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 has a collection of second screen tablet apps, but its free SplashtopXD more than does the job for those not bothered by a limited set of features.
Setting up the application is relatively simple; users need to download both the app and the Splashtop Streamer PC software for the two to communicate with each other.
The app should recognize your PC on opening 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 XD 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 Free is similar to the paid-for AirDisplay iPad app, but does compensate for being free by featuring a number of ads on the second screen.
On installing the desktop client (from Avatron.com/d) and the iPad 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.
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 $15, but if the free stuff isn’t making the cut, let’s be fair, $15 plus a cable is a relatively small price to pay for this level of functionality.