From Koush, the developer behind ClockworkMod and dozens of other interesting Android apps, comes Vysor, an app built around screen mirroring with a developer-based focus. Vysor requires you to already have your PC hooked up to the TV or monitor you want to mirror to, but it's also one of the best systems of this kind that allows you to mirror your entire phone to a display. It does have a free tier available for users, which allows you to mirror and control your Android phone and take screenshots from your computer, but to get any kind of actual functionality out of Vysor—including wireless support, high-quality displays, and full screen mode, you'll have to invest in Vysor Pro, a subscription that'll run you either $1.99/month, $9.99/year, or $39.99 for a permanent license.
Let's start with the basics. Unlike with Google's Cast system, Vysor is seemingly aimed more at the professional audience over the video and content consumption group that Cast is marketed towards. While Vysor supports every individual app on your phone, the platform really advertises two separate uses: games and business users. As for games, the app supports full keyboard and mouse control, making it easy to play any number of games that don't necessarily require touch controls. Angry Birds, for example, works well with a mouse control as opposed to touch controls, and we'd be shocked if any number of Android MOBAs didn't feel better with a full mouse and keyboard instead of touch controls. Of course, since you're essentially using a keyboard and mouse to emulate traditional touch controls, you'll have to test each game independently.
Like we mentioned, Vysor does have a free program, but it's so incredibly limited, you're going to want to bounce up to the Pro tier for at least the monthly $1.99 payment just to see if the program is actually worth it to you. The free program does allow you to mirror your phone, but to do it, you'll have to use a USB cable and ensure that USB debugging is enabled, an extra (and annoying step) that something like Chromecast doesn't require. Once you do plug your phone into your PC (after you've installed Vysor's own software, either through their website or the Chrome Web Store, a great option for Chrome OS users), you'll be prompted to find your device through the service's own software setup. It's a bit annoying to have to keep a wired connection, as is the lack of any other premium content inside the free tier. If you're looking to get any kind of long-term use out of Vysor, you'll have to take the plunge for the Pro model, at least for a month.
So what does their premium plan offer besides the ability to ditch cables? Well first, the addition of higher quality mirrors are excellent, since the free tier displays your phone or tablet's in a smaller, poorer-resolution window. This makes the benefit of full screen on the premium tier worth it too, since you can your phone's display nice and large for any kind of media or presentations you'll have to give through your PC. You gain that wireless access, but cables are always going to make your connection more secure and stable, so it's nice to have the option for both. Vysor does support a pretty solid drag-and-drop file system that makes file transfers on Android a bit easier, but Google Drive can effectively offer the same thing and for free, making it the better option between the two. And since DRM prevents you from using Vysor to mirror Netflix, Hulu, or most other entertainment-based apps, this won't be replacing your Chromecast anytime soon.
Ultimately, Vysor is so different and used for so many utilities outside of entertainment that it's difficult to compare it to something like Google Cast and Google Home. While both are ultimately designed and built to focus on offering the best experience for their two separate use cases, you'll really have to make a decision between both platforms from testing them out to decide which you prefer. In an ideal world, something like Vysor would be able to bypass or allow for DRM-based media apps to use the platform, to help cast content like Amazon Prime Instant Video, but as it stands right now, the two choices are more in line with equality than a "winner" and "runner-up." If you're looking for something to beam entertainment from your couch to your television, there's no doubt that Chromecast is the app for you. Vysor, on the other hand, is perfect for gamers and office workers alike, or for anyone looking to cast from an app to a computer for presentations or full-screen gaming. Which experience you choose ultimately comes down to personal preference.