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Unified Remote turns your Android into a PC controller

With Unified Remote, your phone becomes a wireless keyboard, mouse, and control center, useful for controlling your PC from a distance.

Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET

If you'vemirrored your computer on your television for Internet video streaming, music playback, or even general computer usage, you know the setup can be cumbersome.

The biggest challenge here is finding a reliable solution for typing and navigating from the seat of your couch.

Unified Remote solves this dilemma and turns your phone into a keyboard and mouse, and also offers "quick launch" functions for doing things like prompting the Start menu, managing files, controlling playback, stopping tasks, and even shutting down the computer.

Previously we shared a simple keyboard and mouse solution for Android, and a similar one for iPhone, but Unified Remote's advanced feature offerings undoubtedly beat them both. Check it out:

Now playing: Watch this: Turn your Android phone into a keyboard and mouse

Step 1: Download and install the Unified Remote Server on your computer (Windows only). Once installed, launch it.

Step 2: Connect your Android phone to the same Wi-Fi network as your computer. Alternatively, if your computer is Bluetooth-ready, pair it with your phone.

Step 3: Download and install Unified Remote from the Play Store. At launch, confirm that you've installed the server. Then add a new server, select "Automatic," and the app will find your computer. Tap your computer's name to connect.

Now you're ready to start controlling your computer with your phone. Tap Remotes in the app. The "Basic input" remote will prompt the mouse, which you can use as a trackpad. Instructions for using the mouse will appear on-screen. To prompt the keyboard, tap your phone's menu button.

Back in the list of Remotes, you'll see the many other ways you can control your computer with the app. Here are a few useful ones:

  • File Manager: Browse and open files from within the app.
  • Media: Pause, play, and skip any local media.
  • Power: Shutdown, restart, hibernate, and other power options.
  • Start: Access the Start menu to easily launch programs.
  • YouTube: Control the playback of streaming YouTube videos.