Looking to add more screen real estate to your Mac that’s easy to use at home, work, or on the go? Whether you want to make use of your iPad or would rather pick up a dedicated portable monitor, read along for a look at the best portable displays for MacBooks.

All the displays included below work with a single USB-C cable connected to your MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, other Macs, and PCs. Or in the case of Sidecar with iPad, you can even use it wirelessly as your external display.

When it comes to dedicated portable displays, the most common size is 15.6-inches but there are options in 14 and 17-inch sizes too.

Related: Best USB-C and Thunderbolt displays for Mac


Best portable displays for MacBooks

Sidecar

Best portable displays for MacBooks - sidecar

If you have a compatible iPad and MacBook, you’ve already got a portable display that works wirelessly or wired.

Compatible iPads include any iPad Pro, iPad 6th gen and later, iPad mini 5th gen, or iPad Air 3rd gen (running iOS 13 or later). For your Mac, you’ll need a 2016 or later MacBook or MacBook Pro or a 2018 or later MacBook Air (running macOS Catalina or later).

Even if you don’t have an iPad, picking one up for use as a portable display might be a good fit as you get a multi-purpose device, not just a portable monitor.

Other benefits include a Retina display, very thin and light, and with iPad, you get the flexibility of picking between the 8-inch iPad mini, 10- to 11-inch options of the iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Pro, or the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

And if you’re looking for a great stand/mount for your iPad to use as your second display, I can’t recommend Twelve South’s HoverBar Duo highly enough.


ASUS 15.6-inch ZenScreen

As it happens, portable displays are something of a niche product and many major brands don’t offer them. While you’ll notice many off-brand portable displays, there are a couple of options from known players.

One of the main benefits of a dedicated portable display is you can find larger screen sizes than the 12.9-inch max of the iPad Pro and they usually work in both horizontal and vertical orientation.

Best portable displays for MacBooks - ASUS Zenscreen 15.6-inch display

ASUS makes a few different portable displays in the ZenScreen lineup. One of the compelling options is the 15.6-inch ZenScreen with USB-C.

You’re getting a thin and large portable display here, USB-C single-cable convenience that handles power and video, and more around $200. The main downside is a 1080p resolution instead of 4K.

Specs:

  • 15.6-inch display
  • 1080p resolution
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • IPS panel, flicker free, blue light filter
  • Built-in kickstand
  • USB-C connectivity
  • Anti-glare finish
  • Brightness: Up to 250 nits
  • Antibacterial surface
  • 1/4-inch tripod thread mount
  • MSRP ~$200

ASUS also makes a 14-inch version of the USB-C ZenScreen for about the same price. The ASUS ZenScreen portable displays are usually in stock at Amazon.

Interestingly, ASUS does make a portable 4K monitor called the ProArt. However, it’s a 21.6-inch size with a steep price nearing $4,000. Below we’ll look at a better 4K portable alternative under $400.


AOC 15.6-inch 1601FWUX

Best portable displays for MacBooks - AOC 15.6-inch USB-C display

This AOC portable display comes with most of the same features as the ASUS ZenScreen but at a more affordable price. However, you’re looking at a little bit clunkier design, slightly lower brightness, and a few other tradeoffs.

Specs:

  • 15.6-inch display
  • 1080p resolution
  • IPS panel, low-blue light mode
  • Comes with smart cover/stand
  • USB-C connectivity (handles power and video)
  • Brightness: Up to 220 nits
  • Anti-glare finish
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • Antibacterial surface
  • 1/4-inch tripod thread mount
  • MSRP: $180, often available for less

UPERFECT 4K 15.6-inch

Best portable displays for MacBooks - UPERFECT 4K USB-C display

If you’re good with picking up an off-brand, the UPERFECT 15.6-inch 4K USB-C portable display offers a lot of value at $340. You’re getting an all-aluminum build, 4K resolution, 300 nits brightness, robust I/O, and more.

At the time of writing this looks like the highest rated 4K portable display on Amazon with an average of 4.3/5 stars.

Specs:

  • 15.6-inch display
  • 4K 3840 x 2160 resolution
  • IPS panel
  • HDR 10 and FreeSync support
  • Full aluminum body
  • USB-C for connectivity + USB 3.1 port, HDMI, mini DisplayPort, headphone jack, more
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • Brightness: 300 nits
  • 100% sRGB
  • Cover/stand included
  • MSRP: $340, sometimes available for less

Best portable displays wrap-up

While there are a host of other no-name portable displays on the market, UPERFECT, ASUS, and AOC offer a nice variety of options at different price points if you’d prefer a dedicated monitor instead of using an iPad.

Also, if you don’t have an iPad and aren’t sure about buying one and going with Sidecar, you could check in with family or a friend about borrowing an iPad to test it out first.

And for a comprehensive look at the top desktop monitors for Macs, check out our full roundup:

Best USB-C and Thunderbolt displays for Mac

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