Best portable monitor 2021: take an extra display with you anywhere

The best portable monitors you can buy right now, with all budgets considered

The Dell C1422H best portable monitor being used by a woman holding a blue biro pen and writing on a notepad at a desk
(Image credit: Dell)

If you're in the market for one of the best portable monitors that money can buy, then you're looking for a screen that's compact and lightweight – one that can travel around with you and provide some additional screen space whether you're in a hotel room or a coffee shop.

The good news is that there are now plenty of top-quality portable monitors available to purchase; the bad news is that you've then got the job of sifting through them all to find the best one. The model that's right for you might not be the model that's right for everyone else, which means it pays to do your research.

And that's where this best portable monitor list comes in – we've spread our nets far and wide to bring you the very best options in this category, and we'll explain all the differences and similarities between the various models in the write-up below.

If you need something else alongside your portable monitor, then we've got plenty of other buying guides for you to check out as well: make sure you peruse our list of best gaming monitors for your gaming rig, our list of the best 4K monitors for the sharpest possible pictures, our list of best ultrawide monitors for even more screen space, and there's the best curved gaming monitor guide too.

The best portable monitors available today

Dell C1422H portable monitor

The best portable monitor for most people is the excellent Dell C1422H.

(Image credit: Dell)

1. Dell C1422H

The best portable monitor for most people

Specifications
Size: 14 inches
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Weight: 590 grams
Connection: 2 x USB-C
Reasons to buy
+Multiple inputs+Stylish looks
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively expensive

We've seen enough Dell laptops to know that this is a company that knows what it's doing with computer hardware, and that's absolutely the case with the Dell C1422H. This stylish, lightweight portable monitor can run off USB-C and has a USB-C port on either side, meaning it couldn't be simpler to position this screen to either the left or the right of your laptop. It's the ideal companion for a Dell laptop if that's what you have, but it works with computers of any brand.

At 14 inches in size and with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, this gives you a decent amount of room for your applications and browser tabs. If you've got a laptop with a screen measuring 13-14 inches, then this is most likely going to match up with it very closely. The bezels are pleasingly thin too, with only the bottom one any sort of thickness.

We're big fans of the design of the Dell C1422H as well: it comes with a stand that makes it look like a folded over laptop, and you won't have any problems with the monitor falling over while you're trying to adjust the tilt angle or the position of it. It's a little bit more expensive than you might expect for what you get, but Dell is always offering discounts and special offers on its devices.

For more information about this portable monitor be sure to check out T3's Dell C1422H should I buy guide.

Asus ZenScreen MB16AH portable monitor

If money is no object then the Asus ZenScreen MB16AH portable monitor is well worth considering.

(Image credit: Asus)

2. Asus ZenScreen MB16AH

The best premium portable monitor

Specifications
Size: 15.6 inches
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Weight: 730 grams
Connection: 1 x micro HDMI, 1 x USB-C
Reasons to buy
+Large screen+Quality aesthetics
Reasons to avoid
-Higher price

Asus has been making portable monitors for some time now, and the ZenScreen MB16AH might just be its best one yet. It's more expensive than many of the other portable monitors you're going to come across while shopping, but we think it's very much worth the price you pay – from the aesthetics to the specs to the connectivity, this is a premium-level portable monitor in any category you care to name.

Everything is powered by USB-C, which can also be used for video in, and there's a micro HDMI port as well if you prefer to use that (a micro-HDMI-to-HDMI cable is included in the box if you need it). The 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel display can be used in either portrait or landscape mode, and it'll automatically adjust itself too – this is a genuinely versatile bit of kit. The features just keep coming as well, because there's a built-in blue light filter mode to rest your eyes in the evening.

You get a foldable sleeve case with this portable monitor that not only keeps it protected while in transit, but also doubles up as a stand so you can prop the screen up very easily while you're using it. Overall, it's a very impressive if pricey package, and that extends to the svelte design: it's just 9 mm thick at its thinnest point.

AOC I1659FWUX portable monitor

If you're shopping on a budget, then the AOC I1659FWUX is a top choice.

(Image credit: AOC)

3. AOC I1659FWUX

The best budget portable monitor

Specifications
Size: 15.6 inches
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Weight: 1200 grams
Connection: 1 x USB-A
Reasons to buy
+Integrated stand+Reasonable price
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively thick

There's lots to like about the AOC I1659FWUX, and that's before you get to the very reasonable amount of money involved – check the widgets on this page for the latest online deals on this portable monitor, but at the time of writing you can get this 16-inch screen for a rather affordable price. If you're shopping at the budget end of the market, this is undoubtedly one of the best options out there.

To get to its low price, the AOC I1659FWUX does cut a few corners. It's not the slimmest or the lightest portable monitor out there, and it's in no danger of being the best-looking either (not that it's particularly ugly). There's only one USB-A connection, and if you're after something really premium and versatile, you're going to want to pay a bit more.

However, for most users the AOC I1659FWUX will do everything they want it to, and it's fully deserving of a place on our best portable monitors list. The stand is actually integrated into the body of the display itself here, so you don't have anything extra to carry around, and the picture quality, colour and contrast all impress when you've got the screen hooked up to something.

ViewSonic VG1655 portable monitor

The ViewSonic VG1655 is a strong all-round portable monitor.

(Image credit: ViewSonic)

4. ViewSonic VG1655

The best all-round portable monitor

Specifications
Size: 14 inches
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Weight: 810 grams
Connection: 1 x HDMI, 2 x USB-C
Reasons to buy
+Large size+Integrated speakers
Reasons to avoid
-Odd shape

If you're shopping for the best portable monitor then you probably have a wishlist of all the features that you'd like it to have, and the ViewSonic VG1655 is probably going to tick a lot of those boxes: the 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution display offers a bright, sharp picture, and it comes with a HDMI socket, dual USB-C ports, an integrated stand, and a cover to keep it protected while you're moving it around.

You can use the monitor in portrait as well as landscape mode, so there's lots of flexibility there, and there are stereo speakers built into the device too. It's also worth mentioning the comprehensive on-screen options menus (controlled by a joystick on the back), and the Eye Care mode that reduces the amount of blue light produced by the screen – which should mean less eye strain late at night.

The ViewSonic VG1655 does have a slightly odd shape but it's certainly not a dealbreaker, and the monitor is a mere 6.9 mm thick at its narrowest point. We don't think anyone is going to be disappointed if this is the portable monitor that they pick up for themselves, and it's worth noting that there is a touchscreen version of this device available if you're prepared to pay a bit more money.

MSI Optix MAG161V portable monitor

Gamers will love the MSI Optix MAG161V portable monitor.

(Image credit: MSI)

5. MSI Optix MAG161V

The best portable monitor for gamers

Specifications
Size: 14 inches
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Weight: 895 grams
Connection: 1 x HDMI, 2 x USB-C
Reasons to buy
+Several ports+Very thin
Reasons to avoid
-Larger size

If you're looking for a portable monitor with gaming capabilities, look no further than the Optix MAG161V from MSI. Styled in a similar way to the manufacturer's gaming laptops, you get a generous 15.6 inches of screen space here, which may well be more than your laptop's connected display has – it means plenty of room to show off your games, though of course you can use this monitor for any sort of computing tasks.

Power is provided by USB-C, and for video inputs you get two USB-C ports plus a full-size HDMI port. If you know you're going to be connecting up numerous devices, from laptops to digital cameras, then this is one of the most appealing options out there. There's a simple stand attached which doubles up as a cover when the monitor isn't in use.

Bear in mind that the larger 15.6-inch size of the MSI Optix MAG161V means that it is a little bulkier than some of its competitors. MSI makes a lot of the screen's thinness – just 5 mm at its thinnest point – but in terms of overall dimensions you'll want to make sure there's room for it in your bag. It's by no means bulky though, and is an easy choice for our list of the best portable monitors.

David Nield
David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.