As you know I am a big Blackberry Playbook fan and when I discovered the ability to connect my Playbook to my TV it had literally changed my life. A simple cable and the Playbook is transformed into a serious Media Centre and Games Console ! [Check out my review and the how to do it]
This got my thinking about my Samsung Galaxy Note and I wondered if I was missing a trick there too – and so I began to investigate what the Micro USB can do besides charge the devices.
What I discovered is that these USB ports are so much more than a simple charging ability.
Note: All the items below I tested on the Galaxy Note, The Galaxy Note 2, the Samsung S3
The On The Go cable:
This has to be the “best kept secret”. Turns out its not new and has been out for a long time. Not sure why its hidden.
Memory sticks and external hard drives are the simplest way to move information around from one device to another. So if you ever wished that you can connect a memory stick or an external hard drive directly onto the phone – now you can. All you need is an On The Go (OTG) cable. It connects to the phone’s Micro USB port and on the other side it has a regular female-USB port.
So instead of missioning with Bluetooth and Wireless just hook this cable in and it allows to you connect any regular memory stick to it !
Note: The first time you do this you might need to install a USB Host Controller that will recognise your memory sticks. The one I personally use is called USB Host Controller (free app). Once you install it it then takes minutes to set up and you only have to do this once.
The Galaxy phone picks up the external memory stick and sets it up as an external USB connector.
You then plug your memory stick in as you normally would.
Click on My Files and scroll down until you see a new folder called usbStorage when you tap into it, you will find your folders and files from your memory stick.
By the way: you can play movies/ music/ documents direct from the memory stick and so there is no need to copy them onto the phone’s storage first.
Now that I have this connector, I hooked up a mini USB hub to it and to the hub I connected the memory stick – that works too.
I then also hooked up my Keyboard and the mouse and you can fully control the Galaxy phone directly from the mouse and the keyboard !
Hold the mouse button to simulate a drag motion and you can switch between apps, swipe down menu option etc. etc.
This OTG cable transforms the Galaxy Note into a fully working computer. Its has a keyboard, a mouse and large storage. The final step is to get the screen connected so I can even have a decent size screen and really make this a computer.
You can do that by connecting a MHL Cable. This device connects to the Galaxy’s Micro USB port on the one side and on the other it has the port to connect an HDMI cable which goes into your TV. You also need to connect the “wall charger” into the device as the phone doesn’t have enough power to send the signal to the TV. Once you hook these up, it takes the display on the phone and makes it available on the TV. It also charges your device at the same time.
Its also pretty awesome to play your favourite game on the TV and use the phone as the controller! (ideal when you are on holiday and the kids are bored and I also use this to run full presentation and go through documents when I with clients.)
You can’t connect the OTG cable and the MHL cable at the same time. So for that full computer experience , all you do is have a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and the MHL cable connected. Now that is power !
Cost ? The MHL cable costs around R199 and the OTG cable is around R50 – I got my cables from : http://www.hdcabling.co.za/
Other cell phones / Tablets: – this cable does work for other cell phone and tablets too. I have seen it work with Sony Xperia, Nokia E6, Nexus 7,Motorola Razr. Just look for the USB section in the specs and see if your phone says: On The Go . I like to use http://www.gsmarena.com to check the USB and other info