Most people would not value the need for ultra-thin LED monitors, since their need is restricted to fixed locations in offices or homes. For those who are travelling or working temporarily off-site, thin and lightweight monitors are useful as a second monitor for the notebook. Apart from ultra-thin monitors, there is a trend towards minimal borders around the screen.

Why use a second monitor? For one, it allows you to open up several programs and refer to them side by side while working, e.g. you can open up a website on the second monitor and use that as a reference while compiling information into an Excel file on your notebook screen. This is more productive than using the same screen to switch back and forth.

Ideally, if we could have a monitor that is exactly like the IPad would be ideal. It is not only 7mm thin, but the entire device is 7mm thin without any part sticking out like the monitors that you will soon see below. It is also lightweight, has a touchscreen, and all we need is a mobile stand and connector (say HDMI or Lightning) for the notebook. While there are options to use the IPad as a second monitor, previous experiments showed that the response rate is too slow to be productive. So while searching for a “mobile” second monitor solution, we came up with the following specifications:

  • It should be no larger than 24″ in screen size. 
    It is not so much about the screen size, but whether the overall physical size of the monitor will allow easy packing into the luggage. We find 24″ a good size for packing.
  • Narrow frame (bezel-less).
    Another new trend just like the mobile phone and tablet screens is to go for a narrow frame around the viewable screen area. The thinner the frame, the smaller the monitor size.
  • Overall weight including stand should be around 3kg or so. 
    A lightweight monitor is important so that it does not eat too much into the overall weight budget, or you will be paying extra for an overweight luggage. While international travelling allows up to 30kg to some countries, it is best to plan based on the standard of 20kg used by most.
  • 7mm or less in thickness for the most part of the monitor.
    We wished that there is a monitor that has a uniform (thin) thickness like the IPad, but as we can see there is none on the market today. Every “ultra-thin” monitor has a thicker part that sticks out, mostly at the base where it houses the connectors to power source, video out (HDMI) and also provides the mounting for the stand below.
  • Sturdy and yet lightweight stand
    This is not the quite as important, however, it needs to be minimal to achieve a lighter weight without sacrificing stability.
  • HDMI 1920HD
    The preference of screen resolution depends on individual requirement, as it will have a more significant cost impact than the screen size. We selected a screen size of 1920HD, so as to match the notebook screen. There has been issues with screen flickering and scaling when switching between monitors with different resolution, probably due to the graphics card.

The objective of the review is not to find the most expensive or advanced monitor in the market, but one that matches our requirement at the lowest price, and from a reputable brand.

The HP 24ES or 24EA what we have purchased after going through several hours of searching and design reviews. The weight, size and all, meets our requirement at an affordable price. The only issue which does not really matter but good to have is a completely black frame. The matt silver bottom bezel does give the monitor an overall premium look.

Key Specifications:

  • Display Size: 23.8″
  • Narrow frame design
  • Weight: 3kg (unpacked)
  • Monitor thickness: 7mm
  • The stand is reasonably steady, and the base is quite flat with an empty space in the middle where it can be used to place a spare mobile HDD.

The difference between the ES and EA version is basically the additional built-in speaker in the latter. Surprisingly, according to the specifications, this does not seem to cause the EA version to be heavier.

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