Although standard desktop monitors are what most people need for work, a different type of monitor is beneficial if you work on the go. Known as portable monitors, these displays are about the same size as a laptop screen, give you extra screen space to work with, and are easy to carry, which is one of the main benefits of getting a portable monitor. Like laptops, they can deliver sharp text thanks to their high pixel density, which can be even better than some desktop monitors.
However, portable monitors have some drawbacks as they don't have as good picture quality as desktop monitors, which is why they're better to use as a secondary display next to your laptop. Most of them still require power from an external source, so you'll need a cable powering the display and another charger handy for your laptop, but some do have built-in batteries.
We've bought and tested over 300 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.
The espresso Display 15 Touch is the best portable monitor we've tested. 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. 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. 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.
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. The ASUS ROG Strix XG16AHPE is a great choice for mobile gaming or if you need something on the side of your main gaming monitor. It has a faster response time than the espresso Display 15 Touch, 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 high refresh rate.
If you don't need a gaming monitor like the ASUS ROG Strix XG16AHPE and don't want a premium monitor like the espresso Display 15 Touch, a mid-range option like the Lenovo ThinkVision M14 is a good alternative. It's different from the espresso monitor because it doesn't have a touchscreen or as good picture quality, but this is what you have to expect for a cheaper portable display. That said, it also has two USB-C ports, which each support DisplayPort Alt Mode. This means you can connect your laptop to either port, and if you connect a power source to the other input, it acts as a power passthrough to the laptop, so you won't need a separate charger.
It has a built-in kickstand that offers tilt adjustment and even has a small height adjustment to set it to the same screen height as your laptop. It offers decent picture quality for a portable laptop thanks to its alright peak brightness and satisfactory color accuracy, but it's limited in extra features.
When getting into budget portable monitors, you can't expect premium performance and picture quality, as these displays are meant to give you extra screen real estate more than anything else. If that's what you want, the ViewSonic VG1655 is an alright, budget-friendly portable monitor with lower peak brightness and a much more narrow color gamut than the Lenovo ThinkVision M14. This means it doesn't display as many colors, and while it's fine for browsing through the web or reading documents, you won't get life-like images when watching videos.
Besides that, it has a slightly larger 15.6-inch screen than the Lenovo and still displays sharp text thanks to its high pixel density. It has one Mini HDMI port and two USB-C ports, and they even support power delivery up to 60W with a power source connected to the monitor. This means you only need one power cable to power up both your laptop and portable monitor.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best portable monitors for laptops use currently available, including the best portable gaming monitor. 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.