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Portable monitors are handy devices to pair with your laptop, allowing you to create a multiple monitor setup away from your desk. They are also cool accessories for gaming consoles such as the Nintendo Switch. Whether you travel a lot or simply like to work in different spots in your home for a change of scenery, a portable monitor can be a good investment. After all, no one wants to disassemble a monitor to put in a suitcase or try to squeeze into a backpack. We’ve rounded up the five best portable monitors we’ve tried below. From high-end OLED monitors to unique multi-monitor options, there’s a growing variety of options to consider.
A multiple monitor setup can be great for productivity. Rather than bouncing between tabs and windows repeatedly, you can simply glance left or right. While dual- or three-monitor setups are typically thought of for desk use and thus not very portable (no one wants to lug a monitor around with their laptop), there are some new and innovative options out there specifically designed for portable use. Fopo’s Triple Portable Monitor is a great example.
This attachment adds two 12-inch monitors to your laptop–one on each side–to give you a total of three screens including your laptop display. This monitor system is compatible with laptops ranging from 13 to 16 inches and connects via mini-HDMI or USB-C. If you have a relatively thin laptop (such as a MacBook), you’ll have to add some padding to make it fit securely and not wobble.
Each of the IPS displays boast 1080p resolution with a 60Hz refresh rate. It is worth noting that while the monitors offer a nice, clear picture, it might take some getting used to if your laptop has a better display. The Triple Portable Monitor also has the added benefit of not requiring a surface other than your lap.
While 4K OLED TVs are becoming more reasonably priced each year, monitors offering a similar experience are extremely expensive. Innocn’s 15.6-inch 4K OLED monitor is a bargain compared to other options out there, and it offers stellar performance for the price. This is the sort of portable monitor that you may even want to use on your desk at home. It has a great touchscreen that is protected by an included cover when traveling. The display boasts a color range north of a billion and offers impressive contrast and blacks (a hallmark of OLED displays). It’s truly compact and lightweight at just a quarter of an inch thick and two pounds. You can connect it via USB-C or mini-HDMI and can get up to four hours of battery life on a full charge.
Not everyone needs a 4K monitor for what they’re doing–especially as a portable device. So if you want the high-end picture that comes with OLED monitors but are fine with 1080p resolution, Innocn’s new 15.6-inch monitor is an excellent choice. Once again, it’s reasonably priced compared to most OLED monitors. In addition to being great for use alongside a laptop, this monitor is ideal for gaming on Nintendo Switch. If you travel frequently and aren’t a fan of the usually mediocre TVs in hotel rooms, this monitor is a nice option. It boasts the same color gamut and contrast ratio as Innocn’s 4K option. The only downside here is that it doesn’t come with an internal battery–it has to be plugged in for power.
For a budget option that still offers crisp 1080p resolution, check out Lepow’s 15.6-inch portable monitor. This sleek IPS display comes with a smart cover (similar to Apple’s iPad covers) and a screen protector. The screen has a matte finish and has a 60Hz refresh rate. At less than two pounds and a third of an inch thick, it’s ultra portable without sacrificing features. The pair of built-in speakers pack a surprising punch, and when gaming you can turn on HDR mode. Lepow’s monitor has two USB-C ports (one for the power supply), a mini-HDMI port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
This particular Asus ZenScreen is a solid option if you plan on using your portable monitor for productivity rather than entertainment. Since it only has 768p resolution, it’s not ideal for modern gaming or watching media. Outside of the lower resolution, the ZenScreen has some nice features, including a blue light filter and flicker-free tech. It comes with a foldable stand to display the monitor in landscape or portrait mode, and like your smartphone, it automatically detects screen orientation (Windows only). And if you want to set it up to look like a regular monitor, the ZenScreen has a built-in tripod mount. It’s powered by USB 3.0 and has its own video driver that needs to be installed on your PC or Mac to get it up and running.
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