CrowVi portable monitor review

By Rob Zwetsloot. Posted

Portable monitors are a slightly odd beast – you’re expecting a display as good as the one at your PC desk, yet it also needs to be compact and easy to set up at your destination. However you only have to look at adjacent products to see it done well – say, such as with an iPad and its smart cover.

Elecrow, maker of the CrowVision screens we’ve reviewed in the past, has taken a little inspiration from this to create a small yet functional monitor line that comes with its own cover and stand. It comes in a range of sizes and resolutions, with and without touch control. We have one of the 1080p 13.3-inch non-touch versions to review, however there’s also a 4K version and a 15.6-inch alternative, all with the cover/stand included.

Plug and play

All versions of the CrowVi (from £92/$115) are able to be used out of the box with no extra set up – touchscreen models require you to use the USB-C port (not the power one) so the connected Raspberry Pi (or PC) can detect the inputs – but all models just need power and a HDMI connection.

There’s no battery installed in the CrowVi so you’ll have to provide external power, portably with a mobile battery or powered by the device you’re connecting it to at home if you don’t have a spare plug. To cut down on cables and power sources, CrowVi suggests daisy chaining power by using the USB-C data port on the display to power a Raspberry Pi while out and about. You won’t be able to get Raspberry Pi 5 up to full power this way, however it will run well enough.

As an aside, we understand the touchscreen is much like a standard touch display and is not sensitive enough for drawing, but does have the functions you’d otherwise expect from a smartphone or tablet.

The cover can be removed if you don’t plan to use it

Out and about

With unseasonable warmth during the review period, we were able to take the screen out and test it in the most extreme of conditions: direct sunlight. IPS displays do tend to have better visibility out in the sun and this screen performed fine, just as you’d expect any display to work. Make sure to crank up the brightness but find shade if you can.

As for power draw, a beefy power bank was able to keep everything running fine for a couple hours. Brightness levels and speaker use will affect this, so using external speakers or headphones will also change power draw.

The colours and responsiveness of the screen are great too. The image is sharp, and it was as good as any monitor we use at home. The cover is very stiff, and the magnets attaching it very strong, to make sure the display is held in place when propped up – it may be a touch too stiff at the bend and we weren’t always sure it was in standing position. Over time, though, it has loosened up enough.

The sturdy construction feels and looks great too – and as we’re home bodies we’re currently looking into how we can integrate it as a third screen in our set up, which is pretty high praise we think.

If your smartphone supports display out, it’s a great way to have a portable video player



A great monitor in its own right that performs well out of the house and well enough in direct sunlight


Display: 13.3-inch, 1920×1080 IPS LCD

Dimensions: 312mm × 198mm × 9mm

I/O: USB-C power, USB-C data, Mini HDMI in, 3.5mm audio jack

From The MagPi store


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