Preparation — last-minute, of course — for my presentations at ABA TECHSHOW 2014, highlighted the fact I haven’t reviewed one of my most regularly used apps, Air Display ($9.99). The app got featured as one of 2013’s Best Android Apps for Lawyers, but I also think it deserves a place on the “app review” pedestal. Air Display is a cheap and easy way to give your desktop or laptop another external monitor.
I use Air Display off and on in combination with my office’s two monitor setup.
As you can see, I can add a third monitor to my desktop using my Android tablet — in this case, my ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity. Theoretically, I could also use my phone and Nexus 7 to give me 5 monitors, but I find the 7 inch screen’s a little too small for productive viewing.
Generally, I rotate my tablet to portrait mode (the picture shows landscape), so I can use full screen viewing. This improves my productivity, since I can see the entire page of a website or document, and quickly move between all of my screens.
Setup is a breeze
Avatron (Air Display’s developer) claims setup takes 5 minutes, and that’s certainly true. Quite simply, you install the Air Display app on your Android device, install the Air Display drivers for Windows or Mac, open the app on your Android device, and connect your desktop and Android.
I use Windows 7’s multiple monitor feature to create a seamless and smooth flow between all of my monitors.
Using Air Display won’t be as smooth as having a monitor physically connected to your desktop or laptop — it works via your WiFi — but it’s close enough. This video gives a pretty good idea of just how easy Air Display is to operate (just replace “Mac” with Windows, and “iPad” with Android):
Not remote desktop
Just by way of clarification, in case you couldn’t tell, Air Display is not a remote connection application, like Logmein or Splashtop. Air Display gives your computer an additional monitor using your Android device.
Air Display works, and the app works well. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the performance and productivity increase. Air Display also allows you to zoom in to portions of the screen, thus maintaining the touchscreen functionality.
There are some user reviews in Google Play complaining that Air Display doesn’t work on particular devices.
I saw some similar issues, but found that my problems came from a conflict in my video card. Uninstalling a 3D feature in the card helped make everything alright.
If you’re seeing a black screen, check whether you can drag content over. If you can, then you’re just fine since most new screens start out blank. If not, a quick Google search might cure your problem (probably drivers related).
I love Air Display, and even with its $10 price tag, it’s well worth the purchase price. I’m giving Air Display 4.5 of 5 stars. Of course, now you’ll want to add more and more — is 5 really too many? — to your current desktop setup.