How to Use Laptop as Monitor | Will It Suffice or Do You Need To upgrade?

If your usual monitor has been damaged or you don't currently have one then you might be wondering how to use laptop as monitor. Good news! You absolutely can use a laptop as a monitor in a pinch. It isn't the most efficient option, and shouldn't be your first choice, but if all else fails, you can use your laptop to game or give yourself a little extra screen real estate. That said, if you'd rather just replace your old monitor or get a new one then you might be interested in an affordable monitor or one of these FreeSync monitors.

How to Use Laptop as Monitor


There are many unfortunate cases where you might find yourself in need of a monitor with no obvious options in sight and asking yourself “how to use a laptop as a monitor?” If you have a laptop then you are in business and don’t have to worry about dropping everything to go get a new monitor or, if you don’t have the cash, you won’t have to bother waiting for your next paycheck. If you decide for a serious monitor upgrade, like 1440p, you have to ask yourself, is 1440p worth it? This goes if you have a great laptop which screen you can use.


Laptops can serve quite well as a monitor if you don’t have any other options and this could provide a new purpose for a laptop that hasn’t seen any use in a while, whether that is due to damage or a lack of necessity. If you have a laptop that has just been gathering dust then this is a good time to pull it out and breathe new life into it.


When I first moved into my apartment I didn’t have much other than my Xbox for entertainment and my television was damaged when I was moving all of my stuff. Thankfully, I remembered my old laptop that I hadn't used since I'd graduated from high school. With a little creativity and a briefly borrowed monitor, I had everything set up and ready to play while I acquired all of the other things I would need for a more permanent setup. You can do this too; I'll tell you how.

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How to Use Laptop as Monitor for PS4


Can I use my laptop as a monitor for a Playstation 4? The answer is yes but using a laptop as a monitor for this purpose can be difficult. It isn’t as simple as just plugging an HDMI cable into both and playing. Unfortunately, most laptops only support outward connections for projecting their data on another screen but have no support for incoming data. This means we’re going to have to get creative.


The first option requires a little preparation. You can use the PlayStation Remote Play feature to stream games from your Playstation to your Laptop and use it as a monitor in that way, but you will still need a monitor for your Playstation to use at first while you enable the remote play option and configure things. I am primarily a PC gamer and I often use this feature to stream games to my PC when I feel like playing a console exclusive.


To use this method you will first have to download the remote play app from Sony on your laptop, and this option will only work if you have a Playstation Network account, so if you don’t already have one, you will have to make one.

Once your laptop is set up, you will need to turn on your Playstation and configure it for remote play. This is done by enabling Remote Play Connection in the settings. After that, you can feel free to put your Playstation in rest mode and you no longer require a monitor for it. You can enable the ability to turn on your Playstation in the Remote Play app on your laptop and configure resolution settings from there as well.


Once you have all of your settings configured all you have to do is connect your controller through the USB port and you should be able to get started playing. As a note, you should know that this option requires a strong internet connection to keep input-lag low.

The second option requires special equipment. You can use a capture card to transmit data between your Playstation and your laptop. You just have to enable file sharing on the Playstation and connect both devices to your capture card. After everything is connected, you should be able to stream games from your Playstation to your laptop.

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How to Use a Laptop as a Second Monitor


Can you use a laptop as a monitor? Yes, Windows 10 has innate support for this functionality and doesn’t require any extra equipment other than a PC, a laptop, and a few minutes of your time. Windows 10 comes with Miracast which allows for video and audio data to be projected from one device to another.


Using laptop as monitor in this way simply requires that you enable projection on your laptop, and then on the primary device it is a simple matter of pressing [Windows Key] + p to bring up the projection settings and selecting your laptop as the device to project to. 


You will also be prompted to choose the display type. If you are using the laptop as a second monitor then you want to select “Extend” which will make it act as a continuation of your desktop. Once that is done you should be all set to start increasing productivity with your new multi-monitor setup.

How to Use Laptop as Monitor for Switch

Unfortunately, you face many of the same challenges with the Nintendo Switch as you do with Playstation and Nintendo does not have an analog for Sony Remote Play. That said, you can do something similar to the capture card setup discussed in the Playstation section, but it is a little more complicated.

You will either need a USB-C to HDMI adapter, or you will have to play with the Switch in its dock. Either way, once you have a way to output to HDMI, you should connect your device to the capture card. This will enable you to transmit the data from your console to something else, in this case, your laptop.

You need to connect the capture card to your laptop, but that isn’t enough to be able to play. The data will be transmitted, but you have no way to see it. For that, you will need some kind of special software. Some capture cards come with built-in software for viewing the data that is being transmitted, which should work just fine. 

If your capture card doesn’t come with software like that then you could use streaming software like OBS to view your game. You don’t have to be recording the data to view it in the software.

How to Use Laptop as Monitor for Xbox


Microsoft's Xbox One does have its own version of the Playstation Remote Play app and, just like with that service, you will have to have a monitor for your Xbox to get things set up, but once that is done you can switch over to your laptop whenever you need to.


First things first, you have to enable connectivity with the Xbox Companion App for your Xbox. You can access this option from the guide in the preferences setting, it is called Xbox App Connectivity. Once you have set your device to allow game streaming to other devices and allowed connections from other devices to interact with your Xbox you are ready to swap over to the laptop.


On the laptop, you should open the Xbox Companion App and connect to your Xbox using the Connection panel. This will give you remote control of the console. After all of that configuration is done all you have to do is click on stream, then launch a game from the library. It should automatically start streaming the game from your Xbox to your laptop.

monitor for xbox

How to Use Laptop as Monitor for Desktop

If you are trying to use your laptop as the primary monitor for your PC, you have two options. You can choose to use the Miracast technology the same way you did to set your laptop up as a second monitor and simply choose “Second Screen Only” or “Duplicate” as your display option. This should work fine and doesn’t require any cables or other connection devices.

If you prefer not to use that solution, it is also possible to connect an HDMI cord from your PC to your laptop which should allow you to switch to that display.

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