You’ll want one of the best Miracast or screen mirroring devices if your goal is to cast your phone, tablet, or computer content to a TV. While the best streaming devices can deliver content from popular streaming services, a Miracast device will allow you to display whatever you want on a TV screen, be it a dark video app, a selection of photos, or an office presentation. The technology is a bit dated, but arguably still quite useful.
Truth be told, though, the best Miracast devices have been a bit stagnant in recent years. Technology has not improved noticeably and what worked a few years ago still works well now. Miracast isn’t the only game in town either when it comes to screen mirroring protocols. If you have an Android device, Google Cast works much better, as does AirPlay, if you prefer Apple devices.
As such, I made a short list of three different devices for screen mirroring protocols. It includes our best recommendation for Miracast devices, as well as devices you can use for better screen mirroring experiences on Android and Apple. (Miracast is still arguably your best option for Windows PCs.)
- Stream content from one of the best phones
- The best laptops generally have Miracast functionality built in
What are the best Miracast and screen mirroring devices?
The best Miracast and screen mirroring devices don’t make a long list. As stated above, Miracast is not a perfect streaming protocol at best. The fact that Miracast receivers are fairly easy to produce means that there are many second-rate products out there. Many devices are compatible with Miracast protocols, from Rokus to Amazon Fire TV, but for my money, I have only found one that worked as it was supposed to. That’s the wireless display adapter from Microsoft. You connect the device to a television, where it receives a Miracast signal from your phone or computer. That’s all it does, but it works fine, and that’s more than you can say for many Miracast receivers.
If you’re not committed to Miracast as your screen mirroring protocol, other companies have come up with better. Take Google, for example, with its Google Cast functionality. It works the same as Miracast, and it can mirror content from an Android device or a Chrome browser. You can use Google Chromecast as a receiver. The regular Chromecast works fine if you intend to mirror at 1080p; higher resolutions will require a Google Chromecast Ultra instead.
On the other hand, if you’re on the Apple side of the spectrum, you can go for an Apple TV and use the AirPlay mirroring protocol. AirPlay is compatible with Macbooks and iOS devices and works in the same way as any other mirroring service. An Apple TV can be particularly useful for Macbook owners, as Miracast only works with Windows PCs and Android devices.
Best Miracast and Screen Mirroring Devices You Can Buy Today
1. Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter
For Windows devices
Screen mirroring protocol: Miracast | Size: 3.5 x 0.9 x 0.4 inches | Weight: 1.2 ounces
Works almost seamlessly with Android and Windows devices
Trivially easy to set up and use
Fantastic audiovisual quality
Short, immovable power cord
Miracast is a technology that enables Android and Windows devices to cast content to TV screens. Most Miracast receivers range from terrible to passable, but Microsoft’s Wireless Display Adapter really works the way it’s supposed to. The device is a small HDMI device with near-perfect wireless mirroring. Whether you need to stream music, videos, photos, light games, or productivity apps, the Wireless Display Adapter can do it without delay. Just plug it in, plug in your PC or Android device, and view your content on the big screen. That’s all the device does and all you need to do.
Please note, since Miracast only works with Windows PCs and Android devices, this adapter will be of no use to you if you have a Mac OS computer or an iOS phone. However, there are solutions for those devices further down this page.
2. Google Chromecast
For Android devices
Screen mirroring protocol: Google Cast | Size: 2.0 x 2.0 x 0.5 inches | Weight: 1.4 ounces
Boring and simple design
No significant improvements over the second generation
Android devices can take advantage of Google Cast – Google’s proprietary screen mirroring protocol. This streams whatever is on your phone or tablet screen to your TV with very little lag or loss of quality. While many devices offer Google Cast functionality, the cheapest and easiest is the Chromecast, which costs very little and uses your mobile device or computer as a remote control. Google’s standard Chromecast can stream content at 1080p, while its more expensive Ultra variant can handle 4K media.
While Google Cast works best with Android phones and tablets, you can also use it with computers. Using Google’s Chrome browser, you can “cast tab” or mirror what’s open to a Chrome tab on your TV. This feature isn’t as robust as the phones’ Google Cast, but it’s still a convenient option for those who want to get the most out of their Chromecasts.
3. Apple TV
Screen mirroring protocol: AirPlay | Size: 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.4 inches | Weight: 15.0 ounces
magnificent and intelligent interface
Lots of great content
Smart Siri integration
Poor touch controls
AirPlay is one of the oldest and most reliable screen mirroring protocols. With an iOS mobile device or a Mac computer, users can mirror their screens to an Apple TV. Setup and activation are essentially foolproof, and streaming quality for music, photos, and videos is excellent. Apple TV is also a full-featured set-top box that runs apps for most of the major streaming sites and plays movies, music, and podcasts right from iTunes. In addition, Apple TV has a sophisticated search thanks to its Siri voice assistant and an admirable selection of basic and casual games.
Like many streaming devices, the Apple TV comes in 1080p and 4K versions. The 4K variant is quite expensive, so it is worth considering how often it doubles content in Full HD resolutions versus quad HD or UHD.
How To Choose The Best Miracast Or Screen Mirroring Device For You
The best Miracast or screen mirroring device depends on the devices you already own. Bottom line: If you plan to stream from a Windows PC, get the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. If you plan to cast from an Android device, get Google Chromecast. If you plan to stream from a Mac OS or iOS device, get an Apple TV. Most screen mirroring protocols are not compatible with each other, so if you don’t buy the right receiver, you might be staring at a $ 50 paperweight.
Just keep in mind that when it comes to Google and Apple devices, you have two options each. A normal Google Chromecast or a normal Apple TV can support resolutions up to 1080p. If you’re mirroring from a very powerful device, you might want a Google Chromecast Ultra or Apple TV 4K. These streaming devices support resolutions up to 4K. Just keep in mind that you’ll need a fairly strong internet connection to reliably mirror high-resolution content.
How We Test Miracast and Screen Mirroring Devices
Testing the best Miracast and screen mirroring devices is pretty straightforward. We connect a receiver to a television and then see how reliably it reflects the content. We test photos, music, videos, office documents, and even video games, not necessarily because each represents a realistic scenario, but to see how reliable each device is when pushed against its limits.
We tested Miracast devices with Windows PCs and Android phones, Google Cast devices with Android phones and Chrome browsers, and AirPlay devices with Macbooks and iPhones. Each receiver has to prove itself in both a home and office network, as screen mirroring has some productivity applications as well. In home test cases, we are particularly interested in how video mirroring compares to native apps on streaming devices.
However, the truth is that testing Miracast and screen mirroring devices is a fairly simple process, as the receivers don’t have many moving parts. If they work well, you will know in half an hour, and if they work poorly, you will know much earlier.
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