Skip to main content

The best portable monitors in 2021

Included in this guide:

Best portable monitors: AOC I1659FWUX
(Image credit: AOC)

The best portable monitors enable you to add a second display to your laptop or notebook, even when you're on the move. Small, light and easy to carry, they're a great way to create extra screen real-estate, whether you're doing design work, giving a presentation, enjoying TV entertainment or gaming. But with so many models on the market right now, often with very similar names, it's easy to get confused about which one to buy.

To help you out, we've brought together the very best portable monitors available today in one easy to read article. While each of these models has their own strengths and weaknesses, which we'll explain along the way, they all offer excellent value. 

More specifically, they also all offer a 16:9 screen ratio and full HD 1080p resolution. We haven't included any 4K models, though, because quite frankly, there aren't any portable ones we feel comfortable recommending yet. However, we do have a more general selection of the best 4K monitors and the best 5K and 8K monitors if that's what you're interested in. Or or more options you could check out the best tablets for video editing, or the excellent Dell offerings in our best Dell monitors roundup. Want to mount your displays? Don't miss our roundup of the best monitor arms available now. 

For now though, you can find the best portable monitors below.

The best portable monitors in 2021

Best portable monitors: Asus ZenScreen MB16ACcb badge

(Image credit: Asus)

01. Asus ZenScreen MB16AC portable monitor

The best portable monitor overall

Screen size: 15.6in
Dimensions: 22.60 x 0.76 x 36.06cm
Weight: 0.78kg
Reasons to buy
+Slim and light+Great picture quality+Free case and stylus
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest

Super-slim and lightweight, the 15.6in Asus MB16AC monitor is nothing if not portable. But its makers have sacrificed nothing in terms of functionality to make it so: indeed, quite the reverse.

Its screen offers pin-sharp, vibrant colour reproduction in 1080p, along with Asus' proprietary flicker-free and low blue light technologies, ensuring you get a comfortable and high-quality viewing experience. Like most of the best portable monitors, it also switches between portrait and landscape orientation automatically.

The MB16AC can be connected to your laptop in two different ways: via USB-C, or by USB-A using the DisplayLink driver. Plus you get a lovely foldable case and ZenScreen pen into the bargain. This might not be the cheapest model on our list, but overall its high-quality screen performance, versatility and cool freebies make it our number one choice.

Best portable monitors: HP EliteDisplay S14cb badge

(Image credit: HP)

02. HP EliteDisplay S14

The best portable monitor for gaming

Screen size: 14in
Dimensions: 32.77 x 0.85 x 20.94cm
Weight: 1kg
Reasons to buy
+Slim and light+Anti-glare tech+Quality picture
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't support USB-A

A close runner-up in our selection of the best portable monitors, the HP EliteDisplay S14 is another good choice for working, gaming or watching entertainment while on the move. Slim, compact and light, it's easy to connect to your laptop via the included USB-C cable. 

The screen, which features on-screen controls and a low blue light mode, provides impressive picture performance. HP's anti-glare tech will save you from getting headaches even in bright ambient light, and the screen automatically switches between portrait and landscape modes. You also get a useful cover, which doubles as a stand. In short, this is one of the best portable monitors around, and even though it's a little expensive, it offers excellent value overall.

Best portable monitors: AOC I1659FWUXcb badge

(Image credit: AOC)

03. AOC I1659FWUX portable monitor

The best budget portable monitor

Screen size: 15.6in
Dimensions: 37.18 x 3.54 x 23.26cm
Weight: 1.2kg
Reasons to buy
+Cheap+Quality picture
Reasons to avoid
-Not the lightest-No USB-C connection

If the first two portable monitors on our list are out of your price range, then here's a cheaper, yet still very decent alternative: the AOC I1659FWUX. For a very nice price indeed, you get an IPS (in-plane switching) panel that offers a great 1080p picture with accurate colours, dark blacks and and rich detail. It comes also with a nifty foldable stand, which doubles as a magnetic screen cover. 

Admittedly, it's the heaviest of the portable monitors on our list, at 1.2kg, and you connect via the included USB 3.0 cable, rather than a more modern USB-C one, but we think those compromises are well worth making for the cost saving. That said, if you want to upgrade to the USB-C version, it still comes in at a pretty low price.

Best portable monitors: Asus ZenScreen GO MB16AP

(Image credit: Asus)

04. Asus ZenScreen GO MB16AP

The best portable monitor with built-in battery

Screen size: 15in
Dimensions: 35.96 x 0.79 x 22.63cm
Weight: 848g
Reasons to buy
+Built-in battery+Very light+Free stylus
Reasons to avoid

Even the best portable monitors usually draw their power directly from your laptop, which can drain its battery quickly. If you work on the move a lot, you might prefer to get a portable monitor with its own built-in battery, and here's our favourite. 

The Asus ZenScreen GO MB16AP offers up to four hours' battery life under its own steam, and comes with a power adapter too. It automatically switches between landscape and portrait modes, and the picture quality is sharp and colour-accurate. It's also very light and portable at just 848g and 8mm thick. It can connect to your laptop via either USB-C or USB-A (using the included adapter).

Beyond that, the MB16AP comes with a foldable case that doubles as a stand, and a Zen screen pen to boot. So while this is the most expensive power monitor on this list, we feel it still represents very good value.

Best portable monitors: Gechic On-Lap 1101P

(Image credit: Gechic )

05. Gechic On-Lap 1101P

The best portable monitor for photographers

Screen size: 11.6in
Dimensions: 40.6 x 30.5 x 5.1cm
Weight: 476g
Reasons to buy
+Attaches to tripod and camera+16.7 million colours+Super-light
Reasons to avoid
-Pointless for non-photographers

Weighing less than half a kilo and with a dinky 11.6in screen, the Gechic On-Lap 1101P is perfect for anyone travelling light. But its target audience is photographers, as it can be used as the second screen to not only a laptop but also a digital camera or tripod, using the included mount kit. 

The bright and sharp screen makes the most of the 1080p display, which supports 16.7 million colours and can tweaked using the included colour temperature controls. And there's support for connections via VGA, micro HDMI аnd mini DisplаyPort. In short, this is a great choice for previewing pictures while you're out shooting, along with general use as a second laptop screen, albeit a small one.

Read more:

Tom May

Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. He is author of Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books. He was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine.