As we all know, one of the main features the x50v has is the ability to output video (or mirror) its display onto computer monitors or projectors. Perfect for students like me offering presentations at school or projects. However, that’s one of the main problems we dell consumers outside USA face- lack of accessory variety. Living in Singapore, literally all dell hardware here are limited to what Dell, Asia pacific (DELL AP) have to offer. As quoted by a Dell AP staff on the phone, “sorry, we do not stock the vga cable for Singaporean customers & it is so for all the Asia Pacific countries we are responsible for. However if you have relatives or friends staying in the states, you can get them to purchase it & ship it to you.”
Darn! No presentations for me? so as I thought.
Then there’s always the site pc-mobile offering third party alternatives. It came as a surprise- I didn’t expect them to come out with x50v accessories as they usually specialise in handphone accessories. Pc-mobile is a hong kong company, popular for notoriously adding a 3.5mm audio jack to almost any mobile handsfree in the market so that high quality headphones can be used for music instead, which I too, ultilise. (& a guess this site is widely discussed about by forum members here too)
Upon order, basic non-expedited airmail delivery took about 4 working days. The VGA cable is on the left, the cable on the right is an additional retractable USB sync cable I purchased with the intent for use on my axim as a PnP storage device for storing homework & stuffs.
PC-mobile is retailing their version of the VGA adapter for $28.50USD compared to dell’s official VGA cable for 79 bucks, a steal? maybe.
The unit is relatively solid & well constructed, the male port which plugs into your axim is made from a very smooth light plastic (not rubberised like the dell’s official plugs) and the metal connectors make a small rattle when given a shake, giving it a kinda hollow feel, but otherwise ok.
(various photos pictured together with USB sync cable)
The retractable USB sync cable (PRX50) & VGA cable pictured togther.
Like dell’s cable theres a seperate power plug where you can use to power your device during a presentation. Its a 5.4+v type port, so it charges your Axim even when its ON during your presentations.
Upon hooking up to my viewsonic VE155b test monitor, of course without using any third party software with mirror mode on (portrait) the monitor displays the PPC 640×480 screen centered on the monitor.
One thing to note is that your PDA will run VERY SLOW with mirror mode on. Text input have delayed input response, together with menus. You need not have the vga cable plugged to experience it, just turn on mirror mode in your x50v settings for the feel.. laggy!
So this pretty much limits the x50v to basic PIM & the running of programs utilising very little processor load. No large screen gaming or doddling dudes!
Conduits Pocket slides/Pocket slideshow
The highlight of VGA out is presentations right? here how it looks like in portrait mode:
Strangely though, both pocket slides & slideshow are unable to detect any output in “settings”, limiting me to a mere vga res out on the monitor.
However, with third party programs such as clearvue, you can range the output from 800×600 to even 1024×768.
Maybe someone who used the dell cable with clearvue can shed a light on this case. Can the cable be detected on your side too? I believe it should be the same (not detectable) as the cable serves to only transmit vga data to your monitor. Detection for Pocket slides, etc if I am not wrong is only for use with programs such as margi-presenter-to-go or generic VGA out cards which uses the flash slot instead where hardware detection is eminent for function.
Playing a test Xvid video at 30fps (400×300), strangely with intel 2700G decoder enabled, live video is only shown on the monitor, nothing on the x50v’s screen. There is an obvious visible drop in frame rate, otherwise still watchable video. Selecting Xscale decoder option, yields opposite results. However, selecting the “Raw frame buffer” option allows me to play video on both screens, but with great reduction in frame rate & occasional freezes/jumps on the video.
You can download a test video I took (save target as, about 2.3Mb Xvid compression) in raw buffer mode. Though its captured at 15fps on my powershot, but you can more of less see the differences in PDA & monitor frame rates & the noticeable long pause somewhere in the middle of the video.
This is when your monitor recognize the output from your PDA is reverting its display to 4:3 landscape VGA, thus utilizing all the monitor screen estate:
Initially the picture displayed in the screen sticks out of the edges of the monitor with some of the right edges covered, this is so if vga cables/pins are of lower quality & they would distort/shew images formed on the screen. But as it turned out to be, my monitor image is just mis-aligned & an auto-adjust on the monitor pops the whole display back on center, showing all edges. Not a problem.
The missing PDA video playback is the same for Windows media player as well, only video is played on the monitor, but with relatively smooth playback. Guess processor load is too much to even render video on the PDA screen.
Powerpoint slides look excellent in landscape mode, though still in VGA-res output mode. As shown on this test powerpoint presentation file I cooked up in 5 seconds…
I guess that due to similarities & make of the pc-mobile’s & dell official cable, battery life differences between them would be negligible in this case, even if you consider different quality cables & materials used. Battery life is tested to be approx 2 1/2hours on the 2200mah battery I am using from 100% charge to the appearance of the “main battery very low” message (4%)
The plus point of purchasing dell’s official bundle is the inclusion of clearview software, which allows you to output video at desired resolutions. That’s a software plus, hardware wise both products are very similar, with reference to this review. I guess price is the main selling point of the pc-mobile cable, being about 3 times cheaper. Furthermore I am sure there are other cheaper & alternative software to clearvue, which in turn allows any x50v user to ultilise the power of vga output at a great bargain.
- Low price & quality build
- Conforms with Dell’s OEM design.
- High software & hardware compatibility.
- No bundled software, especially for presentations.