You need a second monitor when you work remote. But portable displays are full of compromises.

There are dozens of brands for portable monitors, including ASUS, AOC, DisplayLink, and LG, that you can find on the market these days. There are even over-the-top solutions allowing you to attach three monitors to your poor laptop, holding on for dear life. We did an extensive review here comparing the top products to help you expand your screen space, but we wanted to go deeper and illustrate why buying an extra hardware monitor may not be the best move in 2023, and how you can replace them.

Benefits Of More Screen Space

  1. Increased productivity: Having a second monitor simply gives you more room for your apps. This allows you to have multiple windows and programs open at the same time, making it easier to multitask and switch between applications.
  2. Better organization: A second display can do more than just add more windows. Studies show that having two separate displays can help with task separation, allowing you to group similar content and switch contexts with ease.
  3. Enhanced gaming experience: You don't have to just be looking for productivity: we have seen gamers use use a second monitor to display game maps, character statistics, and other information, allowing for a more immersive gaming experience.
  4. Improved video conferencing: A second monitor can be used to display your video conferencing software, making it easier to see and interact with participants.
  5. Better presentations: People often use a second monitor can be used to display slides or notes while you present on the primary monitor, allowing you to keep your focus on the audience.

If you are looking for extra productivity on the road, it is tempting to buy one of the popular USB powered external monitors for these benefits. It is one of the first office luxuries you miss when you are away from your desk, working from home, or working remotely. However, there is a long list of compromises you must make over using your existing devices, such as an iPad, Android tablet, or even MacBook or ultra-portable PC.

Not THAT Portable

USB monitors are often oversized, bulky, and plastic. When you are traveling, the last thing you want is to add extra weight to your bags. For example, an AOC USB-powered monitor is over 50% HEAVIER than the heaviest iPad available and more than twice as thick as most iPads.

'Not So Intelligent' Monitor

A portable hardware monitor is only that. You cannot use it for anything else besides extending your display. However, if you set up your extra devices (such as your tablet or an ultra-thin laptop), you are able to still use the functionality of the device if you don't need a second monitor at that time.

Lag, Low Resolutions and Color Quality

Portable external monitors have lower resolution and pixel density than nearly all iPads released in the same year. Although not everyone needs the higher pixel density, it is extremely helpful when reading text, evaluating designs, or sharing your screen with a client. Solutions like Duet are able to have higher resolutions up to 4K, maintain a much more accurate color representation of the original content, and even have incredibly high performance. See for yourself with this video review by the TWiT team of an AOC USB-powered monitor's poor color range and you can often see latency and delay in response times.

Wired Only

If you want to use a portable monitor, nearly every one is limited to a wired connection through USB-A, USB-C or HDMI ports. Not only do you have to check that you have those ports on your computer, you have to carry an extra cable around for this functionality. By comparison, Duet can connect to any of your devices using the cable you charge with. And if you forget the cable or prefer a less cluttered experience, you can even use Duet wirelessly.

Expensive with Poor Functionality

A USB-powered display only does one thing and it doesn't do it particularly well. If you're going to spend hundreds of dollars on a display, it should provide an excellent experience over software. That's not the case here. These monitors have major limitations built into the inferior hardware of the product.  

Thanks to the app world, we've seen dozens of physical products like cameras, phones, music players, scanners and webcams incorporated into the extremely powerful iPad. Duet Display is an app that takes that movement one step further by transforming your iPad, Android, Mac, or PC into an extra display.  

Using software to render an extra display onto your iPad via your charging cable (USB to Lightning, USB to 30-pin connector, USB to USB-C, or USB-C to USB-C), Duet combines the speed of a native display with the superior image quality of the iPad plus the extra capabilities of the iPad's touch screen.

Even more than that, Duet enables touch interaction, is completely cross-platform, and has several more flagship features, including turning your devices into a high performance Remote Desktop or professional drawing tablet.

Simplify Your Life

Duet transforms the iPad into the best mobile display you can own, with a million more apps at your fingertips to solve your other problems – learn more on our homepage at

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