Duet Display Review

Trey M

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 25, 2011
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I know there are some other threads on Duet Display but I wanted to give my perspective as the use pertains to the new 2018 iPad Pro, which connects over USB-C instead of lightning. I found very little info on this topic before making the purchase for Duet Display.

Can’t emphasize how pleased I am using Duet Display on my iPad Pro 11” as a second monitor for my 2018 MBP. I was skeptical of how responsive the display would be, how reliable, how trouble-free, etc. I am blown away by the reliability of Duet Display. It really makes the iPad a viable secondary monitor, even for long term use so long as you can deal with the comparatively small size.

I have to run screen shares at work for meetings with 25+ people, so reliability is essential for me. I have been using my iPad as my primary display on screen shares without any issues. There is absolutely no issue with clarity, ghosting, etc. There is a very small amount of lag compared to a true external display, however it’s almost imperceptible. You really have to be looking for it, compared to say 30Hz it’s much more reliable.

The only complaint I really have is they haven’t provided a resolution explicitly for the 11” Pro at this point given it is a new size, however using the 10.5 resolution the image is crisp and actually usable. Along with the new Smart Keyboard case and the different angles you can prop your iPad at, it really makes your iPad a usable display, even for long term use. I imagine the experience would be even better with the 12.9” iPad and the resolution they have built for that size.

Also, your MBP will charge your iPad over USB-C, so you don’t have to worry about battery life. It really is an ideal setup. Just my two cents as I found very little info about the 2018 iPad Pros and Duet Display. Even Duet Display does not reference USB-C anywhere in their application or on their website, however functionality works flawlessly.
 
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airlied

macrumors 6502
Jul 8, 2011
381
56
Thanks for the review!
Im making purchase decision here as I dont know if the software-cable based app like duet display or hardware-dongle based solution like lunar?display is better. I prefer duet because a wired cable seems promising and you dont have to worry about battery life of you ipad.
 

Trey M

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 25, 2011
942
301
USA
Thanks for the review!
Im making purchase decision here as I dont know if the software-cable based app like duet display or hardware-dongle based solution like lunar?display is better. I prefer duet because a wired cable seems promising and you dont have to worry about battery life of you ipad.
Can’t say I’ve used Lunar but I can’t imagine it has better responsiveness and less latency than Duet’s hardwire solution. Also not to mention it’s way cheaper and you don’t have to have a USB dongle.

I use a fairly short Thunderbolt 3 cable (even Apple charge cable works) and it works really well.
 

Macalway

macrumors 68030
Aug 7, 2013
2,727
1,099
I use a fairly short Thunderbolt 3 cable (even Apple charge cable works) and it works really well.
I think it may be limited to what the iPad can handle. Not sure. Perhaps the TB 3 cable is overkill. (actually, I just want to feel comfortable using my 6' Apple USB-C cable, and not feel like i'm reducing performance; which i'm probably not (we need tests! )

Anyways, I was just using Duet today (long time user, on and off), and did a search here to get info ( I also own Luna, btw). From what I can tell, it seems like Apple recently made adjustments as to what you can and can not do. For a while, Duet was broken badly. Now it works better than ever. I can use my MacBook Pro 13" in clamshell, with a wired 11" iPad pro as a monitor. Before, this worked sort of, but now it seems very stable. If I switch to another app in iOS, when I return to Duet it refreshes, which is ok, as it works and it's doesn't take long. There doesn't seem to be an option for it to run in the background, but i'm not sure I would even want to, as it works fine this way.

I haven't compared Luna to this. Luna works well also, and is a good wireless solution.

I like the clamshell solution for certain applications. I remember using Duet with a Mac Mini this way, but you need a physical keyboard and mouse anyway (if you're smart), so the MacBook is good.

But this isn't a long term review. Time will tell. I'll come back to this thread when i've given it more time.
 
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EugW

macrumors 604
Jun 18, 2017
7,330
4,723
I know there are some other threads on Duet Display but I wanted to give my perspective as the use pertains to the new 2018 iPad Pro, which connects over USB-C instead of lightning. I found very little info on this topic before making the purchase for Duet Display.

Can’t emphasize how pleased I am using Duet Display on my iPad Pro 11” as a second monitor for my 2018 MBP. I was skeptical of how responsive the display would be, how reliable, how trouble-free, etc. I am blown away by the reliability of Duet Display. It really makes the iPad a viable secondary monitor, even for long term use so long as you can deal with the comparatively small size.

I have to run screen shares at work for meetings with 25+ people, so reliability is essential for me. I have been using my iPad as my primary display on screen shares without any issues. There is absolutely no issue with clarity, ghosting, etc. There is a very small amount of lag compared to a true external display, however it’s almost imperceptible. You really have to be looking for it, compared to say 30Hz it’s much more reliable.

The only complaint I really have is they haven’t provided a resolution explicitly for the 11” Pro at this point given it is a new size, however using the 10.5 resolution the image is crisp and actually usable. Along with the new Smart Keyboard case and the different angles you can prop your iPad at, it really makes your iPad a usable display, even for long term use. I imagine the experience would be even better with the 12.9” iPad and the resolution they have built for that size.

Also, your MBP will charge your iPad over USB-C, so you don’t have to worry about battery life. It really is an ideal setup. Just my two cents as I found very little info about the 2018 iPad Pros and Duet Display. Even Duet Display does not reference USB-C anywhere in their application or on their website, however functionality works flawlessly.
What is the default screen resolution for the 10.5"? The reason I ask is because I have the 10.5" Pro.

It turns out the vertical resolution of both the 10.5" iPad Pro and the 11" iPad Pro are 1668 pixels, which at 264 ppi works out to 6.32 inches. That matches up quite nicely with my 12" MacBook which is 1440 at 226 ppi or 6.37 inches. In other words, it's almost a perfect match with only about a 1 mm difference in screen height.

I have my MacBook set to the 1280x800 setting which means an effective pixel density of about 251 ppi. It'd be nice to have a similar setting on the iPad in Duet Display, so that would mean about a 1587 x 2116 resolution on the iPad for a near-exact match to the MacBook in terms of effective pixel density.

Assuming that it can't provide that, what is the "Retina" resolution for the 10.5" Pro? Something like 2224/1112 x 1668/834 would also be close enough.

Also, does Duet Display leverage USB 3? The reason I ask is because the iPad Pro 10.5" supports USB 3. If USB 3 prevents any lag, I'd go out and buy a USB-C to Lightning cable for this purpose.
 
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