Which second screen device is ideal for use on an endless field trip?
Increased desktop real estate is one of the few things that can rival it for boosting productivity. It's the main justification for expensive multi-monitor displays in the workplace. However, with the rise of telecommuting, many are wondering if it is possible to have the same success while traveling.
Short Version: Here's What I Think
You should bring a portable monitor like this one from Cocopar whenever you go on a trip.
While they can't compare to the size or aesthetics of a regular monitor, portable monitors make up for this by being convenient to carry around and use anywhere.
Totally Massive Displays
While full-sized external computer monitors are typically the best option for increasing usable screen space at home, they present some serious drawbacks that may make them less appealing when traveling. It's not unattainable, but it will take effort on your part.
- Wide Display
- Definition in the highest possible quality
- Superb Quality
Two common methods exist for transporting large computer screens. Two options are available to the traveler regarding the use of a monitor: (1) they can bring their existing monitor with them, or (2) they can buy a new one at their destination.
Buying a new screen once you arrive at your destination is a surprisingly sophisticated option. More and more screens that are suitable for a contemporary office environment are becoming widely available around the world. In any case, the stumbling block is that "almost."
Not all businesses offer external monitors for sale, and those that do often have to order them, resulting in delays of several days to a few weeks that can significantly impact employee output. Not ideal
Call ahead if you choose this option to ensure that the services you require will be ready when you arrive. One could also be shipped to you before boarding the plane if you know your destination address in advance.
Bringing a large computer monitor on a plane can be difficult.
The monitor, like any other fragile piece of equipment, is best taken as a carry-on to avoid being thrown around in the plane's hold. Although I haven't tried it myself, I've heard it's possible.
A well-padded carrying case is a good investment for this purpose. With a little bit of research on Amazon, you can find a variety of soft carrying cases for less than $100 that should suffice.
Trunab's model has received rave reviews and is said to be suitable for monitors up to 27 inches in size.
It may be possible to use this method to transport a particularly vital display to your destination, but I wouldn't advise it if you plan on doing any significant amount of travel on a regular basis. Unless you have a very specific use for this monitor, there are better options available.
Watch it on TV.
The majority of travelers can avoid the hassle of bringing an extra screen by simply watching TV in their hotel room.
- Wide Display
- Superior clarity and resolution
- Quite a few places already have them.
- Inconveniently Stuck
- A small percentage of televisions may not function.
- A universally available one is not the case.
- No portability
- There must be an HDMI port on your laptop for this to work.
TV viewing has a number of obvious benefits. Your housing fees already include the cost of a television because most places you stay will provide one for your use. They can offer a lot of viewing area, and depending on the TV, a high-quality image.
However, there are a few things that you should watch out for.
This is due, in part, to the fact that televisions aren't installed in every single building. In fact, neither of the last two Airbnbs we stayed at provided
To add insult to injury, many televisions are hung in places where they hinder productivity. Even if the hotel where you're staying has a television that could serve as a second screen, its placement may not be ideal.
And third, many cutting-edge laptops, including the Surface Pro, don't have an HDMI out, making connecting to a TV much more complicated. In any case, you can try, but you'll probably need an adaptor or to set up your TV as a wireless display.
However, there are situations where having that choice would be useful. Since an HDMI cable is all that's required, it's best to have one on hand just in case.
Although a longer cord might be more convenient if you plan to leave the TV mounted on the wall, shorter cords are my preference for closer distances.
Specific Display for Vacations
To that end, let's discuss the means by which I most prefer to bring an additional display while I travel.
For portability, there is a wide variety of portable monitors available from numerous manufacturers. These screens are portable and simple to set up, making them a viable alternative to bulkier, less versatile desktop monitors.
- Weak in weight
- Power consumption that's not too high
- We'll never leave your side
- Costing little or nothing
- Not as big
- Quite a mediocre picture quality / color saturation
- Just in case, here's another thing to throw in the suitcase
My kids wanted to watch Wild Kratts on the Fire TV, so I grabbed the portable screen so they could watch it while I worked. However, it has been so helpful to my own efficiency that I don't think I've ever given it to my children.
For reading and editing documents, or as a central hub for my research and music player while I use my primary screen to write, I frequently use it in portrait mode. I've found that being able to see both tabs at once has helped me stay focused on what I need to do.
Even though it wasn't the best option, that screen worked for a year of fairly rough travel before finally giving out. After looking around, I found something much better to use in its place.
My current favorite is this Cocopar USB-C monitor. It can function with just a single USB-C cable for maximum convenience, but it also accepts HDMI inputs for back-up. However, this adapter is required because it only has a mini-HDMI port.
This is the one I would recommend to the vast majority of people, but that doesn't mean it's the optimal choice for you. To help, I've compiled a list of some alternate travel monitors, each of which offers something a little different from the norm.
On the Go with 4K Resolution
Three Separate Displays
IPad as a Display Device
Even though I prefer traveling with a portable travel monitor, I can see the value in keeping things to a minimum. So, it's possible that you'd benefit from having a second screen, such as an iPad or Android tablet.
- Slim and light
- Superior Display
- A touch of input
- Setup obligatory
- Miniaturized TVs
The fact that tablets are complete electronics in their own right gives them a clear advantage over the other options on this list. This means that you may not even need your computer for simple tasks like checking email if you have an iPad or Kindle handy.
Using a tablet as a second screen is fine if you need it occasionally, but it's not the best solution if you need extra space on the screen on a regular basis.
Screen mirroring is sluggish and jerky even when using a wired USB connection, in my experience. Things aren't great out of the box. In the end, I do not believe that this approach is worthwhile.
Downloadable Applications We Recommend
This could be a great, low-cost option for those who already have a tablet but need a little more storage space, but I'm hesitant to recommend it as the best option for a few reasons.
As a first and foremost consideration, most tablets aren't really big enough to effectively function as a second screen. Computer screens for the desktop typically exceed 20 inches in size, providing a wealth of additional real estate. Portable monitors typically have a 15-inch screen size. However, tablets can be as small as 7 or 8 inches, like the Kindle Fire, or as large as 13 inches, like the iPad Pro. There is not much visible area.
A tablet can be a great way to get work done, but it can also be a major source of distraction. The temptation to check Facebook when we should be working is well-known to us all. Tablets are merely a new delivery system for this type of thing.
However, having this trick up your sleeve can be a lifesaver if you find yourself in dire need of a second screen for something like a presentation and have no other options.
It's no surprise that, with the growing trend of remote work, more and more people are looking for ways to stay productive on the go. Including some screen space in your travel bag can be a simple and inexpensive way to ensure you always have what you need to get your work done, no matter where you may be.
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