Do you ever use HDMI out on your phone or tablet?

Published: November 14, 2011

Some of the more recent changes to smartphones are simply incredible. Dual-core and even quad-core processors are fighting hard to put an end to plaguing lag. Some of the most recent cameras are capable of producing absolutely amazing photos. And seamless cloud integration has made onboard memory almost negligible – for me, at least. But there is one addition that is still relatively new that I have yet to really dive into: HDMI out.

I see it all the time. A new phone launches with every spec imaginable, topnotch everything. But one key component is missing and the community is up in arms. Take the upcoming Galaxy Nexus, for instance. It has it all ... well, except the HDMI out port. It does have MHL support, but it just isn't the same as having a dedicated micro HDMI port. And I'm upset about that for some inexplicable reason.

The idea of plugging your phone (or tablet) into an enormous TV and using a much larger screen for browsing the web, watching movies, playing games and more is hardly novel. It's something I've done with my PC countless times. But it's cool nonetheless. And if it's available, why not? Right?

To date, I have only plugged my phone and tablet into an external display twice – once each. With the ASUS Transformer, my plan was to load the tablet up with my favorite TV shows and movies, either from Netflix Instant Watch or otherwise (legally) obtained digital copies, and use my tablet as a quick access, portable media hub.

In short, it didn't work quite as well as I had originally planned. While setup was a no brainer, the experience itself was mediocre at best. At the time, Netflix streaming via tablet wasn't 1080p and came in sort of choppy. And I'm not exactly fond of having to get up to change apps or pause the media. Yeah, I'm that lazy when it comes to down time. A Bluetooth keyboard, which I now have, should fix pretty easily.

I haven't tried again lately, simply because none of my mobile devices sport HDMI out. Not without an adapter, that is. But when I pick up the Galaxy Nexus and my MHL adapter comes in the mail – barring both of these events actually occur – I will do more playing testing. I'm a huge advocate of the smartphone growing in importance and eventually becoming the staple in all computing and media consumption. I obviously can't use my smartphone to power my PC just yet, but using it to feed myself hours of mindless Netflix streaming and maybe some light gaming through my 40-inch TV is a good start.

Theoretically, this will get better with time as mobile processor and GPU technologies advance. Personally, I'm excited to see what will come of it. Nothing significant has come of HDMI out support on mobile devices yet, but some companies see a need for it in classrooms, potentially as a SMART Board replacement. It's things like this that keep me excited for mobile tech and show promise for the future of mobile devices, especially tablets.

What about you, guys and gals? Have you dabbled with HDMI out on your phone or tablet any? If so, what's the coolest thing you have done with it? Is the lack of a micro HDMI port on a phone a deal breaker for you?

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