A two monitor solution – on the go?

I have become ridiculously dependent on having two computer monitors. Five years ago I never would have considered the need for a second screen…but now? Can’t live without one.

My typical set-up today is to display my writing on my laptop screen, with my notes, citation manager, e-mail, and everything else displayed on a large second monitor. (Perhaps my larger problem is that my writing has become too complicated…)

Regardless, my reliance on this extra screen makes it annoying to work away from my desk. In a pinch a single large computer monitor will do, provided I can split the screen. But working from my 13 inch laptop screen in the library? Forget it. Sure it works for e-mails, maybe a bit of lit searching, but if I have any real writing to do I need that second screen.

You can understand then, how thrilled I was to discover that my beautiful, enormous, iPad can act as a second monitor when I am out and about!

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The program I use is called Duet Display – it works to connect a laptop or desktop computer (Mac or PC!) to an iPad or iPhone using the lightning cable. It even lets you use your finger to scroll and move about on the iPad screen.

Set up is pretty easy – you download the Duet software program on your computer and the app on your iPad from the app store. Opening the software on each device and connecting the two allows the computer to use the iPad as a second monitor.

I will say, this is one of the more expensive apps I have purchased for my iPad (around $30) , but so far well worth it when I need to be more mobile.

Depending on your settings Duet can be heavy on battery use, so I wouldn’t recommend using Duet if you need your battery life to hold out for a couple of days. The screen also isn’t as crystal clear when you are using Duet as it would be if you were running a regular iPad app. For my purposes, like referring to my notes while I write, the screen quality is fine. If you are hoping to display photos or video it might not be as crisp as you would like to see.

As far as I know Duet is only compatible with iOS devices – though I would imagine that similar programs exist for android tablets. I am thrilled that the software works with PC laptops as well as Macbooks – so far I haven’t had any issues connecting my Asus laptop to the iPad using Duet.

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