So you unboxed your portable monitor, and now you’re wondering what can you do with a portable monitor. As it turns out, there are plenty of practical uses for a portable monitor. Chances are you already have some in mind, otherwise, you wouldn’t have bought one.
Either way, we went ahead and researched, brainstormed, and came up with some more ideas for you. Maybe you’ll discover a new use for your portable monitor that will further improve your remote work productivity. Let’s take a look.
What you’ll learn:
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Don’t Have a Portable Monitor?
First things first, if you haven’t already bought a portable monitor, I suggest reading our portable monitor guide for some suggestions and recommendations on models.
Don’t have a portable monitor yet but need a quick suggestion? The best portable monitor on the market, at the moment, is the ASUS MB16AC.
Before you buy:
Make sure your laptop or phone has USB-C support. There are adapters to convert regular USB to C but when you use them, the quality might suffer. Most modern laptops have a USB-C port, and if it’s taken, you can use a USB-C hub to add more ports.
Most portable monitors do not use HDMI. But there are some reasons why you’ll want a portable monitor with HDMI, a topic which we’ll cover in a later article. We’ll cover some frequently asked questions about portable monitor uses a later on (check the table of contents).
What Can You Do With a Portable Monitor?
Without further delay, let’s start discussing what can you do with a portable monitor…
1. Dual Screen, Anytime, Anywhere
From what I can tell, the main reason people buy portable monitors is to have a dual-screen extended setup, anywhere. Most people who work online, such as full-time freelancers, have a dual-screen (or sometimes even more!) setup at home, for their main workstation.
The problem is, when you eventually have to leave your room, you can’t take your multiple-monitor setup with you.
What you can do is head over to a coffee shop, take out your laptop and portable monitor, and connect them. Prop the monitor up with a stand either on the left or right side of your laptop, enable extended display mode, and start your work. If you’re a writer, you can have your research on one side, and your documents on the other monitor.
That way, you can get work done, without being limited to your home office.
Pretty cool, right?
If you’re going to carry it with you, I recommend buying an anti-theft travel backpack that is designed for laptops and tablets.
Now, if your work involves presentations, a portable monitor is invaluable. If you don’t have a dedicated work-only laptop, chances are you use your laptop for work, fun, and everything in-between. But your clients probably don’t want to see your cluttered Windows desktop.
When you use a portable monitor, it (usually) automatically switches to extended mode, which basically is a blank screen with your Windows background. From there, you can drag windows over for the presentation. Then, flip the monitor around, like a tablet, and go about your presentation. Very easy.
I know there are lots of business-men who appreciate portable monitors.
3. Entertain the Kids in the Backseat
Nowadays, babies are basically born with touchscreens. If you’re a parent, you might not like the idea of buying a dedicated tablet for your child.
What you can do is plug a portable monitor into your phone or media station, and mount it to the rear seat of your car. That way, you can control what media is being played, and your kid will be entertained for the duration of the journey.
4. Ditch Flight-Entertainment Systems
I can’t tell you how many times I found myself on long-haul flights trying to find something decent to watch on their entertainment system, only to be severely disappointed. Sometimes the touchscreens will straight up refuse to work.
One way that you can use your portable monitor is for inflight entertainment.
Yeah, you might already have a laptop for that, but what if you’re traveling with more than one person? What if you want to multitask? Put a TV show on the monitor, hand it over, and continue your work on the laptop’s mains screen.
Most portable monitors are touchscreen, so you can download Netflix shows, and then simply use the monitor like a tablet. Very easy.
I don’t know if it’s possible to watch two shows at the same time with two audio streams. It might be possible, but that’s something I’ll have to play around with later on.
Moving on to more things that you can do with a portable monitor.
5. Show Your Parents Pictures From Your Trip via Your Phone
If you’re like me, then when you visit your parents you probably have a lot of pictures to show them.
The problem is they’re all on your phone. Sure, you can use something like Google Photos to send them the pictures, but there’s something nice about gathering around the living room to look at pictures.
There are a few solutions.
Buy an Adapter:
For one, buy USB-C to HDMI adapter to connect your phone to your parent’s TV. Most modern Samsung phone has a mode called Dex mode, which transforms a connected display into a full-scale operating system. But that’s still kind of annoying because you have to use your phone as a touchpad, and cables don’t go very far, so you have to sit close to the TV.
Use a Portable Monitor:
A portable monitor can solve this problem. You just need to connect it to your phone via a USB-C cable. From there, the monitor basically becomes a tablet, and you can pass it around (as long as your phone is connected) to everyone in the room. Or even mount it on the coffee table.
And it’s always nice being able to pick up the monitor to take a closer look at the picture. If the portable monitor is a touchscreen, you can even zoom in or browse more files.
Overall, a portable monitor is perfect for entertainment; presentations, watching movies, showing pictures to friends or family, and whatnot. For this reason, I recommend getting a touchscreen-enabled portable monitor.
6. Play Mobile Games on a Bigger Screen
Getting back on the topic of phones and portable monitors (I know, I’m kind of obsessed with it), what you can do is simply use your portable monitor as a bigger screen for your phone games.
Here’s a video from Mar the Geek that better explains how to do it:
What some people do is use a Samsung phone (for Dex) connected to a portable monitor, and then they connect a controller through Bluetooth to play mobile games.
I mean, it works. I tried doing it with my Playstation 4 controller, but it seems like it doesn’t play nice with Samsung for some reason.
I never really found the appeal of mobile games, beyond being time-killers, but it’s something you can try out.
On that note, you might be wondering if Samsung Dex can replace a laptop.
7. Add On to Your Main Work Station
Do you have some extra space on your desk? Did you know that portable monitors work great in portrait mode?
Using a portable monitor as an add-on monitor to your main workstation might seem against the point of this website.
But it can be useful. You could even make a wall-mount for it and place it above your other monitors.
Let your creativity run wild.
Portable Monitor FAQ:
Do you need external power for a portable monitor?
Some portable monitors have a built-in battery, but most will require an external power source. For the best performance, a power source is recommended. Since every model is different, it’s hard to say exactly what you’ll need. I recommend choosing a portable monitor that can be powered through USB because it’s the most convenient. In some cases, modes like Samsung Dex won’t work unless the monitor is plugged into a power source.
Do portable monitors work on Macs?
I never use Macs, but according to the documentation, most portable monitors will work on Macs too. However, you will need to download and install the software. If you use Asus, they provide the right software for every operating system. It should be plug and play for Windows, at least through a USB-C port.
Is every portable monitor touchscreen?
No, you will have to check the specifications of the specific model. Most of the Asus models are touchscreen, but it’s always best to double-check. I think touchscreen portable monitors are the best.
Can I use a portable monitor with USB 2.0 or 3.0?
You probably checked your desktop or laptop for a USB-C port and noticed they both don’t have one. The budget portable monitors probably won’t work with older versions of USB, but I do know the Asus models provide USB-C to regular USB adapters. When using the older version of USB, you’ll need to download and install the drivers for Windows, it won’t be plug and play.
To summarize, there are many ways to use a portable monitor. Think of it as a mobile version of a regular monitor, like a tablet that you can connect things to.
I’m sure you can probably think of lots of other ways to use it, and that’s the whole point of buying one, so you have the freedom to bring a display with you. If you want a specific model recommendation, I recommend this one, because it has a touchscreen, and Asus is a reputable brand.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article, now you know what can you do with a portable monitor.