Samsung AllShare Cast Hub review: Meet Samsung's version of Apple AirPlay

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CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK
  • Overall: 5.7
  • Design: 6.0
  • Features: 5.0
  • Performance: 6.0

Average User Rating

3 stars 1 user review
Reviewed:
Updated:

The Good The Samsung AllShare Cast Hub pushes phone media to HDTVs without wires. The device also mirrors what’s displayed on phone screens for HDTV viewing.

The Bad Setting up the Samsung AllShare Cast Hub isn’t intuitive. The device only supports a few recent Samsung devices.

The Bottom Line The Samsung AllShare Cast Hub is worthwhile only for select Samsung mobile device owners absolutely dying to view mobile content on their HDTVs.

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Apple's AirPlay feature has bridged the living room/mobile handset divide for a while now, but Android smartphones have become extremely capable multimedia devices in their own right too. Equipped with high-resolution cameras, advanced audio and video players plus plenty of memory for storage, they now tackle the same multimedia tricks as the vaunted iPhone. Factor in how modern Android phones connect to myriad online entertainment services, and it’s easy to see the appeal of a product like the $99.99 Samsung AllShare Cast Hub. The AllShare is built to push audio and video content from Samsung’s latest handsets, including the Galaxy S III, to HDTVs without wires. While the accessory isn’t cheap, and initial setup tricky, the AllShare Cast Hub gets the job done.

Design
A rather nondescript black box, the small Samsung AllShare Cast Hub sports smoothly curved edges with no visible markings or controls. Weighing a mere 1.6 ounces, the AllShare’s light weight could conceivably qualify it as a mobile product. A full-size HDMI port and connection to an AC power adapter around the back of the device though say otherwise. Also placed on back of the AllShare Cast is a tiny reset button and is the device’s only physical control.

On back is a lone HDMI port, power connecter, and reset button. Sarah Tew/CNET

Features and performance
Essentially the AllShare Cast Hub is a very simple accessory made to accomplish one primary task. Using Wi-Fi direct technology, it mirrors what is displayed on the Samsung handset’s screen to a compatible HDTV. The AllShare also does this in real time and without stringing wires between phone and display. Keep in mind that the product is only compatible with Samsung’s Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note 2, and Galaxy Note 10.1 devices.

Physically setting up the AllShare was a snap. First I connected the supplied AC adapter and HDMI cable to the back of the Hub. Next I plugged the Hub’s power source to an AC outlet and then attached its HDMI cable to a free port on my test TV, the 55-inch Philips PFL5907.

Mirror your Galaxy S3 interface on big HDTV screens. Sarah Tew/CNET

After I switched the TV set to the correct input, I was greeted by a slick setup animation that cycled through various steps to get the AllShare Cast Hub up and running. Unfortunately, while the graphics were stylish and clearly indicated what I had to do visually, their accompanying written captions were anything but straightforward.

For example I easily understood that I had to navigate to my Samsung Galaxy S III handset’s settings menu to enable the AllShare wireless function. I found onscreen directions to “press the reset key of the dongle when the red indicator starts blinking” completely mystifying. No reason for doing this action was given aside from that it was, “To connect new AllShare device.”

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Quick Specifications See All

  • CE Product Type wireless media hub