Today I have done a small test of the $9.99 app ‘Air Display’. The whole purpose with the app is using your iPad (or your iPhone) as a second screen. It’s a neat idea and an app I tried earlier (iDisplay) failed miserably so it was nice to find this app a whole lot more usable. Review and video inside.
The setup is pretty easy but you have to install an app in both your computer and your iPad (and your iPhone if you like to use that one as well). Since you buy the app in the iTunes store you can install it on both your units without having to pay two times – just download it using the same account.
You have to reboot your computer to get going but the installation and download only took a few minutes. And this is what you get after the reboot. A neat and tidy configuration menu:
Just start the app on your iPad and select the unit in the dropdown in your computer. And yes, both your computer and your iPad have to be using the same WiFi network.
Since the app basically creates a virtual screen on your computer and then stream the ‘movie’ over to your iPad it’s not the same thing as connecting a real second monitor to your computer. There is lag involved and if you do a lot of changes on your screen it might get black for a second or two and you’ll also get some artifacts before the stream is up to date with the new screen information.
It works lovely for purposes that aren’t using intensive or require fast screen updates. Having your desktop Twitter app on the side works like a charm and having your mail or any other web app also works great. Playing clips from YouTube is another story and as you can see in the video below there is a bit of lag involved. Switching between the iPhone and the iPad is quite easy though and it only takes a few seconds and then you get the display up on your iPhone instead.
I was close to giving this app a ‘Fosfor Recommends’ but since it is quite expensive (well, 10 bucks for an extra screen can be considered cheap as well) and since it doesn’t work perfectly (and most probably won’t ever due to WiFi bandwidth), I won’t. I still think it’s a good buy but expect some lag! This one is waaay better than iDisplay though.
Oh, and here’s the video where you can see how much lag there is: