Written By: Tanvir
A portable monitor can come in handy in a lot of different situations. Maybe you need an extra screen for work, or you want to watch a movie on a bigger screen while you travel. Whatever your reason, there are a lot of different factors to consider before you make your purchase. In this buying guide, we’ll go over the most important things to look for when choosing a portable monitor. By the end, you’ll know exactly what to look for and be able to make an informed decision about which portable monitor is right for you.
Which display type are you looking for?
Portable monitors come in two main types of display: Twisted Nematic (TN) and In-Plane Switching (IPS). TN displays are the most common type, and they’re the displays you’ll find in most laptops, monitors, and TVs. They’re less expensive to manufacture than IPS displays and have a faster response time, which is great for gaming and watching action-packed movies. However, TN displays have poorer viewing angles than IPS displays. So if you tend to watch TV or movies with others, or you like to game on your monitor while someone else is working on their computer on the same desk, you’ll likely want to go with an IPS display.
The refresh rate is important:
When it comes to refresh rate, you want it to be as close to 240Hz as possible. For desktop monitors, 120Hz and 240Hz have replaced the standard 60Hz variety with most power users and gamers, and there’s no question that they produce less blur on moving objects. With portable monitors, it’s a bit different – there are just a few portable displays that go above 60Hz yet, although there are some that go below in certain modes. It all comes down to convenience; if you’re using the monitor for gaming or other graphic-intense activities, you want the best possible performance. Depending on the type of cable the monitor will be using, you need to check that the monitor’s refresh rate is 60Hz across the board. This means that if you’re using a HDMI cable, for example, the monitor needs to be running at 60 Hz to get the most out of it.
Contrast and brightness play a huge role also:
When it comes to contrast, PortableMonitors.net says "Because every manufacturer uses their own contrast measurement, this value can be difficult to assess without actually having the portable monitor in front of you." What this means is that two portable monitors with the same Contrast Ratio (5000:1, for example) could look completely different from each other. The only way to really know what you're getting is to see it in person. When it comes to brightness, it's a bit more straightforward: you want to look at a value called nits. Nits are the brightness of a display when it's measured one meter away from the screen in a dark room. The higher the nit value, the brighter the display will be.
Glossy vs matte, which is better?
Possibly one of the most important things to look out for in a portable monitor, whether your screen is glossy or matte can make or break its utility. Simply put, a glossy display will reflect light from its environment while a matte one will absorb it. This becomes especially important if you plan on using your USB monitor in different settings: if you want to use it outside in direct sunlight, for example, you’ll need a matte display to avoid glare.
USB Type C is slowly pumping up the game, but other cable types are still there:
USB Type-C is a relatively new technology, and while it's slowly gaining traction, other connector types are still widely used. So which one should you go for? HDMI is the most common type of connector for portable displays, as it's able to deliver high-definition imagery without any problems. The only downside is that you need to have a separate USB cable to provide power to the display – which can be a bit of a hassle. If you're looking for something that's more versatile and future-proof, USB-C is the way to go. This newer technology can transmit video, audio and power all in one cable, so you don't have to worry about carrying around extra cables. It's still not as widespread as HDMI, but it's gradually gaining popularity – so it might be a good idea to invest in a USB-C monitor now.
So, these are some of the main aspects you should be considering when buying a portable monitor. Keep in mind that what might be good for one person might not be the best for you. Be sure to do your own research and find the best product that meets your specific needs.
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