At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Huawei today unveiled its latest multi-device concept, dubbed the “Super Device”. Despite what the name might apply, this isn’t a one-off device, but rather an extension of the cross-device collaboration features we’ve seen on Huawei’s top phones and PCs over the past couple of years. last years. Huawei’s latest effort builds on this feature, allowing various Huawei gadgets to be paired together to form – you guessed it, a “super device”.
We’ve tested Super Device on three of Huawei’s latest devices over the past week – the P50 Pocket, MateBook E and 28.2″ MateView – and we’re pretty impressed with how good it all is.
Run multiple phone apps on PC
The experience begins in the Huawei Control Panel application preloaded on the manufacturer’s PCs. From there, nearby devices appear and can be clicked and dragged to form a Super Device pairing. The most obvious pairing is a Huawei phone and a PC – when connected wirelessly, the handset can be controlled through a window on the PC.
It’s a natural pairing for a touchscreen device like the MateBook E and many of the use cases here are pretty obvious. Many social apps and messengers work better on a phone than on the web. But Super Device brings additional features, such as playing media through the paired PC and sharing PC screen recordings to phone.
One of the coolest parts of this feature is the fact that you aren’t limited to running one app at a time on the phone when it’s part of a Super Device pairing with a PC. Many phone apps can be split into separate windows, giving you the ability to run multiple phone apps at once, each in its own “full screen” PC window.
Since the input and audio are included in the connection between the PC and the mobile device, you can also type directly into the applications and have the video and audio of the applications play on the PC wirelessly via the pc. Pairing the Huawei MateBook E with the P50 Pocket, I was impressed with the responsiveness of PC-side controls. Unlike some other Android PC tethering apps, there was no sign of lag, sound distortion, or video compression artifacts. The only part of the experience where I encountered minor issues involved scrolling in certain apps and enabling gestures around the edge of the screen for multitasking.
Huawei’s new multi-device feature also makes it easier to share files between phone and PC. Apps, including the Stock Gallery and Files apps, support drag-and-drop functionality, essentially allowing you to use the phone, wirelessly, as an extension of the computer.
Super Device makes your smart monitor even smarter
Huawei’s latest MateView 2021 monitor can already pair with the company’s smartphones by scanning the NFC connection area on the base of the screen, enabling hassle-free wireless display mirroring.
Super Device extends this functionality to PCs, pairing in the same way via the PC Control Center application. The wireless connection unfortunately doesn’t support the full 3840 x 2560 resolution of the MateView, but the connection is almost instantaneous – and, if you’re using a smaller convertible laptop like the MateBook E – it’s potentially more convenient than to run wires across your floor. If you’re sitting at a desk using the MateView, plugging in via a Thunderbolt connection is still the optimal solution – you’ll get all the benefits of the 4K-plus 3:2 high resolution display, plus two more USB ports. and 3.5mm headphone jack.
That said, if you’re connected to a display via Super Device, input devices such as keyboards and mice plugged into the display will be accessible to the PC, which is a neat touch. (Obviously, don’t expect a completely latency-free experience if you hook up your peripherals this way).
The same basic functionality is supported by Huawei’s MatePad tablets. Similar to Sidecar on Mac and iPad, Super Device lets you turn your nearby Huawei tablet into an extension or mirror of your laptop screen. This feature also includes support for the Huawei M Pencil, allowing you to use the tablet as a secondary display or drawing slate for a PC that lacks stylus functionality.
The main weakness here is that it is not possible to add both a phone and a monitor to Super Device at the same time. Presumably, for bandwidth reasons, you’ll need to disconnect your phone if you want to wirelessly connect to a secondary display and vice versa.
It’s no secret that Huawei is currently facing challenges in its phone business as it is cut off from 5G technology and Google-branded Android software. But Super Device shows the strengths of its ecosystem through a variety of product categories, including those only indirectly related to Android.
Huawei Super Device is supported on the company’s latest Android and HarmonyOS devices, including the P50 Pocket and P50 Pro, as well as recent Windows PCs and the MateView (2021) monitor. You will need version 18.104.22.168 or higher of the Huawei PC Manager application to take advantage of all the different features of Super Device.