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Add a cheap, portable second monitor to your desk

(MoneyWatch) Second computer monitors are all but essential at the office these days, with most businesses providing dual displays to give employees extra "screen estate" for better multitasking and improved productivity. But while more people work from home, at least for some portion of an extended workday, few of us connect two monitors to our PCs at home -- it's too expensive and complicated, while space is often at a premium.

Not anymore. Here's a second monitor that you can connect to any PC or laptop with nothing more than a single USB cable.

The AOC E1659FWU USB Monitor has an uninspiring name, but proves to be a smart choice for anyone chained to a computer. It's a lightweight, thin LCD monitor that plugs into any desktop or laptop computer via USB and automatically functions as a second display. There's no power cord; the monitor takes its power directly through USB.

The device has a screen resolution of 1366x768 pixels in 16 inches. The monitor works in both portrait and landscape modes -- just turn the display on its side and your display will reorient itself. And while the fact that it runs on USB might make you worry that it'll be sluggish, it seems as snappy as a traditional monitor.

The display comes with a simple carrying case, and because it requires no external power, that makes this AOC monitor easily portable -- you can take it with you to give your laptop a second screen wherever you use it.

The AOC E1659FWU is impressive. It solves a common problem for throngs of folks who wished there were a simple way to extend their laptop or desktop display. And if you want an even bigger monitor in the same style, AOC has a 22-inch version that puts out 1920x1080 pixels. You can get the 16-inch model for $125 and the 22-inch for just a few dollars more.

Photo courtesy of AOC

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