Review: Avatron’s Air Display For OS X

Avatron, best known for its iOS App that turns your iPad in to a secondary screen for your Mac using only a Wifi connection has released an update to Air Display that does the same with a spare Mac.

About Air Display

$19.99 on the Mac App Store.
Client Software is free

Avatron’s Mac App focuses on simplicity and replicating the features of Air Display for iOS on OS X without any hassle. Available via the Mac App Store is one part of the wireless screen sharing combination offered by Avatron. Once the App is launched a simple guide helps the user through the steps to setting up a spare Mac as a secondary display. A client App is downloaded to your second Mac and scans for another Mac running Air Display. Setup is as simple as selecting the Mac running Air Display through the App’s menubar options.

Be warned: if you’re thinking of setting up that aging PowerPC Mac as an Air Display client, you’ll be out of luck – the App is Intel only.

How Air Display Works

To achieve the feat of transforming a Mac in to a secondary wireless display is accomplished over WiFi using a Bonjour like networking protocol. Both Macs must be connected to the same network and running Avatron’s Air Display Apps. If both Macs are connected via Ethernet to a router, Air Display will still work. However, the technology that powers the App is not without problems.

Despite the incredible advances made to wireless technology in the past few years, speeds can’t come close to traditional cable based video output. Avatron’s Air Display works amazingly but streaming video or bringing your Final Cut Pro canvas to a second Mac over WiFi will be pushing both computer’s wireless connections to the max. Quality will degrade and flickering will occur simply because the bandwidth available over Wifi is less than what’s available with a DVI or HDMI cable

Why Not Use Screen Sharing?

That’s a great question and one I considered when reviewing Air Display. However, I prefer Avatron’s solution over Apple’s for two reason: simplicity and cross platform compatibility. Setting up Screen Sharing isn’t as cut as dry as Avatron’s Air Display’s setup. PCs and iOS devices are supported as well.

Final Word (4 out of 5 stars)

There isn’t a lot against Air Display. PC and iOS compatibility put it ahead of Apple’s Screen Sharing solution. The simplicity of setting up Air Display and not being bogged down with wires and adapters is refreshing. However, the technology that makes Air Display work so well detracts from its potential. All in all Avatron’s Air Display for the Mac is great for productivity and those wanting a second display without having to purchase one.

About Tanner Godarzi

Tanner is tech-savvy with an eye for great content who is pursuing his Bachelors of Science in Web Design and Interactive Media from the Art Institute of California—Orange County. Tanner has been a freelance Blogger and Social Media consultant for over 4 years and contributed content for O'Reilly's "Big Book Of Apple Hacks." Tanner has blogged for industry notables such as Hadley Stern for Apple Matters, C.K. for Obsessable and gave insight about Social Media for The Blog Herald. Tanner resides in Huntington Beach and is a cycling enthusiast.

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