Most owners of iPhones and iPads know that, thanks to AirPlay, they can mirror their devices' screens to a TV -- but only with a $99 Apple TV box connected.
OK, but what if you want to mirror to your PC instead? That could prove useful in a variety of scenarios, including training, education, presentations, and gaming. Too bad there's no "AirPlay for PC."
Actually, there is: Mirroring360 offers iDevice mirroring to any computer. This new utility comes from Splashtop, the software shop best known for its remote-access apps. It's available now for Windows; Mac users can grab an early-release version.
To get started, you merely install the client, create (or sign into) a Splashtop account, then grab your iDevice. Swipe up from the bottom, tap AirPlay, and then choose your PC from the list of available devices. Then just toggle on Mirroring and you're good to go.
Keep in mind this is a one-way solution: You can't interact with the mirrored (i.e., monitor) version of your iPhone or iPad. However, Mirroring360 does support audio, meaning you can enjoy bigger, louder sound in videos, games, and the like.
The software is expected to sell for $11.99, but it's currently available for $6.99 as part of an introductory special. There's also a free seven-day trial, which is good because my tests with an iPhone 5S revealed a lot of lag. Whenever I rotated my screen, it took several seconds for the mirror to catch up. Audio frequently suffered from static. And videos flat-out wouldn't play.
Your mileage may vary, of course, but for this user, Mirroring360 isn't quite ready for prime time. Fortunately, it's not the only tool to offer this capability. Squirrels' Reflector also mirrors iDevices to PCs (Windows and Mac), and also lets you try it for a week. (After that: $12.99.) Unfortunately, it exhibited very similar lag issues on my system.
Ultimately, if you want iDevice-to-PC mirroring, you can have it -- and for a lot less than the price of an Apple TV. Just don't expect miracles.