What is SlimPort?

Connect your mobile device to an external display.

SlimPort is a technology which so far hasn’t received widespread attention, but this is changing with the inclusion of the standard in the Google Nexus 4 & 5 as well as other devices like the LG G2.

Read on for the written explanation or sit back and what the following video that explains it all.

SlimPort uses a single cable to deliver high-definition audio and video from your smartphone, tablet or other mobile device, to a wide range of external displays, including projectors, PC monitors and HDTV’s.

What this means really is that you can connect your mobile device to a display and see the exact same content on that display as you can on your mobile device.

There are many scenarios in which this could be useful, including giving a presentation, sharing photos and videos with friends and family or playing games.

Developed by Analogix to provide easy and convenient connection of devices equipped with micoUSB sockets to external displays, SlimPort is based on the VESA DisplayPort standard.

However Analogix has cleverly combined functionality which would have traditionally used several cables into one which they call C-Wire.  This enables manufacturers to incorporate SlimPort into existing microUSB connectors.  With the result that display output, data and charging can be dealt with by one single connector.

SlimPort has been designed to use virtually zero power, meaning that it will drain little power from your portable device; so you can view content on a large screen with the reassurance that you are not using any additional battery power, compared to normal viewing.

What does this mean for the future of portable devices?

  • As a consumer you will be able to connect your portable device to large screens and enjoy high definition full 1080p video with 3D graphics and audio.
  • Connecting your portable device to a large screen can be done without having to worry about unnecessary battery power drain.
  • There is the possibility of connecting to a variety of display standards.  Making it easy to connect to a TV, monitor or projector bring more opportunities for viewing media content or providing presentations.

There are already 3 types of SlimPort adapters being offered:

HDMI Adapter

A microUSB connection at one end, which connects to the mobile device, with a HDMI port at the other.  A HDMI cable is then connected to the SlimPort adapter and the HD display. There is too a microUSB power connector should you wish to connect power to the device at the same time.

SlimPort HDMI Adapter

VGA Adapter

A microUSB connection at one end, which connects to the mobile device, with a VGA port connector at the other. A VGA cable is then connected to the SlimPort adapter and the VGA display. There is too a microUSB power connector should you wish to connect power to the device at the same time.

HDMI/VGA Combo Adapter

As the name implies, it is a combination of the 2 other cables.  A microUSB connection at one end, which connects to the mobile device and a HDMI and VGA port at the other. A VGA or HDMI cable is then connected to the SlimPort adapter and the the external display. There is too a microUSB power connector should you wish to connect power to the device at the same time.

The following video shows you a few scenarios in which using SlimPort could be useful or beneficial to yourself.

 

If you want to find out more about SlimPort take a look at the Analogix website here or check out some FAQ’s below.

FAQs:

In what scenarios would I use SlimPort?

There are a variety of scenarios where the use of SlimPort may be beneficial or useful. Examples include:

  • Giving a presentation. The presentation is stored on your smartphone. You simply connect to a display to make for a better viewing experience for the viewers.
  • Sharing photos and videos. The photos and videos are stored on your mobile device. You simply connect to a display to make for a better viewing experience for the viewers.
  • Playing games. The games is on your mobile device, but you want to use a games controller and have a more comfortable setup. Connect the games controller to the mobile device via Bluetooth, connect the mobile device to a larger display.  Sit back comfortably and play the game without needing to hold the mobile device.

Does my device have SlimPort?

You will need to check your devices technical specifications.  Look at the manual, box or consult the manufacturer directly.

A list of the latest SlimPort enabled devices can be found here (http://www.slimportconnect.com/supported-devices/).  However this list may be out of date.

Can I upgrade my device to have SlimPort?

Your device either has the SlimPort technology built in or not.  It can not be added at a later date. If your device does have it, you simply need to connect the appropriate cables.

What cables do I need?

The cables required will depend on your setup.  You will need a SlimPort adapter, which connects into the mobile device.  These are currently available in 3 different options.  They are an HDMI only, VGA only or HDMI/VGA combo connector.

An HDMI adapter can be used to connect your mobile device to a HD display, which a VGA adapter will allow connection to a display via VGA.  The combo solution allows either.

You will then need a HDMI or VGA cable to connect between the adapter and the display.

It is not essential but you may want to also connect a microUSB mains power supply to the adapter to keep your device powered.  Without it, the adapter draws next to no power, but connecting a power adapter will keep your device charged.

Can I use the same cable with other devices?

You can use a SlimPort cable only with compatible SlimPort devices.  If you have more than one SlimPort enabled device you can use the same adapter.  However 1 adapter can only ever be connected to 1 mobile device at one time.

Do I need to connect a power adapter?

It is not essential but you may want to also connect a microUSB mains power supply to the adapter to keep your device powered. Without it, the adapter draws next to no power, but connecting a power adapter will keep your device charged.

What is the cost of SlimPort?

The cost of SlimPort is broken into two parts.  The first is the cost of the mobile device itself.  This will either have SlimPort built into it or not.  The cost of the device will of course depend on what it is, its features, time of purchase etc.

The adapter cable itself is relatively in-expensive, but perhaps more expansive than most other cables such as MicroUSB cables.  This is due to the technology built into the adapter and what it can do for you.

Prices vary for the different types of adapters and of course from which supplier you obtain it.

Where can I get the cable?

There are a variety of outlets that sell the SlimPort cables, although it is unlikely to be available at your local electronics store.  It should be available from specialist suppliers, primarily online.

Search the internet for the cable you require and appropriate suppliers will appear in the results.

Is SlimPort the same as MHL?

No, they are similar but different. They are two different standards that require different adapters to work with displays.

The technology is evolving continually but primarily SlimPort outputs at a higher resolution and does not require power to be connected. It does too allow for devices to be connected via HDMI or VGA cables.

MHL on the other hand outputs via HDMI only and normally requires power to be connected to work. MHL 2.0 standard does not require this, but draws considerably more power from the mobile device when power is not connected.

The following video explains the differences.

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About Richard

Keeps the computer systems running here at Clove, whilst dealing with the more technical queries that we receive from customers.

A keen PC gamer, Richard often spends his weekends beating the competition in online games or re-building his super computer. He's also in to kickboxing and salsa dancing, Richard is a man of many talents.

Comments

  1. Thanks for this illumination. But what does SlimPort do that MHL does not? Why would the Nexus 4 use SlimPort rather than MHL? MHL seems to be better-provided for in more smartphones.

    • Chris Ward says:

      Hi Mark,

      SlimPort drains less power and the adaptor does not need to be powered by a separate charger as MHL does.