Samsung AllShare Cast Dongle Review
This is a Guest review by Ethan T.
The AllShare Cast Dongle is Samsung’s version of Apple’s Apple TV Airplay feature and is available from the good people at MobileZap along with many other Samsung accessories they sell that you might like. Similar but differing from the Apple TV this dongle offers only the ability to ‘Cast’ (Airplay). The device is sleek, small and black weighing just 45 grams and measuring just 85mm by 65mm. Included in the box is also a HDMI cable (thanks Samsung!), a micro USB charger and User Guide. The dongle fits just about anywhere where there is a spare full-size HDMI port. The dongle is so small it can be hidden behind the TV and forgotten.
The dongle theoretically delivers Full HD resolution whether mirroring or casting and is dependent on the resolution of the phone that you have (which has to be a newer device made by Samsung in the last 2 years). The dongle itself doesn’t use hardly any power when in standby mode and can be left on standby. The dongle works on Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and takes advantage of Wi-Fi Direct so that the network bottleneck that can occur has no effect on performance. Once you turn on the dongle and press the ‘reset’ button the phone is then paired to the dongle. There are also easy to follow animation instructions on the TV itself when set to the dongle input channel. The first time the two devices were paired up, my phone sent a firmware update out to the dongle which allowed compatibility with the two devices and various upgrades to the firmware.
While Apple’s Airplay has been around for a while the technology relies on a Wi-Fi connection and Google is not doing too well either with its Miracast implementation. The Samsung AllShare cast plugs the hole left by these other companies and because every person owning a Samsung Phone can use it, is a win for Samsung. The AllShare technology is also built into all new 2013 Televisions so that even if you were somewhere else you could still cast something through.
All the media files local to the phone are available but the service only works with the official Samsung apps Gallery and Video Player. There is no option to send Internet video unless you mirror the phone screen to the dongle but also meaning you’ll be sacrificing battery life. The mirror functionality of the dongle is best used when playing games. When playing games though you quickly see the difference between Apple’s implementation and Samsung’s. On most basic games like say Angry Birds, the mirroring is fine but anything that tax’s the phone CPU or GPU then there is a subsequent phone to screen delay of up to 3 seconds.
The dongle performs its main function (bar intensive games) adequately but for what it does remains un-competitively priced discouraging consumer purchase. The device currently retails for $89.99. Even the new Google Chromecast is less than half of that price and the Apple TV while $10 more also offers so much more. Unlike the Apple TV or Google Chromecast the device can only be connected to one phone at a time before requiring a full reset to pair with another. All that being said the AllShare Cast dongle is fantastic for someone that likes to watch and listen to media on their Television allowing full and social use of your phone or tablet as well as second screen control and is available from MobileZap.