Rapid Review: Reflector 3

Image: Anthony Caruana/Lifehacker

If you're a presenter or trainer and you like to use iOS devices to show things from your screen off to a broader audience, it can be challenging. Perhaps you're a developer and what to see how things look on different mobile devices. Or, if you are responsible for providing AV facilities to visiting presenters, ensuring you have all the right cables and connectors for connecting smartphones and tablets can be annoying. Reflector 3 is a solution to those challenges. Here's how it works.

What Is It?

Reflector3 is an app that turns Mac, Windows and Android devices into AirPlay, Google Cast or Miracast receivers.

Image: AirSquirrels

Requirements and specifications

Windows system requirements Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10
Mac system requirements macOS 10.10 or newer (Reflector 2 is available for older versions of macOS/OS X)
Other operating system requirements Reflector 2 is available for Android and Amazon Fire TV

What's Good?

I purchased and installed Reflector 3 to an iMac running macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 and tested it with an iPhone X running the most recent beta of iOS 12 and an iPad running iOS 11.4.1.

The set up process was straightforward and the application was ready to use on my Mac instantly. There's no need to install any software on the mobile device as it uses the screen sharing and broadcast features that are already part of the operating system.

When a device connected to my Mac, a one-time code was generated at the computer to ensure my computer didn't end up with some random person connecting.

There are a bunch of features that make Reflector far more useful than a simple screen projection tool. For example, you can record your activity either as video or through screen shots easily. While screen recording available in iOS, doing it on your computer does away with the need to transfer the file from your portable device to the computer.

For folks testing software or websites on different mobile devices, being able to have multiple devices on your computer without relying on emulation is also useful.

It's also worth noting that there's Reflector Teacher which allows educators to share screens. That means teachers can share their screen to students or students can share their screens to the rest of the class. The teacher controls this.

The other big benefit is that many schools and offices have deployed Apple TV devices in order to facilitate screen sharing. There's a significant cost saving in taking a software-based approach using Reflector.

What's Bad?

If there's a problem with Reflector 3, I couldn't find it in my testing.

Should You Buy It

Reflector 3 is only available directly through the developer, AirSquirrels. It costs US$14.99.

If you need to project a mobile device display onto a computer then Reflector is an inexpensive and elegant way to do this.


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