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Best portable monitor 2020: top USB screens for working from home and remote working

Best portable monitor
(Image credit: Packed Pixels)

Thanks to the best portable monitors, you can finally get extra screen real estate without taking up a lot of space. Ideal for digital nomads who are always on the go as well as professionals with not a lot of desk space, these monitors are an excellent alternative to traditional displays.

Not only do they forgo pesky stands and the jumble of cables, streamlining your experience with just a USB or USB-C connection and more minimal mounting, but the best portable monitors also keep things simple and streamlined. Whether you’re doing homework, graphic design, coding or tackling the newest AAA game, you can take advantage of having that second screen with minimal hassle or desk space. You don’t even have to have a separate outlet for power.

There are a few options available, not to mention iPad users can use their devices as a portable monitor, for anyone wanting something lightweight and slim. Whether it’s the budget option you need for the occasional use or a more robust solution to replace the best business monitors, here are the best portable monitors you’ll find in 2020.

Best portable monitor on Black Friday

With Black Friday coming soon, a number of the best portable monitors are expected to get some massive price cuts, much like last year. This means that you might be able to take one home for much less, saving you more money to use for something else on your shopping list.

Whether you’re buying one of the best portable monitors for your gaming PC or planning on gifting one during the holiday season, it would be wise to wait until these major deal events of the year. Luckily, with Black Friday rolling around the end of November, you won’t have to wait for long.

(Image credit: Asus)

1. Asus ZenScreen MB16AC portable monitor

Thin, portable and great looking

Pixel-resolution: 1,920 x 1,080

Thin and light
Excellent image quality
Low brightness

The Asus ZenScreen MB16A Portable Monitor is one of the nicest-looking USB monitors we’ve seen, and it comes with a number of features and design considerations that make it an incredibly handy device, and one of the best portable monitors. However, it comes at a price, with the ZenScreen proving to be more expensive than many of the other portable monitors on this list. However, the build and image quality of this screen makes it well worth the extra money. Fans of Asus' ZenBook laptops should be particularly interested in this device, as it has a design that compliments Asus' high-end laptops nicely.

(Image credit: Asus)

2. Asus MB169C+ portable monitor

The first USB-C portable monitor impresses

Pixel-resolution: 1,920 x 1,080

Thin and light
Good viewing angles and picture
Uses single USB-C
Slightly too dim
Fiddly menu control wheel

The Asus MB169C+ isn’t quite as portable as Packed Pixels, but its 15.6-inch size makes using it feel more like using a regular monitor. It has a healthy pixel-resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, which is perfect for streaming full HD video, working with two applications side-by-side and even gaming if you have a sufficiently powerful laptop.

The MB169C+ is incredibly simple to use thanks to its USB-C connection, which uses a single cable to transmit video, sound and power. It also comes in a handy protective sleeve that doubles up as a carrying case. Asus’ portable monitor uses an in-plane switching (IPS) display, which brings decent viewing angles making it perfect for watching video with a friend.

3. Gechic 1101P portable monitor

A great portable monitor for photographers

Pixel-resolution: 1,920 x 1,080

Great picture
Mounts to cameras/tripods
Bland design

Aimed at photographers who need a monitor to take on shoots, the Gechic 1101P features an IPS display like the Asus MB169C+. However, this one is smaller at 11.6 inches and more portable, allowing to be easily attached to a tripod or SLR camera while out in the field.

This full HD display supports 16.7 million colors which can easily be tweaked using the monitor’s onboard color temperature settings, allowing you to get it as close to your camera’s display as possible

The 1101P is also well-connected, featuring support for VGA, micro HDMI and mini DisplayPort. These make it suitable for a number of different use cases – from previewing photos and videos shot on a camera to being used as a normal portable monitor with your laptop.

4. Asus MB168B+ portable monitor

1080p goodness over regular USB-A

Pixel-resolution: 1,920 x 1,080

Thin and light
Good viewing angles and picture
Can hook up several of them
Needs USB 3.0 for full benefit

If you like the sound of the Asus MB169C+ but don’t have a laptop with a USB-C connection, then the Asus MB169B+ could be one of the best portable monitors for you.

This one also connects to your laptop with a single cable, except it uses a regular USB-A port instead. It works with both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, though you’ll experience noticeably more latency with the former due to its slower data transfer rate.

Still, it features the same alluring slim and lightweight design. Thanks to Asus EzLink tech, which offloads the graphics processing from the PC to dedicated hardware in the monitor, you can even hook up five of them if your laptop has enough USB ports.

Desklab Ultralight Portable 4K Touchscreen

(Image credit: Desklab)

5. Desklab Ultralight Portable 4K Touchscreen

A pin-sharp portable display for on the move

Pixel-resolution: 3,840 x 2,160

4K resolution
Single USB-C cable for power and display
Heavy with kickstand cover attached

Options have been limited for anyone seeking a slim and portable 4K monitor that connects using a single USB-C cable for power and display – until now. Though heavier (at 1.3 pounds) and dimmer than the Vissle-M below, Desklab’s offering is the sleekest and lightest model in its class. Its attractive Ultra HD touchscreen display is a boon for content creators, who may prefer to use it in darker rooms due to its highly reflective glass panel. 

The Desklab’s adhesive kickstand cover, which attaches using an adhesive rather than magnets, adds noticeable weight and bulk but does the job. It all makes for a unique package yet to be offered by mainstream brands, one that’ll cost you a pretty penny.

Vissles-M portable touchscreen monitor

(Image credit: Vissles)

6. Vissles-M portable touchscreen monitor

A bright and lightweight portable monitor

Pixel-resolution: 1,920 x 1,080

Bright matte display
Thin and light
Plenty of ports
Plain design

The Vissles-M is one of the most refined and fully-featured portable Full-HD monitors on the market. It sports a refreshingly bright matte panel surrounded by a thin bezel that makes reading text or undertaking productivity tasks a doozy – even if it is “just” 1080p. It comes with a plethora of ports onboard, including two USB-C, which lets you hook it up to a games console or other device while keeping it powered. 

The Vissles-M is one of the thinnest and lightest 1080p portable monitors around, even with its practical kickstand cover attached, which features a grippy texture and attaches using magnets to aid longevity. Some may argue that its design is a little on the drab side, though the absence of any logos could be considered a plus.