MacBooks are wonderfully portable but a laptop display can be cramped for getting serious work done. The Lepow 15.6-Inch USB-C Portable Monitor is so slim and light it can easily go with you and double your available screen space.
I fully tested this surprisingly affordable USB-C monitor. Read my review to see how well it performs in the real world.
Lepow 15.6-Inch USB-C Portable Monitor review
Let’s be clear right off: this isn’t some clunky desktop display masquerading as a portable one. Lepow’s is svelte and lightweight.
Specifically, it’s 14.5 inches by 8.95 in. by 0.55 inches, and 2.5 pounds while in its carrying case. It fits easily in bags designed for large laptops.
The actual display area is 13.6 inches by 7.7 inches. (344mm by 195mm). That’s a 16:9/4:3 aspect ratio.
The Lepow 15.6-Inch USB-C Portable Monitor can receive video and power via a USB-C port on its left edge. It connects straight to your recent-model MacBook.
And that’s not all: this external display can also receive HDMI video, so it can be connected to game consoles, DVD layers, etc. Or get a Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter and attach it to an older MacBook, as I did.
On the right edge is a second USB-C port for power. This is necessary when using HDMI. But it also can be used even when the USB-C port on the left side is receiving the video stream. This removes the strain on your MacBook’s battery from powering two displays.
Lepow includes all the cables you need to connect this external display to your laptop, tablet, gaming console… whatever.
The folio cover protects from light bumps and blows, but you’ll want a real laptop case to travel with this external screen. Still, the cover does double duty as a stand. It can prop the display up at angles ranging from 10 degrees past vertical to 40 degrees past.
Lepow 15.6-Inch USB-C Portable Monitor performance
Image quality is in the eye of the beholder. This external screen has a 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution. When you compare that to the 3072-by-1920 resolution of the 16-inch MacBook Pro it might seem a bit low, but I found it more than acceptable for displaying web pages, email, spreadsheets, etc.
The same goes for the 16.7 million colors and the 300 nits maximum brightness offered by Lepow 15.6-Inch USB-C Portable Monitor. But I’m not creating art on my computer — I’m a writer. Your needs for display quality might be higher than mine.
That said, I used this screen in my office, at a coffee shop and outdoors out of direct sunlight and was satisfied with it. Having the extra screen real estate to work with is very convenient.
Also, I kept in mind how surprisingly inexpensive this product is. I wasn’t expecting it to perform like a $5,000 monitor.
The display offers viewing angles wide enough that a friend and I could sit back and watch a video together. But that brings up a problem with sound…
On the left edge of the Lepow 15.6-Inch USB-C Portable Monitor is a 3.5mm headset jack. This is important because the speakers on the left and right sides of this display are its weakest feature by far. They put out so little sound that they‘re only useful when sitting right in front of the screen in a quiet room.
To watch movies, you’ll probably want to add a portable speaker to your gear bag. I connected this display to a Bluetooth speaker with an AirFly Pro.
On the right side, next to the power button, is a tiny rocker switch to control an on-screen settings menu. You can adjust color levels, brightness, contrast… all the usual. That said, the defaults were generally good enough for me, aside from adjusting the brightness when using this display outdoors.
Use with an iPad Pro
The 2018 iPad Pro includes a USB-C port and can therefore make use of this portable monitor. With limitations, though.
For all the improvements brought by iPadOS 13, full support for external monitors isn’t one of them. This means most applications are just mirrored on Lepow’s display, and at a not much larger size.
However, many video apps do properly take advantage of a second screen, and the same goes for presentation software. You can watch movies on the 15.6-inch screen, or make a presentation with your iPad facing you and the Lepow monitor facing the client.
I go into depth in my feature “Why you should add a second screen to your iPad Pro.”
Lepow 15.6-Inch USB-C Portable Monitor final thoughts
Everyone who’s ever done serious work in a hotel room can see the advantages of a mobile second screen for use on the go. The Lepow 15.6-Inch USB-C Portable Monitor can be a real gamechanger, especially for people with 13-inch MacBooks — consider the advantages of three or four apps displayed at once, rather than one or two crowded onto a smaller screen.
And this display really is very portable. I tried it with several backpacks designed to carry generic laptops and it fit in all of them easily. And this monitor and its folio case weighs less than my 13-inch MacBook Air.
Images quality is high, just not amazing. It’s more than good enough to get work done, and acceptable for watching video. The built-in speakers are too quiet, though.
One of the best features of the Lepow 15.6-Inch USB-C Portable Monitor is the price: just $169.99.
Buy from: Amazon — $179.99
That’s about 15% of the cost of my laptop, while doubling the amount of working space.
Compare this Lepow mobile screen to the AOC I1601FWUX, another 15.6-inch, USB-C display designed to be used on the go. It has a $199.99 price tag, but Amazon dropped it to the same as cost the Lepow model..