~ Best External Monitor | Top 6 Rated in 2020


Are you in search of the best external monitors in the market? This past week, we dedicated 36 hours to finding high-quality monitors that can give you the best viewing experience at home or in office. We tested a total of 15 different monitors for the quality they could provide in rooms of different sizes, layouts, and lighting conditions. Out of all the items we tested, we selected six outstanding external monitors. These monitors are the ones that lived up to all of our expectations and more.

One monitor in particular, the Lepow USB-C 15.6” monitor, stood out among the rest. As our #1 pick, the Lepow has a high-resolution screen with HDR while being small and light enough to be portable. Read on to learn more about this amazing monitor and our five other favorites.

Top 6 Best External Monitors Compared

 #1  Lepow USB-C Portable Monitor – Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: Sleek and slim , the Lepow Portable Monitor offers excellent media quality that’s compatible with a wide range of devices. Equipped with Full HD and weighing only 1.76 pounds, the Lepow is definitely worthy of our top spot.

Pros

  • Full HD
  • Lightweight
  • Has built-in speakers

Cons

  • Brightness settings automatically reset
  • Built-in speakers are weak

The Lepow USB-C Portable Monitor is a 15.6” IPS monitor that features a 1080p display, a native resolution of 1920 x 1080, and HDR support to deliver visually stunning images. It’s perfect for playing games, watching movies at home, or delivering presentations at the office. The monitor sports a Type-C USB connector and a mini HDMI port, making it compatible with laptops, phones, and gaming consoles like the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch. It weighs only 1.76 pounds and is 0.3 inches thick, making it very portable.

The only drawbacks of this particular monitor are its weak speakers and its tendency to reset custom brightness settings when the USB-C port is used. However, its portability and the crystal-clear picture quality it delivers more than make up for these issues, making it our best overall pick.  It is one of the best external gaming monitors.

 #2  Newsoul 15.6” Portable HD Monitor – Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Newsoul Portable Monitor combines HD video and audio thanks to its HDR-enabled 1080p IPS-LCD monitor and dual stereo speakers. Its integrated eye protection technology helps keep your eyes safe while you enjoy its crystal-clear display, and its wide compatibility makes it useful for a range of devices.

Pros

  • IPS-LCD Monitor with HDR
  • 2 high-quality stereo speakers
  • Integrated eye protection

Cons

  • Odd button/port placements
  • Slightly heavier than others

This portable monitor by Newsoul sports a high-resolution 1080p display that supports HDR functions to create beautiful on-screen images while also providing excellent audio with its twin stereo speakers. The screen provides a 178-degree viewing angle, perfect for multiple viewers. The Newsoul monitor also comes with special Eye Care technology, which provides a soft, blue screen filter and eliminates flickering to protect your eyes.

You can use either a mini HDMI or USB Type-C to connect the monitor to your PC, laptop, phone, or gaming console. Its Type-C port handles all of the power, signal, and USB interface functions. The Newsoul monitor is slightly heavier than our #1 pick, weighing 1.99 pounds and measuring 0.43 inches in thickness. Users may also find it difficult to set-up in portrait mode because of how the connection ports and buttons are placed. You might also want to read about the best monitor for video editing.

 #3  AOC e1659Fwu Slim Monitor – Best Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: The AOC Slim Monitor is a budget-friendly option that can be very handy for frequent travelers. Its screen lights up at a gentle 200 cd/m2 brightness that’s bright enough without causing eye strain, and it comes with its own carrying case to make travel easier.

Pros

  • 200 cd/m2 brightness setting
  • Reliable
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • No HDMI
  • A bit heavy
  • 720p only

This low-profile 16” monitor by AOC is a cost-efficient option for those who are looking to buy an extra screen or two. It has a native resolution of 1366 x 768 only, which can’t really offer the same level of display quality that 1080p monitors (1920 x 1080) on our list can, but it’s still very useful for work or if you don’t mind using a lower-res monitor. It’s equipped with a USB 3.0 port for video and power input, and a built-in foldable stand that makes it very easy to set up.

The AOC Slim Monitor is a bit hefty. It weighs 2.4 pounds, making it one of the heaviest monitors in this list. It’s not as high-end as the rest, but you’ll definitely get your money’s worth from it. Also, check out best gaming monitor for PS4.

 #4  ASUS MB168B Portable Monitor – Best Value

WHY WE LIKE IT: The MB168B is a portable monitor that can display crisp, high-quality images. It is as light as our #1 pick, automatically adjusts its brightness setting by up to 250 cd/m2, and comes with a 3-year warranty.

Pros

  • 250 cd/m2 brightness
  • ASUS EzLink Technology
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • May have driver compatibility issues
  • USB 3.0 only
  • 720p

ASUS is a trusted brand when it comes to computers, and the MB168B Portable Monitor is one piece of equipment that lives up to that name. It comes with a high-definition 15.6” screen with a 1366 x 768 base resolution and ASUS’s EzLink Tech that can help shave off some of your computer’s graphical load. The display will automatically shift depending on the monitor’s orientation, and it can also automatically adjust its brightness depending on the room’s lighting conditions.

The monitor weighs only 1.76 pounds and is 0.3 inches thick, which is very similar to our #1 pick. Its size and carrying case/monitor stand make it highly portable. Note that it only has a USB 3.0 connector and the drivers required by ASUS EzLink may need some configuring before it works properly. Read up on the best 4K gaming monitor to learn more about displays.

 #5  ASUS ZenScreen MB16AC 15.6” Portable Monitor – Best Zero Edge

WHY WE LIKE IT: The ZenScreen is a portable Full HD, IPS monitor that boasts an award-winning design and stunning image quality while remaining compact thanks to its small bevel. It also offers Eye Care technology and customizable settings that can help you work at maximum efficiency.

Pros

  • Ultra Lightweight
  • Easy-to-toggle display settings
  • Full HD

Cons

  • Only one USB-C port
  • ASUS drivers may cause issues

The ZenScreen is another line of portable monitors made by ASUS. Unlike the previous ASUS monitor we covered, the ZenScreen pairs its Full HD IPS screen (1080p) with a thin bevel, which means its footprint remains low. It has integrated ASUS Eye Care technology that makes the screen flicker-free and eye-friendly. It also grants users the ability to quickly toggle between different monitor settings via the ASUS Display Widget .

The layout of its ports and buttons complements the monitor’s ability to quickly shift from landscape to portrait orientations and vice versa. However, it only has one USB-C port, and the drivers that run its software may conflict with your computer. At 1.7 pounds and 0.3 inches thick, the lightest monitor in our list, the ZenScreen is a great monitor to take with you anywhere. If you are a gamer, read about the best monitors for Xbox One X.

 #6  Lepow Z1 Pro 15.6” Portable Monitor – Best Features

WHY WE LIKE IT: This iteration of the Lepow 15.6” Portable Monitor serves as a direct upgrade to its predecessor. The Z1 Pro sports a full HD screen with HDR, thin bevel that makes it compact enough for most surfaces, built-in speakers, and a wide angle for a great viewing experience..

Pros

  • Full HD Screen
  • Fast and smooth operation
  • Durable CNC Aluminum frame

The Lepow Z1 Pro makes a great secondary monitor for programmers and gamers alike. The HDR-enabled Full HD IPS screen means you’ll get amazing image quality, while its built-in blue light filter protects your eyes from strain over long hours. The newer LSO 3.0.1 software installed in it lets the monitor handle connections faster and smoother than before.

The problem with low speaker volume still persists with the Lepow Z1, however. If you prefer to use earphones or dedicated speakers, then Z1 Pro is a good option for you.

How We Decided

Finding the right monitor can be difficult, especially since the differences between each model are fairly small. Even though every monitor may look the same, those tiny differences are the ones that make each model stand out from the rest.

Aside from the quality of their display, we selected these monitors based on their screen resolution, brightness, and contrast ratio. You’ll immediately notice the difference in quality between a 720p and a 1080p monitor; the amount of pixels they can display greatly affects the sharpness of the image, while their brightness and contrast ratio affect screen visibility and color quality respectively. We also put portability, connectivity, and ease of use into consideration. The best 144Hz gaming monitor is also a good gaming choice. Check out other computer accessories to get the most from your PC.

External Monitor Buying Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Resolution
    A monitor’s resolution defines the total amount of pixels that it can display at any single point in time. Higher resolutions mean the display quality of the monitor will be better, but it may cause some computers to slow down because of the additional load, while lower resolution monitors will have the opposite effect.
  2. Size and Connectivity
    The size and wiring compatibility of a monitor can greatly impact its portability. If you’re looking for a monitor that you can use even when outside of the house or office, then take a look at its dimensions, size of its bevel, and connection ports. A monitor that can be used with just one connector port is much more convenient to use than a monitor that requires two or more.
  3. Brightness
    The brightness of a monitor will affect its display visibility as well as its effect on your eyes. The standard monitor brightness is right around 200-300 cd/m2.
  4. Contrast Ratio
    Contrast ratio refers to the balance between bright and dark colors that are displayed on a monitor’s screen. The typical contrast ratio for computer monitors is 1000:1; the higher the ratio, the better the image quality. And don’t forget to get a good pair of computer speakers.

FAQs

  • What is a PnP monitor?
    The term PnP stands for “Plug and Play.” This means that all you need to do in order to use a monitor is plug it into a compatible system.
  • Can I use portable monitors as my primary monitor?
    Yes. They function just like normal monitors, so you can use them as such. Just be mindful of the connection types that the portable monitor allows.
  • Can I connect to a portable monitor wirelessly?
    It depends on the monitor. Some monitors have a Bluetooth functionality that can let you display your phone or computer’s screen remotely.
  • Can I use a TV as a monitor instead?
    Most modern televisions can be used as monitors for desktop PCs or laptops in case their primary monitors break down. So long as the television has a USB or HDMI port that’s compatible with your device, you’ll be able to use it as a monitor.
  • My device connectors don’t match the ports on my monitor. What can I do?
    There are different types of connector adapters that can let you plug in your device to your monitor despite the mismatch. Adapters like HDMI to USB, USB-A to USB-C, or just about any other combination is available for purchase from retailers. Alternatively, you can connect your device to the monitor via Bluetooth if the feature is allowed.
  • Do I need to install special drivers for my monitor to work?
    Most monitors come with their own software that’s automatically installed when plugged into a computer. Some manufacturers have specialized drivers that are meant to support unique features found in their monitors. Monitors with unique features like some ASUS or Acer monitors will work as generic PnP monitors, but their special features will remain unusable unless their corresponding drivers are installed.

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~ Best Backlit Keyboard | Top 7 Rated in 2020


After spending a week reviewing 20 different products, we’ve narrowed down our list to the seven best backlit keyboards that are available today. Backlit keyboards are great for gamers, editors, programmers, or anyone with a desktop PC who wants to add a bit more ambiance to their environment. These keyboards aren’t just for show; they’re fully functional, and some even have a few features that you wouldn’t normally expect from standard desktop keyboards.

Among all of the products we tried out, the Redragon S101 is our #1 pick in terms of features, design, and ergonomics. The Redragon has the most number of color settings and even comes with its own backlit mouse. Its key functionality is designed with precision and comfort in mind, truly enhancing the user experience, whether for work or gaming. Read on to find out more about our other picks as well as a few things you should know before buying one.

Top 7 Best Backlit Keyboards Compared

 #1  Redragon S101 – Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Redragon S101 is a stylish gaming keyboard that’s designed for long work or gaming sessions on your computer. It’s comfortable to handle and offers 7 adjustable color settings, making it the most satisfying keyboard to use among our top picks.

Pros

  • 7 RGB lighting modes
  • Wired connection – no batteries to charge
  • Includes a gaming mouse

Cons

  • Keys can be stiff
  • Membrane keyboard
  • Issues with mouse

The Redragon S101 is a wired keyboard that’s designed with gamers in mind. It comes with 10 dedicated multimedia keys and 12 extra “FN+” key combinations for quick and easy access to volume, brightness, and other media settings.

The keys are quiet, and the board itself is designed to make long gaming sessions more comfortable. There are 7 different RGB lighting modes that can help set the perfect mood for relaxed or competitive gaming. As a bonus, the Redragon S101 also comes with a gaming mouse that complements the keyboard’s aesthetic. You can also check out the best smart TV keyboard.

 #2  KLIM Chroma Wireless Keyboard – Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: The KLIM Chroma is a wireless, rechargeable keyboard that has adjustable color modes and brightness levels. Its fast response time makes it an excellent pick for gamers and users who prefer more mobility.

Pros

  • 2ms response time
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Comfortable to use

Cons

  • Some keys are slightly smaller
  • Fewer multimedia buttons
  • Backlights are dim

The KLIM Chroma is a high-performance wireless gaming keyboard with minimal input lag and Playstation/Xbox compatibility. The keys are clicky and responsive without being annoyingly loud. It has several multimedia shortcuts for uninterrupted gameplay that are also useful for general purposes. The KLIM Chroma sports tri-colored backlighting in three different spots around the keyboard that can be switched between static or breathing modes.

Its compact size and light weight of a little over a pound complement its wireless capabilities, making it comfortable to use on your lap. The keyboard is also waterproof, and its battery can last 4 hours before needing a recharge. The backlights are helpful in low-light environments but not so much in well-lit rooms. Overall, the KLIM Chroma is a great keyboard for both home and office use. You may also be interested in the best tablet keyboard.

 #3  Arteck 2.4G Wireless Keyboard – Best Battery Life

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Arteck 2.4G Wireless Keyboard is designed more for office use than gaming. However, its ergonomic, stainless steel design and l6-month-long battery life make it useful for any and all computer needs.

Pros

  • 6-month battery life
  • Durable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Small for some
  • Limited functionality
  • Some report keys getting stuck

The Arteck 2.4G wireless keyboard is a sleek yet sturdy peripheral that can be seen as a direct upgrade to standard keyboards. The keys have ample space between each other, which makes typing highly comfortable. The Arteck 2.4G has all the essential keys, which are quiet and low-profile when clicked.

The keyboard is built from stainless steel, making it impossible to snap in half by ordinary means. Additionally, Arteck claims the keyboard’s battery can last up to a full 6 months when used for 2 straight hours every day, making it energy efficient. Also, check out the best gaming PCs.

 #4  Velocifire TKL02WS Wireless Mechanical Keyboard – Best Feel

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Velocifire TKL02WS is a mechanical keyboard with an optional wireless functionality that’s great to use without being too expensive. The Velocifire is a versatile keyboard with a good range of features that make it highly functional.

Pros

  • Can be wired or wireless
  • Tactile brown switch
  • Universal compatibility

Cons

  • Issues with connectivity
  • Only one light color setting
  • Relatively costly

While it isn’t as flashy as other keyboards, the Velocifire TKL02WS sports a minimalistic design that includes useful features such as a tactile brown switch and universal compatibility. Since it’s a mechanical keyboard, every button press feels more responsive than that of membrane keyboards. However, this also makes them louder.

The Velocifire can be connected to your computer, but it also has a wireless mode for when you need to work away from your desk. Its white-colored backlighting makes it easy to use even in dimly lit environments. The best gaming monitor for PS4 is another great accessory.

 #5  VicTsing RGB Gaming Keyboard – Best Performance

WHY WE LIKE IT: Featuring 19 anti-ghosting keys, the VicTsing RGB gaming keyboard is made to suit every gamer’s needs. It’s an excellent choice for competitive gamers, especially with its spill-resistant mechanism and wrist relief design.

Pros

  • Designed for gamers
  • Affordable
  • Rainbow LED lights

Cons

  • Tight key spacing
  • Issues with backlight
  • Wears quickly for some

VicTsing’s VTPC149BB gaming keyboard model is a wired mechanical keyboard that emphasizes precise button presses to enhance your gaming experience. Button presses are quiet and responsive thanks to the 55g actuation settings. The keyboard’s advanced anti-ghosting setting means up to 19 keys can be pressed simultaneously without any lag.

VicTsing offers 12 multimedia shortcuts for this model, allowing for a boosted and more convenient gaming. The settings of the LED lights on the keyboard can be adjusted in terms of brightness, lighting style, change speed, and it can also be turned off completely. It pairs well with the best 4K gaming monitor.

 #6  Perixx 11474 Periboard-317 – Best Value

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Periboard-317’s overall simplicity and Windows compatibility make it a great choice as a general-purpose keyboard that’s definitely worth the money. Good for small desktops in an office, studio work, or home setting, it has a distinct chiclet design and white backlighting that make it easy to read.

Pros

  • Backlit & big letters
  • Sleek and simple design
  • Durable

Cons

  • Only one backlight color
  • Fairly straightforward
  • Wears down quickly for some

Sleek, simple, and affordable, the Periboard-317 is a durable wired keyboard with ample backlighting that gets the job done. It trades form for function; the Periboard-317 has a minimalistic aesthetic with a simple black and white color palette. Its keys are well-spaced and comfortable for typing.

The white backlight makes it easy to use in all lighting environments, and its tough plastic shell makes it resistant to damage. Overall, it’s a reliable keyboard that works as intended even though it pales in comparison to other keyboards that have more features. Learn more about wireless keyboards.

 #7  Mafiti RK100 Keyboard – Best Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Mafiti RK100 offers an excellent gaming or working experience with its 3 LED backlight settings and adjustable brightness levels. Widely compatible with an array of devices, the RK100 has pseudo-mechanical keys that give a great, responsive feel to every keystroke.

Pros

  • Highly affordable
  • 3 color settings
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Design is somewhat blocky
  • Slightly stiff keys
  • Some report space bar issues

The Mafiti RK100 is a wired, plug-and-play keyboard that conveniently provides access to your computer’s utility functions. Designed for gaming, the RK100 has 104 durable keys and 12 hotkeys. The RGB color settings can be controlled with a single button, and the lights themselves are visually pleasing.

The RK100 offers green, red, and yellow LED lighting. The keys are designed to combat fatigue, all the while giving a mechanical feel each time you use them. The design of the keyboard may take some getting used to, but its useful features and lighting aesthetic make it well worth getting. Check out more gaming keyboards. Like iPad keyboard cases.

How We Decided

The keyboard is one of the two main peripherals used to operate a computer. Its main use is to input data. If a keyboard can help you make your inputs faster and more efficiently, then it’s already a superior choice. After a week of testing and trying out different products, we ended up with a list of high-quality keyboard choices that are excellent for their intended use, whether for gaming or working.

We decided on our top picks based on their overall design: the functionality of the keys, the brightness of the backlights, their compatibility with different computers, and portability. For keyboards that offer a wireless option, we gave bonus points for long-lasting batteries.

Backlit Keyboard Buying Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Design
    The design of a backlit keyboard includes button shape, light location, frame design, and key functionality. All of these features will decide how comfortable a keyboard will feel on your hands and how easy manipulating your computer settings will be.
  2. Light Quality
    The quality of the LED lights between backlit keyboards can vary from product to product. Consider getting a keyboard with adjustable light settings so you can have more options that can cater to your environment.
  3. Scissor Keys
    Scissor keys are attached to a keyboard via two connectors that move in a scissor-like fashion when pressed. This shape allows keyboards to be thinner than others. Slim keyboards, such as a low profile one, usually have this mechanism.
  4. Battery
    When choosing wireless keyboards, it’s important to get those that have long-lasting batteries. For some products, you can improve battery life by lowering the keyboard’s brightness.
  5. Wireless
    Wireless keyboards are great for when you want to use one keyboard for multiple devices. The absence of a cable makes them easy to move around and provides less clutter at the same time.
  6. Compatibility
    Not all keyboards can work with all devices. If you have a Mac or a gaming console, it’s best to make sure that the keyboard you buy is compatible with the devices you own.

FAQs

  • Why is my wireless keyboard not working properly?
    If you’ve noticed that your wireless keyboard’s input is lagging, then you may be too far away from your computer. Try moving closer to see if button inputs still lag.
  • Are backlit keyboards necessary?
    Backlit keyboards are not necessary, but they do have certain advantages over regular ones. The LED lights will increase visibility and create a livelier working or gaming atmosphere. Certain programmable keyboards can also give you a competitive edge when gaming.
  • Why are backlit keyboards good for gaming?
    Gamers can program the backlights on specific keys to glow certain colors. This can make the identification of controls much easier, especially for a player who isn’t used to a certain control scheme or using keyboards in general. The same concept can be used by working professionals for photo/video editing, 3d modeling, and other similar creative professions to make the location of hotkeys easier.
  • How do I make my laptop keyboard light up?
    Not all laptops have backlit keyboards. If yours does, however, then it’s best to consult the user manual because laptops made by each manufacturer have different button mappings. For example, an HP Pavilion laptop’s keyboard lights can be activated by pressing F5 or F12. Meanwhile, a Lenovo Ideapad laptop’s keyboard lights can be turned on by pressing FN + Spacebar. If you’re not sure how to turn your laptop’s keyboard lights on, it’s best to consult the user manual or do a quick Google search about your particular laptop model.
  • How do I change the color of my keyboard lights?
    Every backlit keyboard has a different set of button maps, so not all keyboard lights can be turned on by the same button combination found in other models. Usually, backlit keyboards have indicators that tell which key will let you change the color. If you press that key together with the FN button, the color of the lights should change. Alternatively, it’s best to look up your keyboard’s specific model on the internet for a solution or consult the user manual or keyboard box for instructions.

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