SlimPort Hands-On: Adapter Outputs Crisp 1080p Video From Your Smartphone

Today's smartphones are orders of magnitude faster than yesterday's PCs, allowing them to play demanding 3D games or full HD movies without missing a beat. Unfortunately, when it comes time to output their video contents to a TV or large screen monitor, things aren't always as easy as they should be. Enter SlimPort, a new connector based on Mobility DisplayPort (MyDP) technology, which allows you to output 1080p content directly from your phone's USB port, without the need for an additional power source. 

At present, SlimPort's technology is only supported on two handsets: the Google Nexus 4 and the upcoming LG Optimus G Pro, both of which are manufactured by LG. While Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) video output technology, a competing standard, is employed on more phones, SlimPort provides greater bandwidth and the ability to output 3D images and 1080p at 60 hertz. After having the chance to use a SlimPort SP1002 USB to HDMI adapter to connect a Nexus 4 to an HDTV, we're impressed with the high-quality movie and gaming experience this technology provides.

To set up, we simply ran a male-to-male HDMI cable from our TV to the female HDMI-out port on the adapter and plugged the microUSB connector on the adapter into the port on the Nexus 4. After a couple of seconds, the contents of the phone screen were perfectly mirrored on the TV and the phone had reoriented itself into landscape mode to match the TV's aspect ratio. Though the Nexus 4's native resolution is 1280 x 768, our Samsung TV informed us that it was running at 1920 x 1080.

Unlike MHL which requires a power source, SlimPort simply transmits the signal from your phone to your TV. The adapter also has a female microUSB port which you can use to connect to an outlet so that your phone can charge while it outputs. 

With the Nexus 4 connected to our TV, we played a 1080p MP4 trailer for Skyfall and were pleased with the smooth motion, crisp details and clear audio. We enjoyed playing the first-person shooter game Dead Trigger on the big screen while using a Bluetooth game controller to blast zombies away. Because SlimPort provides a high refresh rate, it provides an ideal way to turn your phone into a game console. Earlier this year, Green Throttle Games, which is coming out with an Android game controller, recommended SlimPort for use with its product. 

In addition to HDMI, SlimPort also offers a VGA adapter and the MyDP technology behind it also allows it to output to DisplayPort and DVI. The SP1002 USB to HDMI female adapter is available on Amazon now for $29.95 while a USB to HDMI male cable is available for $34.95. Other adapters including a USB to VGA and a USB to VGA/HDMI Comb box will arrive later this year.

Avram Piltch
Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master's degree in English from NYU.