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Air Display mini review

Recently I stumbled upon this iOS app called Air Display. I knew this app exists for a while, but never considered using it for anything during work. I knew it’s nice, it can turn your iPad into your mac’s second display, but still, never considered it as a viable solution up until now.

Few days ago as I was wandering on some online forums, I accidentally read about this little utility again, but now I thought I would give it a try. It’s cheap, very easy to set up, so what could I possibly loose? Well, that 10$, but maybe it’s very useful, and then the price is more than fair. As usual, I have searched for reviews and opinions, and finally decided to try it.

Install

This was a very pleasant experience. I bought the app through the appstore (Air Display iTunes), and while it was downloading, I downloaded the mac version of the host software from here. The whole download-install-setup procedure is ridiculously easy. Once you’ve downloaded the necessary software, there is only one thing left: make sure that your iPad uses the very same WiFi network as your desktop/laptop machine, that’s it. Launch the desktop app, and if you plan to use it regularly then consider to turn on the autostart function, so every time you switch on your machine, this utility will be launched. It “eats” very little memory in the background. Now, your only job is to launch the iPad app and wait a little (few seconds), and as I told you, without any further setup, in a few seconds, your iPad will act like a second touch screen enabled monitor near you mac or pc.

In use

It’s usable even in everyday computing, but for me the  main point was how useful can it be with Pro Tools? Well, in short: very useful! You can drop many floating windows or plugins onto this secondary iPad screen and if you use a decent WiFi network it is surprisingly fast. There is a very minimal lag in reaction time, but nothing really disturbing. I love having metering plugin on this secondary screen.

It’s easy to edit plugin parameters on it, or use it as a video screen, although you have to be aware of the fact that there is a slight latency, and it can vary, so watch out for it. It won’t be a problem in most of the cases, but nevertheless it’s worth mention that it’s not a “zero latency” frame-accurate monitor.

Still I have successfully used it for mixing while the video screen was on the iPad. The picture quality is very good, even better with the new iPad, but I have tested it with a first generation iPad, and to be honest, it has been close to flawless in operation all the time.

I even got used to the little time lag as it is really not disturbing after a short period of use. As I expected, the touch sensitivity is very good, if you’re an iPad user you won’t have any trouble with it.

Conclusion

For what it does, and for this price I definitely think that this little app is a no brainer, even more if you already have an iPad. The application is very stable, doesn’t stress your computer, so even if you’re into bigger Pro Tools sessions, you won’t encounter error messages because of the Air Display app. I really recommend you to check it out!

Pros:

  • cheap
  • virtually no set up required
  • it just works

Cons:

  • maybe the little latency

One Comment

  1. Fred

    Thanks Tamas. I can’t get comfortable with my Axiom Air 61 (15″ deep at least) between me and the desk, so I swung it 90 degrees to the side and need something to let me work with BFD3 while banging on the pads but still see what I need. Hope it works! 🙂

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