Finding the best budget portable monitor is key if you're regularly on the road, whether that's for work or you simply like to travel a lot. The thing is, portable monitors, despite their size, can be a little pricey. As with most things portable, you're paying a premium for something you can easily sling in your bag and take with you.
However, maybe life indoors has bored you, and now that you're no longer interested in looking at the best monitors for working from home; you want some movement in your life instead. That's where these versatile travel companions really come into their own.
At a more budget price point, there will be a few concessions you may need to make. So, if you're looking for something to use for high-end graphic design work or high frame-rate gaming, we'd suggest increasing your budget upwards of $500 and checking out the full range of the best portable monitors available on the market.
But for displays that'll be great for watching films, browsing, some light gaming, or general work, you'll be able to find something here that'll do the job without breaking the bank.
We've selected these monitors based on specs, general reviews, and features they offer that made them stand out from the crowd. Let's take a closer look at what's out there!
Best budget portable monitor
- ASUS ZenScreen MB165B
- ASUS ROG Strix XG16AHPE
- Newsoul 2K Portable Monitor
- Viewsonic VA1655
- Lepow Z1
- Dragon Touch 4K Portable
- AOC e1659Fwu
1. ASUS ZenScreen MB165B
Best budget portable monitor
ASUS makes some of the finest monitors on the market, from some of the best budget 4K monitors all the way up to the best HDMI 2.1 displays. This ASUS ZenScreen is no different, although it comes in at an inexpensive price as far as portable monitors go, and has pretty much everything you would need if you're looking for something for general usage and work.
Specs-wise, it has a decent 60Hz refresh rate and an HD resolution, which is more than enough for most people. The key to it though is just how lightweight and compact it is, weighing just 0.78kg and measuring 11.8mm across.
Read More: Best budget 240hz monitors
This, of course, makes it easy to travel with, which is then made even easier with its protective sleeve. You even get a tripod mount if you fancy raising it more to eye level or using it in a more permanent setup.
It's also got an anti-glare screen, which comes in handy if you find yourself working in bright light conditions, and can be used both portrait and landscape depending on your needs. So, for presenting at work, watching films in a hotel, or simply scrolling through the web, this portable display has you covered.
2. ASUS ROG Strix XG16AHPE
Best budget portable gaming monitor
Continuing with ASUS, but this time its ROG range, which is known for featuring some of the best gaming gear out there, including a lineup of portable monitors. Out of all the options though, the ASUS ROG Strix XG16AHPE stands out as the best for gaming as it features a 15.6-inch IPS display, which is akin to most gaming laptops, and delivers a Full HD resolution, striking a good balance between performance and clear visuals.
It’s compact and lightweight too, making it easier to carry around and set up. Plus, the versatile kickstand support makes it easy to prop the monitor up in portrait or landscape positions. It also comes with a universal tripod socket, in case you want to set it up on tripods.
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As far as performance is concerned, it features a refresh rate of 144Hz, which is sufficient for running most of your latest video games. Furthermore, the monitor is compatible with NVIDIA G-Sync, which essentially ensures a stutter-free gaming experience.
What's more, the monitor has a large 7800mAh battery, which runs for 3 hours at its 144Hz refresh rate. No need to panic if you do run out of juice though, as the monitor also features quick charging, providing two hours' worth of usage with an hour of recharge. So, when it comes to gaming on the go, this ASUS display is one to consider.
3. Newsoul 2K Portable Monitor
Best budget portable 2K monitor
The Newsoul 2K Portable Monitor is a real find in our eyes, as it actually packs a serious punch when it comes to specs, but it manages to keep the cost low at the same time. More specifically, it boasts a 2K resolution, meaning that on a screen of this size, you should really notice the upgrade from a 1080p display.
It can also produce impressive brightness which rivals most gaming monitors out there. Colour coverage is decent too, with 100% sRGB. It's still not a monitor we'd say to use for serious graphic design work (you'll want to check out the best graphic design monitors instead), but it should be enough to make games, films, and photos pop.
Read more: Best gaming monitors under 200
And speaking of games, this is actually a pretty decent pick if you want something to use on the go. It's got a 2ms response time, which is pretty fast for the price and should be good enough for most gamers. Its 60Hz refresh rate could be better, but it's still good enough for single-player titles where competition isn't as stiff.
Overall, it's an impressive-looking monitor and one well worth considering in your search if you're after the best picture quality possible.
4. ViewSonic VA1655
Best budget portable USB-C monitor
The ViewSonic VA1655 is a cracking budget portable monitor if you're after the powers of USB-C connectivity.
With it, you get the power of two USB-C ports that also offer two-way power, meaning you can have the display plugged into a laptop while getting all the benefits of information being sent to the monitor, as well as having the monitor powered by your laptop, too.
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In addition, it features creature comforts such as being an IPS panel for greater viewing angles, as well as a 15.6-inch FHD screen to deliver some serious detail on a larger-sized portable screen for the price.
This ViewSonic option also features both flicker-free tech and a blue light filter, much like any of the best anti-glare screen protectors for monitors do, in order to help care for your eyes while you use the monitor for work and play, which we'd highly recommend considering how great and budget-friendly this thing is.
5. Lepow Z1
Best budget portable FHD monitor
This Lepow Z1 is worth checking out if it's a portable Full HD monitor you're after. We've featured a few already, but this one is seriously cheap, yet comes with some impressive specs for its price.
With dual speakers, an IPS display, and both mini HDMI and USB-C ports, this is a versatile monitor that can be used for work, watching content, and even gaming. It's also great for travel, weighing just 1.76 lbs, measuring just 0.3 inches in profile, and featuring both a protective smart cover and screen protector.
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You also get a good selection of on-board controls, including the ability to adjust its brightness, and it can be used both horizontally and vertically depending on what works best for your own productivity.
For the price, it really is hard to beat, especially as we think it would thrive in any work environment.
6. Dragon Touch 4K Portable
Best budget portable 4K monitor
It's hard enough to find a great 4K budget monitor, but when it comes to portable displays, it's even trickier. Thankfully, this Dragon Touch 4K Portable display breaks the mould.
What you're getting here is an inexpensive yet large 4K IPS display, with 300 cd/m2 brightness and 100% sRGB coverage. In terms of brightness and colour, that's pretty good for a monitor in this price range.
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It also has speakers and a headphone jack, making it great for entertainment on the go, and features the all-important smart cover for added protection while you travel.
We think this is worth looking into if you're planning on using your portable monitor for everything from gaming to work, but want to save some money for other accessories, like some of the best keyboards or wireless mice around. Definitely a great budget-friendly pick if you ask us.
7. AOC e1659Fwu
Best ultra-slim budget portable monitor
AOC makes some incredible monitors, especially in the lower to mid-range when it comes to price. However, this AOC e1659Fwu is one of the cheapest on the list, and something worth considering if you're after a display that's super straightforward in what it provides.
There are a few understandable concessions here that keep the price on the lower side, namely HD instead of FHD and a lack of smart cover (although it does have a built-in stand).
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You do, however, get reasonably good brightness, going up to 200 cd/m2. For reference, many of the best monitors are around 300 cd/m2, with more premium displays heading upwards of 500 cd/m2.
So, for a quick budget solution to extend your desktop real estate, make sure you check out this AOC bit of kit.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
There are always a few questions that pop up when it comes to portable monitors, so here's our take on some of the most common ones.
Are portable monitors worth it?
It's a valid question! Yes, if you find yourself on the move and are in need of an extra screen. However, if you're thinking of having an extra display in a more fixed setup, we'd highly recommend picking a regular monitor instead, as in some cases portable monitors are actually more expensive.
What you get with a portable monitor though is something that's easy to travel with as they tend to be lightweight, and something that's actually built to move around with protective screen coverings and foldable designs keeping everything secure. This is great if you regularly travel with work and need an extra screen to perform your role to the best of your ability.
Are portable monitors good for gaming?
Some can be, but generally speaking, gaming monitors are far superior as they have features such as NVIDIA G-Sync or AMD FreeSync to eliminate stuttering, and lower response times to ensure your inputs happen almost instantaneously.
There are some portable monitors that are good and made with gaming in mind. Look for displays with 120Hz and 1ms response times, but be warned, they can be super expensive.
Can you use Bluetooth to connect to a portable monitor?
Yes, but not every monitor has this capacity. Most portable monitors work on a wired basis, tending to be USB-C. If this is an important feature for you, you'll want to make sure that the monitor you're purchasing explicitly claims wireless capability.
How much should I spend on a portable monitor?
As always it'll be down to your own budget, but we'd say the sweet spot would be around $200 - $250 for something that will deliver the goods, but keep the cost reasonable.
Portable monitors do tend to be more expensive, even considering their size, but you're paying for the portability factor over the specs of the display itself. That's worth keeping in mind when you're looking around.
What should I look for in a portable monitor?
We'd say that arguably the two most important things to look for in a portable monitor are connectivity and its respective display.
For connectivity, you'll want to make sure the monitor has a good selection of ports, which may include USB-C for charging or display output (via Thunderbolt), as well as HDMI out for display. Some more affordable options sometimes come with Mini HDMI, which is just something to bear in mind.
As for the display, you'll want to try and aim for an IPS panel, given their brilliant viewing angles. IPS itself stands for In-Plane-Switching and refers to a type of LCD panel that features liquid crystals in parallel to produce vibrant colours. For LCD monitors, it's arguably the best panel type you can get with fast response times, great viewing angles, and better contrast than TN or VA options. If you'd like more information on the power of IPS, then monitor manufacturer Viewsonic has a handy guide that explains what IPS is and the overall benefits of the tech.
For resolution, going for something Full HD and upwards is preferable, although some more budget options can go for 1366x768.
For brightness, somewhere around 300 nits should give you some good colours, and if you're planning on using a portable monitor for any intense work, good colour space coverage will be key.
Do portable monitors work with any laptop?
As long as you've got a USB-C port spare, then a portable monitor should be able to work with your laptop. Some can also connect via Mini HDMI, although some laptops do have this port. Just make sure you double-check this before you buy.
There aren't any real limits on what portable monitor will work with a laptop, apart from their respective connectivity.