The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (2023)

Table of Contents
The Best Monitor Deals This Week* ViewSonic VG1655 Best Portable Monitor for General Use Bottom Line: PROS CONS Lepow C2S Portable Monitor Best Budget Portable Monitor Bottom Line: PROS CONS AOC I1601FWUX USB-C Portable Monitor Best Budget Portable Monitor (Larger-Screen) Bottom Line: PROS CONS Asus ROG Strix XG16AHPE Best Portable Monitor for Gaming and Media Watching Bottom Line: PROS CONS NexiGo NG17FGQ 17.3-Inch 300Hz Portable Monitor Best High-Refresh-Rate Portable Monitor for Esports Bottom Line: PROS CONS MSI Optix MAG161V Best Portable Monitor for Casual Gamers Bottom Line: PROS CONS Asus ZenScreen Touch (MB16AMT) Best Portable Monitor With Touch Input Bottom Line: PROS CONS Lenovo ThinkVision M14d Best Portable Monitor for Taller-Screen (16:10) Laptops Bottom Line: PROS CONS HP EliteDisplay S14 USB Portable Monitor Best Portable Monitor to Pair With a Business Ultraportable Bottom Line: PROS CONS Wacom Cintiq 16 Best Portable Monitor for Creative Pros Bottom Line: PROS CONS Asus ZenScreen Go (MB16AP) Best Portable Monitor With Internal Battery Bottom Line: PROS CONS espresso Display (15-inch) Best Portable Monitor for Presenters Bottom Line: PROS CONS SideTrak Portable Monitor Best Laptop-Attachable Portable Monitor Bottom Line: PROS CONS The Best Portable Monitor for a Laptop: How to Evaluate the Screen The Ports: How Are Portable Monitors Powered and Connected? Software, the Onscreen Display, and Audio So, What Is the Best Portable Monitor to Buy?

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Portable displays that you pair with a laptop aren't a new phenomenon, but in the past couple of years, they have come into their own. Many of the major monitor manufacturers have at least one in their repertoire, and new models are appearing more regularly than ever. Whether you want to add a second screen for giving presentations to small groups, view two programs open full-screen at once, enhance your portable gaming system, or touch up your designs with a stylus, mobile monitors of different sizes, styles, and paradigms are ready to serve.

Why all of these panels, all of a sudden? The widespread adoption of USB Type-C connectivity—with its ability to transfer power, data, and video over a single cable—has been a godsend for the growth of portable displays. They no longer need a dedicated AC adapter for juice (though some do come with one as an option), and many have just a single USB-C port that handles all the connectivity, though some add HDMI or other connectors.

Interested in shopping for one? Read on for a breakdown of our current top, tested portable monitors suited for a variety of user categories, followed by a guide to what to look for to land the right one for you.

The Best Monitor Deals This Week*

  • Dell G2723HN 27" 1080p 165Hz IPS Monitor With $125 eGift Card(Opens in a new window)$199.99(List Price $259.99)
  • LG UltraGear 32GP750-B 32" 1440p 165Hz IPS Monitor(Opens in a new window)$396.99(List Price $499.99)
  • Samsung S80A Series 27" 4K IPS Monitor(Opens in a new window)$268.39(List Price $399.99)
  • LG 27UP600-W 27" 4K HDR IPS FreeSync Monitor(Opens in a new window)$199.99(List Price $399.99)
  • Alienware AW3423DWF 34" 2K 165Hz QD-OLED Curved Monitor(Opens in a new window)$999.99(List Price $1,099.99)

*Deals are selected by our commerce team

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (1)

ViewSonic VG1655

Best Portable Monitor for General Use

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

ViewSonic's 15.6-inch VG1655 has the same limited color coverage as most other portable monitors we've tested, but it's one of the few to offer a built-in stand, a five-way mini-joystick controller, and a sophisticated onscreen display. It muscles out a win on the strength of those convenience features.

PROS

  • Five-way mini-joystick controller
  • Fully realized OSD
  • Built-in stand allows for easy tilt
  • Bright, with solid contrast ratio
  • Good value for money

CONS

  • Some colors dull in photos and video
Sold ByList PricePrice
Amazon$139.99$139.99See It(Opens in a new window)
Walmart$346.34$209.99See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our ViewSonic VG1655 Review

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (2)

Lepow C2S Portable Monitor

Best Budget Portable Monitor

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

The Lepow C2S Portable Monitor sacrifices some slimness for a full complement of ports and a fold-out metal stand. It's not the brightest mobile display, but it renders photos and videos nicely.

PROS

  • Above-par color coverage for a budget portable display
  • Moderately priced
  • Generous port selection
  • Fold-out metal stand

CONS

  • Short of rated brightness in our testing
  • Ineffective HDR setting
Sold ByList PricePrice
Amazon$149.99$149.99See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Lepow C2S Portable Monitor Review

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (3)

AOC I1601FWUX USB-C Portable Monitor

Best Budget Portable Monitor (Larger-Screen)

3.5 Good

Bottom Line:

The lightweight AOC I1601FWUX USB-C Portable Monitor is for USB-C laptops that support DisplayPort over USB. It has a roomy 15.6-inch screen with 1080p resolution, but it's best for business use due to its limited color gamut.

PROS

  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Sturdy, foldable stand.
  • Comes with utility to control settings from your computer.
  • Draws power and receives video and data over a single cable.

CONS

  • Works only with USB-C laptops that support DisplayPort over USB.
  • Narrow color gamut equals dull colors.
  • Awkward OSD menu navigation.
Sold ByList PricePrice
Amazon $139.99$139.99See It(Opens in a new window)
Walmart$370.99$370.99Check Stock(Opens in a new window)

Read Our AOC I1601FWUX USB-C Portable Monitor Review

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (4)

Asus ROG Strix XG16AHPE

Best Portable Monitor for Gaming and Media Watching

4.5 Outstanding

Bottom Line:

Asus' ROG Strix XG16AHPE portable display comes jam-packed with features that make it a good choice for both gaming and multimedia viewing. It's not cheap, but it's money well spent.

PROS

  • High refresh rate and low input lag
  • Built-in battery and speakers
  • Bright (272 nits) and colorful (97.7% of sRGB)
  • Kickstand works in both landscape and portrait modes
  • Includes soft carrying sleeve

CONS

  • Expensive for a 15.6-inch portable monitor
Sold ByList PricePrice
Amazon$469.00$469.00See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Asus ROG Strix XG16AHPE Review

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (5)

NexiGo NG17FGQ 17.3-Inch 300Hz Portable Monitor

Best High-Refresh-Rate Portable Monitor for Esports

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

Built around a 17.3-inch IPS panel with an esports-worthy peak refresh rate, NexiGo's NG17FGQ delivers on almost all accounts for gamers seeking a portable monitor for play with a PC or console.

PROS

  • High refresh rate
  • Low measured input lag
  • Impressive color accuracy
  • Includes cover, carrying case, and cords for additional connections

CONS

  • Flimsy build
  • No internal battery
  • Pricey
Sold ByList PricePrice
Amazon$449.00$449.00See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our NexiGo NG17FGQ 17.3-Inch 300Hz Portable Monitor Review

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (6)

MSI Optix MAG161V

Best Portable Monitor for Casual Gamers

3.5 Good

Bottom Line:

The Optix MAG161V, MSI's first portable gaming monitor, connects with a range of gaming consoles, smartphones, and computers. It's solid for casual gaming, but its brightness peak and overall color coverage are ho-hum at best.

PROS

  • Above-average port selection
  • Slim screen
  • Built-in speakers
  • Broad contrast ratio

CONS

  • Awkward folding stand
  • Mediocre brightness and color coverage
Sold ByList PricePrice
Amazon$199.99$199.99See It(Opens in a new window)
Newegg$209.99$209.99Check Stock(Opens in a new window)

Read Our MSI Optix MAG161V Review

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (7)

Asus ZenScreen Touch (MB16AMT)

Best Portable Monitor With Touch Input

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

The wisely designed Asus ZenScreen Touch brings touch-input capability, flexible stand options, and an on-the-go internal battery to a 15.6-inch mobile monitor, topping the field.

PROS

  • Gesture-based multi-touch and stylus input.
  • Built-in battery.
  • Comprehensive, easy-to-navigate menus, with mini-joystick for navigation.
  • Good brightness and contrast ratio.
  • Built-in speakers.

CONS

  • Pricey for a mobile monitor.
  • Somewhat dull colors.
  • Limited touch support for use with Macs, and none for iOS devices.
Sold ByList PricePrice
Amazon$363.93$363.93See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Asus ZenScreen Touch (MB16AMT) Review

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (8)

Lenovo ThinkVision M14d

Best Portable Monitor for Taller-Screen (16:10) Laptops

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

Lenovo's ThinkVision M14d portable monitor pairs well with laptops that match its 16:10 aspect ratio. A sturdy, tiltable stand and a quality IPS panel distinguish this winning mobile display.

PROS

  • High (2.2K) resolution for a portable monitor
  • Bright with high contrast
  • Sturdy hinged stand with great tilt range
  • Supports USB power delivery and DisplayPort over USB

CONS

  • Pricey
  • Limited to USB-C connectivity
Sold ByList PricePrice
CDW$457.99$457.99See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Lenovo ThinkVision M14d Review

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (9)

HP EliteDisplay S14 USB Portable Monitor

Best Portable Monitor to Pair With a Business Ultraportable

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

HP's lightweight EliteDisplay S14 delivers surprising specs and sleek lines for a business-minded travel monitor. It's a nifty second-screen complement for a midsize laptop that has USB Type-C.

PROS

  • Slim, compact, and light.
  • One-cable setup.
  • OSD is easy to learn.
  • Clean design that matches up well with thin laptop bezels.

CONS

  • Stand affords only one angle.
  • Can't rotate screen to vertical orientation.
  • OSD buttons are tricky to reach.
  • Cover doesn't protect the back of the monitor.
Sold ByList PricePrice
Amazon$399.00$399.00See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our HP EliteDisplay S14 USB Portable Monitor Review

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (10)

Wacom Cintiq 16

Best Portable Monitor for Creative Pros

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

The Wacom Cintiq 16 is an interactive pen monitor that lets artists draw and perform actions onscreen. It's moderately priced, and is a good choice for art students and pros on tight budgets.

PROS

  • Acts as a second monitor that lets you draw and edit onscreen.
  • Generous 15.6-inch panel.
  • Comfortable, easy-to-use stylus doesn't require charging.

CONS

  • No multi-touch (finger) support.
  • Needs to connect to two computer ports.
  • Low resolution and limited color gamut for a device geared to artists.
  • Gangly, hydra-headed adapter cable.
Sold ByList PricePrice
Amazon$649.95$649.95See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Wacom Cintiq 16 Review

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (11)

Asus ZenScreen Go (MB16AP)

Best Portable Monitor With Internal Battery

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

The Asus ZenScreen Go (MB16AP), a 15.6-inch portable monitor, has a built-in battery to keep it from draining the laptop or other mobile device it's attached to. Only a slightly muted panel keeps it from top marks.

PROS

  • Built-in battery.
  • 1080p IPS screen.
  • Detailed, easily navigable OSD.
  • Protective cover doubles as foldable stand.

CONS

  • Somewhat dull colors.
Sold ByList PricePrice
Amazon$197.48$197.48See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Asus ZenScreen Go (MB16AP) Review

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (12)

espresso Display (15-inch)

Best Portable Monitor for Presenters

3.5 Good

Bottom Line:

The 15-inch espresso Display looks gorgeous and has exceptional color coverage for a portable display. You'll have to pay extra for its stand and the stylus for its touch screen, though.

PROS

  • Elegant enclosure design
  • Ultra-thin frame
  • IPS screen with great sRGB color coverage
  • Touch-sensitive display

CONS

  • Considerably dimmer than its rated brightness
  • Stand, protective cover, and stylus cost extra
  • Bare-bones OSD
  • Highly reflective screen
  • Warranty just one year
Sold ByList PricePrice
Amazon$499.99$499.99See It(Opens in a new window)
Espresso $499.00$499.00See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our espresso Display (15-inch) Review

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (13)

SideTrak Portable Monitor

Best Laptop-Attachable Portable Monitor

3.0 Average

Bottom Line:

The cleverly designed SideTrak Portable Monitor can stay attached to your laptop, even while traveling, but its brightness and color range could use improvement.

PROS

  • Quick to pull out and deploy.
  • Can stay attached to laptop even when travelling.

CONS

  • Frame movement could be smoother.
  • Panel is on the dim side, with some dull colors.
  • No OSD, and limited control over settings.
  • Brief warranty.
Sold ByList PricePrice
Amazon$329.99$329.99See It(Opens in a new window)

Read Our SideTrak Portable Monitor Review

Buying Guide: The Best Portable Monitors for 2023

Many smaller desktop displays can be taken on the road in a pinch, but "true" portable monitors are those specifically sold as such. Even those range quite a bit in size: from 3.5 inches to 22 inches. Portable displays run the gamut from personal, business, and general-purpose models to panels for artists and gamers.

The sweet spot for use with a laptop, though, and our focus here, is between 12 and 17 inches. Many users match their portable display with the screen size of their laptop. But also on the market is a handful of models at 10 inches (mostly for use with gaming consoles) and at 7 inches (for use with theRaspberry Pi).

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (14)

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

Most portable displays use a stand consisting of a thin but stiff plastic board, with several grooves or creases on which it folds. At one end is a magnetic strip, which adheres to the back of the monitor at its top. Folding the sheet in the middle, with the angle pointing away from the user, props up the monitor. The bottom of the monitor inserts into a groove, securing it and tilting the device upward. (Some portable displays have several grooves, and you can alter the monitor's tilt angle by placing the base in a different one.)

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (15)

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

These foldable stands often double as protective covers for the display when it's not in use. Some protect just the front of the monitor, while others are larger, wraparound covers that sandwich the entire monitor.

Another stand design that we have seen consists of a rigid, flat base, containing the ports, to which the screen is attached via hinges. You can set the screen at any angle you like simply by tilting it. This kind is much less common, though. Also, a few designs use the laptop itself as the support, fastening to its back or its side and sliding or swinging out for use.

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (16)

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

Although mobile monitors lack the height, pivot, or swivel adjustability of their desktop counterparts, they are small and light enough that they are easy to adjust manually. Some monitors can be pivoted by hand, though not all stands can support a monitor when it is in portrait mode. In those cases, you could always prop up the monitor against a wall or other surface. Most portable monitors can automatically correct the image so it is always right side up, whether you're in landscape or portrait mode. (Even in those that lack such automatic image rotation, you can change the orientation in Windows display settings.)

The Best Portable Monitor for a Laptop: How to Evaluate the Screen

When we're looking at the panels for mobile monitors, the main factors we evaluate are the screen size, the native resolution, the brightness range, the technology the panel uses, and the maker's claims for color-gamut coverage.

Many users prefer to use a mobile monitor that has the same screen size and native resolution as the laptop screen they are using it with. That said, I have found these panels to be forgiving and have had no trouble running portable displays that are slightly larger than my laptop's own screen. As long as you don't mismatch the mobile monitor's and laptop's screen aspect ratio (which, almost always, is a normal 16:9 widescreen ratio), you are unlikely to experience much trouble in matching them up.

The native resolution on panels suitable for use with a laptop ranges from 1,366 by 768 pixels up to 3,200 by 1,800 pixels (QHD+). Most of the recent laptop-appropriate screens sport a native resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels (aka 1080p, or "full HD"), but a few go higher.

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (17)

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

Mobile monitors tend to be dimmer, at their maximum brightness levels, than their desktop counterparts. What is commonly called brightness is actually luminance, or brightness per unit area. Portable monitors tend to cluster around 180 nits (also expressed as "candelas per meter squared") in our testing, even though many are rated at between 230 and 300 nits, which is fine for typical use. The highest we have measured at this writing is 280 nits.

Monitors that make use of in-plane switching (IPS) technology are generally preferred for general use over vertical-alignment (VA) and twisted-nematic (TN) panels due to their wider off-axis viewing angles and good color accuracy. Many recent mobile monitors are IPS, but there's a catch. When we test a panel for its color gamut, we first test the sRGB color space, which is the default color space for the web and many other applications. This color space comprises essentially all the colors that can be made by mixing red, green, and blue. Most desktop monitors cover at least 95 percent of sRGB, and we have seen portable monitors attain similar coverage. However, since late 2017, a spate of mobile IPS monitors have shown much more limited overall color coverage (60 to 72 percent of sRGB) and very similar color profiles—indicating poor red and purple coverage and slightly enhanced blue-greens. Because of their nearly identical "color signatures," we assume that these screens come from the same or similar sources, although they are on monitors made by a variety of manufacturers.

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (18)

(Credit: Molly Flores)

These measured results have been borne out in our experiential testing, where in photos and videos red and purple areas tended to look dull and washed out. Although screens with this issue are fine for most business and productivity use, they are subpar choices for videophiles or photo enthusiasts. In our monitor reviews, we include a chromaticity chart that maps our readings against the ideal readings for the color space being tested, and provide an analysis of the panel's color coverage.

The Ports: How Are Portable Monitors Powered and Connected?

As I alluded to earlier, the mobile-monitor world is undergoing a convergence of power and connectivity thanks to USB Type-C connectivity. Many USB-C ports support both DisplayPort over USB and USB power delivery, letting both data/video and power flow through the port from a computer over a single USB cable. Most new mobile monitors have at least one USB-C port, and some connectsolelyvia USB-C. While this simplicity has its appeal, be sure that your laptop's USB-C port supports data, video, and power transfer, because some early-generation USB-C ports don't. (Thunderbolt 3 ports should also work fine; their functionality encompasses all of that of USB-C.)

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (19)

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

A few mobile monitors use traditional power adapters. This is particularly true of models that work with sketch pens and intended for artists, which are in effect interactive monitors. In a common configuration, the display draws power through an adapter, while two cables connect to the computer. One is HDMI, to handle transfer of the image displayed on the device, and the other is USB (through a USB-A port), to record the pen motions the user makes when drawing on the interactive display. HDMI (usually in the form of mini-HDMI) is also a common port (the most common other than USB-C) on more conventional portable displays.

The Best Portable Monitors for 2023 (20)

(Credit: Molly Flores)

A few older portable-display models draw their power from a laptop over a separate USB 3.0 connection, but USB-C is well on its way to making this kind of connection passé.

Software, the Onscreen Display, and Audio

Nearly all portable displays are plug-and-play and require no software to operate. Any utilities offered, usually supplied on disc and/or through download, will be for specific functions, such as the ability to enable the screen image to remain upright when you switch between landscape and portrait orientation. Sometimes, the display may come with a utility that lets you change monitor settings from your computer screen rather than through the secondary panel's onscreen display (OSD) controls.

The OSD is the monitor's menu system, governing user-controllable settings such as brightness, contrast, color levels, picture mode, and aspect ratio. It is often arranged in several submenus. Although a few models include several buttons to use in navigating the OSD, a single button or switch to control it is more common.

In general, audio is not a consideration with mobile monitors, as these devices tend to lack built-in speakers or audio jacks. The few portable displays (often gaming models) thatdoinclude speakers, in our experience, have weak ones, and are most useful when paired with a portable gaming console or a smartphone. When the monitor is connected to a laptop, you can always switch from the display's speakers to your laptop's speakers by clicking (in Windows) the speaker icon in the taskbar and changing to your laptop's audio.

So, What Is the Best Portable Monitor to Buy?

Whatever your needs or budget, there's a model out there that's right for you; the key thing is to consider the primary display panel that you'll be using alongside of it. Below, check out the current best portable displays we've tested. We update this story regularly, but for the very latest monitor reviews we've posted, also see ourmonitor product guide.

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