For many of us, it's been a while since we've traveled or needed any tools for working not from home. However, things are getting back to normal in large parts of the country and the world, meaning that travel for fun and business is returning in full force. In fact, we recently saw Austin's airport get inundated with travelers. With that, it's time to start considering what might be needed to enhance your travel. This week, we're looking at different types of portable monitors and which you might want to consider and why.
There are a lot of features to take into consideration when choosing a portable monitor.
The most important feature is how you will connect it to your device. Some monitors connect using USB-A, the traditional "3rd time's the charm" plug. It uses DisplayLink drivers to create a virtual video card within the monitor to mount the device. These are easy to use but require system resources. Other monitors connect over USB-C, the newer "anything goes" connector. While the plug is universal, the feature is not - you need to know that your computer, tablet, or phone can support it. Lastly, you can connect some monitors using HDMI. This is the most universal but not necessarily the easiest.
In this decade, don't torture yourself with a lower resolution. The price difference between a 1366x768 and 1920x1080 is negligible, so just don't do it. You'll regret it on a smaller screen. However, it is worth considering refresh rate. If you're planning on using the screen for work or web browsing, a standard refresh rate is fine. However, if you plan on using the monitor for portable gaming, video editing, production, or any other equivalent usage, you can get portable monitors up to 240 Hz.
The way the monitor sits on your desk, table, or lap is another essential feature. A clumsy stand will only make using the monitor more challenging. You might also want to consider a screen that gives you the ability to raise it up to ensure the portable screen and your laptop screen are level, as looking up and down can be frustrating.
For a Full HD experience with an HDMI port, the ASUS MB169B+ is a great choice. It's 15.6" and powers over USB, so no need to find another outlet in the hotel room. The base is solid and part of its case. For a monitor aimed at gamers and media professionals, the ASUS ROG Strix XG16AHPE is a great deal. Same size with the added bonus of a 144 Hz refresh rate and G-Sync compatibility.
ASUS also offers some monitors with unique features. If you're looking to add touch to the equation, the company offers the ProArt Display 14 PA148CTV. This 14" display offers Full HD, 100% sRGB color, and adds in touch capability. However, if you're looking for a truly unique monitor, ASUS has ProArt PQ22UC. This portable monitor is 21.6", offers 4K video, 0.1ms response time, and more. However, this monitor runs $4000, while the others on the list are under $400.
ViewSonic also offers some fantastic portable monitors, which is not unexpected as they have made monitors for decades. The VX1755 is a 17" Full HD monitor with Free Sync and 144 Hz refresh rate. It runs over Mini HDMI and powers on USB-C. If you're not looking for the high refresh rate but want touch instead, the ViewSonic TD1655 is a great option. 15.6" Full HD screen with 10-point touch input.
From Lenovo, the ThinkVision M14 is a great choice. 14" Full HDS screen with a single connector over USB-C. This means you need the hardware to support it, but if you do, it's easy to use. It's also ultra thin with an incredibly solid base. The base contains the device's ports, making it look like a small laptop, but also adding stability to the screen.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.