This article was originally published on Mashable.
Tablets are handy tools for a variety of things—watching Netflix, playing Candy Crush and browsing the Internet. But when it comes to getting work done—like, actual work—most users would probably argue otherwise. The devices are great for entertainment, but can they also pack the productive punch of a laptop? There are, thankfully, plenty of techniques and accessories to help turn those distraction-inducing rectangles into work-producing gadgets—perfect for when you're on-the-go. We've rounded up five of our favorite productivity tactics below.
1. Create an Apps-ence of Games
While it may be tempting to download game apps, keep in mind there are others specifically geared for getting things done. One of the most extensive is Parallels Access, only available for the iPad, which lets you run any app from your Mac or PC onto your tablet. It's a little pricey—$79.99 per year—but it's the most intuitive and all-in-one way to bring your laptop's contents directly to your iPad's screen. Other organizational apps, like Dropbox, Trello and Campfire, are yours to download too.
2. Reorganize Your Homepage
The easiest step of the bunch. Just like your smartphone, your tablet should give you the ability to organize where your apps are displayed on the screen. To avoid Angry Birds temptation, then, make sure your work-related apps are on the front page—the birds and the gang can take the backseat.
3. Keyboard Up
Touchfire is an add-on keyboard screen for tablets. Its clear, flexible case magnetically connects to your iPad, and is available in international editions, like Chinese, German, Korean and Turkish. Touchfire is also a bit pricey, at $49.99, but it's an ideal accessory if you plan to frequently type on your tablet.
4. Buy an External Keyboard
An additional typing option is a mobile keyboard—we recommend the Logitech K810. There are plenty of other options out there, too, depending on your preferences.
5. Use It As a Second Monitor
You don't necessarily need to be working on-the-go to get the most out of your tablet. Why not use it as a second—or third, or fourth—monitor? Several iOS and Android apps can basically fool your desktop into thinking it's connecting another external monitor to its system. As Mashable associate features editor Matt Petronzio wrote previously, there are several popular "second display" apps on the market:
- Air Display ($9.99): Air Display lets you connect your iPad or Android device to your Mac or Windows computer, but also lets you connect your laptop as a wireless second monitor for your desktop.
- iDisplay ($4.99): This app, created by Shape.ag, quickly sets up your portable monitor.
- MaxiVista ($9.99): Only for use with iPads and Windows operating systems.
- Splashtop XDisplay (Free for 10 minutes at a time; $4.99 in-app purchase for extended use): Splashtop is known more for its app, which gives you remote access to your desktop. But by downloading XDisplay and the Splashtop Streamer, you can set up your iPad as a second monitor.
If the additional app route isn't up your alley, you can always prop your tablet up next to your monitor and use it to display apps like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or Spotify while you write a research paper on your desktop. It's a little makeshift, but it lets you use additional apps on the side without taking up tab space on your main monitor.
Photos from top: Shutterstock, touchfire.com