We’ve all been on a situation in which we’ve needed to show certain content to several people, and the easiest way of doing it is through our phones. Be it a family meeting, a work presentation or just having fun, everyone has to gather around our tiny screens and watch Aunt Marie’s latest photos of her trip to Albuquerque or Welbeck’s last-minute goal against Leicester City.
If you have a Chromecast around, you could mirror your phone screen to make it easier to everyone. But what if you don’t have one? Then get one. Seriously. But also, the Play Store, as always, has several apps to address your needs. One of these apps is Screen Stream Mirroring, which not only offers mirroring to web browsers, media players and Chromecasts, but also to Twitch, Youtube and Ustream.
Price: Free, $5.49 for the Pro version.
- Extremely easy setup.
- Several options for local and remote streaming.
- Screen recording works perfectly.
- A plethora of options to choose from.
I’m happy to say that there’s virtually no initial setup needed. Android just mentions that the app will start capturing everything that’s displayed on my screen. You then have to press Start Now, and the app is ready to work. Each method of mirroring the display has its own small compulsory setup, but none of the ones I tested was overly complicated.
Screen Stream Mirroring offers multiple ways of mirroring your device’s screen, but the easiest one is undoubtedly through a browser, using WiFi or your data connection. You only have to type an address and the screen is streamed to your browser instantly. I was pleasantly surprised at how hassle-free the experience was. When mirroring, you can press the Camera button in the app’s persistent notification and it will show a small camera overlay in the bottom right corner. For the most part, this works without issues, with the stream lagging only 2-3 seconds behind the actual screen’s output.
I also tested the app using VLC media player for Windows. The same process applies: you type an address into the “Open Network Stream” option, and the mirroring starts seamlessly. The experience was almost exactly the same as mirroring through the browser, albeit with minimal artifacts that don’t interrupt the otherwise pleasant experience.
You can also stream your screen to services such as Twitch, YouTube and Ustream. Also, the app gives you an option to input your own information. This way, you can stream your phone’s screen to any server. I personally tested streaming to Twitch. To start showing that Clash of Clans village to the gaming world, you only have to choose a server URL and get your key from Twitch. The app makes the process easier by redirecting you to a web page where you can easily get this key.
After changing my encoding bitrate to adjust it to my internet’s glacial speeds, I actually got it working. I’m sure that this mode will work better for you people with decent internet speeds, but the fact that I could actually stream my screen to Twitch talks about the reliability of this mode.
Finally, I tried the app on my 1st-gen Chromecast. When you press the Chromecast tab, the app automatically detects there’s an available device and lets you connect to it immediately. Even with some small artifacts, especially when changing between apps, mirroring works fine. However, the official Chromecast app (and the built-in option for mirroring on Android 5.0 and up) offers a better experience with less artifacts and reduced latency.
Extras and Preferences
The app also offers screen recording, with optional audio input through a microphone. If your device is rooted and you choose a microphone as the audio source, the app will use your Android’s built-in microphone to record audio. Neat. Overall, screen and audio recording are absolutely flawless. Videos are extremely fluid, even when opening several apps or browsing through heavy webpages in Chrome.
Finally, in the Preferences screen, you can change several aspects of your app, such as which camera to use for the camera overlay, audio source (none or microphone) and quality, resolution (from 144p to 1280p), encoding bitrate and max frame rate, among others. Each individual mirroring method has its own settings. For example, Twitch displays the previously mentioned server URL and key entries, while Web browsers lets you change the port number and activate a Chrome-specific mode.
Screen Stream Mirroring offers so many different, interesting features that could be useful to any Android user. Even though some modes work better than others, the app as a whole offers a satisfactory experience. Because of the nature of the app, you should definitely try the free one first to see if it works for you and your devices. If you find out that your setup works fine, then this app will make a nice addition to your Android toolbox.