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Review: Air Display For Mac Rocks!



One of my favorite iPad apps is now available in Apple’s Mac App store. Air Display is a utility that turns a Mac into a wireless display, which means your secondary computer doesn’t have to go completely unused while you’re at your desk.

I’ve used the iPad version of the app to turn my iPad into my secondary display from time to time, but the iPad’s relatively low resolution limits the app’s utility for me. The Mac version of Air Display is very easy to set up and works flawlessly in my tests so far.

Only a Mac can be used as a secondary display, but the host computer can be either a Mac or PC.

I recently purchased a new 13″ MacBook Pro and it’s taken some patience to get used to its low resolution display (1280 x 800) since I typically buy machines with higher resolution displays. I remedied this problem by picking up a 27″ Apple Cinema Display (2560 x 1440) two days ago and have been very pleased with the dual-display setup.

But this left my desktop workstation asymmetrical. I downloaded the Air Display app from the Mac Store ($19.99) on my MacBook Pro and the Air Display utility on my MacBook Air. With both machines one my office network.

My main workspace is the Cinema Display. The MacBook Pro is to my right and I keep a few browser tabs open on it to read/send email and keep track of our site’s statistics. On the left side is my MacBook Air with other stuff that I normally keep in the background. Switching to apps like Twitter or trying to find the right browser tab with Slacker can be a chore. Now I can actually see every app and browser window I’m working on. It’s really liberating.

As it stands, I have 5366 horizontal pixels to work with. Air Display is a fantastic solution if you want to avoid buying a small external display or if one extra display just isn’t enough for you.

There’s no latency on the MacBook Air when I’m using most applications, but there is some stuttering when I try to play videos, but you’d probably watch videos on your primary display anyways.

More info and purchase link over at



  1. asiriusgeek

    03/09/2011 at 7:01 pm

    Xavier, did you consider the Dell Ultrasharp 27″ before you bought the Apple Cinema display? I’m trying to decide which I’ll prefer for working with my photographs and would appreciate you sharing any insights you might have.

    • Xavier Lanier

      03/09/2011 at 11:10 am

      I did consider alternatives, including the Dell Ultrasharps, but the Cinema Display better suits my needs at the moment. I was worried about the glossy finish of the Cinema display, but it’s fine since I no longer have an office with a skylight. I really like how the Cinema Display doubles as a docking station of sorts for the MacBook Pro since there’s a USB cable and MagSafe tip alongside the DisplayPort tip. Really elegant.
      The other issue is that I wanted something right away and didn’t feel like waiting.
      The Dell Ultrasharp is a better value if you’re looking at $ and cents or if you’re solely a PC user. I don’t think you’ll go wrong with either. If you have the $, you might want to check out HP’s DreamColor displays as well.

    • Jason Dunn

      03/09/2011 at 9:48 pm

      I thought I’d chime in and say that I’ve used Dell Ultrasharp displays (24″ and 27″ models) for a few years now and photography and find them to be excellent. The HP DreamColor displays might be better – I don’t know, I’ve never seen or used one – but it’s hard to beat the price/performance ratios of the Dell displays…especially when you score them on Dell’s “Days of Deals” promotions.

  2. Xavier Lanier

    03/09/2011 at 8:47 pm

    Check out HP’s DreamColor displays if photography’s your primary reason for getting a new display. They’re pricey, but gorgeous. The Dell monitors are great as well, but not the same caliber. I settled on the Cinema display because I’m using a MacBook as my primary notebook now and I liked the ‘docking capabilities.

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