Whatever your reason for needing an extra screen, a portable monitor can help increase your productivity—and often for less money than other display types.
When selecting a portable monitor, your primary concern should be image quality, but there’s more to consider than just finding the prettiest screen. Depending on what you’ll be using the panel for, port selection is important. And since you’ll be carrying the display around and setting it up at different locations, you should pay close attention to build quality.
We tested three portable monitors with strong potential for different use cases. Here’s what we found.
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The Ars pick
Lenovo ThinkVision M14
Buy: $269 at Lenovo, Best Buy
|Specs at a glance: Lenovo ThinkVision M14|
|Display||14 inches, 1920×1080 resolution|
|Ports||2x USB-C, Kensington lock slot|
With outstanding dual kickstands that make it easy to set up, a decent carrying sleeve, and solid image quality worthy of its price, Lenovo’s ThinkVision M14 is the best portable monitor option for most people.
We recorded a max brightness of 250.2 nits and 97.4 percent coverage of sRGB and 69 percent of DCI-P3. The contrast ratio was a solid 1,064:1. Colors in Windows don’t look oversaturated, and the panel is bright enough for movie watching in a sunny room.
The M14’s pair of kickstands make the monitor feel much more stable and offer easier adjustability than the many portable monitors that use a thin, origami-style sleeve folded up as a makeshift stand. I was able to make the M14 look its best in different working conditions and lighting environments. The monitor’s largest stand, which comes out of the backside, allows for a -5-degree to 90-degree tilt. The smaller stand, which extends from the bottom bezel, enables a 0- to 90-degree tilt and adds up to 1 inch of height.
The panel is thin, but its chassis’s rubber backing and thicker base provide extra support. The monitor’s fabric sleeve is thicker than those included with many other portable monitors.
Since the M14 has one USB-C port on its left and right side, it’s easier to create a clean setup. Unfortunately, those are the M14’s only two ports. An HDMI port would make it easier to connect the panel to other types of devices besides laptops, like gaming consoles or a Raspberry Pi. And there are rivals—like the Lepow C2S below—that come with additional ports, like DisplayPort or an audio jack. Finally, the M14 is the only monitor on our list without speakers.
- Outstanding dual kickstands
- Quality image
- Ports on both sides of the display
- Zero audio capabilities
- Limited ports