If you're on the hunt for the best budget portable monitor we've got you covered right here.
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 on the go.
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.
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 should 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, so let's take a closer look at what's out there.
Best budget portable monitor
- ASUS ZenScreen 15.6” Portable USB Monitor
- Newsoul 2K Portable Monitor
- Viewsonic VA1655
- Lepow 15.6 Inch Portable Monitor
- Dragon Touch 4K Portable Monitor
Best budget portable monitor - Asus ZenScreen
Asus makes some of the best monitors around, from some of the best budget 4K monitors all the way up to the best HDMI 2.1 displays.
This ASUS ZenScreen is super affordable 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.
As far as the specs go, it has a decent 60hz refresh rate and and HD resolution, which is more than enough for most usages.
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It comes with a protective sleeve, making it easy to travel with, and even 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.
Best budget portable 2K monitor - Newsoul 2K Portable Monitor
This is a real find in our eyes, as it actually packs a serious punch when it comes to specs, but manages to keep the cost low.
This Newsoul 2K Portable Monitor is 2K resolution, meaning that on a screen of this size, you should really notice the upgrade from a 1080p display.
It's also got impressive brightness, in fact, on paper, it's as bright as my own gaming monitor. Colour coverage is decent 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 here instead), but it should be enough to make games, films, and photos pop.
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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.
Overall, it's an impressive-looking monitor and one well worth considering on your search.
Best budget portable USB-C monitor - ViewSonic VA1655
The ViewSonic VA1655 looks to be a cracking budget portable monitor if you're after the powers of USB-C connectivity.
With it, you'll be getting the power of two USB-C ports that also offer two-way power, meaning you can have the display plugged into a laptop and you'll get all the benefits of information being sent to the monitor, as well as having the monitor being powered by your laptop, too.
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In addition, the ViewSonic VA1655 features creature comforts such as being an IPS panel to offer great viewing angles, as well as a 15.6 inch FHD screen to offer some good levels of detail on a larger sized portable screen for the price.
This ViewSonic option also features both flicker free tech and a blue light filter, 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.
Best budget portable FHD monitor - Lepow 15.6 Inch
If you're after something a little more feature-packed, but want to stick to a budget, this Lepow 15.6 Inch Portable Monitor could be worth checking out.
Featuring 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 in at just 1.76lbs and featuring both a protective smart cover and screen protector.
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Again for the price, we think it's worth considering.
Best budget portable 4K monitor - Dragon Touch 4K
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 Monitor breaks the mould.
What you're getting here is an affordable 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.
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 best wireless mice, or even the best wrist rest for gaming, if you need one, for more comfortable working.
Best AOC budget portable monitor - AOC E1659FWU
AOC makes some incredible monitors, especially so in the lower to mid-range when it comes to price. This AOC e1659Fwu is arguably the cheapest on the list, and something worth considering if you're going for something super basic.
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).
It does however have 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.
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For a quick budget solution to extend your desktop real estate, it's worth checking out.
Frequently asked questions about portable monitors
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. If you're thinking of having an extra screen in a more fixed setup, we'd highly recommend picking a regular monitor instead, as in some cases portable monitors are actually more expensive.
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 and lower response times.
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 your 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 too. 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.
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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 usually, then a portable monitor should be able to work with your laptop. Some can also connect via Mini HDMI, but some laptops do have this port, so you should be fine.
There aren't any real limits on what portable monitor will work with a laptop, apart from their respective connectivity.
How do I connect a portable monitor to my laptop?
Quite simply, portable monitors can be connected to your laptop via either HDMI, DisplayPort or USB-C, or in other words, whichever port that specific portable monitor uses an output.
To connect it to your laptop, plug one end of the cable into your laptop and the other into the monitor - by rights, your display should automatically extend your laptop's output, although you can choose in the respective settings of your laptop whether you want a new desktop or a simple extension of your current one.