Hands on: SlimPort Nano-Console

This $50 cube streams anything on your phone to any TV

The SlimPort Nano-Console is a really smart solution for mirroring your mobile device to the big screen.

The SlimPort Nano-Console enables you to mirror your smartphone or tablet screen on your main TV. It’s being described as a kind of set-top box and gaming console extension for mobile devices. It’s a strange little device that hooks up to your TV via HDMI and it has an assortment of features.

The main idea is to throw whatever is on your device up onto the big screen in a stable way with low latency. It’s efficient enough to enable you to play fast-paced games, and you can stream movies from services like Netflix, or browse the Web.

To help you do that without having to sit in front of it, there’s a detachable Bluetooth remote, an orange square a couple of inches across that’s comfortable to hold and works a lot like a laptop touch pad. The three buttons at the bottom edge mirror your standard Android controls for easy navigation. It takes a little getting used to, but with some practice you can swipe through screens or photo slideshows with ease, and the home button is a handy shortcut.

Since this cube is going to sit in front of your TV anyway, SlimPort decided to add an extra HDMI port, so you can hook up your laptop or whatever you want without having to find a port on the back of the TV. There’s also a sensible charging port so you can plug in your smartphone or tablet to charge while you play, stream, or browse.

SlimPort Nano-Console

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

We tried it out and found the gaming experience to be slick, noticeably less laggy than using a wireless solution like the Chromecast to mirror your Android screen. You will have to pair it with a Bluetooth game pad to play, but there are loads of them available for Android now, and they’re not expensive.

You could also conceivably use this in a business setting for hooking up your phone to a big screen. You could use the wireless Bluetooth remote to cycle through something like a PowerPoint presentation with ease. It’s a smart and potentially budget-friendly solution to an awkward problem.

You can plug in your phone or tablet, as long as it supports SlimPort technology, which is an alternative to MHL. You’ll find it in devices like the LG G3 and the Amazon Fire line. You can also use a small adapter to hook up the Nexus 7 and there are quite a few other compatible devices.

The success of something like this depends on the price hitting a sweet spot for mass adoption, like the Chromecast did. To that end the SlimPort Nano-Console will be around $50 when it lands sometime in the next three months. It should be available for pre-order any day now.

Highs:

  • Easy to use
  • Screen mirroring
  • Low latency for gaming
  • Bluetooth remote

Lows:

  • Limited compatibility
  • Aesthetic design
  • Remote takes practice
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