Nine mirroring devices let you wirelessly present from phone, laptop and tablet | How to connect your laptop, tablet or phone to any projector
Many of the inexpensive devices that stream entertainment media over a home Wi-Fi network - Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku and others - can also be used in the boardroom. The nine devices we've rounded up both wirelessly connect and plug into a projector, TV or large monitor and can mirror the display of a laptop, tablet or smartphone so you can make presentations from your own device - and from anywhere in the room.
Some use a HDMI cable for connecting to the display, while others resemble thumb drives and plug directly into the HDMI port. Most are about the size of a pack of cards or even smaller, making them easy to take on the road. They can also, of course, be set up permanently (and unobtrusively) with a display in a conference room, and then all you need to do is walk in, tap a few keys and you're on the big screen.
The bad news is that one device does not fit all business situations. For example, Apple TV can only connect with Macs, iPads and iPhones and Chromecast works with Macs, Windows PCs, iOS and Android devices, but relies on apps rather than true mirroring for most devices.
That means that if you're really serious about accommodating all types of laptops and mobile devices, you should consider getting two mirroring devices. Otherwise, choose the one that best suits your needs.
1. Connect laptop, tablet or phone to any projector: Himedia Q10 PRO
Probably one of the most expensive devices listed, the Himedia Q10 PRO offers an Android TV box with a great user interface.
The Q10 PRO supports mirroring for most Android devices, and via AirPlay can mirror content on iPhones, iPads and Macs. The Q10 PRO also provides excellent support for 4K images, by bringing together Kodi’s media management and HiMedia’s format support.
The device is considerably bigger than others listed, meaning it does miss the mark regarding portability. However, the reason for its larger size is to house a massive 6TB of storage, which is quite remarkable.
2. Connect laptop, tablet or phone to any projector: Google Chromecast
With the ability to work with most mobile systems, Google's Chromecast provides an inexpensive way to wirelessly connect at work.
Currently, there are a couple of Chromecast devices that do this, the Ultra and the second-generation Chromecast.
While Chromecast can mirror an Android device, Google claims that mirroring is available on most Android devices, so you'll need to check if your device is compatible. It's also compatible with iPhones, iPads, Macs, PCs and Chromebooks, but only when you cast using one of the Chromecast-ready apps.
The software list is growing and includes the company's Chrome browser, but Chromecast's focus is on streaming games, movies and shows. There are currently no apps for casting PowerPoint or Keynote presentations, for instance, although you can cast Google Slides presentations via the Chrome browser.
3. Connect laptop, tablet or phone to any projector: Apple TV
Using Apple's AirPlay technology, Apple TV mirrors material on a Macs or iOS devices. This leaves out Windows PCs, Android devices and Chromebooks.
Apple TV supports HD video and can deliver digital audio via an optical cable (if you have a projector, display or speakers with an optical port).
On the downside, it's larger than most other devices in this roundup, and it uses an AC cord, so it can't be powered by the display.
Apple TV is one of the more expensive mirroring devices, so its ideal users is one running an iOS office.
4. Connect laptop, tablet or phone to any projector: IOGear Wireless Mobile and PC to HDTV - WiDi and Miracast Adapter
Despite its long-winded name, IOGear's Wireless Mobile and PC to HDTV - WiDi and Miracast Adapter is a simple and versatile way to present from a phone, tablet or notebook. Fortunately, it has a nickname: GWAVR.
IOGear's GWAVR mirrors Windows PCs equipped with Intel's WiDi technology, Android devices that support Miracast, plus many Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets (through Samsung's AllShare Cast). With the free iMediaShare iOS app, it can also play video, images and audio from iOS systems - but not mirror them.
The device serves up HD video and adds the luxury of 5.1 surround sound through its HDMI plug. For power, its micro-USB cable can be connected to the display or to the included AC power adapter.
There is a full-size USB port, but it's for firmware updates, not for playing content off of a memory key or for powering the device.
5. Connect laptop, tablet or phone to any projector: Roku 3 and Roku Streaming Stick
If you have either a Roku 3 or a Roku Streaming Stick, it's as handy for boardroom presentations as it is for playing online games and movies.
The Stick and Roku 3 models couldn't look more different: The former is like a long Amazon Fire TV Stick key, while the latter resembles Apple TV. Roku engineers have verified the devices' mirroring capabilities on select Android, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone devices. Like others listed, Miracast mirroring won't, of course, work with Macs, iOS devices or Chromebooks.
Roku Streaming Stick
6. Connect laptop, tablet or phone to any projector: Amazon Fire TV Stick
The Amazon Fire TV Stick can mirror most Android phones, tablets and laptop's displays if it runs Android 4.2 or higher and is a Miracast-enabled device (you can check here)
The latest generation of the Fire TV Stick offers Alexa voice control for Amazon Video, universal search for a variety of apps including Netflix and custom content based on your viewing habits. And while these features aren't strictly business-focused, this stick is great for both home and business life.
The most obvious drawback to this device is its lack of iOS support, and while it does offer support for a large number of Android devices, this is a major drawback for those using an iPhone. However, it is cheap enough to be bought alongside another media stick, for example, if users have an iPhone and an Android tablet.
7. Connect laptop, tablet or phone to any projector: Belkin Miracast Video Adapter
Slightly larger than a typical thumb drive, the Belkin Miracast Video Adapter can mirror what's on Miracast-equipped systems.
The Miracast standard makes a direct peer-to-peer connection between the source and the display via Wi-Fi Direct technology. Sadly, it doesn't work with Macs, iOS devices, Chromebooks or older Windows PCs, but you can find a list of compatible devices on Belkin's website.
It's easy to use: Just plug its HDMI connector into a display; the screen provides connection instructions for mirroring the device in HD resolution.
8. Connect laptop, tablet or phone to any projector: Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter
Built using Wi-Fi Certified Miracast technology, the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter will wirelessly send media from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to your monitor, TW or projector.
Like the Fire TV Stick, the Microsoft device is a small stick with an HDMI plug on the end. But unlike the others, it has an attached 300mm cable with a full-size USB connector at the other end for powering the receiver; it can be plugged into an AC adapter or a USB port on the display.
The Miracast-based receiver connects via Wi-Fi Direct to mirror HD material on most Android devices as well as recent Windows systems 8.1 and up. On the downside, it won't work with Macs, iPads, iPhones, Chromebooks or older Windows systems.
For Windows 8.1 systems, establishing the connection couldn't be easier. Just pull the Charms menu out of the right side, tap Project and then 'Add a wireless display.' In a minute you'll be mirroring the screen's contents.
9. Connect laptop, tablet or phone to any projector: StarTech Wireless Display Adapter with Miracast / WiDi for Mobile Devices
If you want to connect wirelessly to an older display, you're out of luck with the other devices listed here - but StarTech's Wireless Display Adapter delivers analog video. In addition to its HDMI digital connector, the StarTech unit comes with an AV cable that has plugs for an analog display's composite video and audio connectors.
It works with Miracast systems for compatibility with Android 4.3 and up and Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 devices, but it can't work with MacBooks or iOS devices. Powered by an AC adapter, the device can't be display-powered. While also supplying a USB port for instantly displaying images, video or audio from a thumb drive.
The Wi-Fi Alliance has defined standard ways to carry out common uses of Wi-Fi Direct
The system lets people access a range of media content from Google Play and other services
The devices will plug into smart TVs and monitors