Reflector has been a key app for people who have wanted to mirror their iOS devices to their computer, and to record the footage. Good capture cards aren't cheap. Squirrels, the developer behind this PC and Mac app, has just released Reflector 2, a paid upgrade to Reflector that brings some new features. While we listed this as our entry-level solution for recording video for yourself, is this upgrade enough to pass on a capture card? Well, there's some powerful features, but the software falls a bit short at the moment.

While Reflector's original version works great to this day, there's one killer feature that gamers will enjoy: 1080p video recording at 60 frames per second. It works great even on an integrated video card running on an Intel Core i5 processor. The actual AirPlay performance may get choppy during recording, but I've never seen actual video performance suffer because of it. This is the kind of frame rate and resolution you can only get from top-line capture cards, at least the Elgato HD 60. The quality won't be as good as an HDMI capture card because it's streaming over wi-fi, but it's not ugly. What you will notice in this clip (watch it in 1080p60 on YouTube) is that there are audio issues – and I'll get to that.

This is the launch version of a program that's doing something very unofficial and outside of what Apple (and Google!) have intended, so don't expect perfect performance. Though there are some bugs, like an audio recording issue on videos with the audio also getting out of sync, that I've seen, at least on the Windows versions on two different computers. Many of the bugs I've seen in previous software from Squirrels has been fixed in pretty short order, so I'd say to just keep calm until they're fixed. There is the ability to record your own audio commentary over videos, but it sounded like the device audio was too loud in comparison to the mic audio; some mixing options would be welcome.

A couple other great reasons to check out Reflector 2: there's support for many, many devices to be streamed to a comptuer at once. I'd suggest a powerful setup with an Ethernet connection to the computer, and a wireless-N or AC router to get the video to your computer. If you have an Android device, there's support from mirroring with Google Cast, which is supported through the Google Chromecast Android app. It works, not as well as AirPlay (which at its ideal can be very low-latency) but still pretty well. Video recording was giving me errors there as well.

So it's a bit tricky to recommend Reflector 2 for gamers right now, it's much more suited for users who just need to project and monitor multiple devices remotely. But as bugs and updates start to roll out, Reflector 2 could prove to be a very valuable tool for the person looking to dabble into iOS game recording without dropping a lot of money. Give the trial a shot. I'll still recommend a good capture card setup if you're serious, as while HDMI video capture is fraught with issues, that's a $200 investment. $15 for Reflector 2 if you're someone who just wants to casually capture video? That might just be worth it. If you already own Reflector 1, and the new Google Cast, multi-device, and 1080p60 features don't sound like they're necessary for you, then feel free to hold off on an upgrade for now.

Update: An update for Reflector 2 came out recently, and it sorts out a lot of the issues I've seen. Audio definitely works properly now, and 1080p60 recording works great. I still think the original Reflector works better for just playing through AirPlay, but even knocking down the AirPlay display resolution may help you there. But definitely, as a cheap recording solution? Now that the first big update is out, Reflector 2 is worth it for video recording. This video of Heavy Rockets from my preview was recorded through Reflector 2:

  • http://adamsimmersive.com Adams Immersive

    How does it compare (quality-wise) to tethered USB recording, as built into Yosemite QuickTime?

    • collider

      My first thought as well. If you're looking for cheap (free), use the built in recording in the QuickTime app in Yosemite. It works over AirPlay as well as usb. I will probably still upgrade my reflector license due to 1080p, but I found QT pretty usable, and not as finicky as reflector 1 (was not connecting properly lately).

  • DJEmergency

    I bought all of the AirPlay 3rd party software that's out and none can compare to the Apple TV. They all seem to lag behind a bit or have audio issues.

  • Murat

    hi, I have Reflector 2. I captured gameplay but no game audio. What can I do ?