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Home / Apple / Luna Display Review: Turns an iPad into a Mac's second screen

Luna Display Review: Turns an iPad into a Mac's second screen

Even a 15 "MacBook Pro screen feels tight when compared to a large desktop display. It's not convenient to turn around another display for your laptop.

Advertisement But maybe it is. Luna Display is a small wireless adapter that lets an iPad function as an external display for a Mac.

We tested this option to see how well it's up to its promise of a hassle-free way to expand our MacBook screen when you go. Read on to find out how it did.

Luna Display Review

Apple laptops are slim, either MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or just MacBook. But the biggest screen some of these offers are 15 inches, and most are smaller. Any additional display class is welcome.

This is where Astro HQ's Luna Display comes in. This allows the iPad to almost double the space you have to work with, by acting as a second screen for MacOS laptop.

  This is all Hardware Required for Luna Display.
This is all hardware required for Luna Display.
Photo: Astro HQ

There are all software methods to achieve this, but many of these still require that the tablet and MacBook have a USB connection. Astro HQ's solution is a small adapter that connects to the portable video port without the need for wiring.

It is a USB C version for newer Macs and a Mini DisplayPort version for older models. Make sure you get the version that fits your computer.

The Luna Display hardware is very small: about the size of the end of your pinky finger. It is bright red, possible to make it harder to lose. As we mentioned, no wires are required. This accessory is powered by the port it connects to.

You can connect iPad and Mac via Lightning or USB-C if a Wi-Fi network is not available, but this is completely optional.

However, a macOS and an iOS application must be installed. Both are very easy to use, with some basic settings to facilitate the wireless connection.

This add-on works with MacOS 10.11 El Capitan or later, and iOS 9.1 or later. Astro HQ recommends that the Mac is from 2012 or later, but just about any iPad will do. We drove our tests with a MacBook Air 2012 and a 2018 iPad Pro.

There is no Windows version of the software. It's just Mac.

Luna Display Performance

To start screen sharing, connect your Mac and iPad to the same Wi-Fi network. Then, connect the Luna screen to your Mac, then run the macOS and iOS apps. The connection occurs automatically.

It's only the slightest hint of latency when playing video so the sound is just a hair in front of what's on the screen. Having said that, Luna Display's performance is far better than any software we've used that makes an iPad to another MacBook screen without wires needed.

The small delay has no effect on non-video usage. We did not notice it when writing text, working with spreadsheets, accessing websites and similar tasks.

  Luna Display is very convenient when working with complex spreadsheets.
Luna Display is very convenient when working with complex spreadsheets.
Photo: Astro HQ

The Luna Display macOS app makes it easy to configure the second screen to match the side of your MacBook iPad. Or you can enter the operating system's Display Settings to do the same.

The iPad touchscreen works if you do not want to use the Mac's mouse / trackpad. It's almost like touchscreen MacBook of your dreams.

An Apple pencil makes a good pointer, but pressure sensitivity is not supported. It requires Astro HQ's Astropad, a separate application designed to let an iPad act as a drawing tool for Mac. Luna Display alone is not suitable for this.

You can connect an external keyboard to the tablet and write it. This allows you to use iPad at a distance from Mac. Astro HQ even increased the ability to make iPad your primary display and keyboard for Mac mini.

You can easily switch back and forth between iOS and macOS apps, but Luna Display will disconnect if you drive back in the background for more than a few seconds. It is not possible to transfer text between the two computers via a simple cut and paste.

Luna Show Recent Thoughts

Astro HQ Luna Display is the best solution we have found to use an iPad as a second screen for a Mac. Pictures appear on the tablet almost as fast as they would on a regular external display. But the difference between "almost as fast" and "just as fast" keeps this accessory from replacing a regular external display connected to your Mac.

In other words, Luna Display is very convenient when using a Mac on a go. But it will not replace an external monitor for daily use of the office. Nevertheless, it's a great addition for people who already travel with the MacBook and iPad.

  Luna DIsplay is great for people traveling with a Mac and an iPad.
Luna DIsplay is great for people traveling with a Mac and an iPad.
Photo: Astro HQ

This accessory is $ 79.99, although it is currently available at 20 percent off. It makes it significantly more expensive than rivals like Duet Display, which is $ 19.99. Luna Display has advantages over those that offer comparable speed without requiring a wired connection. Other features we've tried have noticeable latency.

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