Review #12: Asus PC Link (Windows, Android)

Most major phone manufacturers nowadays bundled their Android phone with apps meant to improve the user’s experience. My phone’s manufacturer, Asus, is no exception, with its large list of pre-installed (and uninstallable) apps they put on my phone: Supernote (a note-taking software similar to Evernote), What’s Next (an agggregated view of social media updates, calendar events, contacts list, and weather report), and Microfilm (a slideshow creator).

And I don’t use any of them. Not to say that they’re bad (if reviews on Google Play are to believe), but I simply either don’t need them, or uses something that fits my needs better. But PC Link is something I thought could be useful, since it claims to let me mirror my phone’s screen to my computer’s.

To start using PC Link, you must download and install its Windows version from Asus’s website,. Afterwards you’ll be prompted to restart your computer, and then you can see PC Link’s icon on the notification area.

On first run, a wizard would help you set up your computer with your phone. Make sure you have Android driver installed on your computer and have USB debugging and MTP enabled on your phone. Plug your phone to the computer, make sure PC Link runs on the foreground on your phone, verify your phone, and you’re done. If you run Android 5.0 and up, you can also use Wi-Fi connection.

A new window would appear, showing a mirror of your screen. When you use PC Link, your phone’s keyboard would be hidden, since obviously you can use your physical keyboard.

Clicking the down-facing arrow on the top of the window will show you several options, including taking a screenshot and recording the screen (in .MP4 format), The result would be saved on your My Documents folder.
You can also copy text from your clipboard to your phone.

If you play a video using the default video player, it would automatically put the screen  to landscape mode, but you’ll need to manually press the Maximize button to put the mirror to full screen. The audio would also come out from your computer’s speakers.

On the settings menu, you can change the default save folder, start PC Link automatically after login/when your phone is connected, and change the display quality.

PC Link also lets you send files from your computer to your phone from the right-click menu. This sounds like a good feature, but it doesn’t work at all.

The next time you open PC Link, you won’t see the wizard; instead, you’ll see this more straightforward interface.

Conclusion

Asus PC Link is quite easy to set up and to use, but unfortunately some of its most useful features are not available for my Android version. Some of PC Link’s features (notification access, connect via Wi-Fi) are not available for Android versions lower than Lollipop (5.0). Although I use Android 4.4, I still got a message on both versions to allow PC Link to read my notifications. This can be confusing.

Although you can navigate your phone from your computer with this app, I found it really awkward. Scrolling through a list using the scroll bar/touch pad would send you really far from where you started, and I kept forgetting that buttons like Escape, Backspace and F5 doesn’t work as you’d expect it to be on the computer. Well, although Android is possible to navigate using the mouse and keyboard, it’s not the way it’s designed.

After all, I found PC Link to be a good piece of software, but I don’t find much use to it other than to display the screen of my phone to a computer screen and to create screencasts of my phone without root. If you’re running Android Lollipop or newer, you can do more with PC Link, though.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Screen recording and capturing capability
  • Clipboard integration

Cons:

  • No keyboard shortcuts
  • File sending doesn’t work
  • Some features unavailable for Android <5.0
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