- Portable monitors give you a bigger screen that you can bring with you on the go so you’re not stuck doing important tasks on a small screen.
- The GeChic 1503H portable monitor is our top pick because it provides a decent viewing experience without adding much girth to your travel bag.
We have smartphones, tablets, laptops, Chromebooks, and even smart glasses with screens attached to them. There’s no shortage of devices with displays in our society, and yet there’s still the odd situation where you might need an extra one to stay productive or dive into your games when you’re on the go.
Portable monitors offer an acceptable middle ground to fill those needs. They work just like regular monitors, but they’re made to be portable.
These monitors come in a variety of sizes and target many types of users. There’s a portable monitor for gamers, movie watchers, productivity buffs, and even those who just need it for the occasional second screen experience.
The best part is that these monitors don’t have to wreck your pocketbooks. In fact, we’ve highlighted an option that falls just shy of the $100 marker.
Here are the best portable monitors you can buy in 2019:
- Best portable monitor overall: GeChic 1503H
- Best budget portable monitor: AOC E1659
- Best portable monitor for 4K HDR: G-STORY UHD Monitor
- Best portable monitor for travel: GeChic 1305H
- Best portable monitor for gaming: G-STORY GS173H
Keep scrolling to check out our top picks.
The best overall
With diverse connectivity options and a bright IPS panel, the GeChic 1503H can fit any need.
GeChic is one of the most consistent brands in the realm of portable monitors. The company’s 1503H model is the standard to meet with its 15.6-inch 1080p IPS display. Its crisp, clear screen with accurate colors is enough to make us take notice, but we also like the option to choose between HDMI and VGA connection types.
You should have no problem connecting your favorite computers, consoles, tablets, and smartphones to it, and power comes over USB-C so you won’t need an extra power outlet. It has a 12.5ms response time, so input lag won’t bog down your gaming or design needs. Just note that its refresh rate tops out at 60hz.
Weighing 1.75 pounds and measuring at just under half an inch thick, the GeChic 1503H remains portable despite its size. You can use the monitor in both vertical and horizontal orientations thanks to its detachable stand. You can even mount it, though you’ll need an expensive adapter to do that.
The 1503H was a hit with Trusted Reviews – the site gave it a 4-star review and applauded its image quality and flexibility.
On Amazon, where it has a 4-star rating, a buyer named Ethan C. says his initial skepticism was wiped away. “This monitor far exceeded expectations and I can say without hesitation that this monitor is worth the price.”
Pros: IPS display is bright and crisp, diverse connection options, detachable stand lets you view in any orientation, suitable for both work and play
Cons: Expensive mounting options
The best budget
For just under $100, AOC’s 15.6-inch monitor offers a usable display in a pinch.
As you may expect, a high-quality monitor will cost you top dollar. That doesn’t mean you can’t get something that can do the trick on the cheap, though, as evidenced by AOC’s E1659 monitor.
It’s a 15.6-inch display with a 1,366 x 768-pixel resolution. We’re still in the HD ballpark, but don’t expect the same level of detail as a screen sporting a 1080p resolution. A built-in kickstand in included so you can use it in portrait and landscape modes. Four 75mm VESA-compliant screws are on the back for hanging it on a wall or arm.
Image data and power delivery come over the same plug-and-play USB 3.0 connection, so you don’t need to find a wall outlet. Folks looking to use multiple monitors simultaneously can do so by using the DisplayLink application on their PC.
This monitor is only suitable for use with Windows or Mac computers as it does not support HDMI. Gamers and those with more lofty needs should consider other options. As a quick and dirty solution for a mobile workstation, however, it has everything you need.
“Everyone has been very happy with the performance and image quality,” says Amazon patron Dada, who buys these in bulk for their workforce. The AOC E1659 has an above average rating by over 2,000 customers who have tried it out. It’s a good buy in PCMag’s eyes, too. The reviewer writes, “its color accuracy is off, but it delivers a sharp picture and is easy to tote around.”
Pros: Extremely affordable, diverse mount and stand options, simple connection type, can use multiple monitors simultaneously
Cons: Limited connection options, resolution can be fuzzy at this size, viewing angles limited
The best for 4K HDR
You can enjoy your games and media on the go with full graphical fidelity thanks to G-STORY’s 4K monitor, and it won’t cost you a small fortune.
The market hasn’t been teeming with options for portable 4K gaming monitors, but G-STORY is looking to change that. The company offers one of the few 4K portable monitors out there, and unlike earlier options from other manufacturers, it also sports advanced display technology such as HDR and AMD FreeSync.
This means you can enjoy all your favorite movies, shows, and games at their best. The 4K (2160p) resolution is overkill at its modest size of 15.6 inches, but that also means you’d be hard-pressed to notice individual pixels when sitting up close. What you’re really after here is HDR, which expands the color gamut for a better image.
Connection options are plentiful here. Two HDMI ports should be all you need to connect your consoles, PCs, and players. A USB-C port allows you to mirror your smartphone screen with the right cable, though your power will need to come from the included wall adapter. There’s also a standard USB port for powering peripherals like mice and keyboards.
It’s not every day you get a portable monitor that offers support for AMD FreeSync, a technology that helps eliminate screen tearing and frame stuttering if you’re using select GPUs and consoles. It works alongside a 60Hz refresh rate and 8-10ms response time for smooth gaming performance with minimal input lag. The monitor also has built-in stereo speakers, two 3.5mm headphone ports, and a blue light filter to help with eye strain.
The cost of all this is weight. The monitor weighs 7.28 pounds, which is not great for portability. It’s the least of concerns for those who have bought it, though. It has an average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 at Amazon.
“I needed a monitor that was Low input lag, could fit in my bag, and had high resolution … and this product could not be a better fit for me,” exclaims one who uses it for traveling.
Pros: 4K HDR panel excellent for movies and games, AMD FreeSync support, plentiful connection ports, thin enough to fit in a laptop bag
Cons: Heavier than typical portable monitors
The best for travel
Super light and thin with a protective case in the box, the GeChic 1305H will become your favorite road mate.
While all portable monitors are meant to be used on the go, GeChic’s 1305H excels in that role. It weighs just 2.1 pounds and is just over half an inch thick. Its 13.3-inch 1080p LCD panel provides a nice balance between size and portability while offering decent color reproduction.
GeChic was generous enough to throw a nice case into the deal. It protects the screen and offers portrait and landscape viewing angles (180 degrees in both orientations).
The monitor also includes a combined HDMI/USB cable to cut down on all the extra stuff you’ll need to carry. That means there’s just one cable needed to supply power and video. Your audio comes from whatever’s hooked up to its 3.5mm headphone jack.
Close to 200 Amazon customers have rated it 4 stars out of 5. Its ability to serve multiple needs is the biggest benefit for many of those who’ve bought it. “There is nothing about this product I do not like,” writes Dave, whose use cases include work, stock trading, and general travel needs.
Laptop Mag says it has “one of the best displays we’ve seen in a portable external monitor.”
Pros: Designed for portability, sharp LCD panel serves a variety of needs, included case offers multiple stand options
Cons: A little pricey for its class
The best for gaming
There’s no portable monitor with better response times than the G-STORY GS173H.
Insane resolution and accurate colors are important criteria for gamers, but those who are serious about performing their best are also looking at response times and refresh rates. G-STORY’s 1080p GS173H monitor is unmatched in that regard.
It has a 1ms response time and a refresh rate of 120hz. Coupled with AMD FreeSync, you practically eliminate input lag with this setup, so your spells will be cast and your guns will fire precisely when you expect them to. This is also one of the few 1080p monitors supporting HDR, a technology that uses tons more colors than regular displays can for a much more vibrant and accurate picture.
This monitor is not small, measuring 17.3 diagonal inches. That’s a perfect size for serious gamers and perhaps those who want it for video and photo editing, but less so if you’ll be traveling or moving it in and out of a bag often. Integrated speakers help fill some of that room.
Also detracting from its portability is the lack of power delivery through its USB-C port, so you’ll be at the mercy of wall outlets when you want to use it.
Pros: Unmatched response times and refresh rates, AMD FreeSync support, HDR in a 1080p panel, 17.3-inch display maximizes screen real estate
Cons: Size hurts portability, requires use of AC adapter