Cheap and Clever Dual Monitor Trick

·Special Contributor, Yahoo! Tech

The more screen real estate you have, the more productive you are.  Accountants, video editors, and graphics professionals all know this, and they set up two computer monitors so they can see all their open windows.

But if you already own a tablet, you don’t have to buy a new $150 LCD monitor to create a dual-monitor set up.

An app on your tablet combined with software on your computer work together to create a connection over Wi-Fi – no cables necessary.  Your tablet becomes the second screen for the computer; your mouse cursor moves from one screen to the next, and you can drag & drop any files from the computer screen to the tablet screen (this is best demonstrated in the video above).

For a Windows computer and an iPad, MaxiVista is a popular program.The app costs $10. You download it onto your iPad, and then get the free software for your computer from their website. I like MaxiVista because it is incredibly easy to install. Performance depends on the strength of your Wi-Fi connection, and not all file types will work on the iPad (including full screen video playback, the windows Aero overlay, and some graphics accelerators like DirectX or Open GL).

Another option is Air Display. It works for Android tablets and the iPad, and it’s compatible with both Macs and PCs.  It also costs $10, and it seems a little more robust than MaxiVista. You can play video on your second screen, and I love the ability to use touch on the tablet to control items on your desktop.

Both of these apps will seem laggy if your Wi-Fi connection is not strong, but overall they are a great portable and cost-effective way to increase your screen real estate with gear you already own.

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