Using the tiny, on-screen keyboards on smart-phones and tablets can be difficult and counter-productive. Most portable keyboards for mobile devices require crunching your fingers together to type, which doesn’t fix the problem.

Typing on a full keyboard is more productive and much easier. AirDroid and Pushbullet close the convenience gap for getting notes, text documents and photos onto your wireless smart-phone or tablet.

AirDroid

The new AirIME feature on AirDroid lets you type within any apps on your Android phone, all from the comfort of your desktop computer. What you type with your desktop keyboard will appear on your phone in real-time.

AirMirror is another really useful feature on AirDroid. You can do screen recording and copy/paste across devices. It is super easy to use, too. Just press the record button at the bottom of the AirMirror window to start recording. Click it again to stop and save the recording as a video file.

The copy/paste feature might be more useful to students. Use it to copy text on your desktop or laptop and then paste it into any apps in the AirMirror window. The functionality works both ways, making it even handier. Copy text on your mobile and paste it to your computer.

How to Use AirDroid

Using AirDroid is a two-step process. First, you need the AirDroid app on your mobile device. Then download and install AirDroid on your computer. Follow the menu prompts to add one or more Android devices to your AirDroid account.

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AirDroid works with your smart-phone to put text messages into a window on your computer screen. Read messages and type responses from your computer’s keyboard. AirDroid sends your responses back to your smart-phone for delivery.

I particularly like this feature. I use it when I work on my tablets to read and answer text messages. It is much more convenient to type on a full-size keyboard rather than have to switch from computer to smart-phone during my work sessions.

One of the original features that made AirDroid so popular is its ability to let you drag and drop files from your computer to your mobile device. You can also transfer files the other way, from your mobile device to the computer.

Pushbullet

An invaluable tool to keep important information synced between your desktop and your mobile device is Pushbullet. It runs neck and neck with AirDroid in terms of being a must-have productivity tool for smart-phones and tablets. It does much of what AirDroid does, so which one you choose is a matter of preference.

I use both apps on my mobile gear. I switch between them depending on the task I want to complete. Each app works a little differently.

The one feature that keeps me using Pushbullet, however, is how smoothly it handles pushing notifications from my smart-phone to my computer screen. I can see each notification displayed on my smart-phone’s screen. I can also click on the pop-up window on my computer screen to block a particular recurring notification during that work session, or remove the notice from the smart-phone display.

This functionality is especially useful when I leave my phone in another room. I can instantly see when I have a text message, incoming phone call or reminder alarm.

One other advantage to Pushbullet is the cost. Both services are basically free, but AirDroid has a cap on the amount of data you can swap between devices before running out of the free service.