Manufacturers Site: www.miradisplay.com
Vendor Store: Beijiale Store (3rd Party Vendor)
Vendor Rating: 18271 sales with 96.1% Positive feedback
Product Link: AliExpress Item Page
AliTech Score: 3 Star
Review Type: Personal Purchase
Price: $16.18 (free shipping)
Pros: Simple setup, Good picture
Cons: Feels cheap, Can glitch, your machine must support WiFi Direct.
Bottom Line: Works as advertised, wish I had paid more for better one.
The Miradisplay TV Dongle is an HDMI dongle similar in size to a ChromeCast that provides Miracast, Airplay and DLNA functionality. It operated on 802.11n WiFi and offers display resolutions up to 1080p @ 60Hz. The WiFi antenna is in a small tab in the USB cable which allows you to position it for better receiption.
I focus on Miracast here as I do not run a DLNA setup at home and have no Apple products with which to test Airplay.
Miracast is a simple wireless HDMI connection that is formed between your device and the dongle, think connecting an extra monitor, not ChromeCast.
Miracast has been part of Windows since Windows 8.1 and Android since Android 4.1. It makes use of the WiFi Direct standard to form a point to point connection between your device and the dongle. Your router plays no part in the connection and you can still use your normal WiFi connection for internet at the same time.
The main gotcha is that your WiFi adapter must support direct link. My Lumia 950 and Surface Pro 3 both work fine while my slightly older HP laptop does not, it just crashes the dongle and forces it to reboot.
Initially I had the Miradisplay set to 1080p @ 60Hz and experienced many issues with pitcure and sound quality. The video stream being watched would also fallback to lower quality or buffer, this is because your are using part of your normal WiFi connection Bandwidth to support the Miracast connection. I settled on 1080p @ 24Hz and this proved to be a far better experience, the odd lag or sound glitch but these proved to be very rare.
As with any wireless display you will notice a slight lag between your input and the action being reflected on screen, this is not really an issue if your primary use is media projection to your TV.
Miradisplay is simple enough to connect up. Plug the dongle into a spare HDMI port on your TV set, plug the supplied USB power/WiFi cable into a USB port on your TV or a USB power brick. No power brick is included so you will need to take that into account if your TV does not have a USB port.
There are two modes of operation Airplay/DLNA mode and MiraCast with a button on the top to toggle between them.
The dongle must be in Airplay/DLNA mode to access the setup screen, this is the default out of the box. To access the setup simply enter the displayed IP address into your browser. This is a very basic and functional display and clunky setup screen where you can:
- Select the default mode
- Select the display resolution.
- Connect to WiFi (Airplay and DLNA only)
- Download updates (Requires WiFi connection)
The available screen resolutions and refresh rate combinations are limited in a somewhat arbitrary manner. You can select from:
- 1080p at 24, 30 or 60Hz
- 720p at 60 Hz
- 1024*768 at 60 Hz
It would have been nice to have the same refresh rates for 720p because the main issue with Miracast on 802.11n WiFi is bandwidth, 720p @ 60Hz actually uses more bandwidth than 1080p @ 24Hz.
Compared to something like a ChromeCast the MiraDisplay dongle just feels very light and cheap. The case feels as though it would be very brittle, given the use case this should not be an issue though.
The vendor gave no troubles and the product was shipped in a timely manner and I would use them again. I had no cause to contact the seller so can give no feedback on what they are like to deal with or how quickly they respond to messages.
The product packaging is actually very good, a professional looking box that is well designed for the contents.
It is hard to really recommend this product. The cheap feel and clunky setup software do not inspire confidence, this would not be an issue if it was faultless in operation but the limitation of 802.11n wireless do hamper it somewhat.
I purchased it to supplement my ChromeCast as casting from a browser tab with that device can sometime result in lots of stutter even when the stream you are casting is fully cached. Miracast is far better for this sort of activity but I feel I would probably have been better of spending a little more on a higher speced device