Review: Monoprice Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter

by Justin Horn on Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 6:07 pm

Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Converter

UPDATE [5.15.09] Still no audio support with latest OSX 10.5.7 update :(

UPDATE [4.13.10] Bad news, no software update to enable audio, but new MacBook Pros released April 2010 support it.

Ever since I purchased my 13″ Unibody Macbook last year I’ve wanted to try out the new Mini DisplayPort. I decided to skip the DVI adapter and wait until I could get my hands on a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter…today Monoprice ended my long wait.

Features listed on the package:

  • Support Mini DisplayPort 1.1a input and HDMI 1.3b output
  • Support HDMI highest video resolution 1080p
  • Support HDMI 225MHz/2.25Gbps per channel (6.75Gbps all channel) bandwidth
  • Support HDMI 12bit per channel (36bit all channel) deep color
  • Support uncompressed audio such as LPCM
  • Support compressed audio such as DTS Digital, Dolby Digital (including DTS-HD and Dolby True HD)
  • Powered from Mini DisplayPort source

The adapter works well and I didn’t notice any artifacts or other video issues while playing HD content to the TV. The adapter fully supported 1080p resolution, as stated in the features, when plugged into to my 46″ Sharp Aquos. I was nervous that using HDMI would cause overscan and not fit correctly in dot by dot mode; however, just as with the direct DVI connection port on the TV, the HDMI worked perfectly.

At first I couldn’t figure out how to get the video to play full screen on the TV. Dragging the window to the TV then going full screen didn’t work, it just slide over to the MacBook before going full. Even setting the TV as the primary monitor didn’t do the trick. Then I started digging around the QuickTime settings and navigated to the full screen options. In here there is a graphical display of the two monitors, similar to the one in display preferences. I just clicked on the TV part of the icon and was all set…easy as pie!

The only let down is the lack of audio support. Even though audio is supported by the adapter and by Mini DisplayPort specifications, it currently does not work. Hopefully in the future Apple will add audio support through a software update, but as of now there no way to know if that’s even an option.

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Apples & Oranges, Featured post, MacBook, Reviews

Review: iPhone gone solar… Solio battery pack

by Chiyin on Mar 31st, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

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While Justin has been using the mophie juice pack and waiting for the upcoming juice pack air, I’ve gone solar. A while ago I came across the Solio Classic battery pack and decided to give it a try. Basically the Solio is a battery equipped with solar panels that can recharge itself harnessing the power of the sun. Unlike the juice pack, the Solio is not exclusively for the iPhone, it comes with different tips that can connect to different electronic devices including USB. Since getting the battery I’ve been testing it with different devices like a Motorola krzr, iPod Photo, iPod Video and of course my iPhone 3G and it works pretty well.

The setup is fairly simple, you plug in the cord, attach a tip and then simply connect the device you wish to recharge, that’s it. There is only one indicator on the battery, an LED that flashes green every 3 sec or so when it’s charging a device, a solid red when the battery is charging, or a combination of both when a device is attached to it while it is under the sun.

Its performance has exceeded my expectations, it charged a fully depleted iPod in about 2 hours using about 60% of the battery charge. It takes a bit more to charge up the iPhone but that’s expected, especially since the iPhone was on while I was charging it.

To charge the pack you simply open up the battery to reveal it’s 3 solar panel and place it in a sunny place. It does take a while to fully charge the battery, specially if the sun is not shining, but being from the Sunshine State that’s not a big problem for me. The average charging time is about 8 – 10 hours under the sun, but you can also charge up using the included USB charge cable. But that kinda defeats the purpose of the pack, don’t you think?

Overall, I’m happy with the Solio, my only problem was using the included USB tip with the iPhone. Turns out there’s a new tip for the iPhone 3G, but once I got the new tip everything was good. So, if you want to go green or you are like me and don’t like anything resembling a protective case enclosing your electronic devices, give the Solio a try. And if you do, let us know how you like it…

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iPhone, iPhone Accessories, Reviews

iPhone 3.0 A2DP first impressions

by Justin Horn on Mar 19th, 2009 @ 3:05 am

s9-hd-a2dp

UPDATE 6.21.09 A2DP bluetooth on iPhone 3G S works great, 3G not so much

UPDATE A2DP on iPhone 3.0 beta 4 follow up

Now that the first beta of iPhone 3.0 is out I decided to take a dip into the wireless stereo world with my first pair of A2DP headphones, the Motorola¬† S9-HD. I plan on posting a more detailed review after I’ve had a few days to test everything out, but here are my first impressions…

Good stuff! First I wanted to test to make sure it was truly in stereo so I played a couple songs that have very distinct use of the left and right channels. I used Money by Pink Floyd and Mr. Brightside by The Killers (Treaty of Paris is just the last song I was listing to before taking the picture). Everything worked as it should with the correct audio on the left and right channels. The sound quality is pretty good, but it just doesn’t seem quite as good as the wired set. This could be the norm for all I know since this is my first set of stereo bluetooth headphones.

One issue that is a bit annoying is the music gets choppy or even stops playing for a few seconds when trying to do anything with the phone. Even browsing for another song to play inside the iPod app causes this issue. When you just let the phone be, like locked up in your pocket, it plays perfectly. It’s possible the sound quality and stuttering issues are due to this being the first beta, so I don’t want to harp on it too much just yet. Even with these cons it’s already good enough for me to use the wireless set over the wired when it makes sense, like…er, jogging?

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iPhone, iPhone Accessories, Reviews, Speculation

[review] mophie juice pack 3g for iPhone 3g

by Justin Horn on Nov 30th, 2008 @ 10:59 pm

After a few delays I finally got my hands on the new Mophie Juice Pack 3g. The juice pack is an external battery pack for the iPhone 3g. Mophie states the juice pack should about double your battery life giving you additional standby time up to 350 hours, talk time up to 6 hours on 3G (12 hours on 2G), Internet use up to 6 hours on 3G (7 hours on Wi-Fi), audio playback up to 28 hours, and video playback up to 8 hours. As with the original juice pack, which was the first battery extender to receive the “Works with iPhone 3G” blessing, the new juice pack has also received the certification.

The first gen juice pack works exclusively with the first gen iPhone and this second gen juice pack with the iPhone 3g due to the design that fits like a glove. If you are still rock’n a first gen iPhone, check out our friend Dr. Macenstein’s review of the first gen mophie juice pack. The new Mophie Juice Pack 3g shares the same basic look as the first gen, but seems to fit a bit more snug saving some space at the bottom.

Ok, enough about the past, how does this new one hold up with the 3g iPhone?

(continue reading…)

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iPhone, iPhone Accessories, Reviews

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