Being able to work wherever you can is more important than ever if you work remotely or on the go. Working from a laptop isn't the most productive, and that's where portable monitors are beneficial. Ranging in size from a small tablet to a large laptop, portable monitors make it easier to work on the go, giving you extra screen space to work with. Most of them support USB-C connectivity, and some of them even have built-in batteries, so you can work for a few hours without draining your laptop battery.
There are a few downsides though, and compared to regular desktop monitors, the picture quality isn't as good on most portable monitors. Most of them have a small screen with a slow refresh rate and sluggish response time, and many of them have a limited color gamut and very few extra features.
We've tested over 10 portable monitors, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best monitors to use on the go. For more options, check out our recommendations for the best USB-C monitors, the best monitors for MacBook Pro, and the best office monitors.
The ASUS ROG Strix XG17AHPE is the best portable monitor for laptop use we've tested. It's mainly for gaming on the go, but it's also a decent choice for increased productivity when you're away from home or the office. The 17 inch screen and high pixel density deliver great text clarity, and it has excellent gray uniformity, an amazing SDR color gamut, and great gradient handling. It also has a built-in battery, so you can work or game for a few hours without draining your laptop's battery.
It's a great gaming monitor, especially considering the size. It has a very fast 240Hz refresh rate and a fantastic response time, resulting in crystal-clear motion with almost no noticeable blur behind fast-moving objects. It also has outstanding low input lag for a responsive gaming and desktop experience. It supports FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, and it's compatible with NVIDIA's G-SYNC Compatible mode, ensuring a nearly tear-free gaming experience from almost any source.
Unfortunately, it's not the best for a dark environment, as it has low contrast, and visibility can be an issue in brighter environments because it doesn't get the brightest. Like most portable monitors, it has terrible ergonomics, meaning it can be hard to find the ideal viewing position. Despite these limitations, it's still a decent monitor overall, and it's the best portable gaming monitor we've tested.
The best portable office monitor we've tested is the Lenovo ThinkVision M14. It's a low-cost portable monitor with a 1080p resolution and 14 inch screen, which is about the same as many laptops, so if your laptop has the same resolution and size, you'll get the same pixel density on both. Text is legible and clear, and your mouse movements will feel responsive thanks to the low input lag.
Like most portable monitors, it has two USB-C ports. You have to plug it in while working, and you can either power it from your laptop if it supports DisplayPort Alt Mode or connect it directly to a power source. If you do that, it also acts as a power passthrough, so you can plug the monitor into an outlet and connect your laptop to the monitor so that it will charge the laptop.
Sadly, it's not the best choice to use in a bright room. It has just okay SDR peak brightness, and the reflection handling is decent, so while it's enough for a few lights around, you can't use it opposite a bright window. It's well-built, and it comes with a foldable stand, meaning you can tilt it to your liking, and you can also raise the screen a bit with the kickstand if you prefer. Overall, it's the best choice for work purposes.
If you tend to work in a bright environment, like an office with a lot of lights or on a train during the day, then the best portable office monitor for your needs is the ASUS ProArt PA148CTV. It's an okay overall monitor with a 14 inch screen and 1080p resolution, resulting in excellent text clarity and sharp images.
It's good to use in rooms with some lights around because it has good reflection handling, and it's one of the brightest portable monitors we've tested. Although it doesn't get bright enough to fight a ton of glare from direct sunlight, it's still enough to combat glare from a few lights or windows. You can easily connect to the monitor because it has a Micro-HDMI input and two USB-C ports, both of which support DisplayPort Alt Mode, so you can connect your laptop to display an image and charge it at the same time.
Sadly, like other portable monitors, it doesn't support HDR at all, and it has a low contrast ratio, so blacks look gray in the dark, but it doesn't make much of a difference in a bright room. Also, its stand has a somewhat limited tilt range, but you can at least use it in portrait mode. Overall, it's one of the better portable monitors we've tested.
The Lepow Z1 Gamut is the best portable monitor for laptop use for content creators. It's an okay overall monitor, and what makes it stand out versus other portable monitors is its color gamut. It has perfect coverage of the sRGB color space used in most web content and decent coverage of the Adobe color space used in photo editing. However, the coverage is still limiting if you're a professional photo editor, so it's better to get a proper monitor for the most accurate colors.
You can connect the monitor to your PC or your main monitor using the Mini HDMI connection or one of the two USB-C inputs. One of the USB-C inputs supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, allowing you to display an image from a compatible source and charge the device at the same time. However, the power output of this monitor is only 5W which isn't enough to charge a laptop. The gradient handling is fantastic with minimal banding as it supports a 10-bit signal.
Unfortunately, despite the fantastic color gamut, the out-of-the-box accuracy is disappointing, so you'll need to calibrate it to use it to its full capabilities. It also doesn't get bright enough to fight glare in well-lit rooms, but it at least has great reflection handling. For a portable monitor, it's a good choice for content creators.
The Lepow Z1 is the best budget portable monitor that we've tested. Like most portable monitors, it has great text clarity thanks to the relatively small screen and high pixel density, resulting in sharp text and crisp images. It has good reflection handling, so glare generally isn't an issue with a few lights around, but its peak brightness isn't the best. It also has amazing gray uniformity, so large areas of uniform colors look good.
It has great connectivity, with a Mini HDMI port for older devices and a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, meaning you can power the device from a wall adapter instead of putting an extra power drain on your laptop's battery. Surprisingly, it supports HDR, but this doesn't add anything, as it has low contrast, low peak brightness in HDR, and can't display a wide color gamut. It even has built-in speakers, so you can listen to your videos if you don't have headphones with you.
Unfortunately, it isn't a very good choice for gaming, as it has a terrible response time, resulting in a very blurry image in fast-moving scenes. It also has poor accuracy and a very limited color gamut, so it's not a good choice for media creators or if your work requires accurate colors. Despite its flaws, it's an okay portable budget monitor for office use.
Apr 26, 2022: Moved the ASUS ProArt PA148CTV to its own category as the 'Best Portable Monitor For Bright Rooms' to reflect user needs and updated Notable Mentions based on the change.
Mar 24, 2022: Renamed the ASUS PA148CTV to 'Brighter Alternative' to be more reflective of user needs; added the ViewSonic VG1655 to Notable Mentions.
Feb 25, 2022: Verified our picks for accuracy and refreshed the text.
Jan 26, 2022: Verified our picks for accuracy and refreshed the text. Added the Dell C1422H as a Notable Mention and removed the ViewSonic VG1655.
Dec 22, 2021: Adjusted the structure of the article and refreshed the text.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best mobile monitors 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.