Best Second Screen App for Android Tablets

The tablet itself can be a great productivity tool , but using it as a second screen for your computer makes it even better. For Android tablets, Splashtop is our favorite way to do it. It’s cheap, touch-sensitive, and uses Wi-Fi, so you can grab it and hit the road.

Splashtop extended HD display

Platform: Android / Windows, Android / Mac Price: 5 minutes free, then $ 5. Download page


  • Wi-Fi connection
  • Supports Windows and Mac
  • Sensory support
  • Navigation with finger zoom
  • On-screen keyboard input

Where is it best

While many other apps allow you to use your tablet as a second screen, Splashtop includes a number of interface features that allow you to use it independently. You can use zoom gestures to navigate the interface and use the onscreen keyboard to enter text. Since Splashtop uses Wi-Fi to connect to your computer, you can grab your tablet and leave while still connected to your desktop.

Splashtop also lets you try it out for five minutes before paying. This is a handy feature as compatibility can be an issue. While iPad second screen apps only have a couple of types of connectivity hardware, Android tablets have a much wider range of devices, which can lead to problems. In my tests, almost every application required troubleshooting before I could get it to work. While the Google Play Store offers refunds, it’s nice that Splashtop doesn’t force you to pay for an app in advance before you know it will work.

Where it fails

Unfortunately, Splashtop doesn’t have wired connectivity like some of its competitors. This means that there is usually a slight delay. You may also have connection problems if you move too far from the router. A portable connection to your desktop is fine, but it doesn’t really matter if you lose reception when you climb the stairs. Splashtop also requires you to create and sign in to use it. While this is not a big deal (and provides an additional layer of security), it is also more difficult than some of the other options.


If Splashtop lag bothers you, iDisplay ($ 4.76) offers a cheap alternative that uses a micro USB cable to connect. It also supports touch input, although it lacks some of the nicer Splashtop navigation gestures. A Wi-Fi connection is still available if you decide you want a little more mobility. The setup process is also a little easier. As long as the server is installed on your main computer, iDisplay can automatically detect your device. That being said, in my experience iDisplay failed to connect multiple times without giving any errors as to why.

AirDisplay 2 ($ 9.99) is also an attractive option, although it costs twice as much as others. It works over wired or wireless connections and supports the same zoom gestures as Splashtop. However, in addition to being more expensive, it also has some pretty serious compatibility issues. The company states that Windows AirDisplay does not work on computers with “dual-GPU switching,” which means you have multiple graphics cards installed, including one built into the motherboard. If you open Device Manager and see a few entries under Display, AirDisplay won’t work for you. This isn’t a problem if you’re using integrated graphics, but adding a better graphics card to your desktop means your $ 10 app is useless.


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