You’ll need one of the best Miracast or screen mirroring devices if your goal is to cast content from your phone, tablet, or computer to a TV. While the best streaming devices can stream content from popular streaming services, a Miracast gadget will allow you to display anything you want on a TV screen, whether it’s an obscure video app , a selection of photos or a desktop presentation. The technology is a little dated, but it’s still arguably very useful.
Truth be told, though, the best Miracast devices have stagnated a bit over the past few years. Technology hasn’t improved significantly, and what worked a few years ago still works well now. Miracast is also no longer the only game in town 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 gadgets.
As such, I’ve put together a short list of three different devices for screen mirroring protocols. It includes our best Miracast gadget recommendation, as well as devices you can use for better screen mirroring experiences on Android and Apple. (Miracast is still arguably your best bet for Windows PCs.)
- What are the best Miracast and screen mirroring devices?
- The best Miracast and screen mirroring devices you can buy today
- How to Choose the Best Miracast or Screen Mirroring Device for You
- How we test Miracast and screen mirroring devices
What are the best Miracast and screen mirroring devices?
The best Miracast and screen mirroring devices is not a very long list. As stated above, Miracast is not a perfect streaming protocol at best. The fact that it is quite easy to produce Miracast receivers means that there are many second-rate products. Many devices support Miracast protocols, from Rokus to Amazon Fire TVs, but for my money, I’ve only ever found one that worked as expected. This is the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. You plug the gadget into a TV, 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 are not committed to Miracast as a screen mirroring protocol, other companies have created better ones. Take Google, for example, with its Google Cast feature. It works like Miracast and you can mirror content from Android device or Chrome browser. You can use Google Chromecast as a receiver. The normal Chromecast works well if you intend to mirror at 1080p; higher resolutions will require a Google Chromecast Ultra instead.
On the other hand, if you fall on the Apple side of the spectrum, you can grab an Apple TV and use the AirPlay mirroring protocol. AirPlay is compatible with Macbooks and iOS devices, and works the same as any other mirroring service. An Apple TV can be especially useful for Macbook owners, as Miracast only works with Windows PCs and Android devices.
The best Miracast and screen mirroring devices you can buy today
Miracast is a technology that allows Android and Windows devices to cast content to TV screens. Most Miracast receivers range from terrible to passable, but the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter works as it’s supposed to. The device is a small HDMI stick 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 lag. Just plug it in, connect your PC or Android device and see your content on the big screen. That’s all the device does and all it should do.
Keep in mind that since Miracast only works with Windows PCs and Android devices, this adapter won’t do you any good if you have a Mac OS computer or an iOS phone. There are however solutions for these devices further down this page.
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 quality loss. While many devices offer Google Cast functionality, the cheapest and easiest is the Chromecast, which costs very little and uses your existing mobile device or computer as a remote. Google’s standard Chromecast can stream content in 1080p, while its more expensive Ultra variant can handle 4K media.
Although Google Cast works best with Android phones and tablets, you can also use it with computers. If you’re using Google’s Chrome browser, you can “cast tabs” or mirror anything you have open in a Chrome tab on your TV. This feature isn’t as solid as Google Cast on phones, but it’s still a handy option for those who want to get the most out of their Chromecasts.
AirPlay is one of the oldest and most reliable screen mirroring protocols. Using an iOS mobile device or Mac computer, users can mirror their screens to an Apple TV. Setup and activation are essentially foolproof, and the quality of streaming music, photos, and videos is excellent. Apple TV is also a full-featured set-top box that runs apps for most major streaming sites and plays movies, music, and podcasts straight from iTunes. Additionally, Apple TV offers sophisticated search through its Siri voice assistant and an admirable selection of basic and casual games.
Like many streaming devices, the Apple TV is available in 1080p and 4K versions. The 4K variant is quite expensive, so it’s worth considering how often you mirror content at Full HD resolution versus quad HD or UHD resolutions.
How to Choose the Best Miracast or Screen Mirroring Device for You
The best Miracast or screen mirroring device depends on what gadgets you already have. Simply put: if you plan to stream from a Windows PC, get the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. If you plan to stream 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 aren’t compatible with each other, so if you don’t buy the right receiver, you might find yourself staring at a $50 paperweight.
Remember that when it comes to Google and Apple devices, you have two choices each. A standard Google Chromecast or standard 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 an Apple TV 4K. These streaming devices support resolutions up to 4K. Remember that you will need a strong enough internet connection to reliably stream high-res content.
How we test Miracast and screen mirroring devices
Testing the best Miracast and screen mirroring devices is quite simple. We connect a receiver to a TV, then see how reliably it reflects 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 to its limits. .
We test 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 should prove itself on both a home network and an office network, as screen mirroring also has productivity applications. In the home test cases, we’re particularly interested in how video mirroring stacks up against native apps on streaming devices.
Truth be told, though, testing Miracast and screen mirroring devices is a fairly straightforward process, as the receivers don’t have many moving parts. If they’re working well, you’ll know in less than half an hour – and if they’re not working well, you’ll know much faster than that.