Best Android apps for connecting your phone and your Windows 10 PC
Windows 10 and Android can play nicely if you know which apps to use.
Last month we looked at apps that allow you to connect iOS devices to your Windows 10 PC. But if you're on Android and Windows 10, you don't need to feel left out. There are a number of ways to connect your Android devices to your PC. In fact, due to the open nature of Android, there are even more options.
While there are many Microsoft apps available for Android, this list is about apps that connect your phone and your PC, not just services that are available on both.
From mirroring your screen to connecting your devices through the web, these are the best apps to connect your Android phone to Windows 10.
AirDroid extends your Android phone experience to your PC. You can mirror the entire phone screen and control your phone through your PC or just sync specific aspects of the phone such as notifications. You can respond to messages from your PC through SMS, WhatsApp, Kik, and other messaging services and also have the option to send quick replies to someone who calls you on the phone.
You can also use it to transfer files between your phone and your PC and control your camera remotely.
Setting up AirDroid takes a little bit of work, you have to unlock developer options and turn on USB debugging, but the app and AirDroid's website walk you through this.
There's a basic free version of the app, or you can upgrade to pro for $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year. The pro version removes ads, allows you to transfer entire folders, and grants you access to more features broken down on their website.
I like the idea of AirDroid, and it worked fairly well in my testing, but screen mirroring did run into some glitches, as did notifications. This could be based on my hardware so it's worth trying it out on your setup to see how it performs.
Vysor is another way to mirror your Android phone onto your PC. It also allows you to drag and drop files and take screenshots. You can also use Vysor to type into text boxes on your phone using your PCs keyboard.
One way it differs from AirDroid is that it allows you to use Vysor Share, though you need a Vysor Pro account, which lets you share your phone with people throughout your office.
There is a free version of Vysor but to unlock high quality mirroring, wireless connection, Vysor Share, and more features you'll need to upgrade to Vysor Pro which costs $2.50 per month, $10 per year or $40 for a lifetime.
Rather than mirroring your entire screen or all of your notifications, Textto specializes in allowing you to text from your PC. Setting it up is incredibly easy. You just need to sign up with a Gmail account on both the Android app and PC version of Textto. You can then text from your computer through Textto's PC program or the web. It works wirelessly so you can set it up and then just text from your phone or PC.
Textto doesn't replace your SMS app of choice on your phone, it just relays your text messages through your PC. I was incredibly impressed while using this and it's especially useful because Skype SMS relay still hasn't arrived on Android.
You can get the PC version from Textto's website and download the Android app through Google Play. Both of them are free.
Photos Companion comes from the Microsoft Garage. It allows you to send your photos between your Android phone and your PC as long as you're on the same wireless network. The connection works almost instantaneously and only requires scanning a QR code to set up.
The Android version of the app is free, and the Windows 10 Photos app comes for free as part of Windows 10.
There's no shortage of digital assistants on Android, but if you use a Windows 10 PC, it's worth checking out Cortana. The assistant can sync reminders, lists, notes on both your Android phone and PC. It can also sync notifications from your phone with your PC.
Cortana has become easier to access than ever on Android phones by its integration with Microsoft Launcher. Cortana is free on Android, as is Microsoft Launcher which can integrate with it, and is also built into Windows 10.
Microsoft Edge provides a nice browser experience as its own app on Android, but it's especially useful if you want to continue your browsing experience from your phone to your PC. You can select to continue viewing any webpage on your PC immediately or select to view it later.
Microsoft Edge also syncs with other aspects of the PC version of Edge including favorites so you can have a close to seamless browsing experience.
Edge is part of Windows 10, and the Android version is free.
There are two other apps that help you connect your phone to your PC, but they are restricted to specific hardware.
Dell Mobile Connect
Dell Mobile Connect allows you to make calls and texts through your PC and also lets you read and react to notifications. Our executive editor, Daniel Rubino, has called it amazing and it looks like a big draw to anyone considering new hardware. But the app is not only restricted to working with Dell PCs, it only works with specific Dell PCs. Hopefully, we'll see more hardware from Dell supporting this in the future and other OEMs making similar applications.
Dell Mobile Connect is amazing. Full mirroring of Android on Windows 10. Make/receive calls/sms. pic.twitter.com/70zY0ZcvtL— Daniel Rubino (@Daniel_Rubino) March 1, 2018
HP also has an app of their own, HP Orbit, which allows you to send photos, text, and links between your phone and your PC. As you'd expect, it requires an HP PC. It isn't as powerful as Dell Mobile Connect but is very fast.
Over to you
These are some of the best ways to connect Android phones to Windows 10 PCs, but they aren't the only ways. What are your favourite apps and services to connect your devices across platforms? Let us know in the comments below.