If you’ve been paying any attention to things happening in the world of mobile technology, you probably know what MHL is. If not, maybe you just bought a new phone and are wondering “what the heck is this extra port for?”. Fear not, because Kanex (and I) are here to help you out. While the technology was first demoed at the 2008 CES, it wasn’t until this year that cell phone manufacturers started putting it in their products. MHL (stands for Mobile High-definition Link), is basically a HDMI connector combined with a power source – the goal is to keep a phone (or other mobile device) in a constant “ready to use” state. It supports 1080p uncompressed HD video, and full 8 channel (7.1 surround) uncompressed audio. It also supports High bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP). So what does all of this mean for you, the end user?
Simply put, the MHL port allows you to watch a video, view pictures, play a game, or do just about anything on your mobile device and view it on your 1080p HDTV with no loss in picture or sound quality. You can play games with no video or audio lag from one source to the next. Even better, you don’t have to worry about your mobile device going dead while you’re doing so, because it’ll be charging at the same time. While there are other MHL connectors on the market (which I’ve used on different phones that I’ve gotten), the Kanex one is one of the best I’ve seen.
The Kanex MHL adapter is nice and small – it can easily fit in a pocket, purse, or anything else (Cocoon backpack anyone?), but the construction quality is very sturdy. I had one OEM MHL adapter that broke in two when I accidentally dropped it off of a window, but when I recreated said accident to test the Kanex version, it still worked like a charm afterwards. It’s also eye catching – not the color scheme (which is just black), but the way the Kanex logo sits on the device. Not too big, not too small – it’s just enough to cause someone to ask, “hey, what’s that?”.
Currently, Kanex MHL HDMI Adapter works on the following devices (but more and more phone manufacturers and developers pledge to support the MHL protocol all the time):
- Samsung Galaxy S II
- Samsung Infuse 4 G
- HTC EVO 3D
- HTC Sensation 4 G
- HTC Hercules
- HTC Flyer (Tablet)
- HTC EVO View 4 G (Tablet)
Based on other MHL Adapters I’ve used, I have no problem giving the MHL HDMI Adapter by Kanex a rating of five stars out of five. While right now MHL is only needed in a small market, there have been a great number of future tech gurus that have come forward to hail MHL as the future of mobile video and audio transmission. While it does remain to be seen if it can overcome the industry standard micro-usb in terms of amount of usage, once you try it out, it’s easy to see why it’s catching on.
- Small form factor allows you to be able to take it anywhere
- Small size also means it can be hooked up to your television and not mess up the look of your home theater
- Very rugged construction, it can stand up to the rigors of life
- Only a limited number of devices support MHL right now
- Doesn’t come with it’s own USB connector for power – you need to have a spare cord yourself
- Remains to be seen how useful this will be in the long run (let a company like Apple start supporting MHL though and see what happens)
You can pick up the Kanex MHL HDMI Adapter from their website for $29.00