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The best portable monitors for gaming, entertainment and work use

The best portable monitors for gaming, entertainment and work use
(Image credit: Future/ASUS)

If you want portability in your display then one of the best portable monitors is for you. You might be forgiven for thinking that you'll have to compromise on everything else if you want the mobility of one of the best portable monitors, but that doesn't necessarily apply: while inevitably small (typically measuring up to 17 inches), by most other metrics, portable monitors compare surprisingly well to conventional panels like the best gaming monitors and the best gaming TVs.

High refresh rates up to 240Hz. HDR support. IPS image quality. Low response times. 4K resolution. Adaptive sync. It’s all available in the best portable monitors and some are even more than capable and compatible for gaming with everything from consoles to PCs and even smartphones, in part thanks to the flexibility of the latest interfaces, including USB-C.

Admittedly, there is a catch. You can’t have all that in a single portable monitor. 4K is a good example: don’t bother trying to go 4K gaming with a smartphone; 4K isn’t even a great fit for current consoles - though imminent next-gen models are a different matter - or a lot of PC gaming. Likewise, your gaming device may or may not be compatible with features like HDR and adaptive sync. So, it’s all about picking the right display for your gaming platform of choice. In fact, checking compatibility is particularly critical with the best portable monitors.

Specific limitations can apply with certain interfaces. HDMI and adaptive sync only work together on a handful of the latest PC graphics cards with HDMI 2.1 support. Similarly, many portable monitors can be both driven and powered by a single USB Type-C cable, but only if your device can supply sufficient power.

It only takes a little due diligence, however, to achieve a very sweet portable gaming setup. Adding high refresh or adaptive sync capability to an otherwise powerful laptop makes a lot of sense, and just being able to bundle a console with a truly portable screen into a shoulder bag or small backpack is pretty neat. The ability to game with those cutting edge features purely on battery power is also a nice party trick. There are, in other words, a lot of reasons why you might want one of the best portable monitors; so here are five of them.

(Image credit: ASUS)

ASUS ROG Strix XG17

ASUS brings 240Hz & IPS image quality to gamers on the go

Screen size:: 17.3-inch | Aspect ratio:: 16:9 | Resolution:: 1920x1080 | Brightness:: 300cd/m2 | Response time:: 3ms | Viewing angle:: 178/178 degrees | Contrast ratio:: 1,000:1 | Features:: IPS panel, 240Hz refresh rate, adaptive sync, USB-C x 2, HDMI, 7800mAh battery

High quality IPS panel
240Hz plus adaptive sync
Built-in battery
Very expensive
No HDR support

Arguably the current daddy of portable gaming monitors, both in terms of stature and price, the Asus ROG Strix XG17 clocks in at 17 inches and around $600 / £600 depending on the configuration.

As standard, it’s a 1080p IPS display cranking out up to 240Hz refresh and comes with a tablet-style folding stand. For a little extra cash, you can have a folding tripod stand that allows for a full range of adjustability.

It’s pretty beefy at over a kilo for the display, to which you can add another 0.65kg for the optional tripod. But then it is 17 inches and sports a 7800mAh battery. That allows for up to 3.5 hours of mains-free use, though the display can also be powered over USB-C. In terms of video inputs, it’s USB-C or HDMI.

It’s a quality bit of kit with a metal chassis, 3ms response, wide color gamut coverage, a gaming-friendly 1080p native resolution, and a full range of OSD menu options including pixel overdrive settings. Unless you want to go 4K or need HDR support, this is probably as good as portable gaming panels get.

(Image credit: G-Story)

G-Story GSV56QM

A great high-refresh all-rounder

Screen size:: 15.6-inch | Aspect ratio:: 16:9 | Resolution:: 1920x1080 | Brightness:: 300cd/m2 | Response time:: 1ms | Viewing angle:: 178/178 degrees | Contrast ratio:: 1,200:1 | Features:: IPS panel, 165Hz refresh, adaptive sync, USB-C x2, HDMI, HDR

Great all-round feature set
Relatively affordable
IPS image quality and low response
Not true HDR
No built-in battery

G-Story is rapidly carving out a niche as a leading maker of portable monitors. The G-Story GSV56QM is probably its most appealing all-rounder with a 15.6-inch form factor, IPS panel, 1ms response, HDR support and both 165Hz refresh and both Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync support. This gives it a great gaming edge, but also means it appeals for a whole range of uses beyond, too.

When it comes to both high refresh and adaptive sync, remember that currently these are PC-only as opposed to console features, though next-gen consoles will add compatibility soon.

Also note that with a peak brightness of 300cd/m2 and no local dimming capabilities, this is not a true HDR display, more a monitor that can process HDR content. Inputs are via a pair of USB Type-C ports and a single HDMI socket and it comes complete with an integrated stand that can be adjusted across a wide range and a soft carry case to protect the panel on the go.

(Image credit: Coprit)

Coprit 15.6-inch Full HD Portable Monitor

An excellent, affordable 1080p portable monitor

Screen size:: 15.6-inch | Aspect ratio:: 16:9 | Resolution:: 1920x1080 | Brightness:: 300cd/m2 | Response time:: 5ms | Viewing angle:: 178/178 degrees | Contrast ratio:: 1,000:1 | Features:: IPS panel, USB-C, 2x HDMI, Mini DisplayPort

Wide compatibility with USB-C
IPS panel
Affordable price point
No high refresh
No adaptive sync or HDR

While several of these screens nail a particular remit, the Coprit 15.6-inch Full HD Portable Monitor makes for a great multi-device all-rounder.

It’s 1080p Full HD, which is a good match for everything, work, home-use or gaming (on PCs and consoles). It also sports USB-C connectivity, allowing you to turn a smartphone into a portable gaming rig. Another significant attraction of USB Type-C is the ability to drive this display and power it with a single cable, even if that’s only possible with a PC rather than a phone or console. 

In this contender for best portable monitor, you also get IPS panel technology for top-notch colors and viewing angles. Despite the affordability, therefore: adaptive sync, high refresh, and an integrated battery are not part of the package. But you do have everything you need for a decent portable monitor experience that'll work with a wide range of devices and for a wide range of uses.

(Image credit: Thinlerain)

Thinlerain 15.6 inch 4K Portable Gaming Monitor

Full 4K capability for both gaming and productivity

Screen size:: 15.6-inch | Aspect ratio:: 16:9 | Resolution:: 3840x2160 | Brightness:: 350cd/m2 | Response time:: 5ms | Viewing angle:: 178/178 degrees | Contrast ratio:: 800:1 | Features:: IPS panel, USB-C, 2x HDMI, Mini DisplayPort

True 4K display
Relatively affordable
Wide compatibility
No high refresh or HDR
No battery

Fancy some 4K action of the go? Then get yourself a Thinlerain Gaming Monitor. It’s a 15.6- inch panel with a fulsome 3,840 by 2,160 pixels. That’s eight million pixels and arguably overkill for such a small screen. But if you want the ultimate in image detail and sharpness, 4K is the way to go.

While 4K in a portable form factor doesn’t make much sense for esports or online shooters, it is pretty sweet for roomy work desktop space, productivity, and playing strategy games on the go. The high resolution could also come in handy if you want a portable monitor that can turn its hand to both gaming and productivity, including HD and 4K video editing.

This Thinlerain monitor also offers a wide range of connectivity, from HDMI 1.4 and 2.0, to USB-C and Mini Display port. SO it’s compatible with everything from smartphones to consoles and PCs.

(Image credit: Prechen)

Prechen Portable Touchscreen Monitor

Add touchscreen capability to your portable monitor

Screen size:: 15.6-inch | Aspect ratio:: 16:9 | Resolution:: 1920x1080 | Brightness:: 250cd/m2 | Response time:: 3ms | Viewing angle:: 178/178 degrees | Contrast ratio:: 800:1 | Features:: IPS touchcreen, USB-C, HDMI

Multi-touch capability
Supports Windows and Android
IPS image quality
No high refresh or HDR
Only 800:1 contrast

So far, there’s been plenty to appreciate from our pick of the best portable gaming panels, including high refresh, adaptive sync, 4K, and more. But there’s just one thing missing, namely touchscreen capability. Enter the Prechen Portable monitor, which delivers multi-touch in a 15.6-inch, 1080p package.

The touch functionality operates over a USB-C interface, which also drives the panel and (if your device supports it) can power the screen, too. It’s a capacitive touch interface, so the same technology found in all modern smartphones. You can also connect via HDMI and then use micro USB to enable touch if you don’t have a USB port.

Exactly how much utility you’ll get out of touch for gaming is a reasonable question. But you might be surprised just how many PC games support touchscreens. Meanwhile, you get all the upsides of touch for non-gaming apps.

If you do prefer your screens bigger then you'll need one of the best gaming monitors for your setup, or one of the best 4K monitors for gaming.