 14-inch, 1080p display with a sturdy stand and basic on-screen menu for changing brightness, contrast, and color. It is smaller and more expensive, and has about the same image quality as our top pick, but if our top pick is out of stock, this is the model we’d recommend. However, it’s currently out of stock, so we can’t recommend it at the moment.

The Dell C1422H is extremely similar to HP’s E14 G4 in size and image quality, but it has fewer image settings and costs a bit more. We think HP’s version offers a bit more value for the price.

We tested two monitors from Innocn, the 13A1F and the 15K1F. The OLED displays in both models give great contrast and deliver appealing colors, but we found both of these monitors to be blurrier than the competition. When tested side-by-side against the other models using LCDs, it was unfortunately apparent that we couldn’t recommend the Innocn displays for most people.

Lenovo sent us its ThinkVision M14d, a 14-inch display with an impressive 2240×1400 resolution. It’s a nice monitor, but the $475 price tag is simply too expensive.

We also tested the Asus ZenScreen Go MB16AWP, a higher-end display with wireless connectivity and its own internal battery. This model has some really great promise, with the ability to connect it to your phone to use as a larger screen for watching TV or movies. However, when testing the wireless features we found that many popular streaming services limit how their videos are viewed, which includes streaming video locally to another wireless device nearby. When we were able to successfully stream video using Plex, the video was chopping and unwatchable. The wireless communication worked great for adding a second wireless display to Windows computers, though, so if you have those specific needs, this could be a good solution. Overall, an extra $250 for the battery and wireless features of the Asus MB16AWP didn’t seem worthwhile given the restrictions.

This article was edited by Caitlin McGarry and Arthur Gies.

Meet your guide

Dave Gershgorn

Dave Gershgorn is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter. He’s been covering consumer and enterprise technology since 2015, and he just can’t stop buying computers. If this weren’t his job, it would likely be a problem.

Further reading

  • The Best Monitors

    by Dave Gershgorn

    We’ve spent hundreds of hours researching and testing monitors of all shapes and sizes to find the best one for any need (or budget).

  • The Best 4K Monitors

    by Dave Gershgorn

    If you’re a video-editing pro or love to watch high-res movies, the best 4K monitor is the Dell UltraSharp U2723QE.

  • The Best 27-Inch Monitor

    by Dave Gershgorn

    For those who have the desk space, 27-inch monitors hit the sweet spot of screen size and resolution, and we have recommendations for almost every scenario.

  • The Best All-in-One Computer

    by Dave Gershgorn

    If you need a family computer or want to cut down on cords in a home office, an all-in-one computer like Apple’s iMac is worth buying.

Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time).

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The 6 Best Portable Monitors – Summer 2023: Reviews

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Intro
  3. Best Monitor

    1. Best Upper Mid-Range

      1. Best Gaming

        1. Best Mid-Range

          1. Best Budget

            1. Best Cheap

              1. Notable Mentions
              2. Recent Updates
              3. All Reviews
              4. Discussions

              Updated Jul 20, 2023 at 02:56 pm

              By Nicholas Di Giovanni

              Although most people are buying desktop monitors for their setup at home or the office, a different type of monitor is beneficial if you’re working on the go. Known as portable monitors, these displays are about the same size as a laptop screen and give you extra screen space if you find the screen on your laptop too small to work with. As the name suggests, portable monitors are also easy to carry with you. They tend to have good text clarity as they have higher pixel density than some regular monitors. However, portable monitors have some drawbacks as they don’t have as good picture quality as desktop monitors, and they’re meant for extra screen space and not as a primary display.

              Most portable monitors still require power from an external source, so you might need a cable powering the monitor and another charger handy for your laptop, but some do have built-in batteries. If you want good picture quality, you’ll have to consider the monitor’s brightness and image accuracy, among other things, but portable monitors tend to have limited picture quality anyways.

              We’ve bought and tested over 280 monitors, and below, you’ll find our recommendations for the best portable and the best travel monitors. For more options, check out our recommendations for the best USB-C monitors, the best monitors for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, and the best office monitors.

              1. Best Portable Monitor

                espresso Display 15 Touch

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                Finding Store

                Searching

                Finding Store

                Mixed Usage

                6.0

                Office

                7.0

                Gaming

                5.1

                Media Consumption

                6.6

                Media Creation

                7.1

                HDR

                3.2

                Size

                15″

                Pixel Type

                IPS

                Max Refresh Rate

                60 Hz

                Variable Refresh Rate

                No

                Native Resolution

                1920 x 1080

                HDR10

                No

                See all our test results

                The best portable monitor we’ve tested is the espresso Display 15 Touch. Overall, it’s a decent portable monitor with a few neat features to improve your workflow. You can connect to it via one of its two USB-C ports, and it works with various devices, including smartphones that support external displays. It has a responsive touchscreen that works well with Windows and macOS PCs, letting you easily complete work that requires touch movements, like content creation. It also has a few extra features, like a rotation lock that adjusts the image into portrait mode when you turn the display.

                What makes this better than most portable monitors is that it’s available with different accessories too. One of those is its stand, which offers decent ergonomics, letting you place the screen in a few different ways. You can also get a case with a kickstand if you prefer. On top of that, it has great color accuracy and displays a wide range of colors in SDR, meaning the picture quality is good for a portable display.

                See our review

              2. Best Upper Mid-Range Portable Monitor

                ASUS ProArt PA148CTV

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                Finding Store

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                Finding Store

                Mixed Usage

                6. 7

                Office

                7.1

                Gaming

                6.7

                Multimedia

                6.6

                Media Creation

                6.6

                HDR Gaming

                4.9

                Size

                14″

                Pixel Type

                IPS

                Max Refresh Rate

                60 Hz

                Variable Refresh Rate

                No VRR

                Native Resolution

                1920 x 1080

                HDR10

                No

                See all our test results

                If you don’t need all the espresso Display 15 Touch’s high-end features, check out an upper mid-range option like the ASUS ProArt PA148CTV. It has many of the same features and performs similarly to the espresso monitor, but there are some trade-offs for the cheaper price tag. While it has a touchscreen like the espresso monitor, it isn’t as responsive and doesn’t work with macOS devices, meaning you can’t use the touchscreen if you want to connect to your MacBook. It also has slightly worse picture quality because it has a worse SDR color gamut and volume, but the overall accuracy is still excellent.

                Like the espresso monitor, it has two USB-C ports that you can use to connect your devices, and it also has a Micro HDMI port, which is helpful if you have an older laptop with HDMI but not USB-C. It has a few advantages over the espresso, especially if you want to use it in a well-lit environment, as it has decent peak brightness and much better reflection handling.

                See our review

              3. Best Portable Monitor For Gaming

                ASUS ROG Strix XG16AHPE

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                Finding Store

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                Finding Store

                Mixed Usage

                7. 3

                Office

                7.4

                Gaming

                8.0

                Multimedia

                7.0

                Media Creation

                7.0

                HDR Gaming

                5.6

                Size

                16″

                Pixel Type

                IPS

                Max Refresh Rate

                144 Hz

                Variable Refresh Rate

                Adaptive Sync

                Native Resolution

                1920 x 1080

                HDR10

                No

                See all our test results

                Although portable gaming monitors are less common than portable monitors for work, you can still find some options if you want a high refresh rate for gaming on the go, and the ASUS ROG Strix XG16AHPE is a great choice. It’s great for mobile gaming or if you need something on the side of your main monitor. It’s better than the espresso Display 15 Touch and the ASUS ProArt PA148CTV for gaming because it has a faster response time, resulting in crystal-clear motion with almost no noticeable blur behind fast-moving objects. It even has a 7800 mAh battery, lasting nearly three hours of gaming.

                It supports FreeSync variable refresh rate technology with G-SYNC compatibility, ensuring a nearly tear-free gaming experience from almost any source. It has a 144Hz refresh rate, which is high enough for casual gaming, but if you want something with a higher 240Hz refresh rate, the ASUS ROG Strix XG17AHPE is a good alternative. However, it costs more, so only consider it if you’re going to take full advantage of the display.

                See our review

              4. Best Mid-Range Portable Monitor

                Lenovo ThinkVision M14

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                Finding Store

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                Finding Store

                Mixed Usage

                6. 4

                Office

                7.0

                Gaming

                6.1

                Multimedia

                6.4

                Media Creation

                6.5

                HDR Gaming

                4.6

                Size

                14″

                Pixel Type

                IPS

                Max Refresh Rate

                60 Hz

                Variable Refresh Rate

                No VRR

                Native Resolution

                1920 x 1080

                HDR10

                No

                See all our test results

                If you aren’t a gamer and want a lower-cost portable monitor for work use, the Lenovo ThinkVision M14 is a good mid-range option. You don’t get the same high refresh rate as the ASUS ROG Strix XG16AHPE, but it’s still a decent office monitor with a 14-inch screen and 1080p resolution, and the text clarity is excellent. It’s also very similar to the ASUS ProArt Display PA148CTV, but it doesn’t get as bright and doesn’t have a Micro HDMI port, which are the two main downsides to getting something cheaper. If you want something brighter, the Dell C1422H is another good option, but it can be harder to find.

                The Lenovo is well-built and has a foldable kickstand, so you can adjust the angle of the screen to your liking, and it even has two screw holes on the stand so that you can mount it. It also displays a wider range of colors than the ASUS and has decent accuracy, so the picture quality is good enough for a portable monitor.

                See our review

              5. Best Budget Portable Monitor

                Lepow Z1 Gamut

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                Finding Store

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                Finding Store

                Mixed Usage

                6. 1

                Office

                6.3

                Gaming

                5.3

                Media Consumption

                6.8

                Media Creation

                6.9

                HDR

                6.1

                Size

                15″

                Pixel Type

                IPS

                Max Refresh Rate

                60 Hz

                Variable Refresh Rate

                No

                Native Resolution

                1920 x 1080

                HDR10

                Yes

                See all our test results

                If you’re looking for the best portable monitor for laptop use and are on a budget, consider the Lepow Z1 Gamut. It has worse picture quality than the Lenovo ThinkVision M14, which is what you have to expect for low-cost portable monitors, as it doesn’t get as bright and has worse color accuracy. However, besides the differences in performance, it has many of the same features. It still has a 1080p resolution, with a slightly bigger 15-inch screen, and the text clarity is great. It also displays a wide range of colors after calibration, and unlike the Lenovo monitor, it supports HDR, but its HDR performance is limited anyways.

                It offers a few connectivity options, including a Mini HDMI port and two USB-C ports. One of its USB-C ports supports power delivery if the display is connected to an external power source. However, with only 5W of power delivery, it’s only enough to charge small devices like phones or headphones.

                See our review

              6. Best Cheap Portable Monitor

                Lepow Z1

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                Finding Store

                Searching

                Finding Store

                Mixed Usage

                6. 2

                Office

                6.5

                Gaming

                5.7

                Multimedia

                6.4

                Media Creation

                6.4

                HDR Gaming

                5.4

                Size

                15″

                Pixel Type

                IPS

                Max Refresh Rate

                60 Hz

                Variable Refresh Rate

                No VRR

                Native Resolution

                1920 x 1080

                HDR10

                Yes

                See all our test results

                If you need a simple and cheap portable monitor, the Lepow Z1 is a decent choice. It’s a step-down model from the Lepow Z1 Gamut, with the main difference being that it doesn’t display as many colors. This means that the overall picture quality is worse, and it’s something to complement your main laptop screen, like if you want extra screen space to put your messages or emails while you’re working. Besides that, it’s very similar to the Z1 Gamut as it shares the same inputs and design, and it even gets slightly brighter.

                It comes with a foldable stand that lets you adjust it to three different angles, and it doubles as a protective case for the screen when carrying it around. Despite being a low-cost portable monitor, it still has okay build quality with a solid frame that doesn’t flex easily.

                See our review

              Notable Mentions

              • ASUS ZenScreen Touch MB16AMT:
                The ASUS ZenScreen Touch M16AMT is a portable monitor with a battery and a touchscreen, which is great if you can’t always connect to a power source, but for a bit more, you can get better picture quality with the ASUS ProArt PA148CTV.
                See our review
              • ViewSonic VG1655:
                The ViewSonic VG1655 is a decent budget portable display but doesn’t display as many colors as the Lepow Z1 Gamut.
                See our review

              Recent Updates

              1. Jul 20, 2023:
                Added the Lepow Z1 as the ‘Best Cheap Portable Monitor’ to give another option at a low cost; added the ViewSonic VG1655 to Notable Mentions.

              2. Jun 27, 2023:
                Replaced the Dell C1422H with the Lenovo ThinkVision M14 because it’s easier to find available.

              3. May 29, 2023:
                Verified that the monitors are still available to purchase and updated text for accuracy throughout.

              4. Apr 28, 2023:
                Replaced the ViewSonic VG1655 with the Lepow Z1 Gamut because it’s better and easier to find; updated text for clarity throughout.

              5. Mar 29, 2023:
                Added the espresso Display 15 Touch as the ‘Best Portable Monitor’ and renamed the ASUS ProArt PA148CTV as the ‘Best Upper Mid-Range Monitor’; replaced the Lepow Z1 Gamut with the ViewSonic VG1655 because it’s easier to find; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.

              All Reviews

              Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best portable monitor for laptop use currently available. They’re adapted to be valid for most people, in each price range. Rating is based on our review, factoring in price, and feedback from our visitors.

              If you would prefer to make your own decision, here is the list of all of our portable monitor reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. Most monitors are good enough to please most people, and the things we fault monitors on are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.

              How to connect a second screen to a laptop

              Stories

              September 23, 2020

              Stories

              September 23, 2020

              Daria Sidorova

              Editor of the History Department.

              Darya Sidorova

              While working from home, a laptop screen may not be enough. Luckily, it’s easy to expand your workspace on most devices, even if they don’t have a second display slot. Consider options that do not require buying a lot of additional equipment.

              Daria Sidorova

              Via external display connector

              Many laptops have a port for connecting a second monitor. It may look like a regular connector, such as HDMI, but is often smaller. If one of the ports seems unfamiliar, it may be for connecting a display.

              Macbooks and some Windows laptops have Thunderbolt, Mini DisplayPort, and Mini-DVI ports. To connect an external monitor, you will need a special adapter or cable. For example, Microsoft’s Surface Book laptop has built-in Mini DisplayPort, which can be converted to regular HDMI with an adapter, suitable for connecting to almost any TV or monitor.

              Using a USB port

              If a dedicated display connector is not available, a USB connection can be used. For example, USB-C is suitable not only for connecting external hard drives and phones, but also monitors. In most cases, this will only require a cable.

              If your laptop does not have USB-C, more familiar USB ports will work. With external hubs, you can not only increase the number of hubs, but also connect a display via HDMI and even add an Ethernet connection. This method will be especially useful if there are not enough ports to connect all the peripherals that were used while working in the office. However, not all laptops support USB-C video output, and only some external dongles can add support for this feature, so be sure to check your specific device’s manufacturer’s manual.

              By converting the tablet as a second monitor

              The tablet can also act as an additional smaller monitor. Sidecar is built into the Mac operating system to connect iPad via USB-C or a Lightning cable.

              Third-party applications can help you achieve the same result with products from different manufacturers. The most reliable option is DuetDisplay, which allows you to connect Android/iOS tablets to Mac/Windows devices.

              By connecting the monitor directly to the laptop

              Some monitors are specifically designed for use as secondary displays. For example, the Duex Pro, which can be attached to the back of a laptop screen and pulled out when needed. This is a convenient option that does not take up much space and, most importantly, suitable for travel.

              In addition, there are portable displays designed to operate from a single connection (not requiring a separate power supply). They can be stored in a laptop bag and used when needed.

              By transferring some tasks to your phone

              Some work tasks can be transferred to your phone or tablet without connecting an additional monitor. You can fix your phone on a stand or wireless charging.

              For example, you can process emails from your phone, switching to the inbox on your host computer if necessary. The phone is also great for keeping track of Slack chats, news, dashboards, and other metrics without cluttering your main desktop.

              Source.

              Cover photo: Unsplash

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