Smartphones and tablets offer a few pretty nice upsides that give them advantages over toting around a laptop – they're lighter and thinner, yet also cheaper with double or more battery life. Still, their 10-inch or smaller screens just don't hold a candle to the 13-, 15- or even 17-inch displays of laptops, which make screen sharing far more comfortable (remember this the next time you bump heads with a client while doing a demo). Thus the genius of the MMT Monitor2GO HD+, a dock-monitor combo that converts your iPad into a widescreen laptop with a swivel display and the world's largest trackpad.
The Monitor2Go HD+ is sleek, with a brushed aluminum face on the monitor bezel and dock face, and a solid-feeling rubberized plastic housing. Its built-in LED display has 1600 x 900 resolution and is 15.6-inches diagonal, and can be swiveled 180 degrees to face backward – yet the whole shebang weighs just three pounds (plus the weight of your iPad). The base has a slot underneath for inserting your iPad where a keyboard would normally be, two USB ports, and an HDMI port. The idea is that once you pop in your iPad, the monitor mirrors whatever you're doing on it, so you can use it like a laptop and have the advantage of a much larger screen. Or, swivel the screen around so that others can follow along what you're doing while you show an app, or slides, or drawings, or whatever it is you like to show people. There's also a flip-out kickstand on the rear, so that it can act as a standup monitor – so for instance you can plug in your smartphone using the HDMI port and stream Netflix.
We're not the target market for all its features, so we doubt we'll ever make use of its ability to be daisy-chained with up to six monitors (via USB from a laptop), but that power-user feature aside, the Monitor2GO is a nifty, useful add-on. The sole downside is that power comes via an external AC adaptor, which limits its use considerably, though a battery-powered model is in the works. [From $299; mmt2.com]