Lenovo LINK

CES 2016

Lenovo is well known for its Windows PCs but also has a growing Android smartphone business, and the new Lenovo LINK is a new accessory that ties the two together. At its most basic level the LINK is a 32GB flash drive, but when you look a bit closer you'll notice it has USB 3.0 port lined up opposite of its USB plug where it connects to your computer. When you plug your phone into that USB port via a standard USB cable, it turns your computer into a remote desktop, of sorts, for the connected phone.

Once you have the Lenovo LINK app installed on the phone and the companion software on the computer, connecting your Android 5.0 and above phone to a Windows 7 or later PC pops up a splash screen letting you connect right away. By default you'll have a remote view of your entire phone, where you can navigate and interact with it using your computer's mouse and keyboard. You can use apps, respond to messages, and even copy and paste information between the phone and the computer. You can also drag and drop files between the two devices, and it all gets transferred over the USB cable.

The second mode of interaction keeps all of the content on the phone's (or tablet's) screen, but lets you use your mouse cursor and keyboard over on the remote device. You can quickly switch between using the phone and the computer by dragging the mouse to the edge of the screen toward the other device, and you still have the ability to switch between modes and copy text or files between the devices. This second method doesn't make a ton of sense for phones, but could easily work as a rudimentary second screen experience with a tablet that has a stand.

Considering everything that the device enables, along with its ability to simply be a flash drive that allows for power passthrough to your phone (saving a USB port), it's a pretty neat buy at just $40 for the 32GB model. If it looks like something you're interested in, you can be on the lookout for availability starting in March 2016.