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Mobile Accessories

Turn your iPad into a second monitor

Make that pricey tablet earn its keep! The $9.99 MaxiVista app extends your Windows desktop onto your iPad. The only challenge is figuring out what to do with it.

MaxiVista extends your Windows desktop onto your iPad in whatever direction and orientation you want.
MaxiVista extends your Windows desktop onto your iPad in whatever direction and orientation you want. Rick Broida

Can I be brutally honest? Much as I like my iPad, I'm just not using it much. (No, you can't have it.) Turns out my iPhone is still my go-to device for e-mail, e-books, games, and other day-to-day stuff.

Needless to say, it troubles me to see that beautiful (and expensive) screen just sitting there going to waste. Well, waste no more! MaxiVista turns an iPad into a second monitor.

If this sounds familiar, you're probably thinking of a similar utility: Air Display. However, that popular app works only with Macs. MaxiVista is the first such option for Windows users.

It costs $9.99, same as Air Display. The required Windows utility (scroll down to the bottom) is free. The latter taps your home Wi-Fi network to extend your Windows desktop to your iPad. Take a look:

So, what can you put inside a smallish second monitor? The possibilities are fairly endless. Maybe there's a spreadsheet or Word document you frequently refer to throughout the day. Or a stock-market or sports site you like to monitor. Personally, I think the iPad would make an awesome holding tank for Windows gadgets.

That said, ask yourself if you really need to extend your desktop at all. As Scott Stein notes in his review of Air Display: "We're not sure an iPad even needs to be used as second monitor in this respect. You can use your iPad as a 'second display' without physically linking it to a computer--as a dedicated e-mail window, or a Web browser, or for information such as weather or stock prices. Air Display is really best considered a way to extend a workspace that might need instantly connected applications, such as multiple Word docs."

You tell me: How would you use MaxiVista? Whatever you decide, you'll need a good stand for your iPad. Here's a roundup of five cheap ones.

One last note: In case you're interested, MaxiVista can also turn an extra PC into a second monitor.