How do you work without multiple monitors? I can only carry a MBP 15"

I got the gechic 15 inch portable display and i really like it

Note that ASUS just introduced an IPS version on this monitor (MB169B+) - 168B+ is a TN one, I think.

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Yes, I saw that the other day - Asus MB169B+.

Im getting a asus potable mon un the next couple of weeks.

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hahahhah so there are others like me that feel the pain :smiley:

Personally I need 6 monitors. Well need is a strong word lol, but the other monitors are for things other than coding. That being said though, levels raises a great point. Focus, constraints and not screwing yourself over with context switching is a huge thing. That being said, 2 monitors is about the sweet spot so you can have web + work open at the same time.

I need that home base purely because of this factor :smiley:

That 15" screen though will be pathetically tiny. I dont think I could ever fully adapt.

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Wow. Just wow. Thank you all!

I’ll update this thread when landing in Bangkok in January - with how I end up setting up.

I’ve already preordered the Roost2 (Of course). That sound as a must-have for traveling lightly.
The ASUS-addon I’ll have a closer look at.

Checkout Slide 'n Joy for up to 2 extra screens for your laptop. This is what I would get to use on my 17 inch laptop, yes 17 inch. I have tried to work on a 15 inch but it just doesn’t work for me and since I travel with a big ass camera bag that can hold a 17 inc laptop the decision was pretty easy.

This is my first Nomad excursion - Medellin. I downsized from a 15 inch lappy to a 13 incher. But I brought along an AOC 15 inch usb monitor. It is cheap, super light and indestructible, After using this setup for 6 weeks, I would not travel without the 2nd monitor.

I think the simple answer is: cut yourself off, you’ll find ways to make do.

For me, I’m a UI designer, but switched over from Mc to a Surface Pro 3 (which I love).

Both Mac and Windows have different ways to compensate, but they both involve a lof of hot keys, gestures, etc…

Spend some time learning and customizing all of the swipe gestures. Magic Mice are wonderful (I miss mine dearly) because the swipes are built into the surface so you can use Expose to quickly switch between programs and three-finger swipe to keep things on multiple (virtual) desktops.

Windows FINALLY has multiple desktops and there are hotkey combinations to switch back and forth and I use Alt+Tab a lot to switch between applications.

There are a lot of tips and tricks for each, but at the end of the day you’ll never learn them unless you have to, so just cut the rope and plan to be miserable for a week or so - it’ll get better.

As so posture, I don’t usually travel with a stand because it takes up to much space, but I’ve learned that I can usually find ways to get my “monitor” up to where I want it in most places.

People will think you’re weird, but your back and neck will thank you.

I always remind myself that you can’t have both - which would you rather have, screen real-estate or a lighter suitcase?

I use two Surface Pro 3s and connect the screens into a multi-display setup using Mouse Without Borders. Weighs 3.5lbs total, doesn’t take up much space… and I say that as someone traveling with a single 26L backpack. It doesn’t quite replace the 27" screen I had before I started traveling, but the resolution on the Surface Pros is very high, and they fit much much more than you’d expect.


Like @levelsio, I do find 1 laptop more productive due to focus.

But for those days when 2 screens just rocks it - tax time, invoicing/billing, anything that needs a big spreadsheet on one side and a browser on the other… I default to 2 screens.

Here’s my setup.

  • Macbook Air
  • Macbook Pro
  • ShareMouse KVM to tie the clipboard, keyboards and mice together
  • Apple Wireless Keyboard + SwiftPoint BT Mouse
  • The Roost Laptop Stand
  • Dropbox & to sync up my folders
  • All my apps are cloud connected e.g. Evernote, Chrome

Why 2 laptops?

  • It’s surprisingly compact What started this off was that I couldn’t find a portable USB monitor as thin, let alone as rugged as a 13" MBA. I travel with just a single smallish carry-on bag, believe it or the extra laptops is so thin that I don’t really notice it apart from the extra weight when moving between cities.

  • Redundancy: I always have a backup laptop. Working like this also forces me to be backed up. Always.

  • Multi-Platform and Multi-processor: Especially for devs / software testers, you can shake it up by running Windows on one and Mac OS on the other (VMs just bog your host machine down). On that note, I’m finding it handy to have an extra compute resources, on design days (I use Adobe Fireworks which is resource hungry), I’ll push off Chrome which sucks too much juice onto the other laptop.

  • Versatility: On any particular trip to a cafe or coworking space, I can pick the Air for lightness, or the Pro for speed. I can also run the screens in a vertical layout to save carrying a keyboard and mouse (which is same bulk as a third laptop when you think about it)

##Loving it!
I’ve only just starting using this setup for a month and loving it, still fine tuning it. Most days I just take one laptop, and it’s usually the Air. In future, I’m thinking to migrate to two Airs, an old cheap one, and a fast uber pimped out one, especially if the rumoured 15" Air comes out.

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Jealous, I’m in SEA and have been tyring hard to buy it here somehow. Bali, Bangkok nor Singapore had it. Also can’t order it to Bali here, at least not without an Indonesian bank account/CC : (

Asus MB168+ (even the 169+) seems like a perfect solution for the DNs who need 2 monitors.

I think you’ll find the Asus monitors to be disappointing. The resolution is jarringly low compared to the screen on modern laptops – I found it difficult to have text and display elements be different sizes depending on which screen I was looking at. Also, the hardware doesn’t feel substantial enough to survive much travel – with a fully loaded backpack there was an uncomfortable amount of flexing. Maybe if you sandwich it between two rigid objects.

I’ve traveled with an Asus MB168b+ for almost two years now and I love it.

No it’s not as glorious as my 15" rMBP’s screen, it’s not great in bright daylight (like sitting outdoors) but it’s totally serviceable as a second monitor and it does not pick up indoor glare from a window or office light.

I’m passing through the US next week for WordCamp US and I just ordered an MB169b+ delivered to a friends house in Philly. I’ll be publishing a side by side comparison of the two for anyone interested.

FWIW, specs say the MB169b+ is it’s IPS and slightly dimmer, but also higher contrast. I would love it if it got brighter, but we’ll see what it really looks like.

I spent loads of money trying to solve this problem, and only recently found something that results in a productivity boost similar to what I get from using a pair of Thunderbolt displays vs. my 15" Macbook Pro.

I started with the GeChic 1502i, which has a couple of things going for it


  • It’s lightweight
  • It can be powered entirely by USB – meaning it draws power from the Laptop’s battery, and optionally can be plugged into the wall.
  • It’s a true 1080p display


  • It doesn’t have an internal battery
  • The display is dim, relative to the amazing MBP retina display
  • It’s substantially bigger than the MBP, and thus doesn’t fit in to a lot of cases that are designed for “laptops + extras” (i.e., my Saddleback Leather briefcase)
  • An ordeal to set up, particularly if you want to plug it into the wall
  • The screen is quite fragile – it’s not glass, but rather a soft plastic that can be easily scratched

Over the past month, I’ve been using an iPad Pro w/ the “Duet Display” app. It’s truly a game changer. The video signal being sent over a lightning cable instead of WiFi makes a big difference (no noticeable lag at all), and of course the iPad is a useful thing in and of its self (compared to the GeChic, which was useless on its own).

Here’s what my setup looks like:


  • Still a bit of an ordeal to set up. I get some looks in coffee shops when I go “full nomad” and break out the second display
  • The iPad seems to still lose battery while being used as a display. I’m not sure if this is because it consumes more power than it can draw from the laptop, or whether it can’t charge at all while being used as a display. In either case, you’re limited by two batteries now – not just one (your laptop).
  • The OS X app and iOS app are not flawless. Sometimes you have to quit/restart in order to get a particular set of resolutions working properly. With a little fiddling, everything works and you can leave it alone :smile:

I have been working remotely since 2004 so been able to test various approaches. My stays in any one location tend to last 2-3 months. So it gives me a bit more flexibility than someone who travels more frequently and might have less luggage. I have done 3 different things:

  1. Buy a monitor locally - and then sell it when you leave. If I buy new, it tends to be $150-300 to buy. Sometimes I find a good used one. This is what I have done the most in my travels. It was great when CRT monitors started disappearing from places I visited about 6-7 years ago.

  2. Carry two laptops. For part of my travels, I had two 13" Macbook Pro laptops. One was for backup, PC testing, and a second monitor.

  3. I just started this, but I am finally seeing monitors that you might be able to bring with you. Starting to see a trend toward bezel-less monitors which will maximize viewing area and minimize monitor size. And I found one that has a detachable stand which has been the big issue fitting a monitor flat in luggage - HP Pavilion 22xw. I kept half of the styrofoam protection to prevent any damage to the edges during transit.


Hey @michael_l_north
I’ve been using iPad Pro + Duet combo and I’m loving it.
It’s totally worth the investment. Now…

I want to get a keyboard case for the iPad Pro, considering that weight and mobility is a priority, would you suggest any particular keyboard case ?

@jb510 - What are your thoughts on the MB169B+ after using it for a year. Worth it?

I love the MB169B+. I use it frequently. Pretty much any time I’m at a coworking space to work for the day I bring it with me. When I’m at a cafe or something like that I don’t.

I also use it around the house some, like sitting on the couch and having it off to the side.

I like it so much that I ordered a MB169C+ to go with the 2016 MBP I have on order… the 169C is here, but I can’t use it for another week until the MBP arrives with USBC/DisplayPort. I’m going to do an update post that compares the MB168b+,MB169b+,MB169c+ once that arrives. I already have the 168/169 side by side (expect that on in the next 1-2 weeks)

So… yeah, I’m still it’s biggest fan.

Appreciate the response. Just ordered the MB169B+.

Nice blog, btw.