V-Linker Streaming Media Device great for advanced users of streaming media devices.
Today I’m reviewing GGMM’s V-Linker “smart dongle” designed to allow you to share your screen from Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac on any TV with an HDMI port. It offers not only Miracast for compatible devices (many Android handsets) but also connectivity over WiFi through a simple and effective app that runs on essentially any smartphone or desktop machine.
The unit looks very similar in size to a Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV Stick and comes with an optional short pigtail HDMI cable in case your TV’s HDMI ports are positioned in such as a way that the V-Linker won’t fit which is a nice touch. Also included is a Y cable that connects to the V-Linker and a USB power source which can be your TV’s power or aux port or any common USB charger type device. My TV’s like to turn off the power to the aux port when they turn off, but the V-Linker boots in seconds when power is applied which I cannot say for my Roku or Fire TV.
This device is markedly different than the devices it might look similar to. The V-Linker seems designed primarily to be a wireless display for other devices you already have and doesn’t support direct casting from apps like YouTube like the Chromecast does.
The EZcast app is readily available on the Google Play store and finding it was simple with the included links and QR codes in the manual. Once installed it walked me through the steps of getting connected to the V-Linker and I had no difficulty with the connection process. After tapping “Mirror” from the app, my Android desktop and anything I played or ran on it appears on the screen. The app does support some interesting extra features and when using its captivated browser that unfortunately displays extra ads, you can stream from YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook videos, Internet Radio stations, and your own video and photo collection from your phone. Most of these features worked OK, but I did have to restart the app occasionally for stability issues. The device also supports DLNA so you can stream from your Plex or similar media server. You can use the DLNA features even if you phone or tablet is not directly connected to the V-Linker’s special network.
The EZCast app for Windows requires you to create an account or login with Facebook or Google in order to retrieve the installer package which is somewhat annoying, but at least I can decide what information to share with the V-Linker manufacturer. Once installed the interface is very similar to the Android app and requires that you use your Laptop’s WiFi interface to connect to the V-Linker, so you’ll need to be in range. Once this is done, sharing your laptop screen to the TV is simple and works surprisingly well. It was even able to handle my rather complex network setup on my laptop with WiFi, wired connection, and work related virtual networks. It found the V-Linker, asked for the code displayed on the screen, and connected up. Video quality was good and very usable for streaming video from websites and running presentations. You can also choose video and audio files directly from the machine to cast to the V-Linker.
When not using the DLNA feature or Miracast (which they call EZMirror), this device requires you to be connected to its own internal WiFi network it creates. Normally I’m not a fan of this type of connection because usually it means you can’t use your phone’s Internet connection while you are connected to a device’s WiFi, but the V-Linker during set up walks you through the process of connecting it to your home’s WiFi first so that it can repeat it out to any device connected to it. Then the EZCast app will find the device and connect up and you won’t lose your connection to the emails, notifications, and social media while mirroring your screen. This internal WiFi has the added benefit of enabling screen sharing even if there is no dedicated WiFi network in the area. So if you are wanting to allow people to give presentations on a projector, but don’t want to give them the keys to your WiFi network, the V-Linker offers an interesting solution since it provides its own network that can be strictly for screenshare video if you wanted.
I see the market for this device being the power user who knows what terms like Plex server and Miracast are or the professional on the go who wants to make sure she can present to the projector in a conference room without packing long cables or adapters, just the V-Linker. Or for one who wants to move around the room with a tablet and share video or materials. Most home users might be better served by a Chromecast or similar device simply for the ease of use, simpler setup, ease of casting YouTube without special ads, and the ability to not to have to worry about switching wireless networks on your devices.
BUY FROM AMAZON
For more information, visit ggmm.com/Vlinker.
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