This Portable Monitor Just Might Be Perfect for Your Photography and Post Production: ProArt PA169CDV Review

This Portable Monitor Just Might Be Perfect for Your Photography and Post Production: ProArt PA169CDV Review

Portable monitors are becoming very common, especially because many more creative professionals adapt an on-the-go lifestyle. However, this feature-packed monitor might be perfect for photographers and other digital visual creatives.

Portable monitors are helpful in many ways, not just to photographers but to anyone who uses tablets and laptops for productivity. Carrying around an extra screen can allow you to do more things at once and improve the ergonomics of handling multiple apps and/or files while working. There’s a very long list of portable monitors available in the market that come in many different shapes and sizes, however not all of them offer top-notch resolution, color accuracy, and functionality in just one device. The ASUS ProArt PA169CDV combines the top-tier functionalities of two very helpful tools for photographers and digital artists.

The ProArt PA169CDV

The PA169CDV is a 15.6” IPS panel with a 16:9 aspect ratio housed in a thin bezel and encased in a slim, glossy surface with an anti-reflective and moisture-resistant coating. This has a functional screen size of 13.6 x 7.7 inches (345.6 x 194.4mm) with a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160 (4K) at a refresh rate of 60Hz. This 15.6” 4K screen has a peak brightness of 400 nits however, running at such brightness requires the use of the supplied power adapter. When powered by USB-C from the computer, it can only go up to 180 nits.

As far as portable monitors are concerned, the above-mentioned specifications are pretty common. However, one of the things that make this portable monitor stand out is that it is capable of displaying 10-bit colors with 100% of the SRGB and Rec709 color spaces. It has a maximum contrast ratio of 1200:1 and is VESA-certified DisplayHDR400. The PA169CDV is both Calman-verified and Pantone-validated and comes with an individual panel color accuracy factory report that shows the specific peak color accuracy rating when properly calibrated.

These monitors generally have a standard of Delta E <2 but can achieve even better accuracy depending on lighting conditions and individual calibration in the actual lighting environment where they are to be used. The specific one tested for this article had a maximum rating of 0.53, which is way better than what the specifications say.

More Than Just a Display

In addition to being a slim monitor that works with just a single USB-C cable and can be significantly color accurate if properly calibrated before use, the ProArt PA169CDV also functions as a 15.6-inch pen display. Equipped with Wacom’s EMR tech, this portable monitor works with a battery-free pen with 4096 different pressure levels and comfortable working angles of up to 40 degrees to any side. This pen also comes with a customizable button, a customizable digital eraser on the distal end, and replaceable tips.

Testing out the new AI features on the remove functions of Lightroom

The 13.6 x 7.7 inches of the display is also the same functional area for use with the pen or as a touch screen. Typically, screens that are both touch and pen-compatible tend to be glitchy. However, in my experience, the detection of the pen swiftly triggers palm/touch rejection to ensure that no unintended inputs are made, especially when drawing or retouching.

The ProArt dial, menu and power buttons, along with the ports

To complement the functions of the pen display, on the left side of the panel is a modified version of the ProArt dial that was first introduced in the ProArt Studiobook laptops a couple of years back. This customizable dial allows you to switch through pre-selected functions such as exposure, contrast, saturation, brush size, opacity, and any available function on a wide range of apps that have linear adjustments. While the dial has a huge ergonomic impact since everything is within reach on and around the display, there are no programmable buttons or hotkeys that could exponentially make it easier to switch between tools in Photoshop and other applications.

Control Panel Functions

As a functional secondary touch display, pretty much like how the secondary screens on ASUS’ laptops are, the PA169CDV is also compatible with the ASUS control panel, which is a customizable virtual editing console that is compatible with select applications, mainly those within the Adobe ecosystem. This turns the screen into a panel with knobs and dials assigned to certain functions depending on the app being used. For example, for Adobe Lightroom, each of the dials can be assigned for the sliders on the develop module, which gives a unique and potentially more efficient user experience.


With all the features and capabilities factored in, the PA169CDV can do a lot of what photographers and other related creative fields might require on the go. It can go from as simple as extending a desktop for better productivity, multi-tasking such as working on one screen while consuming content on the other, using it as a secondary monitor for shooting photos or video content, all the way to using it as a more intensive editing tool through the touch functions and as a pen display.

Dozens of manufacturers have come out with various portable display options that come in different shapes and sizes. However, not many of them offer the resolution and color performance of monitors from the ProArt line. At the same time, brands like Wacom, Huion, and Xencelabs make very capable pen tablets and pen displays but what makes this particular one stand out is having all of the functions and the top-tier specifications along with the innovative features all in one device.

There are definitely a number of ways this can be made even better, such as by adding hotkeys or a separate editing shortcut panel. Costs aside, it would also be great to have an OLED variant with an even wider color gamut, brighter output, and even higher contrast. In addition, it might also be beneficial for this to have either a built-in battery or a detachable portable power source that would keep it portable and balanced even when being used in situations outside of the typical editing desk.

Those improvement points aside, this color-accurate portable monitor and pen display already is a remarkable product that combines the functionalities of tools that many digital visual creatives use separately.

What I Liked:

  • Portable 4K display with good color capabilities
  • 10-point touch
  • Seamless use with battery-free pen

What Can Be Improved:

  • Programmable buttons on the side
  • Built-in battery or portable power source
Nicco Valenzuela's picture

Nicco Valenzuela is a photographer from Quezon City, Philippines. Nicco shoots skyscrapers and cityscapes professionally as an architectural photographer and Landscape and travel photographs as a hobby.

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This looks very interesting. I currently have a portable external monitor and while it's very usefu,l higher resolution and greater color accuracy would be welcome upgrades.

My current screen has a screen cover (it doubles at the stand when in use), I couldn't tell from the description of the product on Adorama or in the review if it comes with a cover for the screen. Can you confirm if it comes with one (or not)?

It just comes with a sleeve

I've seen these screens quite often and IMO the idea is really cool, but when they are being priced like they are ipads it starts to become a tough sell because I can just go buy a tablet and use it as a secondary display if I need to if I'm going to spend that much money.