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Best Portable Monitor: When You Can’t Part With Technology

Portable monitor review
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

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.

First of all, these devices are lightweight so you don’t have to worry about the added weight. Second of all, they are pretty great when you feel bored out of your mind or you need a bigger screen for your GPS.

Portable monitor on the right

If you’re not familiar with this kind of products, here is what a portable monitor is in a nutshell: a portable monitor or USB monitor, more on this similarity later, is a device for rendering visual information on a screen, much like a computer monitor or a television.

They gather information from another device, in our case mostly laptops, and displays it in a visual format like pictures, videos, graphs, text etc.

A Bit More About Portable Monitors

Now that you know what it is and what it does, let’s go into specifics. These 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. But remember that you can only visualize, not interact with it, so content is still controlled through the other device.

They come in different sizes, square or wide, but don’t expect too small, because that defeats the purpose of a monitor, or too big because that doesn’t mean portable.

USB monitor

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.

Below you can see the main differences between a USB monitor and an HDMI one  (besides the fact that they use different cables):

  • 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.

Best Portable Monitors to Take Camping

In our list we will be looking at different models of portable monitors, 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.

ASUS MB MB169B+ Portable Led monitor

ASUS MB MB169B+ Portable Led monitor

Dimensions: 17.2 x 2.3 x 11.3 inches

Product weight: 1.76 pounds

Display size: 15.6 inches

Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Cable: USB 3.0

Price: $179.99

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 MB169B+ model 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 costumers complained that the USB cable in not fully stable once inserted and minor jostling can cause it to become slightly disconnected.

AOC E1659FWUX-Pro LED portable monitor

AOC E1659FWUX-Pro LED portable monitor

Dimensions: 9.16 x 1.4 x 14. 64 inches

Weight: 2.3 pounds

Display size: 16 inches

Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Cable: USB 3.0

Price: $159.99

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 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 pounds 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 costumers complain about an overall less video quality than other products, which can be true, but it can also be based on personal preferences.

ASUS MB168B portable monitor

ASUS MB168B portable monitor

Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.3 x 14.9 inches

Weight: 1.76 pounds

Display size: 15.6 inches

Resolution: 1366 x 768

Cable: USB 3.0

Price: $139.83

Description: You don’t want to invest that much just for a camping distraction? No problem! The little brother to our first entry, the 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.

GeChic 2501C portable laptop

GeChic 2501C portable monitor

Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.5 x 15.2 inches

Weight: 2.3 pounds

Display size: 15.6 inches

Resolution: 1366 x768

Cable: USB, HDMI-D and VGA (separate order)

Price: $199.00

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 200 cd/m2 and manufacturer guarantee resolution of 1366×768. While it may not be that special, some costumers 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-pounds 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.

Gechic 2501H Portable monitor

Gechic 2501H Portable monitor

Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.6 x 15.5 inches

Weight: 1.72 pounds

Display size: 15.6 inches

Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Cable: USB, HDMI and VGA (separate order)

Price: $349.99

Description: Gechic has gone out of their way with this ultimate portable monitor. As the big brother to our previous entry, the 2501H monitor is a beast that improves in almost all of its features compared to the other one.

Offering a whopping Full HD experience at 1920×1080, 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 pounds, 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.

Sourcingbay Mini CCTV LCD portable monitor

Sourcingbay Mini CCTV LCD portable monitor

Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.4 x 9.65 inches

Weight: Approx. 1 pound

Display size: 10.1 inches

Resolution: 1280 x 800

Cable: HDMI and BCN

Price: $110.99

Description: Sourcingbay may not be your go-to company for portable monitors but they have an interesting alternative. The Mini CCTV 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.

Easy Touch ED170 POS LCD touch monitor

Easy Touch ED170 POS LCD touch monitor

Dimensions: approx.  15.1 x 1.3 x 12.4

Weight: 8.8

Display size: 17 inches

Resolution: 1280 x 1024

Cable: VGA, DVI, and USB

Price: $224.95

Description: The Easy Touch ED170 POS LCD touch 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 pounds, 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.

Toguard 10.1 inch IPS monitor

Toguard 10.1 inch IPS monitor

Dimensions: 9.6 x 1.2 x 6.5 inches

Display size: 10.1 inches

Resolution: 1280 x 800

Cable: HDMI, BSN, and USB

Weight: 2.2 pounds

Price: $110.00

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 pounds. With the dimension of 9.6 x 1.2 x 6.5 inches you can fit it almost anywhere.

A small disappointment is that it has a relatively slow response time, of 18 milliseconds.

Conclusion

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.

Ready portable monitor

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Foster
Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.

  • Edward Gregory

    I don’t have one, but a coworker brought one (AOC 16 inch 1st gen) at home. I think this has by far the best and most handy stand. It’s built right in and works great. Very stable and provides support for whatever angle I want to place the display at. It also comes with a neoprene soft case.

  • Mark Foster

    That product line has sleek designs and it’s so lightweight! Although during my trips, I don’t bring any portable monitors, but all my buddies, do! The good thing is I can use theirs, 🙂

  • Patrick Calhoun

    We love to bring it with us when we go camping. The GeChic is really thin and fits well in a backpack that can contain any 15″ laptop. It’s lightweight too. I find it convenient for camping. A small complaint is the brightness. Other than that, anything else is a positive experience so buddies bought it as well.

    • Mark Foster

      The GEChick is a great one! My buddies love the plug and play feature – no additional drivers needed which is very convenient. It’s lightweight and easy to use. You can tone down the brightness, though. The speakers are not that loud, but so are most laptops!

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