Buying a portable computer monitor

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One thing that makes laptops desirable to many people is the level of portability they provide. Unlike a traditional desktop, a laptop can be used anywhere. For a long time, the same level of convenience was not possible for computer monitors. Although a rare need, there are some tasks that are better accomplished if there is more screen real estate. Tasks like, online trading, online classes, video editing, and general multitasking; just to name a few, are better done with more screen real estate. The traditional way of doing this is getting a desktop monitor and connecting it to a laptop using an HDMI or VGA cable. To meet the need of portability, a portable computer monitor is the best option.

Why use a USB powered portable computer monitor

  • Less power consumption: Unlike the traditional desktop monitors that need AC power to function, the portable USB powered monitors are less hungry on power. These monitors only need 5 Volts, the same as a typical smartphone charger, making them more efficient and easy to work with.
  • Mobile: Of course, the main point of making a portable monitor is so that the users can go with them everywhere. This is not possible with desktop monitors.
  • Scalability: Unlike traditional desktop monitors, USB powered monitors are more scalable, meaning that you can connect more screens, may the need arise. For the typical screens, the limit is usually 2 screens, unless you invest in a special equipment to increase that number. However, when it comes to USB powered portable monitors, the number is high. The technology used can connect up to 6 screens out of the box, on most computers. Other technologies such as Windows Multipoint Server can be used to bring that number up to 14 screens acting as independent work stations.
  • Economic on space: The more the screen estate you have, the better you will be able to work. With a traditional monitor, you really have to economize on space, but with the portable monitor, you can make better use of the space you have. In a normal work space, you can place up to 5 portable monitors in the same space of two desktop monitors.

Buying a portable computer monitor

Now that you know the benefits of owning a USB powered portable computer monitor, here are some features that you should account for when buying one.

Size

The size of the portable computer monitor, usually measured in inches, should be the first consideration to account for. An excellent size is one that you can easily carry around and nicely use it with your laptop, as a secondary monitor. The best way to make the best selection is to choose one that is the same size as your notebook’s display.

Resolution

Resolution simply means how clear the display is. If you want clearer pictures, then go for the highest resolution available to you. However, to make sure that your usage is seamless, make sure that you select one that has the same resolution as your laptop. This makes it easy to use both screens as the apps on both displays will have the same resolution. This helps with concentration.

Brightness

Not all portable displays are the same, and to ensure that you get the best clarity, make sure that you go for one that has adequate brightness. The unit of measure for brightness is cd/m2, which stands for candelas per square meter. 200 cd/m2 and above is okay for everyday use. Remember that too much light can be harmful to your eyes.

Anti-glare

In a place with a lot of light, especially out doors, screens will reflect some of that light. This makes it hard to use the screen. This is where a screen with anti-glare capabilities helps you work efficiently without or at least a tolerable reflection.

Power

You might not know this, but not all external or portable computer monitors are USB powered. Some have an HDMI or VGA cable and a separate power brick for power. If you are looking for a truly portable monitor, then go for a USB powered one. This means that it only uses one USB cable to power the display and transmit data at the same time. Although some use the USB cable exclusivity for power and other solutions like VGA or HDMI to show visuals.

Build

Everyone has their taste in design, especially when it comes to tech products. However, when selecting the displays, make sure to consider the build. A good one is sturdy, uses durable material and has a fine design.

OS compatibility

Last but not least, another important factor that is very significant, is the Operating System compatibility. If you are a Mac or Windows user, you have to make sure that it works with your OS.

Our top recommendations

In true PC Advent fashion, we compiled a list of the top USB powered displays. These are the best and deserve your consideration. Without any further ado, here are the top ten portable computer monitors.

ASUS MB168B 15.6" USB Portable Monitor

Features

  • 15.6-inch HD portable USB-powered monitor with a single USB 3.0 cable for power and data transmission
  • World's slimmest and lightest USB monitor with a sleek and metallic finish
  • Auto-rotating display bundled with the ASUS Smart Case - a two-way adjustable stand and protective sleeve
  • ASUS Rapid Replacement: 3 Years Warranty, 2 way free shipping

HP ELiteDisplay 14" Screen LED-Lit Monitor

Features

  • Super simple set-up
  • Sleek, stylish, and ultra-portable
  • Double your visual workspace

Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421 14" Portable USB LED Monitor

Features

  • 14-inch viewable image size
  • Display resolution of 1366 x 768 matching mainstream Notebook resolution
  • Light weight (monitor: 0.84kg/1.8lbs; with Screen Cover: 1.02kg/2.25lbs)
  • Photo frame tilt stand adjustments for viewing comfort (12 degree~40 degree)
  • Brightness adjustment button for 16 level brightness, USB 2.0 connection, USB powered

Toshiba 14" USB Ultra-portable Mobile LCD Monitor

Features

  • PA3923U-2LC3 14"
  • LCD Monitor
  • 16:9 - 16 ms

GeChic 2501C 15.6" Portable Monitor

Features

  • HD USB-Powered Portable Monitor with Built-In Speakers & Audio jack
  • No lags with Real Video Input, HDMI or VGA (sold separately)
  • Plug & Play (No driver installation needed)
  • Weighs 2.27lbs (with cover), 1.28 cm thin
  • Comes with a black cover that doubles as a stand

AOC e1659Fwu 16" USB Powered Portable Monitor

Features

  • 16" (15.6" viewable) display, 200 cd/m2 Brightness, 16:9 Aspect Ratio
  • 1366 x 768 high definition resolution, 500:1 Contrast Ratio
  • USB-powered (no power cable required) with USB 3.0 technology
  • Ultra slim design for great portability of frequent travelers and ideal for business
  • Foldable flexi-stand for portrait or landscape view, Auto Pivot Mode w/Win 7,8 only

GeChic 1503A 15.6" Portable Monitor

Features

  • Full HD Wide Viewing Panel Display 1366 x768 (262K colors)
  • Lightweight, Thin, Ultra Portability with HDMI and USB powered. Connectivity: Micro-HDMI, VGA, USB( C)( DC-IN), Rear Dock port
  • Plug and Play with no driver installations, USB-C Reversible Connector
  • 1.79 Pounds (Monitor); 0.62 Pounds (Stand); 0.63 Pounds (Cover) Only 11mm thickness(Monitor)

GeChic 1503H 15.6" IPS 1080p USB Powered Portable monitor

Features

  • 1080p Full HD IPS Wide Viewing Panel Display
  • 1503H narrow side bezels. Ultralight weight 1.75lb only 11mm thickness
  • Anti-glare monitor with HDMI, VGA Connections with Built-In Speakers
  • Plug and Play with no driver installations, USB-C Connector, Reversible
  • Lightweight, Thin, Ultra Portability with HDMI and USB powered

GeChic 1002 10.1" Portable Touchscreen Monitor

Features

  • Lightweight & Slim USB Powered Monitor
  • 10.1 Inch IPS 10-Point Touch Screen
  • Plug & Play with Faster Connections (No driver installation)
  • Real Video Input: HDMI ,VGA, MiniDisplay with convertor
  • Connect to Laptops, Smartphones, Cameras and Compact PC

KKmoon USB Powered Portable Monitor

Features

  • Compact and light: easy and convenient to carry.
  • 60Hz scanning frequency: providing user lag-free using experience.
  • Full HD resolution and vivid color display: bringing user a brand new visual feast with high quality images.
  • Broader angle of view and adjustable stand, providing user better visual experience.
  • Aluminum coating: fashion and durable.