Ask Techland: Good Portable Monitor for Use with a Laptop?

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The Question:

Can you recommend a good portable monitor to use with my laptop? I would like something inexpensive, if possible. It’s a Windows laptop, too.

The Answer:

Just one? I’ll recommend three. One little one, one sorta little one and one not so little one.

Mimo 710S

First up, the Mimo 710S. It’s a 7-inch USB-powered monitor that’s very, very portable. The downside is that it’s only got an 800×480 resolution, and it’s a tad expensive for what you’re getting. That being said, it’d make a good second monitor for use with programs that don’t require a lot of screen real estate.

Pros:

  • Very portable
  • Powered by a single USB cable

Cons:

  • Low screen resolution (800×480)
  • Relatively expensive at $140

AOC e1649Fwu

Then there’s the new-ish AOC e1649Fwu (rolls right off the tongue, no?). Despite the weird name, I actually think this monitor offers a whole lot to like. It costs a paltry $130, which gets you a 15.6-inch screen with a 1366×768 resolution, all powered by a single USB cable. Being that it’s such a large monitor, however, it’s not all that portable. You’ll need about as much room as if you had a second laptop with you.

Pros:

  • Powered by a single USB cable
  • Excellent screen resolution (1366×768)
  • Very inexpensive at $130

Cons:

  • Not very portable at 15.6 inches

iPad with DisplayLink App

And last but certainly not least, if you already have an iPad, you can turn it into a second display—and a wireless one at that—for free with the DisplayLink app. DisplayLink’s technology actually powers the Mimo and AOC monitors mentioned above (along with most other USB-powered monitors), and its free iPad app works by connecting your computer and the app via the same Wi-Fi connection. The two biggest strikes against it are that your iPad needs to be powered somehow, especially for prolonged use, and the app doesn’t work without being connected to a Wi-Fi network. Still—if you have an iPad, this one’s a no-brainer.

Pros:

  • Free (if you have an iPad)
  • No wires

Cons:

  • iPad needs power
  • Won’t work without Wi-Fi

You can check out the above video to see all three solutions in action. Good luck!

MORE: Ask Techland: What’s the Deal with 4G? Is the New iPhone 4G?

1 comments
khoitran00
khoitran00

What about android tablets?  No need for wifi because most come with micro HDMI right?  I don't know.  You tell me!