SlimPort Nano-Console Brings Android to Big Screens

LAS VEGAS – When is a console not a console? This is not an Eastern riddle; it's the pitch behind the SlimPort Nano-Console. While the Nano-Console may resemble a small Android box, it's actually something much cleverer: an HDMI box that makes your existing Android smartphone or tablet into a big-screen multimedia machine.

SlimPort showed off its Nano-Console at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015, and taught me a little more about the SlimPort technology in the process. Android devices do not have HDMI ports. Rather, they connect to HDMI adapters via two competing technologies: MHL and SlimPort. MHL is the more prevalent solution, but SlimPort is present on popular gadgets like the LG G3, Blackberry Passport and the Amazon Fire devices.

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The Nano-Console is a small white cube with an orange top. Here's how it works: Connect the "console" to your TV via HDMI, and to a power outlet. Then connect your Android device via SlimPort, and you're done. Your Android phone or tablet will use your TV as its primary display.

If you want to use it as a media player, the orange top of the Nano-Console disconnects to become a Bluetooth remote. Otherwise, you can connect a Bluetooth controller to make it into an impromptu gaming system or a mouse and keyboard for productivity or Web browsing.

The SlimPort Nano-Console is not a groundbreaking technological marvel; it's just a very smart idea that I'm flabbergasted no one has tried before. Android users often go to great lengths to cast or mirror their screen on TVs, but simply connecting it via HDMI is a better and more reliable method. The Nano-Console just makes it very easy and attractive to do so.

The Nano-Console will launch in the second quarter of 2015, although there's no set price yet. If you absolutely must have the same functionality sooner, a SlimPort adapter and an HDMI cable will accomplish the same goal.

Marshall Honorof is a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at mhonorof@tomsguide.com. Follow him @marshallhonorof. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

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