Air Display: Your Wireless External Display

In today’s world of light notebook toting individuals and mobile society, many of us forget the large displays of our desktop computers and look forward to the small displays of our Macbook Air and ultraportable devices.

Sometimes, however, the small displays on our notebooks just don’t cut it in terms of screen real estate for some projects or applications. Sometimes we need a little extension. External monitors are a great solution to this problem, but what if your iPad could fill that need?

Air Display solves the problem of normal external displays and lets you use your iPad as a wireless external display for your notebook or desktop Mac. Let’s check it out!

Getting Started

Air Display uses Wi-Fi to connect your iPad to your computer. From your computer, you can use it as an external monitor. To get started you need to first get Air Display from the App Store. Next, on your Mac, go to www.avatron.com and download the computer software. If you updated to OS X Lion, you need to check the website for a list of machines that will not run the software as of now. Apple will need to upgrade video drivers in these machines to get them to work with Lion.

Air Display installs as a preference pane and can be accessed from System Preferences. The position of the screen can be modified using the regular display settings in System Preferences.

Design & Interface

When it comes to iOS applications, I have a standard of elegancy when it come to user interface and design techniques. From the recently redesigned icon to its almost invisible design style, Air Display lets the content shine.

When you are using Air Display, menu bars and other buttons don’t get in the way or distract you. This gives Air Display an ease of use that the tech savvy and non-savvy alike will enjoy. Air Display carries that mantra of less is more to the computer with the Mac-side client software, which is built into a preference pane and not an individual app. It couldn’t be more simple!

Air Display in use.

Air Display in use.

Functionality

Air Display has the basic functionality you need to do the task without overwhelming you with copious options and choices. When you first open Air Display, you will be greeted by a few instructions on how to get started. After that, when you open Air Display it will automatically find your computer on the network and jump right into display mode. There is no configuring needed to get started – it just works!

Air Display was made to do only one thing, turn your iPad into a secondary display. I’m glad to say that it does that well. I would, however, have liked a little more control in the app itself – rather than having to adjust settings on your Mac.

Air Display uses Wi-Fi, so your iPad must be on the same network as your host computer.

Performance

Ordinary secondary displays have no lag and are directly connected to your host computer. This allows you to get the best possible resolution and the clearest picture. With Air Display, your iPad is not directly connected – it works over Wi-Fi. This obviously raises concerns for speed and usability.

When it comes down to it, the usability of this app is directly related to you.

It’s vital that your home network is up to scratch, and it’s best to avoid doing any high bandwidth activities, such as: downloading torrents, streaming HD video, downloading huge files.

The usefulness of the app will depend on your wireless router. If you have an old router that is far from your devices, your signal will be weak and Air Display will lag in an erratic and annoying way.

It’s also worth noting that your computer will need to be up to par. Powering a secondary display is a relatively intensive task for your computer – you’ll need sufficient RAM and processor speed.

Even if you have the best connection in the world, there will still be a little lag with Air Display. Currently it’s not ideal for video but works perfectly well for web browsing or document editing.

Air Display

Pricing

No matter how good an app is, the price must always be right. Air Display will set you back $9.99. For the price of lunch, you could get an app that will be useful and benefit you over and over again. While I wouldn’t argue with a slightly lower price point (who would), it’s clear that a significant amount of work has gone into making Air Display what it is.

Conclusion

Air Display is quick and effective when you have the right connections in place. It’s easy to set up and works flawlessly. My one suggestion would be to include more settings in the app itself, allowing even easier use.

The app just works, is designed for simplicity, and is relatively affordable. It brings together a winning combination of ingredients to make a solid addition to any iPad. Air Display is a winner in my book!


Summary

Air Display is a solid and effective app that allows you to turn your iPad into a secondary display.

7
  • Chris

    How about reviewing DisplayPad?

  • Fabian Henzler

    I use AirDisplay with my MacBook Pro and my iPad 2…aaaaamazing :)
    I’d like to use it with my iMac too, but there are driverproblems with Lion :(

  • xxx

    Sigh.

    No, the speed of your Internet connection doesn’t matter in the slightest and no, you definitely do not need broadband. To paraphrase Babbage, I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a statement.

    What you *do* need is quality *Wi-Fi* coverage in the place where you use Air Display. That means that your router or AP has to be good (preferably 802.11n) and have good signal at the place your iPad is. But it doesn’t even have to be connected to Internet, that’s just utter nonsense.

    • Joel Bankhead

      Apologies for the confusion here, it was a dozy editorial change that made that particular paragraph ‘utter nonsense’.

      The offending remarks have been removed.

  • Tim

    What is your iPad Stand called? The one that is shown on the picture above?!

  • Dak Splunder

    Why would broadband matter at all? This doesn’t go over the internet…it’s just a LAN connection.

  • Rafal

    DOMT BUY IT UNTIL THEY FIX THE ISSUE WITH LION!!!!

    • Martin

      Damn straight!! I’m Pissed!! and of course Avatron has no accountability here, (It’ll work when Apple fixes Lion). Not true! they just don’t want to pony up the $$ for the API. otherwise every stinking app on appstore would have the same damn problem. take your 10$ and pass the buck!

      • http://avatron.com Dave Howell

        Martin, your frustration is duly noted. We share it. But Apple engineers know about the various bugs and are working on them. They are absolutely not specific to Air Display, as they affect certain Mac models running Lion whenever ANY third-party video driver is installed. That means not just Air Display, but also iDisplay, DisplayPad, ScreenRecycler, AirScreen, iScreen, and so on. We were hoping that Apple would fix this bug in 10.7.2, but it seems that only one of the bugs be fixed; now we’re hoping for 10.7.3 for the others.

        And no, it’s not true that “every stinking app on appstore would have the same damn problem.” Only those that install a video driver.

        For more information, please visit http://avatron.com/lion

        Dave at Avatron

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