Which MHL Cable should I buy?

MHL Cable choices

The chances are that if you’ve come to this post, you’re already aware that your device has MHL (video out capability), so I won’t explain what an MHL cable is used for (there are good definitions within the linked products below) and we also have this post, which explains what MHL does and shows off some of its coolest features.

MHL Cable

However, while MHL is an industry standard (meaning that in theory the same cable should be compatible with all MHL-enabled devices), that is not the case – some use an 11 pin arrangement, others use a 5 pin arrangement. The point of this post therefore is to tell you which MHL cable is compatible with your device.

Samsung Galaxy S4 / Samsung Galaxy S3 11 pin MHL Adaptor

We have created a video to show the description below in action, which you can view here

The Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy S4 MHL adaptors are interchangeable with both handsets. That’s to say, the S4 MHL adaptor will work with the S3, and the S3 MHL adaptor will work with the S4. However, there are still some differences.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 uses MHL 2.0. This means that there is no power connection needed for the MHL adaptor to work – the S4 can power the connection itself. That being said, it is advisable to power the connection if possible (using your handset’s microUSB charger) in order to prevent battery drain. Both the S3 and S4 adaptors work with the S4 without the need to power the connection.

The situation with the Samsung Galaxy S3  handset is the opposite. Both the S3 and S4 MHL adaptors will need to be powered if you are using them with the S3. This isn’t a huge problem as the microUSB charger supplied with you handset is fine for this purpose, it just makes the setup slightly more inconvenient.

The other difference between the two adaptors is that the S4 adaptor has a 60MHz refresh rate, whereas the S3 has a 24MHz refresh rate. This means that the S4 adaptor will provide a better image on screen, whether you are using it with the S3 or the S4.

Galaxy Note range

All Galaxy Notes  include support for MHL. The rules for choosing  an MHL cable are the same as the Galaxy S device of the same generation and follow the same guidelines as above

  • Galaxy Note = Samsung Galaxy S2: available HERE
  • Galaxy Note 2 = Samsung Galaxy S3: available HERE
  • Galaxy Note 3 = Samsung Galaxy S4: available HERE

Samsung 5 pin MHL tip

Samsung’s change to 11 pins stopped their new adapters being compatible with older devices and vice-versa. Due to this, a small tip accessory was created to convert original 5 pin adaptors to the new 11 pin arrangement. This is available HERE. Be aware that whilst this will make older 5 pin adaptors able to output over HDMI on newer Samsung phones, the adaptor specification remains the same. Any new MHL features present on up to date adaptors designed specifically for newer devices will not be available.

11-Pin MHL adaptor

From the Galaxy S3 onwards, Samsung modified the MHL standard to produce a specific 11 pin adapter for their range of devices. As stated above there is some interoperability between the S3/S4 generation.

Samsung Galaxy S4 MHL Cable (demo video)(also compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S3)

Samsung Galaxy S3 MHL Cable (demo video) (also compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S4)

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 MHL Cable (demo video) (the same generation and adaptor as the Galaxy S3)

5-Pin MHL adaptor

The original MHL specification. Most devices use this standard. The Samsung Galaxy S2 was the first device with this connection and the adapter for this is universal across all 5 pin handsets. For this reason, most of the devices listed below have links to a Samsung MHL adapter, rather than their own manufacturer, as this is the most readily available.

Sony Xperia Z (see a demo video for this here)

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Sony Xperia Z1

HTC One (see a demo video for this here)

Sony Xperia T

Samsung Galaxy S2

Samsung Galaxy Note

Samsung Galaxy Nexus 

HTC One X

HTC One X+

HTC One SV

MHL 3.0

In August 2013, the MHL consortium announced the specification for MHL 3.0. Continuing the improvements to 2.0 that brought powered MHL, version 3.0 has support for 4K video (2160p@30fps). The full list of improvements is below:

  • 4K (Ultra HD): Support of 4K formats up to 2160p30
  • Simultaneous high-speed data channel
  • Improved Remote Control Protocol (RCP) with new commands
  • HID support for peripherals such as a touch screen,keyboard and mouse
  • Higher Power charging up to 10W
  • Backward compatible with MHL 1 and MHL 2
  • Latest HDCP 2.2 content protection
  • Enhanced 7.1 surround sound with Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD
  • Connector agnostic – uses as few as five pins
  • Support for simultaneous multiple displays

Other accessories that offer MHL capability

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Smart Dock – due early April. It’s possible that this will also be compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S3, but we will confirm this once we have received stock.

There was a similar product for Sony handsets called the LiveDock, but this has now been discontinued.

Handsets that you may expect to have MHL, but don’t

MHL is a relatively new standard when it comes to its inclusion with smartphones, so you could be forgiven for expecting it to be included with newly released handsets. however, some new handsets do not include it, but use other standards such as SlimPort, which we explain here. Here are a list of those that we are aware of that do not use MHL and the equivalent standard that they do use.

LG Nexus 4 – SlimPort

Gameboy used to hold and control Galaxy Nexus

Retro gaming at its best

Project like this always impress me not only for their creativity, but also as a demonstration of the versatility of the Android OS.

In a more decorative version of products such as the GameKlip, this ingenious gamer has attached a Samsung Galaxy Nexus bracket to an old Gameboy controller and then configured it to function as an input method for playing Nintendo games on Android, namely Donkey Kong in this video.

The control pad is powered by 2 x AA batteries as opposed to 4 when it was a Gameboy and the circuit board of a Wii remote has been wired to the inside to do the Bluetooth communication; even the flashing of the Bluetooth LED is visible at the bottom of the controller.

While its creator notes that the setup is ‘very responsive’, it does only have two input buttons, which would make it rather tricky to play some Super Nintendo games that require all four.

Images and video available over at Instrucatbles

Via Reddit

Canonical announces Ubuntu for phones, developer build coming soon to the Galaxy Nexus

Canonical, the London-based creator of Ubuntu, last night announced a new version of its OS designed specifically for smartphones. The new OS will attempt to take convergence to the next level and takes a fresh approach to multi-tasking. The first handsets running Ubuntu for phones are expected to ship in early 2014, although an early, Galaxy Nexus-compatible build will be available for download in the coming weeks.  

“The Ubuntu phone will give you, the edge”

With Ubuntu for phones, Canonical has completely rethought the lock screen – renaming it the ‘welcome screen’. One of the main sentiments against Apple’s ‘slide to unlock’ patent is that it’s the most logical way to unlock a homescreen, but Canonical would certainly argue otherwise. As is shown in the video below, different thumb gestures on each edge of the screen will bring up different navigational options. It does look like a rather slick interface. 

Next-generation convergence 

While Ubuntu for phones is optimised to render perfectly on smartphones, it maintains the power of its desktop counterpart. A Ubuntu phone can be docked with a keyboard and mouse. It’ll then boot into the desktop interface, which will not be a simply scaled up version of the mobile interface. Think of a more responsively designed, more powerful rendition of what Motorola was aiming for with the Motorola ATRIX and Lapdock.

“One search to rule them all”

Also included with Ubuntu for phones is a universal search feature, which can search through apps, files, contacts, emails, Facebook, Twitter and of course the web as well. It sounds not that far off from Alfred, a powerful app for Mac OS X which becomes a command centre for search and navigation. There are also voice commands built into the mobile version of Ubuntu, although it could have a fair bit of catching up to do with Google Now by the time it launches.  

Compatible with Android apps? 

Ubuntu will run on the same drivers as Android, which means that even entry-level hardware that currently runs Google’s OS could easily run Ubuntu. However, this does not mean to say that Android apps are compatible with Ubuntu for phones – they are not – and at the moment Canonical does not plan to release tools to make apps easily portable from Android. The most powerful apps will be native, but Ubuntu can also run HTML 5 apps, meaning that existing web apps or those built for other mobile OS’s with an HTML 5 base will not be too difficult to repurpose. 

Joining the mobile party too late? 

While the duopoly that is currently shared between Google and Apple may appear to be unassailable at this stage, it would be naive to write off newcomers. A lot can change in the space of five years – track back the same timeframe from now and Nokia was on top, iOS and Android had only just launched – although it must be said that the penetration of feature phones is not quite comparable to the software/hardware ecosystem that is driving the current market leaders. That being said it’s unlikely that Ubuntu will directly target the consumer markets of its rivals from the off and will instead focus on its existing fan base and emerging markets. 

All in all it will be great to have another competitor enter the mobile space and it will be interesting to see what Canonical has to offer to the ever evolving mobile mix. 

Give your Android or iPhone a laser pointer via the 3.5mm earphone jack

This great little accessory called the X-pointer turns the 3.5mm jack on your Android or iPhone into a laser pointer. Its main use-case is for the likes of Powerpoint presentations, although I can also confirm that it works superbly for everybody’s favourite laser pointer use-case: playing with cats.

IMG_20121217_093847

xpointer screen shotUsing the X-pointer as a laser is simple –  attach it to your handset via the 3.5mm jack, download the X-pointer lite app (Play Store, iTunes) and you’re good to go. Within the app there is a volume slider to adjust the intensity of the beam and an on screen button that you need to press and hold to activate the laser. The compatibility of the X-pointer is listed as follows, although I have been using it perfectly with the Galaxy Nexus, which is not included on the list: iPhone (3G/3GS/4/4S), iPod Touch, GALAXY S2, S3 GALAXY S2 LTE, S3 LTE, GALAXY Note

There is another app that can be used with the X-pointer which enables you to switch between presentation slides whilst using the laser. This is called X-pointer 3 on the Google Play Store, or X-Presenter on iTunes. This app requires registration for use and unfortunately I have been unable to test this as there seems to be a bug on the registration screen (for the G Nexus that is). However, the X-pointer lite app alone makes it a worthwhile purchase in my opinion.

Also included with the x-pointer is a stylus/holder. Although it’s not that precise as a stylus, it does work well for basic navigational functions. The x-pointer slots inside the holder to protect the laser dongle when transporting and then provides rigidity when using it as a stylus. There’s also a lanyard so that it can be attached to your handset or a pair of keys. It’s a compact little accessory that measures about an inch when attached to a handset or just over in the stylus/holder. The x-pointer is available to purchase here

IMG_20121217_093937

Samsung Galaxy Note II Smart Dock

Update 23/1: The dock can be ordered HERE at £54.99 inclusive of VAT.

We’ve just listed a great looking Smart Dock for the Samsung Galaxy Note II. This is an official accessory and provides a range of connectivity features: 3 x full USB port, full HDMI port, microUSB port and 3.5mm audio jack. It’s can also be used with a Samsung flip cover (and other slimline covers) fitted to the handset.

Samsung Galaxy Note II Smart Dock Front

Unfortunately it is not yet available to order as we await pricing and availability details, but we’ll provide an update as soon as we have them.

With devices becoming more and more powerful, accessories such as this give the opportunity for a truly converged setup. If you only use a desktop computer for basic features –web browsing, media playback, etc. – this kind of setup could completely replace your computer.

The video below demonstrates a similar setup using the Galaxy Nexus, but this made use of an MHL cable and Bluetooth connectivity, rather than the more reliable USB ports and HDMI connection that the Smart Dock offers.

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A dimensional comparison of the iPhone 4 S, iPhone 5, S III, Note II, RAZR & G Nexus screens

This handy image, created by Reddit user scarr3g, should give you a bit of assistance if you are buying a new handset and are deliberating which screen size to go for. The measurements used are true dimensions (no rounding up) and go by pixels/pixels per inch. See this image (NSFW) for an in-situ demonstration with some of the handsets.

Jelly Bean now rolling out to Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus

Latest version of Android available for the Nexus line

The first orders for the Nexus 7 are now arriving in the hands of customers and in a timely fashion, the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update is rolling out to Nexus smartphones.

[Read more...]

Everyone is taking a bite out of Apple

Apple has for the past half-decade dominated the technology headlines, the design press, tablet sales and given the smartphone industry a huge kick up the you know what. The share price has rocketed and so have quarterly financial reports, but this could all be about to change.

They say that when you are at the top you can only go one way and small chinks are appearing in the aluminium armour that Apple has polished so carefully in the 2000′s. The iPad is of course selling well, but the Microsoft Surface has a big chance considering that 90% of the world’s computers run Windows. Indeed, consider Windows 8 on a smartphone, tablet and desktop and you can see where Microsoft is heading. I would bet that Microsoft will get there before Google or Apple in building an identical eco-system between all three form factors. And then there is the Nexus 7, a tablet so cheap and at 7″ it is the right size for a tablet (in my opinion). It could gain substantial ground before Apple releases the smaller iPad.

The Galaxy SIII is a fantastic smartphone and so is the HTC One X and the Galaxy Nexus. All are arguably better than the iPhone 4S from a hardware point of view and if the rumours surrounding the iPhone 5 are correct, they still will be. Apple needs to think bigger in terms of smartphones to keep pace because a new phone that is similar to the 4S in stature will not do what the previous models have done, nowhere near.

And then there is iCloud. Google does web integration better than Apple and so does Microsoft. I use an iMac every day and at no point does it feel the same as my iPad or iPhone- some of the features such as Photo Stream are useful, but Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs are my weapons of choice to get stuff done. Everywhere I turn, I see red flags for Apple and green flags for Google and Microsoft. I may be wrong and in a way I hope I am because one thing Apple does well is drive the entire industry, but those red flags keep coming back to me.

SGS2/SGS3 MHL Adaptor Tip could be a while in coming

No UK release date yet for the MHL Adaptor Tip

I’ve decided to put a TL;DR at the start of this article as it has gotten quite lengthy, so:

The SGS3 uses a different MHL adaptor to previous Galaxy devices, so an SII/Note/Nexus MHL adaptor can’t be used with the S3. An ‘adaptor tip’ (below) has been pictured on the Samsung US website to enable the use of an S2 MHL cable with the S3, but is at least two months away from being available in the UK. The SGS3 MHL adaptor is available and in stock now, albeit at a slightly more expensive price.  

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The long version:

It caused quite a stir a couple of weeks ago when we revealed that MHL adaptors for older Samsung Galaxy devices (S II, Note, Nexus) will not work with the Samsung Galaxy S3. This is due to the fact that the S3 uses an 11-pin arrangement on its MicroUSB port, whereas older devices use a 5-pin arrangement.

[Read more...]

Galaxy Nexus Accessories

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So there has been lots of talk about Goole making the Galaxy Nexus accessories available from the Play Store, but that is only any good is you live in the USA.

If you happen to live anywhere else in the world then you need to resort to the normal method of visiting the high street or buying online.  However there are not that many who range and have stock of Nexus accessories.

If you are in the market, just CLICK HERE to be taken through to the full range of Samsung Galaxy Nexus accessories that we stock at Clove for the GSM (not LTE) version.

And the best bit?! We ship globally, no restrictions on your country.

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