Portable monitors are taking off and this can be seen with how many brands and models are available to you now online. Everything from basic entry-level 1080p options all the way up to 4K with touch. Some even sport features like 99% Adobe RGB color space. But we won’t get into that today because the one we are focusing on this round is the AOQ 15.6″ 4K UHD Portable Touchscreen Monitor, and the product name says it all.
This AOQ (not to be confused with AOC) monitor is another option that is clearly targeted for adding an additional screen to your laptop than anything else, although it would work on anything that supports USB-C graphics or HDMI (laptops, desktops, gaming consoles, smartphones, tablets, Raspberry Pi units, etc).
The design of the monitor is nearly identical to all the other portable monitors on the market. No surprises here as there is only so much you can do to make something portable, different. Except for a few variables here or there.
For example, this monitor comes with a small plastic adjustable stand so that you can ditch the folding cover to place it in the stand. This would be for more permanent installs, like using with a dock solution, than anything since you likely want to minimize the number of items you drag around with you, but it is still an extra option. Another example is Viewsonic with their nicer built-in stand on the back of the screen (although the screen isn’t anywhere near the quality of this one image-wise).
One side of the screen contains all of your controls, including volume up/down, which is also used for browsing the on-screen menu system. You have the menu button and your power button (which also acts as the back button while in the menu).
Finally, you have a headphone jack in case you need to be quiet and your connected device doesn’t have a jack itself.
Flipping around to the right side of the monitor, you have all of your connectivity, covering both USB-C and HDMI. There are two USB-C ports and one HDMI, as well as a micro-USB port.
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For USB-C connectivity, you have to have a USB-C port that supports DP (DisplayPort) for attaching a screen to it. Else, you would default to using an HDMI and one of the USB ports for power (plugged into the wall). One cable is always far better than two, so if you can go USB-C for a monitor, this makes for a perfect mobile solution as the USB-C cable carries both power and signal.
We tested this against both scenarios (a desktop and a laptop), and both connected just fine via USB-C and HDMI. USB-C displays crystal clear and it is nice to have a single cable delivering everything. Especially when you are looking to maintain a clean footprint on your desk or other surface areas.
There are two big advantages to this model. The first, a 4K resolution. In the two images above, you can see them side-by-side with one of the Dell laptops here. The laptop features a 15.6″ 4K screen, making for the perfect comparison as the 4K screens on these Dell models are amazing.
Side by side, we were able to get the screens to nearly match. It was difficult to determine which one we liked more. This made for an impressive discovery. They both look fantastic. The brightness is quite noticeable in this one as well. We have found a number of these portable screens that lack a decent brightness, as do many of the laptops out there in the world. Not in this case though as it kept right up with the Dell screen, which too, offers plenty of brightness. Enough that you’ll likely find yourself not maxing it out.
The second big advantage is having a touchscreen. Like the laptop’s screen, this touchscreen is equally responsive. Its performance is just as quick and accurate, which also led to a positive discovery during our testing of it.
It does require some messing around though. Out of the box, the image is a bit dull and dim (which is common with these models), so you will want to increase the brightness a tad and play around with the colors for the right balance, within the menu. The menu is mostly straight forward if you have experience with adjusting monitors. Many of the options were guessable, but not exactly labeled. So you are forced to make a lot of guesswork. Some may require to look it up. This affected the score some.
Our recommendation is to use the touchscreen once you have pulled up the menu from the button on the side. Trying to get around the menu via the buttons seems a little buggy. Especially once you start playing around with the HDR settings (this may need a firmware update in the near future). Vertical bars similar to the RGB screen kept popping up underneath the icons and adjusting instead of the icons switching between each other once HDR was enabled. However, when using the touchscreen to browse around the menu, everything works flawlessly as this bug does not seem to be present. You are in and out of the menu quickly and ready to use the monitor. Needless to say, the fact that there are any problems with the menu like this at all, does affect the score as well.
Using the touchscreen for the menu is also important since the menu doesn’t always hold your settings. Not all of them at least. Once you connect the monitor and play around with the settings, if you pull the cable from the laptop and plug it back in, things like the brightness will be returned to where it started. You have to take the brightness up each time. We have found this to be an issue with many of these portable options. Certain other settings seem to remain saved. If you manually turn off the monitor via the button on the side and bring it back on, all settings will still be working. This is good, however, many will likely use this in a docking scenario, which will be the same as unplugging the monitor from the system each time. Since this too can be resolved with a firmware fix, the score hasn’t been affected too heavily just yet. However, if this remains an issue, it may be worth looking at dropping the score a little more since you shouldn’t have to manually set your brightness every single time.
Beyond that, this is such a fantastic screen. There was only one other portable option we tested that we liked as much as this one, and it was only 1080p (capable of 4K via USB-C if the connected device can handle it, but 1080p via HDMI). It was the UPERFECT Portable 15.6″ Monitor. The UPERFECT model does offer features like 100% DCI-P3 and 99% Adobe RGB color space, which we thought looked a tad better than this model when it comes to color accuracy. This is important for those who spend a lot of time in creative applications designing graphics or editing videos. So it becomes a balance of features. One has a slightly better image when it comes to color accuracy, however, the other offers a higher resolution and a touchscreen. So it comes down to which options weigh heaviest for your interests.
It comes with everything you need, including a USB-C to wall adapter (if the connected device does not support USB-C connectivity or cannot power the monitor via the connection), a USB-C to USB-C cable, an HDMI cable, and a USB-C to USB-A adapter. You also get a cleaning cloth, some documentation, and the plastic stand (for an alternative stand solution from the folding cover that already acts as a stand).
It is a bit more expensive than the 1080p options out there. This is the same for any 4K solution out there no matter the type of monitor. There is still a decent gap in price when it comes to these resolutions, especially when you factor in the ability of touchscreen. We have found the price to range (so far) between $380-$425 on average. The MSRP is a little higher, but thankfully it seems to stay on sale for one price or another. So the MSRP might be an inflated price to make the current price look better. At the moment of writing this, Amazon Prime members get a significant discount, so it is recommended to sign up for the 30-day trial of Prime (at least) if you aren’t already a member so that you can take advantage of the discount.
If you are looking for high resolutions, touchscreen, and portable friendly, this screen falls right into place. The image looks absolutely fantastic and competed well with our high-end Dell laptops that offer the same resolution and features. It is quite responsive to touch and got a lot of praise from our team. It just needs some work on the firmware when it comes to the menu system (when using the buttons on the side to navigate) and its ability to save all of the current settings, regardless of how the monitor is disconnected or turned off. The menu could also use some more labeling so it is more user-friendly to a greater population of users. Beyond that, a fantastic option. Expensive? Yes. Most 4K solutions are quite expensive right now still. So it won’t be the best option for everyone. If 4K is a little too much for what you are looking to spend, then get the UPERFECT model previously mentioned.
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
- 2 x USB-C full function ports (cable + AC plug inlcuded)
- 1 x Mini HDMI Interface (cable included)
- 1 x Micro USB OTG Interface
- 1 x 3.5mm Headphone Jack
- Resolution: 3840×2160
- Screen Size: 15.6 Inches
- Dimensions: 13.78 x 0.39 x 9.06 inches
- Refresh Rate: 60Hz
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