Are portable monitors worth it? Three of these four are — here’s why

On this article, we’re having a look at 4 (actually, technically, 5) super-light exterior LCD displays. Whereas all of them help mini-HDMI connections, their true declare to fame is that they’ll hook up with a laptop computer and be powered by a single USB-C cable. Additionally: How to decide on the precise monitor structure These are … The post Are portable monitors worth it? Three of these four are — here’s why appeared first on Ferdja.

May 25, 2023 - 21:00
Are portable monitors worth it? Three of these four are — here’s why

On this article, we’re having a look at 4 (actually, technically, 5) super-light exterior LCD displays. Whereas all of them help mini-HDMI connections, their true declare to fame is that they’ll hook up with a laptop computer and be powered by a single USB-C cable.

Additionally: How to decide on the precise monitor structure

These are displays you possibly can pack in your laptop computer bag along with your laptop computer and use on the street. In addition they make very gentle further displays that you need to use in your workplace. I’ve two of them on iPad arms subsequent to my desk, they usually present very handy added display screen actual property.

However my favourite use for any of those super-light displays is as a check rig. I recurrently check computer systems and different gadgets with USB-C or HDMI output, and it is inconvenient to lug a giant display screen round to wherever I am working. However choosing up a monitor that weights lower than a pound and a half means it is extremely moveable and straightforward to make use of for testing, restore, and methods configuration.

Additionally: Finest moveable displays

It doesn’t matter what your utilization mannequin is for these little gadgets, they’re extremely versatile and — no less than for one in all them, the Lepow shown below — may be bought for lower than $150.

So with that, let’s dig into our shootout. Oh, really, one notice earlier than we get began: all of those displays have built-in audio system, however they’re barely meh at finest. Almost each laptop computer may have much better audio system.


Twice the screens, twice the enjoyable


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The $500-ish FOPO S16 actually does double up the worth proposition supplied by this class of super-light displays. It consists of two 13.3 inch displays on a particular body designed to suit proper on the laptop computer’s lid in order that they properly flank the laptop computer’s personal display screen.


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

My first thought was that this was a totally bonkers thought, however it’s really manner cooler than I anticipated. It is positively one thing I can advocate in the event you’re in want of display screen actual property, whether or not away out of your workplace or again dwelling.


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

My instance of that want was the 2 months I lived out of my suitcase resulting from Hurricane Irma. Again in 2017, my spouse and I lived in Florida. Information experiences indicated a Class 5 hurricane was going to make landfall just about on high of our home. We evacuated, finally traveled all throughout the nation, and — this being one too many hurricane panics to place up with anymore — determined to settle as distant as potential, in Oregon.

Additionally: The best way to get the triple-monitor laptop computer setup of your desires

Through the journey throughout nation, we drove through the day. I arrange camp in no matter lodge we landed in and labored effectively into the evening. A lot of my initiatives have been consumer pushed, and wanted entry to a ton of knowledge. I wanted a number of screens. The best way I did it then was to make use of my laptop computer and an iPad display screen.

It could have been so a lot better if this FOPO S16 had been obtainable, as a result of it offers two full screens that fold down flat for journey. Whenever you want these additional screens, you actually want them. Simply take into account that while you do fold these screens to their flat format, one display screen is going through out. You may wish to pack this away rigorously so it does not get scratched when touring.


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The FOPO S16 gives 1920×1080 decision (1080p), an IPS display screen, and a 178° viewing angle. As you possibly can see within the following image, I’ve this hooked as much as my Asus Zenbook Duo UX482, which already has a second horizontal display screen. Take a look at the System > Show panel. The laptop computer now has a complete of 4 screens! How cool is that?


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There’s an attention-grabbing limitation to this product. The corporate claims it does not work with M1 Macs:



I, after all, took this as a problem. It’s comprehensible that the corporate claimed this. Early M1 laptops, like my M1 MacBook Air, got here with solely two USB-C/Thunderbolt ports. Since every of the 2 exterior displays requires its personal USB-C cable to the laptop computer, that would not have left any room for the laptop computer to cost. Additionally, these early M1s solely supported one exterior monitor.

Additionally: When you use an exterior show along with your Mac, you have to try this free utility

Because it seems, in the event you join one of many FOPO’s displays to the M1 MacBook Air, it really works simply tremendous. Two, after all, will not work as a result of no two displays can hook up with that MacBook Air.


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My Mac Studio, however, helps as much as 5 shows. I did not take an image of it, however each shows of the FOPO S16 work simply tremendous with the M1 Max processor within the Mac Studio. Provided that the brand new M1 Professional and M1 Max-based MacBook Professionals additionally help as much as 5 shows (together with the one constructed into the unit), there must be no purpose the FOPO S16 would not work with these M1 gadgets as effectively.

Additionally: The best way to simply add a second Thunderbolt monitor to your M1 Mac Mini

So, do not imagine all the things you learn.


Attractive OLED show

Let’s transfer on to our subsequent show, the INNOCN 15K1F, a 15.6-inch OLED show. At $249-$349 (relying on the day), it’s a bit dear in comparison with another super-light exterior shows. However of the 4 shows I’ve examined, this unit has a noticeably higher image high quality. It is simply beautiful.

Sadly, it does not have a lot in the way in which of glare safety, which is why it is displaying the ceiling lights so prominently on this shot.


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

This show can be super-thin, with a totally plain, flat again.


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

This show comes with a pouch that is meant to carry and shield the unit.


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

Whenever you open the pouch up by itself, it appears flimsy. It seems like there is no such thing as a potential manner it will help the show as soon as arrange, however it seems that the origami-style show folds and locks with magnets, producing a surprisingly strong stand.


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

What I actually like about this unit is that the stand, case, and show itself all fold down into a really svelte, self-contained unit that is tremendous straightforward to pack away in a laptop computer bag for touring.


Cheap, with a kickstand


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Of this complete collection of super-light exterior displays, I feel the 15.6-inch LEPOW C2 is my favourite. It is the mixture of a built-in kickstand and its $129 worth that make it a no brainer alternative.


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

Admittedly, video high quality of its 60Hz IPS display screen is not fairly as standout because the INNOCN, however it’s additionally half the worth. In contrast to the opposite two aspect displays proven on this article, it does not require some form of case or stand. It is all in-built, and simply does its job. Plus, the stand’s angle has some adjustability to it, and it folds down properly for storage or stowage.


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

If I’ve any grievance, it is that it is a bit of troublesome to plug cables into the recessed cable ports when the stand is closed. However when the stand is open, that is additionally the one monitor that does not have an additional inch-and-a-half of cable connector protruding from the aspect and getting in the way in which.

Additionally: Even M1 Mac homeowners can have three shows with this Ugreen docking station

Total, the LEPOW C2 is a really well-considered design that does quite a bit very neatly.


This is not the exterior monitor you are in search of


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

I am together with the AUZAI ME16Z01 out of some sort of completionist urge. You’ll be able to’t purchase this anymore, and that is in all probability good. However earlier than the opposite displays arrived to overview, I used this for nearly a 12 months as my testing monitor.

Just like the others, that is additionally a 15.6″ 1080p monitor. However not like the others, this can be a heavy machine. At about three kilos, it weighs greater than my MacBook Air, and is twice the load of the opposite two aspect displays proven on this overview.


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

When it was obtainable, it offered for a bit of below $200. Once I first acquired it, it got here with a wrap-around case that was additionally purported to function a stand, however by no means labored. As a substitute, I used one in all the multi-angle mini phone stands I’ve round for such functions. The one within the image is from Anker again within the day, however a bunch of manufacturers make an identical stands, all for about ten bucks or much less.


David Gewirtz/ZDNET

The actual failing of the AUZAI (apart from its weight), and doubtless the explanation it is now not available on the market, was as a result of it at all times began up tremendous dim. You needed to fiddle with the change on the aspect to get it into brightness mode, after which maintain urgent one other change on the aspect till the display screen was brilliant sufficient to see. And also you had to do that each. Single. Time. You. Used. The. Display.

That is the place studying Amazon evaluations can serve you effectively. There are quite a few evaluations of this product complaining concerning the brightness difficulty. Whereas a number of customers declare they overcame it, my expertise matched that of the customers who noticed it as a extreme limitation of the product.

Additionally: The best way to set your Mac display screen to darkish mode

My recommendation, particularly when selecting a brand new product, is to not solely learn evaluations by skilled reviewers, however to dig via the feedback on websites like Amazon and Newegg.

Certain, a few of the evaluations are pretend vegetation by the distributors, and a few are the standard “this product is s#@!” as a result of it does not meet some particular arbitrary and unreasonable demand of some man named George, however in the event you learn evaluations with care, you may develop a reasonably respectable image of whether or not the product has a important flaw or not. On this case, the evaluations positively disliked the darkish display screen drawback.

How to decide on

Ignoring the off-the-market AUZAI, we’ve three selections: the $500-ish FOPO dual unit, the $250-ish INNOCN unit, and the $129-ish LEPOW unit. If I have been shopping for, this is how I would make my resolution.

When you’re touring and also you want a lot of display screen real-estate, get the FOPO dual unit. However you higher want a complete lot of display screen house. You possibly can additionally get this in the event you’re working from your house or workplace, wish to combine a number of small screens right into a tiny house, and largely fold them up while you’re accomplished.

For somebody who has little or no at-home desk house (like within the nook of a kitchen or bed room) however wants quite a lot of display screen house, the FOPO may also be an important alternative.

When you’re touring or commuting and do not want the twin monitor rig, then I would advocate the INNOCN. It folds actually flat, could be very straightforward to stow in a bag, and unfolds in such a manner that the case is a really stable stand. It’s kind of dearer, however it’s clearly essentially the most conveniently moveable of the lot.

When you’re shifting the monitor round quite a bit at dwelling or at work, or utilizing it as a check rig to arrange or diagnose machines, I would unreservedly advocate the LEPOW. It is in all probability the one I would really purchase had I not obtained all these mini-monitors for overview. It is cheap, well-designed, and has that inbuilt kickstand. What’s to not like?

What about you? Which of those super-light displays appeals to you? Are you doubtless to purchase a double-wide just like the FOPO? How would you employ a super-light monitor? Do you determine with my suggestion to make use of them as check rigs? Tell us within the feedback under.

You’ll be able to comply with my day-to-day venture updates on social media. Be sure you comply with me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Fb at, on Instagram at, and on YouTube at

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