FAQ & Section Info
Your work may require you to use multiple monitors at the same time or maybe it just needs to connect to a larger display. But if your laptop does not have the ports needed to connect multiple displays or an HDMI cable, it's useless. In such cases, an external video card becomes handy. These devices are very portable and can kept inside your laptop bag very easily.
While looking for an external video card, you need to keep a couple of things in mind such as the number of output types, the output quality and video lag issues before emptying your wallet.
The first thing that you should consider when looking for an external video adapter is the type of outputs that you are going to connect to. Most adapters in the market usually support a DVI and an HDMI output since VGA outputs are getting old. But you may still able to find one that supports a VGA output.
Another thing to consider is the connectivity option available to you. A USB 3.0 card is future-proof and it is backward-compatible with USB 2.0 ports as well using an adapter. Also, a USB 3.0 adapter will provide better video outputs because of the faster data transfer rates.
The output resolution supported by the card should also be taken into account. Though there are many HDMI supported cards available on the market, many of them are not able to reproduce full 1080p quality images and hence, they may ruin your experience when using your laptop to display on a big screen. Many cards like the IOGEAR USB HD Video Adapter experience lag issues which are sure to ruin your productivity or your mood altogether.
Lag issues should probably be your biggest concern while choosing an external video card and the only way to address your concern is to try out the device before making a purchase. Also, the best way to try out devices like these is to run memory consuming applications like Photoshop or run a High Definition sci-fi movie which will make the lagging more noticeable at first sight.
Unfortunately though, there are not really a lot of USB video adapters available these days in the market because most of the laptops today ship with an HDMI or a VGA port, which by the way, makes buying such a device useless for most users. Your money will be well spent on a Sewell and IOGEAR adapter as these two are probably the most popular manufacturers around and have the best adapters in the market at the moment. These devices are reasonably priced and you need not worry about burning a hole in your pocket, you could get one for as low as $30 to $60.