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The power of two: Use your iPad as a second monitor

The power of two: Use your iPad as a second monitor

I love dual monitors!

I seriously can’t live without them. In today’s day and age they are almost considered normality when creating a comfortable office environment. It improves productivity, increases usable compute real estate and allows us to multitask projects with ease!
Great, right!?

But what about when you are out and about?

Have you ever connected to your Cloud Desktop on your laptop in a café or client office and wished you had a second monitor so you could view and reply to emails while navigating your Accounting program? Just an example, but you get where I am going with this…

Personally, I often find myself wishing I had dual monitors wherever I am!
We are big on processes here at cloud. It provides reliability and consistency through everything we do. Without fail, when working from my laptop only, I found a continual frustration dawned on me – I was constantly swapping to and from an application and corresponding documents I was working on. Not only time consuming but also very annoying…

There had to be a better way. So, I went in search for something better. Something portable, lightweight and cost affective to give me the real estate I was yearning for when mobile.

Originally, I assumed a physical solution was the only path forward. I trialled a couple of marketable options, some of which ticked a number of the right boxes, but… The idea of being mobile is to cart less, yes?

That’s what I thought! Then is it possible to achieve the same result utilizing something I already own? My iPad…

In a nutshell, yes!

Splashtop XDisplay – What is it?

Well, XDisplay by Splashtop is an app that allows users to utilize their iPad or Android device as a second computer monitor.
Now, it’s not quite plug and play, but at the same time not too difficult to get up and running in a sense of urgency!

How does it work?

There are two software components required for successful use of this dual display solution – 1 free and one not…

  1. The Splashtop Streamer component which is installed to your laptop/desktop (free) and,
  2. The Splashtop XDisplay App which is installed to your iPad / Android device

Once installed, XDisplay can be password protected; allowing you to pair deliberately with a single device securely. From what we could see this is so someone doesn’t try to hijack your screen.

It also includes the normal built in touch controls we all love about a tablet, allowing your fingers to move and scroll windows you have open on your iPad, rather than using your mouse.

Cool features I’ve noted…

XDisplay also has a few features that can be activated by using gestures.

Gestures are a way of interacting with your Tablet device and applications by using a combination of tapping, pinching and swiping your iPad’s screen with your fingers.

You can play sound through your iPad speakers rather than your computer, sharpen your iPad’s resolution, control monitor settings and even pull up your iPad’s digital keyboard so you can type directly into a web browser or a Word document.

All sounds pretty cool hey! But what does it cost?

…oh yea, how much is it?

Well, XDisplay has a Free and an unlimited version available. The Free version we found only allows you to connect your iPad as a second screen for 10 minutes before it shuts down, forcing you to reset the app and reconnect it to your monitor. Not all that practical for the everyday user. However, after perservering with the free version for around a week, we found there to be enough value in the App to succumb to the in-app purchase. This unlocks the unlimited/untimed version.

All up providing you have an iPad handy already, which we do, the unlimited/untimed version will cost you $5.49, which is a pretty good deal considering the cost of a second monitor and the hassle of carrying it around with you?

In summarising!

XDisplay certainly has a place in the busy work day of someone on-the-go! Those who, like us, benefit from being able to display procedures, view email, and/or work on multiple projects at one time will get great use out of this product. It was simple to configure and use, and allows you more versatility than ever before, but in saying that, it doesn’t really replace a good second monitor at work or in your home office.

Got a cool app you’d like to share?

Do you have an app that you think is the bee’s knees? Let us know by leaving us a comment below.

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