Productivity Kryptonite ☢️
Working on the go can make even the most powerful super-techies feel like they’re standing next to a mountain of kryptonite. If you regularly work on multiple screens, going back to a single screen feels slow and limiting. With a single screen you constantly have to switch between windows, spending less time in the flow state, and incurring performance penalties due to context switching.
According to a 15-year study by Jon Peddie Research, “information workers, designers, and engineers can realize up to a 42% increase in productivity through the use of multiple displays.” In addition to the gains in productivity, the report indicated that that the “realism and the details revealed with more display area not only improve understanding in a visualization, but increase enjoyment.” The usage of multiple monitors is an epic power up that improves productivity, and makes people happier about their work.
Not everyone can lug an extra monitor with them wherever they go. How can information workers, designers, and engineers leverage the productivity gains of multiple displays on the go? Fortunately there are several options available to people who want to be more productive, and enjoy their mobile workspace.
Apple Sidecar is a screen extending and screen mirroring feature built into systems running macOS Catalina or later. Sidecar works with most newer MacBooks, MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs and iPad Pros. All iPad Pro models can be used as an external display, and newer generations of the iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Air are also compatible. To get started with Sidecar, sign into both devices with the same Apple ID account with two-factor authentication enabled.
If you need a tablet to use as an external monitor, a budget friendly option is to purchase a refurbished iPad Pro. The iPad Pro I’m currently using is a refurbished device that I purchased on Amazon. I also purchased a ProCase Stand Folio Case Cover which protects my device, holds the device upright, and allows me to store a Lightning cable in the pocket. I have found that I get a much more reliable Sidecar connection when I plug the iPad into my MacBook via USB. I use my Sidecar almost every day, and it has been an excellent way for me to get work done when I’m on the move.
Tons of people use Windows on a daily basis (I use both macOS and Windows daily), but Sidecar isn’t available on Windows devices. Fortunately Duet Display is excellent option for people who work on Windows. Duet Display allows you to use a plethora of devices as an external display such as Android tablets and even iPhones. I’ve even used Duet Display with my iPhone on a commercial flight so that I could see and control my Spotify library without having to switch between windows.
Duet is free if you use a wired USB connection. A paid wireless option, Duet Air is also available. Additionally, Duet Pro allows you to turn your iPad Pro into a drawing tablet and supports the Apple Pencil. Duet Display is a powerful way to bring multiple monitor support to Windows users on the go.
Mobile Pixels 👾
Mobile Pixels specializes in laptop extenders and offers a variety of travel-friendly products. They offer second monitor options via the Duex Series, and even offer third monitor options via the Trio Series. If you’re a power user that loves having additional screen real-estate, Mobile Pixel’s products are definitely worth checking out. I haven’t personally used their products, but my brother Keith uses the Duex Max and loves it.
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