Two smartphones connected to a monitor and a computer

Over the years, phones have gotten more powerful. Even a low-end phone has more power than a PC or laptop a decade ago. Why can’t you use your phone in a computer?

The bad news is that you cannot. There are many reasons to use your phone as an alternative to a traditional computer. If you use your phone for all your computing needs, it may even save you a few hundred dollars.

Your Phone on its Own Probably Isn’t Enough

Justin Duino

While your phone has enough power to complete most of the tasks you do on a daily basis, it has limitations. The input methods are the primary issues. If you were to write a few thousand words on your phone’s keyboard, it would be very difficult. Taking the thumb strain into account is pointless.

There are some phones that are designed with more extensive use in mind. The S22 Ultra has an additional method of input. You can use the stylus to write, as you would with a regular notepad, and an app will convert those squiggles into typed text. Although the handwriting apps can make mistakes, they are a more comfortable way to write long documents. It isn’t an efficient way to write more than a few hundred words.

Bluetooth Keyboards are a Game-Changer

Arteck HB030B Universal Slim Portable Wireless Bluetooth backlit keyboard

It’s easy to connect with your phone with the help of a keyboard. Many portable options are on the market due to the fact that keyboards are built with smaller devices in mind.

You can purchase a folding keyboard that collapses into a package small enough to fit in your pocket, but it probably isn’t the most comfortable thing to type on You can take a full-sized keyboard with you, though you might want to consider a laptop at that time. You can easily find something that’s right for you with the many options.

It may seem pointless to connect a mouse to your phone, but it’s worth it. Not having to lean in whenever you want to pick something saves you a bit of back strain and you can use the touchscreen. When working on a phone screen, the pointer can save you a lot of frustration.

A phone stand and a way to keep the battery full are some of the useful accessories. I use a flip-open style phone case that can be used as a phone stand. If you don’t want to risk your phone dying if you don’t have access to a wall outlet, a small power bank is a worthwhile investment.

There’s a good balance between quality, size, and cost with the K380 keyboard. Up to three devices can be connected to a keyboard.

Samsung Takes Things a Step Further

A person using Samsung DeX

You can use your phone as a PC if you own a compatible device. Since the release of the S8 in 2017, the Korean company has embraced the idea of using a phone as a computer. As a result, the competitors are behind the competition.

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You don’t need a docking station to use the DeX mode, you just need a keyboard and mouse, and a cable to connect your phone to the display device. If you use a PC or laptop, the OS will launch automatically, and you can use it for most standard tasks. It is unsuitable for gaming and video editing, but office work, video calls and writing are within the phone’s limits. Some tablets can launch DeX on their built in displays.

Regular Android and iOS Users Have Options Too

Screen mirroring on an iPhone

While DeX is the most polished way to use a phone as a computer, a DeX-type setup is also possible on generic phones. The options are not as streamlined. They require more equipment, apps and technical know-how.

If you have a phone that supports display port alt mode, you can enable it in the developer settings menu. Once enabled, you will have to install an app, run a line of code, and install an app called Second Screen, all of which will take some time. The functions of Desktop mode are limited, and no help is currently available from the internet giant. Pixel 4 users will not be able to use desktop mode. It probably isn’t worth bothering with until the feature is implemented properly.

Before you pair a mouse and keyboard with your phone, you should connect it to a monitor with a Lightning to DVA or Lightning to Digital AV accessory. There isn’t an OS you can use to make life easier because the display will mirror the iPhone’s screen.

You can use Apple TV to cast your phone to a television. Make sure that your phone is on the same wi-fi network as the device you intend to cast to and then use the cast screen option from the Google Home app on your phone.

A Phone Can Make Your Desktop Portable

A computer accessing other computers through remote desktop

Desktop PCs are powerful, but they can be hard to move around on. You can use your PC remotely from your phone, and the software you use to make it happen is often free. Microsoft Remote Desktop can be used to access your home computer or laptop from any approved device with an internet connection. This means that your phone is as powerful as your main PC, has access to all of its files, and can use any programs that you have installed on it.

To get started, download Microsoft’s Remote Desktop assistant on the computer you want to use and the remote desktop app on the device you want to access the computer from. The assistant can help you connect the two devices. When you want to access it from your phone, make sure your PC is on and that the remote desktop assistant is running.

This is great in theory, but it’s worth pointing out that Remote Desktop can have issues and drawbacks like all software. lag spikes can be caused by slow or poor connections. You will have a lot of trouble getting a connection set up if your desktop is shut down or unplugged at any time. If the remote desktop program crashes, you will have to get someone to restart it before you can get back to work. The ability to remotely use your PC is worth working around any issues you may encounter.

It’s The Perfect Backup Solution

If you want to know if you need to use your PC or phone, you should try to use your phone once or twice. If you have some work to do and you have destroyed your computer, your phone might be the only thing you need to survive.

You can also use apps. Each app for Microsoft and Google’s office software works the same as its desktop version. If you prefer, you may be able to use email apps and video calling with a phone instead of a PC.

You can use the time to decide what you want to do with the phone and what accessories you need. I use my phone and a keyboard as a lighter alternative to my laptop when I am traveling. When it comes to most tasks, phones are a viable option, and they’ll only get better as time goes on.