Duet claims that with Duet Display 2 PC users can finally use their iPad as a real drawing display

News December 06. 2018

Photo by Duet Display

The iPad Pro has become a fantastic tool for us working in digital documentation in part because of its flexibility — different apps provide different drawing tools, ideas, and experiences. We just need to find the best app that fits our needs for getting the desired result, though it can be difficult at times because of the share amount of creative solutions offered in Apple’s App Store. However, when it comes to hooking the iPad up to the Mac or PC to create a Wacom Cintiq-like experience, the options are suddenly far more limited. There are only two solid contenders for people interested in using their iPad in this manner: Duet Display and Astropad Studio of which the latter has been already reviewed and highly recommended by digitalEPIGRAPHY

One big difference between these two apps is that while Astropad's offer is dedicated to Mac users only, Duet display can be accessed on both Mac and PC, making it the only tethered drawing display solution to be considered by Windows PC users. Duet Display was one of the first to truly offer a usable second-screen experience. After connecting the iPad to a Mac or PC via a USB cable, it delivered a retina-quality second display at 60 frames per second, with minimal to no lag. Although it remained an excellent (and relatively cheap for a one-time $24.99 investment) option for those who wanted to view extra information on a second screen, where Duet initially failed was serving up a usable drawing display for the artist community. Duet’s solution had issues keeping up with brush strokes in Photoshop, causing substantial lag and sometimes jumpy and wiggly lines which made the whole drawing experience underwhelming. Last year the developers finally cooked up a solution and, just like Astropad did with their Astropad Studio, Duet Display extended their app with new features introducing a Duet Pro subscription. The new tier enabled pressure sensitivity and line prediction for artists along with a vastly improved engine providing a much more fluent experience when using creative desktop software.

Photo by Duet Display

Unfortunately, those of you, who used Duet Display in the past year or so may have noticed that the app’s response has slowed down tremendously as time passed by. The drawing experience became worse and worse with each update of which behavior came as the result of Apple updating their macOS and braking Duet’s tethering routine. Duet had to use AirPlay as a substitute solution which crippled the app with many restrictions regarding speed, resolution and aspect ratio. Starting today, with Duet Display’s latest iPad app update (ver. 2.0.3.8), the experience finally becomes fully hardware accelerated, “making the fastest way to turn your iPad into a second display even faster” – according to Duet. If you are a Mac user, you need to update your Mac to the latest version (macOS 10.14.2) to take full advantage of the new engine. You’ll also need to have Duet’s free Mac or PC companion app running on your computer and a Lightning to USB-C cable to connect with your iPad. If Duet’s claims prove to be true, their offer becomes a much cheaper package than Astropad’s pricy hardvare-software combo including a hardware accelerator Luna Display ($79.99) and yearly Astropad Studio subscription ($79.99). Right now, Duet Display is on sale at the discounted price of $9.99 (regularly $24.99). They offer two subscription options to enhance the basic second screen experience called Duet Air ($1.99/Month or $19.99/Year) and Duet Pro ($3.99/Month or $24.99/Year) with the Pro version oriented specifically towards digital artists. digitalEPIGRAPHY will provide a detailed review of the updated software in the coming weeks.

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