Date Mon, December 19 2011

AirDroid is easily the one of the top 3 apps that I’ve added to my phone. It’s a fantastic tool. As the name suggests, AirDroid allows you to connect your Android device to other devices wirelessly, through your wireless LAN. So, obviously the biggest downfall is you need a WLAN in order for it to work but many people do have one. Assuming you do have one, you can use this app to access your messaging, photos, files, contacts and more from your computer or, technically, any device with a browser.

It’s really simple, too. Install the app, connect your phone to WiFi and press the start button. There’s nothing to install on your computer. Simply open the Web page in your browser by going to the provided IP address and enter in the code shown on your phone’s screen. AirDroid actually plays the alert sound when your computer connects or disconnects, which is helpful if you’re in a different room.

Airdroid in Your Browser

Airdroid in Your Browser

AirDroid’s home screen is simple. There’s some big buttons for accessing messages, contacts, etc.  AirDroid functions sort of like a desktop screen within your browser and each icon opens a new app, which you can minimize to the bottom of the browser screen but not your actual desktop. You can also see information like how much free spaces exists on your SD card and phone and the status of your battery. I love that. If I am charging my phone, I know exactly when it’s done and don’t need to guess. Plus, because I’m not using it, it charges faster.

I love AirDroid because I can keep my phone charging in my room while I’m on my computer or watching TV in the other room. I can’t tell you how many times I thought it was ridiculous that I was at my laptop but I was also replying to people via text because we aren’t able to communicate any other method. But there’s so much more you can do with it. Instead of using the default gallery or a file manager, you can more easily download photos from your phone to your compute or delete unnecessary files.

There are a few limitations, however. There’s a bit of lag with information being sent to your phone and AirDroid. For instance, I can hear my phone go off slightly before AirDroid displays new messages. The lag is exaggerated when people sent several messages in quick succession or long messages that break up. This is easily remedied by setting my phone to silent, which I simply forget to do. AirDroid alerts me to new messages with a little pop-up in the tab itself but also changes the title of the page to one that scrolls to catch your eye. Unlike the update bar on my phone, I can’t actually see who sent the messages or what they say but that’s no deal breaker.

After I close AirDroid, all the messages I’ve sent appear on my phone and my phone has marked all new messages that I’ve read on my computer as read (although, I do have to close the alerts from HandCent).

AirDroid does seem to make my browser lag a bit so you may not want to use it with a million tabs or memory-hogging activities like watching movies.  You also can’t customize the background image in your browser, as far as I know. It’s not a huge deal but it’d be awesome to be able to do it. Finally, whenever I initially connect AirDroid, it takes a minute to retrieve all the data, which can take a bit because it is using a wireless signal. This is especially true for loading image galleries, long text messages or large contact lists.

AirDroid is a must-have for any Android user who doesn’t already have a similar system. It combines my two beloved devices in one fell swoop.

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