How to use your smartphone or tablet as a second screen?

If you have a tablet or a smartphone, you probably do most of your actual work on a desktop computer or laptop, and use your tablet/smartphone mainly for Web browsing and casual consumption of content. But you can use your device to enhance your productivity also. As a tablet or smartphone is essentially a portable screen, why not redirect it during working hours as a second screen?

Apps to turn smartphone or tablet into a second screen

To use your smartphone or tablet as a second monitor, it is necessary that you use some application for this. There are several in different price ranges and for different devices, including free. The apps work in Android systems, Windows Phone or iOS. The best known are the SplashtopXD, AirDisplay Free, iDisplay, REDFLY ScreenSlider, MaxiVista, each one offering different advantages and disadvantages, in addition to limitations for free versions.

All applications will need to follow the same steps for the configuration that we will describe in detail.

What You Need to Do to Transform Your Smartphone or Tablet Into a Second Screen?

To use your tablet or smartphone as an extra monitor you need a few things. In the first place, you need a tablet or a smartphone compatible with the application and an operating system on your PC or Mac which is compatible with the version for your computer application. It is worth remembering that, except for some cases, you will need Wi-Fi so that your device and computer are connected to the same wireless network at home.

After you have downloaded the required applications, and you’re right that the tablet and PC are connected to the same network, the installation and configuration processes are pretty straightforward. Keep in mind that the processes are very similar in all applications. Normally, you must download the app on your tablet/smartphone, download an “app” for your computer, pair the two devices, and then adjust some settings to your liking.

Step 1: Install the Application and Give a Name to Your Tablet/Smartphone

The first step is to install the appque you can download the application store to your smartphone or tablet. After installing, run the application. The first time, usually the application will ask you to enter a unique name for your device. The name can be anything you like, it serves only to identify the gadget during the phase of initial configuration for the application that you have installed on your computer. After you enter a name, leave the application still running.

Step 2: Install the Application on Your Computer

With the configuration of your tablet/smartphone, nearly complete, it is time to move to your computer. The program that will connect the two devices is available on the official website of the application. Always install using the default configuration options. When the procedure completes, an icon appears in the system tray.

Step 3: Connect to Your Tablet or Smartphone

After you open the application on your computer, click browse devices. A dialog box will open, and the application will scan your network to your tablet or smartphone. If the instrument and the PC are on the same network and subnet, and if the app is running, after a few moments, the gadget should appear in the list of available devices, with its IP address and name entered in the first step. Double-click the name of your device in the list of devices. A window should appear on the screen of the tablet with a unique number. You need to enter this number in the connection window on the PC. After you have done this, click OK, and your smartphone or tablet should begin acting as a second monitor mode to extended desktop.

Step 4: Adjust the Settings

The default configuration of the applications puts the smartphone or tablet in desktop mode expanded and assumes that the instrument will be located to the right or left of the main screen. To change these settings, open the application menu on your computer and choose Settings from the menu. In the resulting window, you can change some basic options, such as the position of the device, or if you want the program to start with Windows and check for updates. You can also configure the smartphone or tablet to mirror the computer monitor. However, for the function of the mirror work properly, you cannot set the PC resolution higher than the resolution of the screen of your tablet or smartphone.

Disadvantages of Using Your Tablet or Smartphone as a Second Screen

To use a gadget as a secondary display is definitely convenient, and that can be a boost real productivity, but it is not so. Although the quirks and incompatibilities of such a setup are different from app to app, there are some disadvantages that need to emphasize. Some settings may be disabled when the application is active and a tablet or smartphone is connected. In addition, the audio of your computer will not appear on the tablet, although the sound will continue to play normally through the speakers of your PC.

In addition, the performance of such applications is highly dependent on the speed of your wireless network. In a wireless network connection over slow or congested, you may notice a delay when dragging windows to and from the screen of the tablet/smartphone, and the video playback is more likely that the frames are skipped. Some applications may not process properly also.

Final Considerations

Once you have synced the computer and the tablet, the smartphone or tablet will work like any other secondary display. You can drag your computer screen on your primary monitor to the screen of the gadget as if they were connected directly to the system. Regardless, the possibility of having items as widgets, windows, instant messaging, or your inbox always open on a secondary screen can be useful. At a minimum, you will have a extra space that will be of great utility.

What is your application of the second screen favorite? You use for work or just for fun?