This week I received my Sidecar iPad mount and have been playing around with it. Sidecar Venostech is a product that I originally backed a few months ago on Kickstarter as I’ve been looking for something like this for some time. Essentially its a very robust piece of plastic with a spring mechanism in the middle. It allows you to temporarily mount an iPad, iPad Mini or iPhone (presumably any other tablet or phone) to the side of your laptop screen. With a slick app called AirDisplay Avatron Software I am able to extend my Mac desktop onto my iPad. This is great for me as I’m on the go a lot, working in hotels and spaces where I can’t lug around a second monitor.
The Sidecar is very easy to attach to the iPad and laptop (provides easy one handed holding while you twist the knob to tighten and holds the iDevice securely in place. The Sidecar has rubber padding that protects both the Mac and the iDevice from scratches or damage. The Sidecar is available from Venostech’s website for $29.99 plus shipping. A quick note is you don’t have to use this for a desktop extension. For example you could use it to have Omnifocus running right next to your screen or some other app that you use frequently. I’ve found a lot of success running a dual monitor setup using the product, in conjunction with AirDisplay.
Speaking of AirDisplay, I’ve tried several Mac to iPad screen display apps and AirDisplay is the best I’ve found. Air display is available in the iOS app store for $9.99 and you must download the companion Mac app (free) from Avatron’s website. The companion app sits in my menubar (behind Bartender) and you can select weather it automatically connects or manually connects. One thing that I was concerned with originally is the need for WiFi when using this setup. Very often public WiFi is not configured to allow devices to talk through the firewall. You can lug around a Airport Express to create that wireless network but I’ve found an even better workaround. Use your iPhone as a WiFi hotspot. AirSharing works great when used as with an iPhone as the WiFi hotspot. Just be careful of your bandwidth caps.
Overall I am very impressed with the Kickstarter funded Sidecar. This was something I’d been looking for and now that I have it, my productivity when on the go has increased. A couple of downsides to it: If your using an older iPad (1–4) the weight of the iPad may cause damage to the Macbook Air’s display hinge. I have a Macbook Air and a iPad Air and so far working just fine. Hopefully I’m not proactively signing up for a Genius Bar appointment. The only problem I experienced is depending on where you mount it it might tip the laptop back or just the screen. I’ve found when mounted in the middle or closer to the bottom of the screen the results are improved. You can go into display preferences (if using with AirDisplay) and adjust the orientation of the monitor depending on the arrangement. Display preferences do remember this when connected to AirDisplay so you should only have to do this once.
Good luck and great job Venostech and Avatron!