contador web Saltar al contenido

Comparative: see who does better in the duel of “second screen” apps for iPad

this complicated thing about productivity. There are so many different factors, so many idiosyncrasies to sum up, there is no right formula to increase everyone's productivity.

When we are talking about work in front of the computer, however, one thing is certain: the more screen space we have, the easier it is to produce the extra pixels always help to open more windows, gather more information, have more control over the various contents with the which we are working on.

Here's the question: a second monitor is certainly not a plausible option for most people. In addition to being a salty investment, unnecessary for all people who use the computer to effectively work only in a small part of its use, not to mention that, in our increasingly smaller living spaces, place for another twenty-something inch bump a rare luxury.

Dragging windows in the second screen application

But what if you could use your iPad as an extension of your computer screen, only in times of greatest need? It would be excellent, right? Fortunately, there are a few options on the App Store that do exactly that, and we have chosen the two most prominent ones to fight a peak duel: Duet Display and Air Display 3.

The tests were carried out with a 13 ? MacBook Pro and a second generation iPad mini. Come on, then?

Initial setup


Duet Display


Air Display 3

In terms of putting the apps to work, both did well, even because they have very similar operating methods. In both cases, the application is downloaded on the iPad and a utility on the computer whose screen will be extended. The utility is hidden operating in the menu bar, and whenever the application is opened on the tablet, the software on the Mac automatically detects the connection and starts to operate. In both applications, this operation went smoothly.

However, some points must be considered. While the Duet Display was impeccable in that regard, with a clear guidance at all times of what should be done and an intuitive and Portuguese website with very large buttons to download the utilities for Mac / Windows, the Air Display ended up being a little more confused than that. Some members of the MacMagazine, when testing the service, they confused the utility with Air Display for Mac, another software (paid: R $ 66), destined to be a receiver in the same way as the iOS app. This differentiation should be clearer on the website.

In addition, the page does not simply provide the link to download the utility; you must enter some data to receive the link by email. And provide your email on the internet, when not strictly necessary, not legal. For this reason, Duet's victory in this regard.


Here, one more point for the Duet Display. Although the main intention of the two services is, in the end, that they ?disappear? after all, the important thing is simply to extend the screen of a computer without many interface elements disturbing, in the whole process until reaching this point at Duet's option has a more clean, more well thought out and easier to understand.

The fact that the application was designed by ex-engineers from Apple itself is evident at all times when using the Duet: it seems to be something that Cupertino knew for its beauty and simplicity of use.

Air Display does not lose points, but it has less attractive design decisions, it does not seem that we have a professional app in 2016, so to speak.



Duet Display


Air Display 3

At this point, Air Display wins due to a very defining feature (so much so that it is in its name): the possibility of using the application without the need for a Lightning cable, based on the Wi-Fi connection.

Still, at the end of the day, the surplus ends up not being so advantageous. Of course, it adds greater and decisive flexibility in the case of the lack of a cable nearby, but considering that the idea of ??using the tablet literally next to the computer, I see no problem with using Lightning for this and the immediate benefit of the wired connection. the transmission of images much more competent without lags or random crashes.

Fortunately, Air Display manages this change very well: if you start using the wireless app and connect the cable to your computer later, the connection changes automatically and things get much better at the same time.

In addition, the Avatron app goes a step further by offering a virtual keyboard on the iPad screen, complete with function keys, in case the computer keyboard is inaccessible. It is also not a killer resource, but it is good that it is there.


Consider here only the connection via Lightning cable, which is common to both applications. Both present very similar and almost perfect performance: the delay is practically zero, videos are reproduced perfectly and the Mac recognizes the second screen as any second monitor, that is, we have all the benefits of Spaces, dragging windows and everything.

Both services have simple and intuitive configuration menus, with basic and welcome options, for example, the possibility of extending or mirroring the computer screen.


Air Display 3 costs $ 15 on the App Store, while Duet Display costs $ 19. It is not a stark difference, but as both offer practically equal resources, point to Avatron's option in this regard.

It is good to note that there is an earlier version of the first, Air Display 2, also selling (for $ 10) for compatibility reasons the newest iteration only supports Macs for now.


Both applications behaved very well in the duel and have remarkable qualities. Overall, due to the extreme ease of use and the tasteful design, the Duet Display wins the chart with a very small margin even if it does not offer some resources brought by its rival.

If you, however, find the ability to connect to your computer wirelessly essential or if four dollars really make an absolutely crucial difference in your pocket, the Air Display is also, without a doubt, an excellent option. A little less polished at the ends, but excellent.

Until the next battle!

Duet Display app icon

Air Display 3 app icon