It’s 2022, which means the world is ending. Fortunately for us, it also means we no longer have to live in a world where we’re vying for screen space all the time. The age of portable monitors is upon us, and it’s honestly glorious.
Lepow sent me its 15.4" C2S portable monitor to review, and it’s been a lifesaver when I’m away from my normal two-monitor desk setup. In terms of the quality of the image (1080P) and the amount of screen space it offered, the Lepow screen paired with my HP Spectre x360 laptop was just as effective of a workspace as my home office. However, there are a few refinements I wish Lepow would’ve thought about, like the subpar screen protector and the fact that it requires two cords unless you have a DisplayPort.
Before I go on, I should be clear: There are definitely more pros than cons with this portable monitor.
I used the monitor on a weekend overnight trip to my sister’s apartment. Since I’m the weekend editor here at The Inventory, it was the perfect opportunity to test the monitor. A typical impromptu work setup for me is uncomfortable, inefficient, and out of step with my usual flow. Most of that has to do with the lack of an extra monitor to put all my super secret Kinja Deals spreadsheets on. As a true portable monitor for everyday travel, this thing is super easy. It’s really lightweight and the kickstand works well and articulates to different angles, which is helpful if you aren’t sitting at a traditional desk.
I could definitely see myself setting this up in a café or shared workspace, and it doesn’t take up too much space or seem like overkill. The matte screen also takes away unpredictable glare—one of the worst parts about working on the road. Other pros include its decent image quality—nothing too impressive, but it’s 1080P, which works for extra screen space but isn’t ideal for something like photo editing. (Of course, next to the stunning OLED screen on my laptop, everything looks a little less sparkly, but I’m used to that.)
Lepow didn’t invent the concept of a portable monitor, but the portability is genius nonetheless. If you travel with any regularity, you like to move your workspace around your home or office, or you frequently give seated presentations, it’s a wonderful tool. I can see the monitor being especially useful for folks who present often and are willing to invest in the necessary adapters to do things like connect your iPhone. (This is easier with a non-Apple phone.)
I freelanced while living in my camper van for over a year in New Zealand, and I would’ve killed to have something like this during my travels. Being able to add screen space when you’re transient is so vital not only to your productivity, but to your eyes and neck that’ll strain to see your smaller screen.
This discounted price is right, too, when you consider that you’re saving your eyes, your neck, and your productivity by using a second monitor.
Although I love having a portable monitor and I’ll likely use this every time I travel, I do have some notes about the Lepow 15.4" monitor. Let’s get right to it.
First, I was unimpressed by the included screen protector. It seems like a silly hill to die on, but the monitor doesn’t come with a sleeve, so a screen protector feels necessary. The protector included was cheap and, on the matte monitor, left tons of bubbles that were too small to get out. The included dust remover sticker was way too adhesive and left a mark on the monitor that’s still there. Another complaint is the super short power cord it came with (USB-C to USB-A). Unless you have a DisplayPort, you need to give it power via the USB-C port using a wall plug, AC adapter, or some other source. I chose to plug it into the wall, and swapped out the short cord for a longer one I had laying around.
Since I have an ultrabook, ports come at a premium. And since I live in an ‘80s condo, wall outlets are also at a premium. It’s disappointing that you can’t power this monitor using your laptop unless you have either a DisplayPort or an extra USB-A or USB-C port, despite this being an option with other portable monitors. The two cords feel clunky, especially if they’re heading in opposing directions. This can make it tough to line up the monitor so you can see it and still type on your laptop if you don’t have a separate keyboard and mouse. That said, this Lepow monitor is less expensive than the competition that only requires one USB-C cord for display and power.
At the end of the day, I would recommend Lepow’s 15.4" portable monitor. It’s less expensive than competitors for almost all the same features, and if you have ample ports and/or wall outlets, the shortcomings are no big deal. I’ll definitely continue to use this portable monitor as a travel tool, and it’s also great for things like watching a movie while you’re in the bath or playing a game of Mario Kart during a layover at the airport.
For $160 with the coupon, this monitor is a steal for all it gives you—glare-free additional screen real estate, a portable workspace so your productivity doesn’t plummet, and everything you need for easy use on the go.