Once you upgrade your desktop to two or more monitors, it's tough to go back to one-but-lugging them along with your laptop.
These productivity-boosting portable small, lightweight components and a single USB cable for both video and power users can now take a second screen along with your laptop or windows tablet with only a little extra room in your bag. They are especially good for longer trips, where they have time to set up a dedicated workspace and spread out. Here are the best on the market.
Best Overall Portable USB Monitor: HP EliteDisplay S1
40u ($ 155)
HP's entry into the portable monitor market has an excellent combination of size, ergonomics, and features. The integrated tablet-style protector folds out into a tri-fold stand with built-in magnets, in a much more elegant way than older designs from Asus and AOC.
The 14-inch panel uses a 1600 × 900 resolution, which is a little smaller than some of the competition elsewhere on this list, but is more serviceable for secondary screen duties. The screen has been tested and confirmed to work with macOS machines, which is not a given for USB-powered monitors and their integrated video drivers. The EliteDisplay makes an excellent travel companion.
Best Portable USB-C Monitor: Asus Zenscreen MB16AC ($ 230)
If your computer has only USB-C ports to offer, then use some adapters for a problem. This Zenscreen design from Asus is one of the newer options on this list. It uses USB-C for both ends of the connection, including video and power, and comes with it.
At 15.6 inches it's larger than the screen in most modern laptops, but it's less than half an inch thick and equipped with a 1080p display panel. Note that while Asus recommends a USB-C connection, the panel is compatible with older USB 3.0 connections as well.
Best Small Portable USB Monitor: Eleduino 11.6 1080p ($ 160)
Depending on how portable your setup is, 14 or 15 inches might not be practical for a secondary screen. The Eleduino 11.6-inch option has both a 1080p display and a touchscreen in it's diminutive size, though the practicality of the latter also depends on how much you use the touchscreen on your laptop anyway.
The gadget also has an HDMI port and speakers (though it can accept USB-based video and power), so it makes a decent companion for a traveling game console, too.
Best Budget USB Portable Monitor: AOC e1659fwu ($ 98)
For those who do not want to stretch beyond a hundred bucks, this AOC screen will do in a pinch. It uses the same USB connection, but its fold-out is 1466 × 768.
But if it's all you need is expanded room for emails or browser windows, it can handle it, with a generous 15.6 inches of diagonal space. Note that this budget pick is specifically for the e1659Fwu model: the full HD and USB-C models are more expensive, and better by the other options on this list anyway.