Rapid Review: AOC USB-C 16 Portable Monitor

Image: Anthony Caruana/Lifehacker Australia

I spend a lot of time on the road and giving presentations. Sometimes, that’s in large rooms with great AV facilities but other times its with small groups in meeting rooms. I also work from hotel rooms and while my laptop’s display is excellent, some extra real estate never goes astray. The AOC USB-C 16 portable monitor came recommended by a friend and I have no regrets about spending my money on this portable display.

What Is It?

The AOC USB-C 16 portable monitor is what is says on the box. This portable display is light, easy to carry, can be used in both portrait and landscape modes, and doesn’t need an external power source. It runs straight off your laptop’s USB-C port.

Image: Anthony Caruana/Lifehacker Australia


Name and Model Number AOC USB-C Monitor (I1601FWUX)
Display size 15.6-inches (39.6cm)
Resolution 1920×1080
Response time 5ms
Size and weight 376.2×235.2×8.5 mm, 824g
Connections One USB-C port

What’s Good?

I connected the AOC USB-C 16 to three different devices – a MacBook Pro, Samsung Galaxy Book 2 and an iPad mini (using a Lightning to HDMI adaptor and HDMI to USB-C cable).

The first two connections, as expected, worked perfectly. I had the choice to either mirror my main display to the AOC USB-C 16 or to expand my desktop to use the extra real-estate.

Unsurprisingly, the iPad mini, using my combination of adaptors didn’t work even when connected to mains power using Apple’s Lightning to HDMI adaptor. That wasn’t a shock but I thought it would be worth a try.

Image: Anthony Caruana/Lifehacker Australia

Given the price tag, I wasn’t expecting the AOC display to be much better than adequate. So I was pleasantly surprised by the sharpness and performance. Lines were crisp, text easy to read and images were bright and clear. Although the display came recommended by a friend, I wasn’t expecting a lot from such a low cost display. But AOC has produced a great monitor for those who need a second screen where they’re out and about.

The secret to the display’s portability is the system used to keep the display standing. A magnetic cover protects the display when it’s packed away but, similar to the Smart Cover Apple sells alongside the iPad, it bends and attaches to the back and bottom of the display allowing you to stand the display on a variety of angles.

When not in use, the cover protects the display. And it fits into backpacks designed for 15-inch laptops easily.

Image: Anthony Caruana/Lifehacker Australia

As for the drain on battery life – I’ve used it for over three hours at a time, without mains power on my laptop and it drained my MacBook Pro’s battery to about 35% over that time. That’s about 15-20% more than I’d normally see given my normal use.

What’s Bad?

After several weeks of use, I’m struggling to find a criticism that isn’t nit-picking. A second USB-C port would be handy so I could connect it to mains power as well as a computer so it could be used with tablets as well as computers.

Also, as there aren’t any controls, other than a power button, there’s no way to adjust the brightness, contrast or other settings. And while there’s some software provided on a CD, it’s all Windows-based. However, the out-of-the-box settings worked just fine for me.

Should You Buy It

The AOC USB-C 16 Portable Monitor sells for around $200.

It does what it says on the box, doesn’t cost a fortune and won’t weigh you down while travelling.


  • Rapid editing as well?

    “I had the choice to neither mirror my main display to the AOC USB-C 16 or to expand my desktop to use the extra reel-estate.”

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