Belkin Miracast: Things You Need to Know Before Buying One
Previewing photos, watching movies or clips and playing music are great ways to relax and bond with others; while your mobile devices are great mobile storage spaces for these media files, their small screens make it less pleasurable when you want to share it. Therefore, it is always a pleasure to enjoy these content on a bigger screen like a TV.
Mirroring or streaming the content to your mobile devices sounds complicated and laborious, but it is really easy if you have the right solutions. There is a good chance that you already know you can do this with an HDMI cable---but that is just a messy affair. One of the best wireless solutions is Miracast.
Part 1: How does Belkin Miracast Works?
At its core, Miracast is engineered on top of the WiFi Direct standard technology that allows two devices to communicate directly with each other via a peer-to-peer wireless connection. Back in 2013, WiFi Alliance made an announcement about the finalisation of Miracast's wireless display standard; this has spurred many digital device manufacturers to build a variety of Miracast-enabled devices and receivers.
One such device is the Belkin Miracast Video Adapter.
It is a simple plastic dongle that is equipped with a USB port and an HDMI connector on either end. The HDMI connector provides input from your mobile device to your TV, while the two-foot long USB cord provides power for the dongle---if your TV does not have a USB port or if it is misfortunately placed, you will need to make some home improvement with an extention cable and a USB wall plug.
It will work on most Android, BlackBerry, Windows and Linux devices that supports WiFi Direct technology. However, it does not work with Apple products, Chromebooks and Windows PCs.
Part 2: Belkin Miracast Video Adapter Review
The adapter is no bigger than an average thumb drive---this makes positioning it behind the TV easier. Setting up the adapter is really easy. Other than physically connecting the dongle to your TV's HDMI and USB ports at the back (or side of your TV), there is not much you need to do which is a plus for someone who does not like to fuss with technology a lot. All you need to do after plugging the HDMI and USB connector into the display is follow the instructions on the screen so that you can start mirroring your mobile device in HD resolution. The sound quality that is emitted through the TV speakers is great.
An HTC One and a Nexus 5 were used to test out the Belkin Miracast. The stability of the connection between the mobile devices and the adapter was good but could be improved a little more. For reasons that cannot be determined, there are times when the connection would get disconnected and this would require us to reset the TV to get it up and running again. Other than these random, but not so frequent, disconnections the stability was great.
Without having a smart TV, you can now watch Netflix, ESPN or YouTube on your normal TV via your mobile device. You can even play a mobile game on your smartphone for a better gaming experience. There were no interruptions during mirroring---it will only stop mirroring your device if you command it to stop. In terms of audio and video, they are in sync with each other but there is a slight lag in terms of using your mobile device as a controller (gaming or motion).
Part 3: Belkin Miracast vs Chromecast
The Chromecast is known to be an awesome little mirroring and casting solution, but there are other alternatives that are able to give it a run for its money---such one fine device is the Belkin Miracast Video Adapter.
Both dongles are essentially HDMI sticks that attach itself to your TV at its HDMI port and requires being powered by a USB connection. Both are about the same size of an average thumb drive but the Miracast Belkin is a little larger than the Chromecast one---this can pose a problem if your HDMI port is awkwardly placed. However, the good people at Belkin saw the potential problem and provided an HDMI extension cable to help users set up the adapter properly.
In terms of setting up both devices, they were both pretty easy. The setup time for the Belkin is faster, but we suspect it is because it does not need users to configure the connection between the dongle and the WiFi network.
Using the Belkin Miracast is really easy---once you have your mobile device connected to your TV, it will mirror everything that is on your screen. All you need is to tap on Settings > Display > Wireless Display on your device and in a few seconds, you should be able to see your screen on the TV. It is important to note that this is exclusively a mirroring adapter which means if your display shuts off, your "feed" will be cut off too.
Chromecast, on the other hand, is a casting adapter and therefore, you can multitask as you stream feed to your TV. This can also mean that you are able to put your screen into sleep mode and save some battery without interrupting the "feed". Using Chromecast is easy---just tap on the casting icon at the top-right corner of the screen and it will cast the content to your TV. However, this icon is only available in limited apps so do check what they are before you purchase.
Here are some of the pros and cons of both dongles:
Belkin Miracast Video Adapter
In a nutshell, the Belkin Miracast Video Adapter works pretty good, but do bear in mind that it could use some improvements. To say that it is a better buy than Chromecast would be unfair because it depends on what you are looking for in this type of technology. Do keep in mind that it is an exclusive mirroring adapter which means you will not be able to multitask on your mobile device once you start mirroring your mobile device's screen. If it is important to you, it will probably be best that you stick to Chromecast.
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