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Best portable monitors to boost productivity on your laptop

Included in this guide:

Best Portable Monitors
(Image credit: SideTrak)

Adding a portable monitor to your laptop is a quick way to double your display real estate and boost productivity. Minimizing the need to switch between windows, a second screen allows you to reference information while performing other tasks. Whether you’re video editing or filling out spreadsheets, a portable monitor can help you get more work done faster. 

Pairing single cable operation with a lightweight build means you’ll sacrifice performance for portability. These displays can’t match the performance of some of the best gaming monitors available. However, the convenience easily compensates for the lower visual fidelity. Whether you’re pivoting between rooms while working from home or tackling your workload during the commute, these best-selling portable monitors make it a breeze to multitask with your laptop on the go.

(Image credit: Lepow)

1. Lepow 15.6 Inch Portable Monitor

Specifications
Display Size: 15.6 inches
Resolution: 1920x1080
Weight: 1.7 LBS
Connectivity: USB-C, Mini HDMI
Reasons to buy
+Impressive 320 nit screen+Extended color gamut outside of HDR mode
Reasons to avoid
-HDR support locks ability to adjust display settings-Tinny speaker audio

An upgraded version of Amazon’s best-selling portable monitor offers a 15.6-inch full HD IPS display with HDR support, USB-C power connectivity and a slim form factor. Lepow tuned up the screen brightness to 320 nits in addition to raising the color gamut by 60%. Vibrant and sturdy, this new addition to the lineup is the best all-around portable monitor. An included cable bundle (Type C-Type C/mini HDMI-HDMI/Type C-USB A), smart cover and screen protector are just icing on this deliciously vivid display cake. 

If you’re using the monitor for color-critical work like photo editing, you’ll probably want to avoid the HDR mode. Once activated, the screen calibration settings are locked for adjustments. Paired with speakers that are quiet at best and tinny at worst, creatives may want to check out our next choice.

(Image credit: Future)

2. Lenovo ThinkVision M14t

Specifications
Display Size: 14 inches
Resolution: 1920x1080
Max Refresh rate: 60Hz
Response Time: 6ms
Reasons to buy
+Colorful and bright display+Lightweight design+Active Stylus is fantastic+Sturdy kickstand
Reasons to avoid
-Cons-A bit pricey-Glossy screen is reflective-Could use another port

The Lenovo ThinkVision M14t offers excellent image quality; it’s wonderfully light and has a sturdy kickstand. The touchscreen works exceptionally well and can be helpful under the right circumstances. The included Active Pen also makes the ThinkVision M14t a standout with its excellent features and 4,096 levels of pressure. The plug-and-play ThinkVision M14t worked with every laptop I plugged connected it to flawlessly. The ThinkVision M14t’s 1920 x 1080-pixel screen produced stunningly vibrant colors and super sharp images. I was shocked it wasn’t a 4K panel.

However, although everything about the ThinkVision M14t is premium, some may find the near $400 price steep for something that’s just a portable screen with only two USB-C ports. Still, it’s the secret weapon for workaholic travelers. 

Read our full Review.

(Image credit: NewSoul)

For those using docking stations with other displays, NewSoul’s portable monitor doesn’t have the ability to output a signal. If you’re using a single external monitor, this shouldn’t be an issue. Just make sure you’re prepared to optimize your display upon each use as user settings reset after every time the device is powered off. Aside from those caveats, the NewSoul monitor is a compelling second screen for your laptop.

(Image credit: SideTrak)

3. SideTrak Portable Laptop Monitor

Specifications
Display Size: 12.5 inches
Resolution: 1920x1080
Weight: 1.65 LBS
Connectivity: USB-C cord with USB-A adapter
Reasons to buy
+A Lightweight natural extension of your laptop screen+Insanely portable
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Small display size

Sporting the most practical design on the list, the SideTrak portable monitor installs over the hood of your laptop via device-safe metal plates. A simple pull on the bezel reveals a second screen that naturally fits next to your laptop’s primary display. The idea is novel, but you’ll be paying nearly double the price of our top choices for 2.5 inches less of screen real estate. 

A free DisplayLink download is required to use this portable monitor. It’s something to keep in mind for those unwilling to install third-party software on their laptop. The SideTrak’s unique magnetic connection allows you to easily maneuver your multi-monitor setup with one hand but results in a slight wobble. If you’re looking for the most portable solution, the SideTrak takes the crown every time.

(Image credit: AOC)

4. AOC E1659FWU

Specifications
Display Size: 15.6 inches
Resolution: 1366x768
Weight: 2.4 LBS
Connectivity: USB 3.0
Reasons to buy
+Affordable price+Auto-pivot feature based on the display’s orientation
Reasons to avoid
-Dim display-Low resolution

For those in need of a second monitor for less, the AOC E1659FWU gets the job done for under $100. Buying two E1659FWUs and connecting them to a single laptop for a multi-monitor setup would still be less expensive than just one portable display after taxes. Even more impressive is the extensive feature set incorporated by AOC, which includes an auto-pivoting display, VESA compliant backing and single USB 3.0 cable operation.

(Image credit: AOC)

What did it cost to keep the monitor’s MSRP at half the price of the competition? As Thanos once solemnly said, “everything.” Cost-saving measures limit you to a dim 200-nit display, 1366x768-pixel screen resolution and bezels chunkier than the Michelin Man. For some spreadsheet work or a second informative display, the AOC E1659FWU portable monitor is hard to beat for the money. However, if you’re all about premium visuals you should consider one of our other picks.

(Image credit: Asus)

5. ASUS ZenScreen MB16AMT

Specifications
Display Size: 15.6 inches
Resolution: 1920x1080
Weight: 2 LBS
Connectivity: USB-C
Reasons to buy
+10-point touch screen+Built-in 7800mAh battery
Reasons to avoid
-Heavier than the competition-Raising the brightness too high on the MB16AMT drastically drains the battery level

Asus’ premium portable monitor option foregoes the need for a power source at all thanks to an onboard 7800-mAh battery. However, it comes at a rather steep price. But a stealthy battery placement isn’t the only trick up the MB16AMT’s sleeve. A 10-point touchscreen allows you to manipulate your work using just a finger. Paired with Thunderbolt 3 support, these unique features make the monitor a tempting buy for power users.

(Image credit: Asus)

While the touchscreen is a nice touch (pun intended), the internal battery weighs down the device both literally and metaphorically. Coming in at two pounds, the MB16AMT is one of the heavier portable monitors on the list. ASUS also had to factor in the battery cost resulting in a higher price. While the display offers Windows users a truly mobile touchscreen monitor, Mac users who would be better off buying an iPad and using Sidecar

Hunter Fenollol is Laptop’s editorial intern, where he covers the latest industry news and products. With a public relations degree from Long Island University, Hunter worked as a publicity specialist for independent game companies prior to joining the team. When he’s not working, you can find Hunter blowing his paycheck on slot machines, babysitting his two little sisters or playing the latest video games.