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Differences between MHL and SlimPort.

Differences between MHL and SlimPort.

You may have purchased one or the other in hopes that it would work with your Android device. Your Android device will work with either the more popular MHL or the less popular SlimPort. There have been some confusion on the two, people buy MHL thinking that their phone is supported but come to find out that it doesn’t work. These are two technologies that you may have heard of, but do not understand the differences between.

What do they do?

Mobile High Definition (MHL) and SlimPort are technologies whereby video and audio can be extracted from the microUSB port on a mobile device and viewed on an external display, with the use of an appropriate cable or adapter.

Both essentially achieve the same thing, but there are some key differences.

What is the main difference?

The key difference is that MHL outputs through the HDMI standard, whilst SlimPort uses the VESA standard meaning it can output to HDMI as well as VGA, DVI and DisplayPort.

For a more detailed explanation of the differences, read on.

All the differences explained

Both MHL and SlimPort are evolving technologies, so things can change, but at the time of writing the differences are as follows.

  • MHL normally requires mains power to be connected to the adapter to work, but MHL 2.0 now found on some devices means mains power connection is not essential. Connecting power is however advised as MHL draws power from the mobile device.
  • SlimPort does not draw power from the mobile device, meaning mains power is not necessary, but power can be connected if preferred.
  • MHL can output only via HDMI connections whereas SlimPort can output to HDMI, VGA, DVIA and DisplayPort, therefore offering a more versatile solution then MHL.

Whilst these are the primary differences there are some other emerging differences that will likely put MHL ahead of the SlimPort standard.

  • More manufacturers & products have MHL support than SlimPort. This means that MHL has an advantage as it is becoming mainstream quicker than SlimPort.  With this said, there are some big brands behind SlimPort such as Google/LG with their Nexus devices meaning SlimPort could catch up.
  • MHL adapters are more readily available from more retailers than SlimPort.
  • A true MHL setup will involve a MHL enabled display and an MHL to microUSB cable.  The cable carries power from the display, negating the need to physically connect mains power to the adapter, as there is no adapter, just the cable.