The SHOWWX+ HDMI is a way of connecting your smartphone or tablet to most HDMI-equipped devices such as big-screen TVs. Designed to easily share content, compatibility also extends to many laptops, including MacBooks, netbooks, tablets, smartphones and cameras. The dinky device, no bigger than the iPhone, can also be used to project video and images directly onto any surface, ideally one that is flat and white and shown in a darkened room.
Despite a non-HD 848 x 480 native resolution, the SHOWWX+ HDMI performs well when hooked up to a HDMI compatible device, although clearly picture quality also depends on the original source material. The vast majority of video broadcast via iTunes and streamed using Air Video looked sharp and vibrant on our monitor. Fairly basic device settings – including a widescreen 16.9 option and brightness adjustments – are accessed via a simple menu onscreen and adjusted using up and down buttons on the device itself.
Much fun and games can be had when the SHOWWX+ HDMI is used as a projector. Those feeling nostalgic and with long memories, might draw comparisons with Super 8 mm films shown at school on wet lunchtimes and at family gatherings. Auto-focus works well here as you beam images up to 250cm onto a surface near or far without having to adjust settings. Although MicroVision partly promotes the projector as a business tool for meetings and presentations, the device makes a rather groovy Lava Lamp style display for parties.
As a projector, the SHOWWX+ HDMI is limited, with picture quality acceptable but distinctly low-fi alongside noticeable image distortion. What’s more, the makers have supplied a short and stiff cable with the unit, which means your device is a little too close for comfort. MicroVision also appears to omit any sensible way of mounting the projector, so the hand-held device remains very much hands on. Battery life is disappointing, lasting between one and two hours, barely enough to enjoy your average-length movie.
The SHOWWX+ HDMI is a novel accessory that should initially impress. However, limited battery life, lack of any mount or stand to stabilise projected images and unexceptional picture quality limits long-term appeal. Portability is a compromise here and it’s hard to see which market exactly the device is focused on.