How to Choose a Portable Monitor in 2024 – A Digital Nomad’s Guide

Are you tired of squinting at your laptop screen when you’re working on the go? Well, in this article we’re going to discuss how to choose a portable monitor to make your workspace more efficient and comfortable anywhere.

The portable monitor market is growing fast, like real fast! Its size was valued at $123.59 Million in 2020 and is projected to reach $672.22 Million by 2028, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 24.13% from 2021 to 2028(!)

Whether you travel frequently or work from home, a portable monitor can be a game-changer.

So, grab your favorite beverage, sit back, and let’s dive in!

How to choose a portable monitor

how to choose a portable monitor

The best portable monitor for you is ultimately the one that suits your usage needs.

Whether you are a developer, graphic designer, or executive, you’ll be better off with a different range of portable monitors based on the factors below.

Size Matters

portable monitor different sizes

The first factor to consider when choosing a portable monitor is the size.

Think about what you’ll be using it for, as well as the available space in your workspace.

A larger screen is great for graphics, gaming, or watching movies, while a smaller one may be sufficient for displaying spreadsheets, documents, or email.

Additionally, a smaller size also means greater portability.

Resolutions aren’t just for the New Year

The resolution can greatly impact the quality of your work, especially if you’re in a field like graphic design or video editing.

Look for resolutions of at least 1080p (1920×1080) or higher to ensure your work looks top-notch.

Also, the higher the resolution, the smaller the text will appear on the screen – so keep that in mind when selecting your monitor size.

Build Quality

man holding portable monitor in harsh environment

Additionally, do not forget to consider the build quality of the portable monitor.

The monitor should be lightweight, durable, and easy to transport.

Look at the materials used for the body and whether the monitor comes with a protective case.

It’s best to opt for monitors that are made with metal or high-quality plastics so that they can withstand the wear and tear of your digital nomad lifestyle.

Compatibility with Your Device

When choosing a portable monitor, it’s crucial to ensure its compatibility with your device.

Why? Because while most portable monitors are plug-and-play with most operating systems, not all monitors play nice with every single one of them.

Whether you’re using macOS, Windows, or another system entirely, you need a monitor that can seamlessly sync with your device.

Compatibility affects everything from the clarity of the display to the functionality of the touch interface.

A mismatch can lead to frustration, reduced productivity, and even unnecessary expense if you need to purchase adaptors or new hardware.

Battery Life

battery flat design

Battery life is also an essential consideration for a portable monitor, especially if you plan to work remotely for extended periods and the monitor doesn’t have a single cable for both power and video connections.

Make sure it has a long battery life to avoid frequent charging interruptions.

Connectivity Options

laptop with many cables around it

When choosing a portable monitor, you want to make sure that it is compatible with your device’s ports.

Most portable monitors these days come with USB-C and/or mini HDMI ports, which make them compatible with the vast majority of laptops and tablets.

If your device doesn’t support USB C or mini HDMI, make sure you choose a portable display that has compatible ports or you can choose to use adapters.

Weight and Accessories

As a digital nomad, you want something lightweight and easy to carry around.

A monitor in a protective case is ideal, especially if you’re traveling frequently.

Additionally, some portable monitors come with stands, buttons, and covers that make them more versatile and user-friendly.

Warranty and Brand Reputation

trust badge green

Finally, consider the warranty and brand reputation of the portable monitor.

Choose a device from a reputable brand that offers a reliable warranty and customer service.

This can help you feel more secure in your purchase and give you peace of mind, knowing that you’re getting a quality product.

The other advantage of buying from an international brand is that you can likely find one of their stores in the country or city you’re traveling to in case something goes wrong.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I consider when choosing a portable monitor?

When choosing a portable monitor, consider the following factors: resolution (the higher the better for clarity), the screen size (based on your portability needs and work requirements), connectivity options (USB-C is becoming popular due to its ability to carry power and data over a single cable), weight (lighter is better for travel), and battery life if it’s not powered by your laptop.

How much should I spend on a portable monitor?

The cost of a portable monitor can vary widely depending on its features and brand. You can find decent options starting from $100 up to $500 for premium models. Remember, you’re investing in your productivity and work comfort, so it might be worth spending a little extra for a high-quality monitor that will last.

What’s the difference between a USB-C powered portable monitor and a traditional portable monitor?

A USB-C powered portable monitor uses a single USB-C cable for both power and data transfer, reducing cable clutter and making setup easier. Traditional portable monitors may require separate cables for power and data transfer, which can be less convenient for on-the-go use.

What size of portable monitor should I go for as a digital nomad?

The ideal size of a portable monitor depends on your specific needs. If you travel frequently, a smaller, lighter model (around 13-15 inches) might be best for portability. However, if you need more screen real estate for tasks like graphic design or video editing, a larger monitor (up to 17 inches) could be more suitable.

Is a portable monitor really necessary for my work as a digital nomad?

A portable monitor isn’t a necessity for all digital nomads, but it can significantly improve your productivity and comfort, especially if you often work with multiple windows or applications open. It provides extra screen space, making multitasking easier and reducing the need to constantly switch between tabs or programs. If you find your laptop screen limiting, a portable monitor could be a worthwhile investment.


There you have it! Our digital nomad’s guide to choosing the perfect portable monitor.

By considering factors like size, compatibility, battery life, weight, accessories, etc. you can select a device that meets your specific needs.

Just remember to check the warranty and brand reputation before you make your final purchase.

With the right portable monitor, you can upgrade your workspace, increase your productivity, and work smarter, not harder.

Cheers to finding the perfect portable monitor and happy work travel!

About the author

Headshot Karim - Creme de la Karim

Karim Bel Hadj

As his name suggests, Karim is the founder of Creme de la Karim. He fell in love with remote working since he left his first corporate job and never looked back! And because something you love is almost always better shared, he is on a mission to help all remote workers and digital nomads make the most of this amazing lifestyle. You can reach out to him via Twitter @cremedelakarim