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Best portable monitors of 2021

Vissles-M portable touchscreen monitor, one of the best portable monitors.
(Image credit: Vissles-M)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

If you have limited desk space, the best portable monitors may be the ideal way of squeezing in that extra screen real estate. After all, these smaller displays don’t have the larger footprint of traditional computer monitors and they usually use fewer cables as well. This makes them ideal for those with smaller work areas or those needing a second screen on the road.

Having that additional monitor makes getting productivity and graphic design work done easier thanks to a more seamless workflow. And, they’re incredibly easy to to set up, as they’re usually just powered by a USB cable from your laptop. They come in a variety of sizes and resolutions, so whether you just want a regular 1080p screen or something that can rival the best 4K monitors, there’s a portable display that will fit your needs.

Since they’re so thin and light compared to typical displays, they’re very easy to take on the go. Some even attach to your machine. All you have to do is flip them open to use. No matter what you need a second screen for, we’ve collected our top picks here to help you find the one best for you. Also included is our nifty price comparison tool so you can score the best monitor deals.

(Image credit: Asus)

1. Asus ZenScreen MB16AC portable monitor

Thin, portable and great looking

Specifications
Pixel-resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Reasons to buy
+Thin and light+Excellent image quality
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-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

Specifications
Pixel-resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Reasons to buy
+Thin and light+Good viewing angles and picture+Uses single USB-C
Reasons to avoid
-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.

(Image credit: Vissles)

3. Vissles-M portable touchscreen monitor

A bright and lightweight portable monitor

Specifications
Pixel-resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Reasons to buy
+Bright matte display+Thin and light+Plenty of ports
Reasons to avoid
-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.

4. Gechic 1101P portable monitor

A great portable monitor for photographers

Specifications
Pixel-resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Reasons to buy
+Great picture+Mounts to cameras/tripods+Well-connected
Reasons to avoid
-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.

5. Asus MB168B+ portable monitor

1080p goodness over regular USB-A

Specifications
Pixel-resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Reasons to buy
+Thin and light+Good viewing angles and picture+Can hook up several of them
Reasons to avoid
-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.

(Image credit: Desklab)

6. Desklab Ultralight Portable 4K Touchscreen

A pin-sharp portable display for on the move

Specifications
Pixel-resolution: 3,840 x 2,160
Reasons to buy
+4K resolution+Single USB-C cable for power and display
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy with kickstand cover attached-Expensive

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.

Desire Athow

Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology in a career spanning four decades. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.