iPad as Second Monitor on PC, Awesome! MaxiVista Review.
There are few things I enjoy more than legitimizing a quasi-frivolous purchase. You know, how when, you buy something and think “I’ll use this all the time” and then it ends up collecting dust in the basement? Not that this was a particularly valid threat for my iPad, I still love finding new and ridiculously useful Apps that make me realize that I made the right choice buying it.
One such of these Apps is MaxiVista – because, while it is a very niche product which does basically one single thing (without any fancy extra functions or customization), it will definitely appeal to the majority of iPad/PC Owners (which, by my very scientific estimations is at approximately 20-80% of iPad owners). I am sad that not everyone knows about it, because every single iPad owner I’ve told about it in person was instantly impressed. So lets get on with the review, shall we?
What it does: Simply, it turns your iPad into a Second Monitor on your Windows PC.
That is pretty much it. You download the App ($9.99), and go and download the software needed for your PC (which works on XP/Vista/7), boot it up, and go. To say that this is Dead Simple would be accurate. I have notoriously bad luck with installing and updating hardware and software. No matter what it is, I will always, without fail, screw something up. The simple fact that I downloaded, installed, and used this software within 5 minutes shows how easy it is. If I didn’t screw it up, you can’t.
Once you load up the App on your iPad, and run the software on your PC MaxiVista will automatically link the two, and you go ahead and set up where your new ‘second monitor’ is located in relation to your primary monitor. Like I said, Dead Simple.
How it works: Magic. I don’t know.
I’m sure its similar technology to VNC. However, as far as I am aware this will only work if you are on the same network. I mean, that makes perfect sense though.
What it’s good for: Lots of stuff.
I generally have my iPad set up beside my computer anyways. I keep the Mail App running so I can get alerts when I get new mails, or maybe I’ll have Tweetdeck up on my iPad so I can keep an eye on twitter while I’m working on something else. I was basically already using the thing as an extension of my PC when I was on the computer.
Now, I keep a Browser full of email Tabs (especially more convenient now that I can sign in with multiple accounts in Gmail within one browser), and my Gtalk open. You could, if you wanted, also use MaxiVista with your iPad in Portrait, instead of Landscape, simply by turning your iPad.
What it’s not good for: Touch & Video
There is no multi-touch (or touch whatsoever) capabilities within this App. While this is a feature the developers have stated on their website they plan to implement in the future, for right now you’re going to have to interact with whatever is on the screen with the mouse.
While the refresh rate is pretty decent for it being connected over Wifi, there are still points at which it lags. Resizing Windows I found to take a while, and playing Video from my computer (such as with VLC) ran very poorly. However: I do want to say that streaming/flash videos such as Youtube or Vimeo actually worked surprisingly well (not perfect, but ‘Good Enough’). Actually. I was surprised to find that all Flash Sites worked well within my regular browser. I don’t know what I was expecting (Perhaps a big gray box saying “No Flash on iPad, Stupid!” ?).
One last downfall – No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t reset the resolution at which my iPad displayed as my second monitor. It certainly shows up on my Display Properties, but even when I reset the resolution, nothing changes. I wish this were a customizable option either via the regular method on my PC or at least as an option within the settings of the program itself.
So that’s MaxiVista for you. Simply it works, it’s not perfect, but it’s great. And while Mac users have a few options to choose from, until Air Display comes out with their Windows version, MaxiVista is our only option, lucky for us PC users, it just works.