Luna Display: My Thoughts


My Luna Display (Thunderbolt version) arrived yesterday. Ran into some problems early because of virus protection/firewall software installed on my Mac that prevented wireless access. Got that straightened out by switching network access from Public to “Home or Work” in McAfee’s advance firewall settings. The network runs over a 5GHz channel.

Drawing in Photoshop via WiFi revealed no latency, but there is an annoying purple trail that I guess you would call an artifact. It also produces quite a bit of battery drain on the iPad Pro. But no problem for me, as I do all drawing at my desk and I will just use USB. When drawing only, I have the Luna plugged in, and I only use Astropad on the desktop and iPad – no need to have the Luna software active.

The Luna software for use as a second monitor without respect to drawing doesn’t seem of much use to me, as I don’t have a keyboard for my iPad. Kind of hard to do most things without at least a pop-up “virtual keyboard.”

It worked right off the bat in clamshell mode. It just works. I’m using a MacBook Pro, mid-2015 version, and an iPad Pro, the original. My setup also includes a 27" external monitor, that also plugs into a Thunderbolt port, of which there are thankfully two of on that machine. I’m pleased to report that Luna Display allows all three screens to be active simultaneously, and you can arrange the screens however you wish using the Custom setting in the Luna Display setting present in Astropad Studio. The only problem I had initially was when I took the MBP out of clamshell mode, it changed the resolution on the external monitor to its lowest setting. After resetting it the first time, I’ve not had to repeat the step subsequently. It somehow remembers the setup configuration. So I am very pleased with that.

Of all my digital illustration and graphic design programs, the biggest resource hog is Photoshop CC 2019. And hooked up via USB, it was everything I hoped it would be in terms of gaining screen real estate (no more one inch black rows on top and bottom for a loss of 2 inches on the iPad). It’s a nice, beautiful display and works every bit as well as a Cintiq, which is the main reason I purchased this product. It gets a bit tiresome to have pop-up menus open up on another screen, and I can’t remember if that same problem occurred on Cintiqs. During a session the pop-ups will start reappearing on the iPad once you’ve moved them, but when you disconnect and come back later to work, you have to move the windows all over again. But honestly, with the way I work, it’s not a bad thing to have those menus pop up on my 27" monitor. But if I ever had need to work wirelessly, this would definitely be a major annoyance, so I’d be interested if anyone knows how to keep program pop-ups confined to the currently active screen, namely the iPad.

Bottom line, Luna Display does what I need it to do, and that is to get away from the cumbersome mirroring setup and now being able to have a true Cintiq-like experience by extending to another screen instead. It’s so cool to have the Photoshop menu bar where I can see it while looking down. Yes, that was possible before, but again, no more headaches with the black bars stealing so many precious pixels away and making me really have to squint to see things like that.

I have had problems with Luna conflicting with other programs, causing them to crash. I have submitted reports to various software vendors, who consider this a Luna problem and not a problem for THEM. So I just remove the Luna adapter and reboot when I am done drawing.

Overall, I am very pleased. I’d have been happier with the upcoming Black Friday price of $64, but I wanted it now and not then. Astro HQ has produced a top-notch product.