Paradoxes come in small packages, and the HIS Multi-View definitely fits this description.

It's one of a growing range of units that takes advantage of DisplayLink technology, a clever system that transforms a USB 2.0 port into a DVI video port with the help of a plug-through dongle.

This means you can attach additional monitors to your machine beyond its normal output capabilities; if you've got three USB ports, that's space for three extra monitors. A godsend, right?

It's certainly not been easy to set up multi-head systems on the Mac previously, and this is a particularly easy way to get it done. Plug in the unit and your screen is automatically set up, switched on and useable – no fuss, residue or worry.

Driver problems

But there is a painful problem: DisplayLink output, on the Multi-View and every other similar device which uses it, is currently unaccelerated under OS X. The driver writers blame this on a lack of cooperation from Apple, and given the stellar performance this HIS unit can manage under Windows, we believe them.

Under Windows you can happily run high-end games or HD video through the Multi- View; under OS X it struggles when you so much as try to drag a window around. Even dropping the resolution to 640x480 has no effect.

It's like dealing with an elderly monitor that can't quite keep up; you'll end up giving your DisplayLink screen all the easy tasks to avoid overwhelming its fragile capabilities. It certainly wouldn't be worth buying a Multi-View over, say, the appropriate adaptor for your Mac laptop's external video output.

So if all you're after is somewhere to house your toolbars and pallettes when working on your main monitor, the Multi-View's performance is probably forgivable.

And if you're looking to expand past your system's default screen outputs there's really no other option out there. Hopefully there's a driver update around the corner.