Are you going camping but still want to catch the latest episode of your favorite show? Or you have the kids with you and want to keep them quiet for a while? Well, besides tablets and smartphones, you should also think about investing in the best portable monitor.
These devices are lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about the added weight. In addition, they are great when you feel bored out of your mind or you need a bigger screen for your GPS. Being handy is what makes these devices wanted, and they are many brands on the market, so it can be tricky to shop for a portable monitor nowadays. We are here to help you make the right choice before buying.
This article aims to provide you with the right information that will help you shop for a portable monitor. Additionally, we have also reviewed some of the top-rated units that you can find in the market. Without further ado…
Our top picks
|Product Name||Weight||Screen Size||Screen Resolution||Price|
|ASUS MB169B+||1.76 lb||15.6 in||1920 x 1080||Check price on Amazon|
|AOC E1659FWUX-Pro||2.3 lb||16 in||1920 x 1080||Check price on Amazon|
|ASUS MB168B||1.76 lb||15.6 in||1366 x 768||Check price on Amazon|
|GeChic 2501C||2.3 lb||15.2 in||1366 x 768||Check price on Amazon|
|Gechic 2501H||1.72 lb||15.5 in||1920 x 1080||Check price on Amazon|
|Sourcingbay Mini CCTV LCD||1 lb||9.65 in||1280 x 800||Check price on Amazon|
|Easy Touch ED170||8.8 lb||10.1 in||1280 x 1024||Check price on Amazon|
|Toguard 10.1 inch IPS||2.2 lb||10.1 in||1280 x 800||Check price on Amazon|
Things to Consider Before Buying
All portable monitors are made with portability and convenience in mind. They are connected to a device and show the content of that device on the screen. However, remember that you can only visualize, not interact with it, so content is still controlled through the other device, although there are some that also work as a touch screen.
Despite the core basic functionality, there are several aspects that set each individual portable monitor apart:
They come in different sizes and shapes, but don’t expect them to be too small, because that defeats the purpose of a monitor, or too big because that doesn’t mean portable.
The norm when it comes to portable monitor sizes seems to be 15.6 inches. Most of the portable monitors in this list are around that size. It’s generally agreed upon as the perfect size – not so big that it’s a hassle to carry around and not so small that you have to squint at every little thing.
The terms “portable monitor” and “USB monitor” are used interchangeably today, mostly because in the market over 80% of these kinds of products are USB based. But don’t be mistaken, because there are monitors that are meant to be portable but use HDMI cables – the classic output for monitors in general. A USB monitor and an HDMI one use different cables.
Some portable monitors are also compatible with other connecting cables, such as VGA, DVI, and BSN cables. Most of the portable monitors in our list come equipped with USB and HDMI cables already, but if you wish to use the less common cables, you’ll have to buy them separately.
HDMI monitors usually require a power source, so you may need to carry one with you in addition to the monitor itself, or you need to be near a power outlet. They can be connected to multiple arrays of devices, such as smartphones or gaming consoles, but usually, that requires an adaptor of some sort, which you will have to pay for as well.
USB monitors, on the other hand, don’t require a power source. The laptop or Mac is enough in that regard, they usually require a driver installation that comes with the monitor and will not work if you don’t install it. But once you’ve done that, which is a quick installation anyway, just plug and play! Or plug and watch in this case.
One more thing to know is that USB monitors can experience lag, a slight delay between the moment you input a command on the device and the when the monitor receives that command, usually more or less than a second.
Although a lower lag time is always better, it doesn’t mean that a longer lag time is automatically a deal-breaker. It all depends on what you’re planning to use the monitor for. If it’s going to be used for business where speed is crucial, you might want to invest in a more responsive monitor. But if you’re going to use it as a CCTV monitor, a slightly longer lag time shouldn’t be a problem.
It’s important for a portable monitor to be lightweight so you can carry it wherever you need to without trouble. Anything weighing less than 2 lb is ideal. A bit more than 2 lb is okay, but any heavier than that and it’ll defeat the purpose of it being a “portable” monitor.
If you’re planning to put the monitor in a wall bracket and leave it there for extended periods of time, though, the weight shouldn’t a major point of contention. Some people use portable monitors as a smart TV or as a CCTV monitor.
As mentioned previously, the standard size for portable monitors is 15.6 inches. The highest screen resolution for this size is 1920 x 1080. A good portion of the recommended monitors in our list boasts this HD resolution.
There are also those that come equipped with a lower screen resolution, such as 1366 x 768 or even 1280 x 800. Again, whether this is a deal-breaker or not depends on what you plan to use the monitor for. If it’s for artistic projects, then a higher screen resolution is necessary. If you’re just going to use it as a CCTV monitor, a lower resolution might not be a problem.
You should also remember that a higher screen resolution doesn’t always equal a better screen display quality. Don’t forget to pay attention to the colors and brightness.
Best Products on Today’s Market
In our list we will be looking at different models of portable monitors and explaining what to expect from them. We will also go through different characteristics like size and resolution, some pros and cons and anything that might interest you.
Price: Approx. $180
Weight: 1.76 lb
Dimensions: 17.2 x 2.3 x 11.3 inches
Specific features: Display size: 15.6 inches; resolution 1920 x 1080; USB 3.0; auto-rotating display; ASUS Smart Case; EzLink for simultaneous multiple monitor connection
Best use: Camping, hiking, outdoor entertainment
Description: The ASUS brand is one of the most popular when it comes to hardware because they offer incredible high-quality in their products. Thus when it comes to portable monitors you can be sure they deliver.
The ASUS MB MB169B+ Portable LED Monitor is one of the best there is! Very lightweight, slim and with a sleek and metallic finish, this monitor is made to be durable yet very portable. It has a display of 15.6 inches that has built in rotation system which automatically detects the position you place it in, so you can visualize in a portrait or widescreen format just by rotating the monitor. Also, the only thing you need to install is the EzLink driver.
The EzLink technology that this monitor comes with was made to accommodate more than one monitor. So just by installing the dedicated drivers you can connect up to 5 USB-powered ASUS monitors without any other installations required. This means that this device can keep many children busy so it comes in handy when you’re camping with more people.
Another awesome thing about this product is that it comes with a carrying case that can be adjusted so it makes a stable stand for your monitor be placed on a flat surface. Also, ASUS provide a 3-year warranty for this product with free two-way shipping making this a safe investment.
On the downside, some customers complained that the USB cable in not fully stable once inserted and minor jostling can cause it to become slightly disconnected.
- Built-in rotation system
- Easy to connect up to 5 monitors at once
- Comes with ASUS Rapid Replacement 3-year warranty
- High resolution
- The USB cable is a bit short
- Using the case as a stand is not very stable
Related: Since the ASUS Smart case that this purchase comes with is not very stable when used as a stand, you might want to consider purchasing another case/stand combination that’s been proven to be very secure. The Anker Multi-Angle Aluminum Stand is a good choice for its lightweight profile and durable construction.
Price: Approx. $280
Weight: 2.3 lb
Dimensions: 9.16 x 1.4 x 14.64 inches
Specific features: Display size 16 inches; resolution 1920 x 1080; USB 3.0; 500:1 contrast ratio; 300 cd/m2 brightness; Vesa 75 mm mountable; carry case; foldable flexi-stand
Best use: Camping, hiking, outdoor entertainment
Description: The AOC company took the market by storm with their portable monitors which were the first of their kind at the time. And they have been improving on the model ever since. Introducing the AOC E1659FWUX-PRO LED Portable Monitor, one of AOC’s greatest achievements and a great product for your everyday use!
It boasts an impressive 1920×1080 resolution on a 16 inch screen, completing the package with the best brightness AOC can offer for its class (300 cd/m2) and 262k colors. Having a response time of 11 milliseconds it’s one of the most responsive out there.
With a sleek design, the product weighs only 2.3 lbs and is delivered with its own carrying case to be easy to transport. The added piano-black glossy finish gives it a certain stylish and fashionable look.
It has a built-in foldable flexi-stand that you can use to set it in either landscape or portrait fashion. Beside its stand, it also has VESA wall mount if you want to physically mount it on the monitor stand.
The Display-Link Technology lets you install multiple monitors of the same kind with only standard drivers. It’s compatible with MAC and PC and you can also search only for compatibility support for Windows 10. It also comes with an auto-rotating feature for maximum convenience.
A sad disclaimer is that some customers complain about an overall less video quality than other products, which can be true, but it can also be based on personal preferences.
- The best screen brightness in its class
- Fast response
- The built-in foldable flexi-stand and a VESA wall mount work great
- Multiple-device connectivity
- On the heavy side
- Not the best display quality
Related: If this product’s weight and display quality are deal-breakers to you, consider purchasing this GeChic 1503A Portable Monitor. Despite the lower screen resolution, the colors are brighter.
Price: Approx. $140
Weight: 1.76 lb
Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.3 x 14.9 inches
Specific features: Display size: 15.6 inches; resolution 1366 x 768; USB 3.0; ASUS Smart Case; auto-rotating display; ASUS Rapid Replacement; blue light filter; EzLink Technology
Best use: Camping, outdoor entertainment
Description: You don’t want to invest that much just for a camping distraction? No problem! The little brother to our first entry, the ASUS MB168B Portable Monitor is, in essence, the same with a lower maximum resolution but with some additional features and a lower price.
The resolution caps in at 1366×768, but the 262,144 (18 bit) colors brightness is an improvement. And because of its difference in quality, the processing time is more reliable with an 11 milliseconds response time.
With a sleek design, metallic finish and durable profile we can see ASUS products are made to impress. Lightweight, slim as pencil and with its own carrying case, which you can adjust into a stand (similar to the MB169B+), you will have no problem taking this beauty anywhere anytime.
The EzLink Technology will allow you to use multiple monitors hooked into the same device using only one set of drives, and the same as the other product is has a built in auto-rotating feature for your convenience.
An interesting and handy feature that the other model didn’t have is the auto-adjusting lighting, a feature that detects the surrounding environment and adjusts the brightness to accommodate the user. This makes it great to use outdoors or by the fire.
And let’s not forget about ASUS’s impressive warranty policy of a total of 3 years to give you peace of mind about your investment.
- Fast response
- Auto-adjusting lighting
- Blue light filter
- Stand is not that stable
- Average screen resolution
- The USB cable connection is not very secure
Related: The USB cable that this ASUS monitor comes with is not very reliable. The slightest jostling might detach it, which could mean trouble when you’re using many interconnected devices at once. Consider replacing it with this Cable Matters SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Y-Cable for a more secure connectivity.
Price: Approx. $385
Weight: 2.3 lb
Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.5 x 15.2 inches
Specific features: Display size 15.6 inches; resolution 1366 x768; cable USB, HDMI-D and VGA (separate order); 250cd/m2 backlight; 400:1 contrast ratio; adjustable color; 1 year warranty
Best use: Camping, hiking, outdoor entertainment, travel
Description: The GeChic 2501C Portable Laptop comes at us with a different option for portable monitors. It is still a monitor, and a good one at that. It has a typical brightness level of 250 cd/m2 and manufacturer guarantee resolution of 1366×768. While it may not be that special, some customers tried setting it at higher resolutions and it worked just fine.
Also, there are very little complaints about video quality. So the 2501C model may be worth more than what GeChic has credited it for.
A 15.6 inch screen on 2.3 lb may not be on par with the other we have shown, but it still is portable and way easier to transport than conventional monitors. The extra weight comes from its cover, which is good for protecting the screen when not in use, that also folds into a stable and reliable stand.
What sets it apart from our other entries is that it uses a USB cable for power and an HDMI-D port for rendering the image. That means that it may be annoying to have more cable around, but you have a wider range of devices to connect it to, like smartphones, PlayStation, Xbox and even digital cameras. A VGA cable can be used, but it must be purchased separately. It also has a set of speakers and a headphone jack for more convenience.
Because it’s an HMDI portable monitor, it doesn’t need any drivers to be installed, just plug and play. As an added bonus, the cover usually comes in black but you can order a variety of color patterns for it to be extra stylish and it comes with a 1-year warranty.
One complaint that we see associated with this product is that the built in speakers is of low quality.
- High quality display
- Durable covers
- No driver installation needed
- 1 year warranty
- Built-in speaker is not the best quality
- VGA cable needs to be bought separately
Related: If you wish to add an extra layer of protection to your device, consider purchasing this GeChic 15.6-inch Black Protective Sleeve. At around $20, it’s well worth the money because it will keep your monitor safe even when it’s put through the usual rough treatment by the airport staff while you travel.
Price: Approx. $385
Weight: 1.72 lb
Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.6 x 15.5 inches
Specific features: Display size 15.6 inches; Resolution 1920 x 1080; cable USB, HDMI and VGA (separate order); 250 cd/m2 backlight; 400:1 contrast ratio; adjustable 262k colors settings; HDMI cable
Best use: All-purpose, camping, hiking, outdoor entertainment
Description: Gechic has gone out of their way with this ultimate portable monitor. As the big brother to our previous entry, the GeChic 2501H Portable Monitor is a beast that improves in almost all of its features compared to the other one.
Offering a whopping Full HD experience at 1920 x 1080, a brightness level of 250 cd/m2 and 262k colors, this monitor is made with quality in mind. With a new and improved IPS panel, the 2501H model gives you a much wider viewing angle.
You can practically see the content on the monitor from any angle very well, a feature that few companies manage to achieve, as long as you look from a reasonable angle (not upside down or from the back). So it’s perfect for sharing photos, watching a movie or playing together during those nights when it’s nothing interesting happening in your camp.
Thanks to its HDMI cable it can be connected to a wider variety of gadgets and with a few adaptors, the possibilities seem endless.
It is a very lightweight monitor of only 1.72 lb, and it comes equipped with HMDI cable and USB cable for power, a slot for VGA but the cable must be purchased separately. It also comes with a headphone jack along with a set of speakers. Also, the back is of much greater quality and the protection cover can be flipped into a stand or removed entirely. All of this are fitted in a sleek and modern finish!
And the best part is that it’s easy to set up, with no software required you just plug and play.
There are only 2 downsides: one is the response time of 17.5 milliseconds, and the other is that for such an awesome monitor the price tag is quite high.
- No driver installation required
- Lightweight and compact
- The highest screen resolution in its class
- Multi-angle viewing
- VGA cable needs to be purchased separately
- Not the fastest response time
Related: You should consider purchasing this GeChic Stand 4 in addition to the GeChic 2501H because it makes it simpler to work no matter where you area and allows four viewing angles.
Price: Approx. $110
Weight: Approx. 1 lb
Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.4 x 9.65 inches
Specific features: Display size 10.1 inches; resolution 1280 x 800; HDMI and BCN; 2 built-in speakers; 1080P / 1080i HDMI input; CCTV monitor; 400 cd/m2 brightness
Best use: Camping, hiking, outdoor entertainment
Description: Sourcingbay may not be your go-to company for portable monitors but they have an interesting alternative. The Sourcingbay Mini CCTV LCD Portable Monitor has 3 major words for its profile: portable, versatile and affordable.
The quality stands in at 1280 × 800 resolution, 400 cd/m2 brightness, and 160 × 160-degree viewing angles, which is not bad.
Extremely portable, one of the smallest monitors out there you can almost fit it in your pocket and forget you have it there. It is very versatile, and has ports for HMDI, VGA, BCN, AV, RCA, multi-media USB, left/right audio input, and DC 12V power input, so you can connect it to gaming consoles, smartphones, TV cable, laptop, security camera, iPod, digital camera and much more.
It comes equipped with a sturdy stand, which can also be removed, 2 speakers and you can place it on TV mounts and in your car. A convenient tool that you get with it is a remote to make you even easier to use.
For all its excellent customer reviews, we can say that it has one flaw, because of its design it has, a bulge at the back, just like a TV, it may be a bit inconvenient to store or place at times.
- Very compact and lightweight
- Comes with 2 built-in speakers
- Comes with a stable stand and wall mount
- There is a bulge in the back that takes away from its streamline design
Related: If you wish to use this device as a wall-mounted TV, then you should also purchase this Jeasun Universal Wall Mount Bracket. This device works really well as a smart TV.
Price: Approx. $220
Weight: 8.8 lb
Dimensions: approx. 15.1 x 1.3 x 12.4
Specific features: Display size 17 inches; Resolution 1280 x 1024; cable VGA, DVI, and USB; 5-Wire pressure sensitive touch screen; 1 year warranty for US customers; 300 cd/m2 brightness; 1,000:1 contrast ratio
Best use: outdoor entertainment
Description: The Easy Touch ED170 LCD Monitor may be a bit more obscure than the other ones, but it is an interesting option nonetheless. It has a 17 inch screen, which is big compared to the others, a mediocre resolution of 1280 × 1024 and a brightness level of 300 cd/m2.
It is a bit heavy compared to others weighing in at 8.8 lb, but that is due to its handy and sturdy stand. It also has VESA mount for extra convenience. But its primary feature is the 5 wire touch sensor which allows you to interact with the monitor in touch screen fashion.
Compatible with Windows NT, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7/8/8.1/ MAC OS this monitor is very versatile. All in all, this product is an interesting option which deserves your attention. If you can handle the extra weight, using this product on camping trips or any other outdoor excursions is a pleasure thanks to its no-hassle touch screen feature.
- Responsive touch screen
- Versatile connectivity
- Works well with all kinds of OS
- Average screen resolution
Related: If the touch screen feature is important to you but you’re looking for something with higher specs, consider this Dell S2240T Touch Screen Monitor. The higher screen resolution makes it a real eye-candy.
Price: Approx. $100
Weight: 2.2 lb
Dimensions: 9.6 x 1.2 x 6.5 inches
Specific features: Display size 10.1 inches; resolution 1280 x 800; cable HDMI, BSN, and USB; built-in speakers; 170 degree viewing angle; 360 degree rotation at the base
Best use: Camping, hiking, outdoor entertainment, CCTV
Description: Another cheap alternative, the Toguard 10.1 Inch IPS Monitor is good in every aspect but not great. After all, it’s a cheaper, more accessible option. With a resolution of 1280 × 800 and brightness of 400 cd/m2, it houses inputs for VGA, BCN, HDMI, AV and USB.
It is also equipped with a pair of built-in speakers for excellent versatility. It is very portable and weighs in at only 2.2 lb. With the dimension of 9.6 x 1.2 x 6.5 inches you can fit it almost anywhere.
It also comes with an integrated speaker, which is an unexpected addition considering the rather low price. The sound it makes is quite clear and overall a great additional feature to this budget device.
A small disappointment is that it has a relatively slow response time, of 18 milliseconds. If you’re planning to use it as a CCTV screen, however, this slower response time should not be a problem.
- Affordable price
- Lightweight and compact
- Built-in speaker are high quality
- Less-than-ideal responsiveness at 18 milliseconds
- No sleep mode
Related: This product does not come with a wall mount, so you’ll need to purchase this Monoprice Wall Mount Bracket separately if you’re planning to set it up in your home or workplace.
And so here we must end our list. We hope that we’ve expanded your knowledge about these products and helped you make a better choice for your next camping trip.
Each of the products here are portable and extremely easy to install and use under any outdoor conditions. And, before you think that it may be a bit too much for a trip outdoors, keep in mind that technology may be of help in any situation.
Which of the aforementioned portable monitors captured your attention the most? Do you think there’s another monitor that deserves to be in this list? Let us know in the comments section below!