How to Connect your Laptop to a Monitor and Use Both Screens

Laptops have become increasingly powerful over the last few years, but there\’s one compromise that\’s hard to overcome: a small screen. Unless you\’re going to carry a 17in monster around – and even a 17in screen is tiny by today\’s standards – you\’re forced to work on a display between around 11-15 inches.

So when you\’re at a desk, it pays to hook up a large monitor to make things a bit easier. And you can even carry on using the laptop screen for extra desktop real-estate.

An increasingly popular option is a portable monitor which you can carry around with your laptop and power from a USB-C port. Lenovo\’s M14 – shown above – is a good example, and isn\’t horribly expensive at $199 (around £220 in the UK).

Most laptops have at least one connector that can be used to plug in a monitor, be it HDMI, VGA, DVI, or DisplayPort. Some of the very thin laptops require an adapter as there isn\’t room for a full-size DisplayPort or HDMI output, and this isn\’t always supplied in the box.

Although we\’re talking about laptops, it is just as easy to connect a second screen to a PC: just have a look and see which ports are on the back.

If you haven\’t already got a screen, then be sure to choose one with an input that matches your laptop\’s output. Handily, we have a list of our recommendations for the best monitors to buy.

Sometimes it\’s possible to mix and match some of the digital options. For example, you can convert DVI to HDMI with a basic cable. But you cannot convert an analogue signal (such as VGA) to digital, such as HDMI, without a box of active electronics: any passive cable you find for sale will not work.

The newest laptops may have only a USB-C port. This the same physical connector you\’ll find on most new Android phones. It\’s reversible and you can buy a USB-C to HDMI cable, or USB-C to DisplayPort, depending upon which one of these inputs your screen has.

Here\’s what to look for on both your laptop and screen:

Top Christmas Deals

Only the best deals on the best products handpicked by our expert editors

About the Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like these