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Review: Duet Display brings fast response to the iPad-as-external-monitor game

Rob Griffiths | Dec. 19, 2014
Laptop users who occasionally need more screen real estate can benefit from an additional display. And there are quite a few iOS apps (with companion Mac apps) that let you use an iOS device as that display. But, up to this point, what they lack is speed due to the slow Wi-Fi signal that allows the two devices to communicate. A team of ex-Apple employees address this issue with Duet Display, an iOS app that works in conjunction with a Mac app and a wired connection between your Mac and iPad.

Setting the frame rate to 30fps and disabling retina mode drops that figure to around 30 percent, which is still quite high. If you're using Duet Display on a laptop, you'll probably want to be plugged into a power source. The developer is aware of the CPU consumption issue and is investigating ways to reduce CPU usage. (Any such improvements will be distributed in a free update.)

Some may view Duet Display's $15 price as excessive, but if you need a fast extra display on your Mac at times, $15 is much cheaper than purchasing an additional display for occasional use (not to mention how hard it would be to travel with one).

I was impressed with the speed and ease of use of Duet Display. If the developer can solve the CPU usage issues, it will become a compelling solution for road warriors in need of speedy extra display space. In its current form, though, I'd recommend it only for extended use if you're connected to a power source.


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