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ScreenSlider Lets You Use Any Android Phone or Tablet As a Computer Monitor [Windows Only]

screen-slider-android-pc-monitor-extra-connect-wifiAs much as we’re told these days that tablets are replacing the PC, there is a surprising trend in the opposite direction. As much as Steve Jobs wanted us to believe that we were in the “post-PC” world, the truth is that a lot of people still use PCs. Personally speaking, I spend more time on laptop than any other device.


Developer Redfly has recognized that people still use computers and instead embraced tablets’ potential as PC aids. Simply put, they have an app that lets you use any Android device as a spare monitor for a Windows PC.


That’s pretty cool. If you have a decent-sized tablet and a stand (which Redfly happens to sell, what a shock) then you can use that tablet with Windows (sorry, Mac and Linux people). However, the app (ScreenSlider) is also plagued by a great deal of negative reviews on the Android Market. Does it work? Is it really worth it to use a tablet as a PC monitor? Read on to find out.


Installation


There’s no easy way to put this. Installing ScreenSlider is hard. While trying to get it working for my review, I ran into problems. The installer won’t work if you download it with Opera 11 (but it does work with Google Chrome).


screen-slider-android-pc-monitor-computer-windows


Then I found it only works on certain wireless networks due to technical issues. I fruitlessly labored to get ScreenSlider working on my university’s Wifi, but to no avail. The app finally clicked when I used my phone to create a tethered Wifi hotspot. That hotspot connected my spare phone and PC, finally.


That stuff was not fun. To be honest, the only reason I got the app running was because the developers were nice enough to respond to my queries. Getting ScreenSlider to work is difficult. I recommend spending a lot of time at their help page.


On the other hand, setting up the ScreenSlider app couldn’t be easier. Download it from the Android Market ($1), name your monitor (I named my Phillip), and it’s ready. The tricky part is connecting the phone and PC to the same wireless network (no cords necessary) and making sure they have the same subnet mask.


screen-slider-android-pc-monitor-computer-windows-setup-laptop


That’s the final setup using my spare Evo 4G. Side note: This may be the first time that kickstand on the back has ever been actually used.


Performance


First of all, understand that my experience was simply not as good as someone with a tablet. Unfortunately, I do not have an Android tablet. ScreenSlider works on any Android device, but it’s clearly targeted at tablets.


With that said, ScreenSlider worked surprisingly well, even on the Evo 4G’s small screen. It is definitely laggier than a real computer monitor, although the lag isn’t anything serious. Besides, seeing desktop programs on a phone was a geeky thrill in and of itself.


screen-slider-android-pc-monitor-computer-windows-spotify-music-player


Unfortunately, the Evo 4G’s relatively small screen (when compared to a tablet) makes it somewhat less useful as a computer monitor. However, it did function quite well as a home for my music player. Spotify looked quite cozy on the small screen.


The general lagginess of ScreenSlider disqualifies it from being a bona fide PC monitor, but it did have its uses. Web browsing was good, and I imagine it’s even better with a full-size tablet. As long as it’s not too graphically intensive, ScreenSlider can handle it.


Just to test how much intensity the app can handle, I tried to watch a video over the internet. Although Redfly specifically says ScreenSlider can’t handle video, my episode of The Daily Show was actually watchable. The frame rate was noticeably worse, but it worked.


screen-slider-android-pc-monitor-computer-windows-the-daily-show-internet-tv


Just to test ScreenSlider a little (read: a lot) more, I tried to play my favorite PC game (Mass Effect 2) on the phone screen. For reference, Mass Effect 2 is a major, graphics-intensive game. The game loaded as far as the menu before freezing. I didn’t expect anything it to run, but it was fun to try.


Flaws


I’ve already alluded to several flaws within ScreenSlider (difficult setup, mild visual lag). Unfortunately, they are not the only issues. One constant annoyance was that when the phone connected, Windows was knocked out of Aero mode.


However, it’s not until you try Pro mode ($5 in-app purchase) that a whole new box of problems is opened. Pro mode comes with a few boring extra features and most notably the ability to control the phone/monitor via touch.


screen-slider-android-pc-monitor-computer-windows-multi-touch-gestures-name-monitor


Touch screen PC use sounds cool. It’s not. That’s mainly due to Redfly’s stiff implementation of touch screen controls. Left and right click (single tap and long-press, respectively) work just fine, but any sort of multi-touch gesture ends badly.


Scrolling and zooming are done by dragging multiple fingers across the screen. The problem is that scrolling fluctuates between “not at all” and “zooming down the page.” Even worse, what starts as sideways scrolling often ends up randomly zooming in and out.


ScreenSlider confuses gestures and ends up blending them together. Using a mouse is infinitely easier. Then again, maybe the multi-touch works better on a tablet. I doubt it, though.


Final Thoughts


ScreenSlider comes with my recommendation, but only to a certain group of people. Tech geeks with an Android tablet will probably find it as cool as I did. Seeing Windows run on a phone/tablet is way, way cool.


screen-slider-android-pc-monitor-computer-windows-pro-in-app-upgrade


Everyone else probably shouldn’t bother. The complicated installation and laggy screen make for limited use. If you’re somehow debating between a tablet with ScreenSlider and a real PC monitor, buy the monitor. You can get a stellar PC screen for less than $200.


Conversely, if you already have a tablet and don’t mind some setup work, this is very cool. ScreenSlider is a little gimmicky, but I’d use it if I had a tablet. Two screens are always better than one.


What do you think? Have you used ScreenSlider? Did it work for you? Share your htoughts in the comments.


Download



screen-slider-android-pc-monitor-computer-windows-download


Download ScreenSlider for Android


Download ScreenSlider for Windows



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