Your iPad is a powerful productivity tool and a great travel companion, particularly with the new iPad Pro line of accessory driven tablets, but sometimes you just want to stick with your PC. In those times, have you ever considered using your iPad as a second monitor to enhance your productivity? Let’s take a look at a few options to do just that.
Splashtop Extended Wireless Display 2 – FREE or $9.99
Splashtop has a collection of second screen tablet apps, but its free Splashtop Extended Wireless Display more than does the job for those not bothered by a limited set of features.
The app should recognize your PC on opening (as long as it is set-up with the PC companion software) and after setting a password, you’ll have options to tweak and improve video, audio or bring up the virtual keyboard. The app also offers up hints and tips, but these can be turned off if you wish.
In terms of performance, there is not much between Splashtop Extended Wireless Display 2 and others second screen iPad apps like DisplayLink, although we did find that Splashtop XD occasionally lagged when moving the cursor on a web page.
AirDisplay 2 – $9.99
AirDisplay 2 allows for extending your display right into your iPad, and it may be a better option over AirDisplay 3, depending on your situation. This is because the newer app only works with Macs. Furthermore, AirDisplay 2 is the iteration to get if you are running Mac OS X 10.7 or iOS 6. Also keep in mind AirDisplay 2 doesn’t recognize iPad Pro 12.9 resolutions and the host is not yet compatible with Windows 10.
If you can get past all those limitations, it is an alright app. We found AirDisplay to be OK if slightly fiddly.
Sharing between PC and iPad is not as fluid as it could be and resizing file windows is made difficult by the banner ad (which cannot be moved) at the top of the screen, and the keyboard option at the bottom.
Nonetheless, it is functional and does support AirSharing with other iOS users and PrintSharing with compatible AirPrint printers. The display arrangement can support the option to run Retina resolution when available.
Duet Display – $18.99
Truth is, there are not many great free solutions here, but if you dive into the paid options there is more to be found. The above apps have paid versions with extra functionality, or the app that keeps showing up on our radar is called Duet Display.
Duet Display is a wired-only solution that will set you back $18.99, but if the free stuff isn’t making the cut, let’s be fair, $18.99 plus a cable is a relatively small price to pay for this level of functionality. Especially considering performance far surpasses Duet’s wireless competitors.
Duet Display is our favorite, and it is thanks to its wired nature. Lag is extremely reduced with Duet Display. Our very own Edgar Cervantes uses it as a daily driver and claims lag is nearly unnoticeable with his Razer Blade Stealth and iPad Pro 9.7. Not to mention the fact that you can opt between 30 fps or 60 fps. There’s also a few performance modes: High Power, Energy Efficient and Pixel Perfect.
AirDisplay 3 – $14.99
AirDisplay works great and is full of features, but is pushed back by a very significant caveat. This app is only compatible with Mac computers. It does support both wireless and wired modes. In addition, it allows for using the Apple Pencil with your iPad Pro. It is as good as these apps get… but once again, you need an Apple computer to use it.
Splashtop XDisplay HD – $4.99
Need a cheaper option with Windows 10 support? Splashtop XDisplay HD is only $4.99. It supports both 1080p and Retina resolutions at 60 fps. It’s simple and gets the job done.
With a good free option and a few paid ones to get you going, hit the comments below to let us know what your experience has been with using your iPad as a second display.