If you have ever experienced working on a computer that has several monitors connected, you know how easier it is to switch between them for different things than to go from one window to another, always trying to remember where the thing you need is. This improves multitasking, and it can save you a lot of time, which is why setups with multiple monitors have become very popular.
But, what about those of us who use laptops? Well, there is a solution, and it comes in the form of portable USB powered monitors, which you can easily carry with you and be just as efficient on the go, as you would be at your own setup. Not to mention that these monitors are perfect for laptop-based gaming. With that in mind, let us present you with some of the best portable USB-powered monitors that you can find in 2019.
1. Duex Pro Portable Monitor
Our top pick for a portable USB-powered laptop monitor goes to Duex Pro Portable Monitor, which comes with a variety of different features, and is quite light, which makes it perfect for carrying around with you at all times. This monitor was designed to be used by pretty much any laptop, and all you need to do is attach it to the back of your laptop — which is very easy to do thanks to a pair of magnets.
Thanks to this, it can be mounted on either side of your laptop’s main monitor, in accordance with your preference. The monitor is also compatible with pretty much every system, so it doesn’t matter if you are a macOS user, a Windows user, or a Linux fan.
In terms of the design, the first thing that you will notice is that the monitor is extremely lightweight and that it only has about 1.5 pounds. Compare this to the lightest known laptop — a 13-inch MacBook Pro — which still weighs twice as much, and you will get the feeling for why the weight of this monitor is such an outstanding achievement.
Basically, you can carry it around in a briefcase or backpack, and you won’t even feel it. The monitor is also quite thin, with its thickness being less than half an inch. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the monitor’s metal adhesive plates have a 3-hour long curing time, and it is important to allow them to cure for all three hours. That way, you will be sure that they won’t fail you. Another thing to keep in mind is that the monitor’s weight — as low as it is — also won’t be fully supported by the plates, and you should have it braced against a solid surface, such as your desk. Unfortunately, this is not great news for those who like to work while lying on a bed, but it is one downside that most people can live with.
Other than that, the monitor can be rotated by around 270 degrees, so you can position it pretty much any way you’d like. Its screen is 12.5-inch LCD, and it runs in 1080p. You might not think that this is impressive, but considering that the monitor is only 12.5-inch, the quality and sharpness of the picture is actually quite excellent.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the monitor was designed to be connected via a USB-C cable, with one arriving in the box. In other words, if your laptop has only USB-A connections, you will have to use an adapter, which also comes as part of the package.
And, that is pretty much it. It is a fantastic monitor with a sharp image, as well as many other great features, and its only downside is that you will have to keep it supported by a table or a desk. But, if you can live with that, this is a perfect model for you.
2. AOC E1659FWU
While portable monitors for laptops are typically not considered to be expensive pieces of tech, there are still some solutions that are much cheaper than others. In other words, if you are on a budget, you might be interested in getting a model such as AOC E1659FWU, which can be obtained in less than $100. It is definitely among the solutions that offer the best value for this kind of money.
The first thing to note about this model is that it is not 1080p. However, it still has a resolution of 1366×768 (720p). This is actually not bad for a 15.6-inch screen, and it will result in pretty decent image quality, thanks to a pixel density of 100 PPI. Furthermore, a somewhat lower resolution will be good for your laptop if you don’t use a particularly powerful model. The brightness of the picture is also excellent, and it features a rather solid contrast so that you can expect a great, vivid experience.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this model has a TN panel and one with not-as-vibrant colors as you might like. Furthermore, its viewing angles are relatively limited when compared to IPS models (which are quite a bit more expensive). Even so, it is still quite good, if not the best of the best. But, that is always the situation when you go for a budget solution, so it shouldn’t come as a big surprise.
The model also has a foldable stand, which makes it easy to transport and position. You can also use it in landscape and portrait mode alike, and the screen will adjust automatically. In terms of connectivity, it has one USB 3.0 port, which is used for both, audio/video signal and power, while the power consumption itself is somewhat below 7W.
In terms of weight, the model only has around 2.64 pounds (or 1.2kg). All in all, it is a great choice for a budget solution, and we expect that you will find it quite enjoyable and useful. It does have its limitations, but none of them is a deal-breaker, and they are just what you might expect from a budget model.
3. GeChic 1503H
Next, we have GeChic 1503H — a very interesting model that comes with a 15.6-inch screen and offers Full HD 1920×1080 resolution. The monitor also has a very narrow bezel, and it is also quite slim (11mm). This makes it easy to carry in pretty much any laptop bag, briefcase, or backpack, which is great in terms of portability.
Now, this model uses IPS tech, meaning that it has quite a wide viewing angle, whether horizontal or vertical. This makes it very useful for giving presentations, or in other situations where multiple people need to have a clear view of the screen from different angles.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this model comes with built-in stereo speakers, as well as a headphone jack, which further enhances its functionality and flexibility. This is also not a feature that is often seen in other models, so this one gets additional points for that, too.
In addition, the GeChic also features a number of accessories, such as the rear dock option, multi-mounting kits, and alike.
One downside is that you can’t plug in USB C for power and data, despite the fact that this can be done. The company has decided against doing that, though, so you need USB C to deliver power, while the sound and video have to come through VGA or HDMI. In other words, you can’t just use a single cable, but we believe that this is not too big of a deal.
In terms of design, the model is convenient thanks to the included case and stand, and it only weighs 1.76 pounds, which is almost as good as our first entry. The monitor is also more than decent in terms of brightness, colors, and contrast, and having Full HD on a portable screen is also very appreciated.
There are a few more downsides, such as minor inconveniences when it comes to pressing the buttons to control the display, and the build quality is not the greatest we have seen. Some buttons eventually stop working, which is something that multiple users have experienced. Also, while we like the inclusion of speakers, they are actually not that good, so it remains questionable how useful they are actually going to be. Finally, the monitor has a response time of 12.5ms, which is pretty bad for a monitor that claims to be a perfect solution for gamers, so keep that in mind. While it is handy, it is certainly not ideal for games where speed is important.
In the end, the monitor is not bad — it just comes with some downsides that don’t make it as good for gaming as its makers believe it to be. But, if you need it for multitasking at work and on the go — it is still more than a decent solution.
4. ASUS MB168B
Then, there is ASUS MB168B, which is a 15.6-inch monitor that features Full HD resolution, which already allows it to stand above most other portable laptop monitors. The model is also quite affordable, barely above $120, which should not be a problem for a lot of users.
This model comes with a USB 3.0 port, and unlike our previous entry — you can deliver power and data via a single USB cable. This is another big advantage of this model, and it makes things less complicated and troublesome. The monitor is also quite compatible, and it works with Windows 7, as well as every younger Windows version. When it comes to Mac systems, it supports OS x 10.8.3 (Mountain Lion), although there were some compatibility issues reported.
Even so, downloading a proper DisplayLink driver should do the trick, and this monitor will work perfectly with your device. The monitor is also quite slim, with its thickness being measured at only 8.5mm. As such, it is also very lightweight, weighing around 1.76 pounds. As mentioned before, this is more than acceptable when it comes to a portable monitor, and there are not a lot of models that are lighter than this.
So far, the monitor seems pretty good, but it does have a few downsides, including the fact that it is not compatible with MacBook Pro, nor with MacBook itself. Also, some users have experienced a bit of lag. Finally, the manufacturer’s customer support is not the best, so if you happen to have an issue with your monitor, fixing it in collaboration with them may prove to be challenging.
Other than that, we like this model quite a bit, as it does a lot of things right. It is portable, easy to connect, and it does everything via a single cable. Combine that with its excellent price, and you get more than a decent solution for multitasking during work or enhanced gaming.
5. G-STORY 4K Portable Gaming Monitor
So far, we have covered some pretty affordable, decent solutions that are likely available to most people. However, if you are looking for something more advanced — and more expensive — then G-STORY’s 4K portable laptop monitor will be the model you want.
This monitor was developed to provide portable 4K gaming, and it is not only one of the best on the market right now, but also one of only a handful that can provide 4K, at all. The monitor offers a number of great features, among which is advanced display tech, like AMD FreeSync and HDR.
In other words, whether you plan to use it to enjoy movies, shows, or your favorite games — you will definitely have a memorable experience that not a lot of models can provide. This is all thanks to the 4K (2160p) resolution, which is quite an overkill when the monitor size itself is only 15.6 inches. However, that also means that you will actually have to do your best to make out individual pixels, even when sitting right in front of the monitor.
Add HDR technology to the picture, and you will have an amazing color gamut that will improve your experience more than pretty much any other solution.
The monitor also shines quite brightly in terms of connectivity. It features two HDMI ports, meaning that you can also connect a console, PC, and alike. There is a USB-C port, which will also let you mirror your smartphone screen, provided that you have the right cable. However, that also means that you will have to use a wall adapter to deliver the power, which is a small price to pay for all that this model has to offer.
It also features a standard USB port, so that you can connect a mouse or a keyboard to it. Furthermore, the monitor has a 60Hz refresh rate, an 8-10ms response time, and minimal lag. Not only that, but it also has two 3.5mm ports for your headphones, and if you don’t prefer using them — there are also built-in stereo speakers. Finally, it features a blue light filter, so that it doesn’t trouble your eyes.
Now, apart from the cost of the model, which is pretty elevated — another downside is its weight. So far, we have seen a lot of light monitors, created to be portable and to follow you almost without you even feeling it. This is not the case with G-STORY’s solution. The monitor weighs around 7.28 pounds, which is multiple times heavier than any other model on the list. But, most people who are buying it don’t seem to care, as the monitor still has an excellent rating, even when rated by those who tend to travel on a regular basis.
6. GAEMS M155
Now, if you still want a good portable laptop monitor for gaming, but you are more interested in a budget solution — we have a great monitor for you. GAEMS M155 is likely one of the best budget monitors of this kind, with a 1080p display, an HDMI 1.4 port, built-in speakers, and a decent refresh rate of 60Hz.
One thing to note is that this monitor features a TN panel, which is a bit of a step down overall, but it should still do the trick for most gamers looking for a budget solution. If you choose this one, you won’t have that wide viewing angles, and the colors won’t be as vibrant as IPS models, but the picture is still quite bright and sharp, so this is not too big of a downside.
This monitor comes in two versions — 1080p and 720p, so be careful which one you are ordering, as you definitely want the 1080p one. This model also has a very low input lag, which makes it a decent solution, even for games where speed is of importance.
In terms of design, the monitor is pretty lightweight, weighing at around 2 pounds, or 900 grams. It is also pretty thin, coming in at 0.6 inches, or 15mm. It will arrive with a bag, a USB cable, and an AC adapter. The monitor itself also features built-in speakers, a USB port, a headphones jack, and an HDMI port, as mentioned.
All in all, it is a good monitor, and probably your best option for a budget solution for gaming. We expect that most people will be pleased with what it has to offer, and even though it comes with a downside or two — it still has no real deal-breakers.
7. ASUS ZenScreen MB16AC
Finally, like the last on our list, we have another model from ASUS, and this time, the model in question is Zen Screen MB16AC. This is a 15.6-inch model, with a 1920×1080 resolution. It is a pretty thin monitor, coming in at 8mm, and it features multiple buttons, a two-tone design, and a number of other useful features that make this model quite a decent solution. Of course, with the buttons being located on the front side of the monitor, and the two tones being quite obvious, this model is not exactly the definition of ‘clean.’ But, if you do not mind that, here is what else it has to offer.
ZenScreen MB16AC comes as a combination of Stand and Screen, and it can rotate to support both, landscape and portrait mode. It is not heavy, weighing around 1.7 pounds. One curious addition to the model is the so-called “ZenScreen pen,” which might have you believe that the screen supports pen input. However, this is not the case — the pen is just a regular pen, and the monitor doesn’t have a touchscreen feature.
But, the pen still has its place on the monitor, as it fits into a hole in the lower-right corner of its bezel. Simply slide it in, and it acts as a makeshift stand. The design is rather curious, but it does allow you to avoid using the case, so you might consider it an advantage. Even so, using the case is recommended, since you will want to do whatever you can to protect the screen, which makes this feature a bit unnecessary.
In terms of connectivity, the model can go between USB C connection and USB 3.0 Type-A thanks to an adapter that comes included. This makes it compatible even with older devices, although it can also limit the monitor’s capabilities, as it will have a lower power draw. Some other drawbacks include the fact that the USB cable connection appears a bit unstable, and that the monitor only allows a single position — and not a very stable one, at that.
But, the screen itself is good, if a bit dim, meaning that the brightness is not the best we have seen. Even so, it is viewable, and a screen with a relatively low brightness is not uncommon for this type of monitor. The response time is 5ms, which is excellent, and it features several videos presets, so you don’t have to tweak it manually for too long unless you have quite specific requirements.
And with that, we come to the end of the list. Portable monitors are experiencing quite a growth in popularity since laptops themselves are getting stronger and more capable, which is why a lot of people wish to create a mobile setup similar to the one that desktop users get to enjoy. If you are among them, then this list likely has all you need to create a portable setup that you can carry around in your bag, and still get the best experience while using it. All that remains is to browse our solutions and pick your favorite model.