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What to Know About Portable Monitors

Find the ideal companion device for working on the go.


Whether you're one of the many workers who report in on a hybrid basis or simply travel a lot for your job, you must stay productive on the go. Computer displays haven't traditionally made ideal traveling companions, but a new generation of portable monitors is helping workers be more effective with minimal hassle, wherever they're ready to report from next.

But how do you know which of the options available on the market will be the best portable monitor for you? This guide will introduce you to their many uses, features, and differentiating points to help you make the right choice the first time. Let's get started.

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Why a portable monitor may be the right choice for you


We’ve come a long way from boxy CRT screens that dominated desks. Modern consumers have more options for display technology than ever before, so why would you make your next display a portable one? Here are some factors that may make a portable computer monitor your best fit.

    Potential uses for a portable external monitor

  • A second screen for dedicated apps.
  • Expanding your total screen real estate.
  • Serving as a better quality primary display on the go.

3 situations where a portable monitor could come in handy


Rather than relying on fiddly external solutions that will hopefully work with your laptop, bring your own bright and clear screen that you know works. Built-in speakers will even let you share informative videos.



Rather than carting your laptop from one table to the next to share relevant information, just use a wireless, portable PC monitor to let colleagues see what you’re talking about. They could even pass it around the table so everyone’s on the same page.


Used to leaving your multi-monitor setup behind whenever you need to travel? Using a portable monitor means you won’t need to limit your productivity to a single screen when it’s time to head out for a business trip or weekend getaway.

Read more about why you may want to pick up a portable monitor in our article, 4 Reasons to Have a Portable Monitor for Laptop Use.

Did You Know? PCMag found the wireless RICOH Portable Monitor 150BW to be “an awesome piece of kit” and “a tour de force of mobile display technology.” Find out more in their full review.

Features that define the best portable monitors

Now that you know why a portable monitor may be a good fit for your work processes, it’s time to find the best one possible. Personal considerations such as working space and connectivity needs will vary from person to person, but prioritizing these features will get your search started on the right foot.

    The best portable monitor should be compatible with…

  • Windows PCs.
  • Macs.
  • Smart devices running iOS or Android.

3 features to look for in portable computer monitors


If your portable monitor is too heavy to carry from one place to the next with ease, it isn’t very portable at all. Look for a monitor that weighs two pounds or less, and one that contributes minimal bulk to bags.

Adjustable kickstand

You shouldn’t have to fiddle with external accessories to get the perfect viewing angle on your portable monitor. Look for a device with a sturdy and flexible kickstand that folds away when not in use.

A high-quality screen

You may spend many hours working on this screen — it’s worth ensuring that it provides a pleasing picture. Look for a monitor with excellent clarity and color accuracy as well as a fast response time.

Why OLED is an ideal fit for portable monitors

The panel is the heart of any display: it’s the technology that converts a series of digital inputs into detailed and colorful images. While many different panel types are available on the market today, the unique characteristics of OLED — organic light-emitting diode — panels make them a great fit for portable computer monitors.

    What separates OLED from LED?

  • LED panels use lighting zones to illuminate multiple pixels at once.
  • OLED panels individually light each pixel for deeper blacks and better color accuracy.

Benefits of choosing a portable monitor with an OLED panel

Slim form factor

Since they don’t need a backlight, OLED panels are remarkably thin. For instance, the OLED-powered RICOH Portable Monitors are less than a fifth of an inch thick at their thinnest sections.

Lower power consumption

OLED screens are ideal for truly portable devices, since their power-efficient displays (which can fully power off black pixels) require less battery to power for longer periods.


Faster response times

OLED monitors can take just a millisecond to respond, which is virtually instantaneous to the human eye. This enables more satisfying, natural operation across a range of applications.

Read more about why these kinds of monitors are a great choice in What Makes an OLED Portable Monitor Special?

Did You Know? Tom's Hardware gave the RICOH 150 Portable Monitor four stars, offering high marks for both its color performance and build quality. Learn more here.

How to find the right portable monitor size

More screen real estate is nice, but bigger isn’t always better when choosing the right portable monitor size. If you plan on packing your portable monitor for many productive travels, ensure you’re familiar with the benefits and drawbacks of each size category.

    Points to remember when comparing portable monitor sizes

  • Screens are measured diagonally, from one corner to another.
  • Thickness can be just as important as screen size in terms of how easy or hard they are to carry and store.

Benefits and drawbacks of portable monitor size categories

Small portable monitors

Typically 13” across or less, these devices may be the same size as a compact laptop’s display or even smaller. They’re the easiest to carry and stow, but they can show the least content without potential eye strain.

Large portable monitors

Often 17” across or wider, these types of displays are the closest to typical office-sized displays. Their generous size minimizes the potential for eye strain but also makes them heavier and harder to pack.

Medium portable monitors

Sized between the two other categories, they provide additional screen space that’s roughly equivalent to having another dedicated laptop display. Their balance between the benefits and drawbacks of the other size categories makes them ideal for many.

Learn about other size-related characteristics in "Which Portable Monitor Size Is Right for You?"

Using a portable monitor in a multi-monitor setup

Using more than one monitor at once is no longer the exclusive domain of people who wear sunglasses indoors and say “I’m in” in the movies. More and more people are discovering the productivity and focus benefits of using multiple monitors in their working setup, and a portable monitor can be an especially adaptable addition to your desk.

    Benefits of using multiple displays

  • Adding an extra display can increase productivity by as much as 42%.
  • Keeping multiple essential apps open at once reduces the potential for distraction when shifting tasks.

Uses for a portable monitor in a multi-monitor setup

Document review

Regardless of the industry you operate in, it will likely be important for you to compare multiple documents (or two versions of the same document) at some point in your work process. Bringing in a portable screen in these moments means less switching tabs and more analysis.

Immersive video chat

Tired of losing the right window for a video conference in the middle of a meeting? Using a portable monitor for a dedicated video chat window means you can keep relevant materials open on your laptop or desktop screen for easy multitasking.


Users who have come to rely on the benefits of their multi-monitor setup often lament leaving it behind when they must travel for work. If your regular setup includes a portable monitor, you never need to worry about leaving that enhanced productivity behind.

Did You Know? MonitorNerds gave the RICOH Portable Monitor 150BW its Editor’s Choice award, praising its “lightweight yet sophisticated offering.” Read more in the full review.

Shop Portable Monitors Now

Digital imaging solutions built with your business in mind.

Shop Now

Our recommendation: RICOH Portable Monitor 150BW

Take productivity and comfort wherever you go with our light, sharp, versatile portable monitor for those who work on the road or need extra screen real estate. Stay productive and mobile with our high-performance, OLED touchscreen portable monitors.

The RICOH Portable Monitor 150BW offers true wireless operation, with Miracast connectivity and a built-in rechargeable battery. It’s flexible enough to be a trusty traveler as well as a constant desktop companion, thanks to its two USB-C connection ports and easy multitouch and stylus input options. Click here to learn more about our portable monitor series.



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