Hands on: Samsung’s AllShare Hub turns any TV into a mirror of your phone

Samsung AllShare Hub - working

Samsung’s wireless AllShare Cast technology makes it easy to share the screen from a Samsung smartphone, tablet, or PC on Samsung HDTVs without wired tethering. AllShare is great for presentations, photo slideshows, watching video, and comes standard with several new Samsung mobile devices (including the upcoming ATIV Smart PC) and SmartTVs. But what if you have a phone or tablet but don’t want to buy a new Samsung TV just for AllShare? Or what if you want the ability to set up AllShare anywhere you go, including grandma’s house during the holidays or the HDTV in a hotel room? Samsung has a solution for that, too: the AllShare Cast Wireless Hub.

This $100 device works with any HDTV or HD monitor, all you need is a free HDMI port. But is it better than less expensive wired solutions? We went hands-on to find out.

Setting up the Hub is easy and took just a few minutes. We weren’t pleased that it needed a firmware update out of the box, but it didn’t take long. Once set up, devices will connect to the Hub automatically once AllShare is on.

Samsung AllShare Hub - setup screen

The Hub mirrors what’s on the screen by default, but it’s also possible to use it as a controller for presentations or while watching video. There are no restrictions on which apps you can use, so everything from YouTube and Google Play Movies to Netflix and Hulu Plus will work. The Hub is capable of 1080p playback, though when playing some HD content the picture isn’t as sharp as we’d expect. Nor is the audio stunning. Still, video played smoothly. 

Games are a different story. Audio started lagging after a few minutes of gameplay and occasionally the video would lag as well – not good in a fast-paced game. Thanks to this, playing games wasn’t as nice an experience as a wired connection offers. 

We were able to control the screen from up to 15 feet away, but the more distance we put between the phone and the Hub, the more we noticed small issues. Since AllShare utilizes DLNA technology, other wireless signals can interfere. Users in private homes won’t notice many issues, but those in office buildings or apartment complexes will have more trouble the farther apart the phone is from the Hub.

Given all that, is the AllShare Wireless Hub a good buy? Getting one is far cheaper than buying a new SmartTV and, when used with a laptop, gives you access to more content. No more needing to get Hulu Plus to access it on the big screen. And since the Hub is so small – 2.5 x 3.5 inches, 1.75 ounces – it’s great for use when traveling.

Overall, wired connections offer better performance but keep your phone or tablet tied to the TV whereas wireless connections allow you to roam freely but mean some degradation in quality. If wireless convenience appeals to you, this device is a good choice.

The AllShare Wireless Hub will make a good holiday gift for anyone with a Galaxy S3 (except the Verizon Wireless version, which doesn’t have AllShare), Galaxy Note 2, or Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet who likes to watch video or share pictures on the big screen. You can buy it for someone on your list or yourself directly from Samsung or at Amazon, NewEgg, and other electronics retailers.

Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.

Choosing one of these smart TVs under $300 will make you look like a genius

Buying a good cheap smart TV is easier than ever. To help you out, we've sniffed out a half dozen of the best models out there with prices starting at just $130. We've even thrown in a couple 4K smart TVs, with these UHD models still…

Apple iPad Pro 11 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: Which top-tier tablet reigns supreme?

If you're in the market for a new tablet and you want something that can double up as a laptop in a pinch, then you owe it to yourself to check out the 11-inch Apple iPad Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. We compare the two here.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Movies & TV

Our first look at 'The Punisher' season 2 hints at January 2019 premiere

The Punisher is getting a second season on Netflix, with Jon Bernthal returning to play Marvel Comics' gun-toting antihero, Frank Castle. Here's everything we know about season 2 of The Punisher so far.
Home Theater

Vizio is still rocking the Black Friday spirit with these TV and soundbar deals

If you missed out on all the great TV deals this past Black Friday and Cyber Monday, don't worry, Vizio has you covered. The company has some great discounts on its most popular 4K TVs and sounbar systems. But don't delay -- some of these…
Product Review

Step aside, Sonos: Riva's Concert is the best smart speaker you can buy

The Riva Concert series speaker is a fantastic, small-profile smart speaker with Alexa integration, truly excellent sound, and great looks, making it the perfect addition to your kitchen, living room, or bedroom.
Home Theater

Common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Home Theater

Anker’s micro projectors get an equally small price in time for the holidays

Looking for a great deal on a tiny video projector? Anker has some tiny prices on three of their smallest devices. With features like Android 7.1 and designs as small as a can of soda, these projectors make the perfect travel companions.

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.
Home Theater

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ season 2 gets a new, Spock-heavy trailer

CBS has released a new trailer for Star Trek: Discovery season 2, which premieres January 17 on CBS All Access. The new trailer features series newcomers Spock and Christopher Pike prominently.
Home Theater

From soundbars to headphones, here are the best audio deals this holiday season

Whether you're looking for a great new pair of headphones or a fantastic new soundbar to bolster the sound of your brand-new television, these are the best audio deals to be found this holiday season.
Home Theater

Radiohead, The Cure, and more to join Rock Hall of Fame. Listen to their hits

Radiohead, The Cure, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, and more have been selected to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. Here are our favorite songs from the four artists' hit-filled careers.

LG’s most affordable OLED TVs now come with $170 to $260 in gift cards

Trusted electronics retailer ABT is offering LG's most affordable OLED TV, the B8 series with $170 and $260 gift cards for the 55- and 65-inch models, respectively. While the OLED TVs don't often go on sale gift cards like this are…