HDMI Mirroring

One of Tegra 2’s most interesting features is support for multiple displays—HDMI 1.3 at 1080p mirroring is supported. The implementation on the 2X is how other Android phones with HDMI ports should have worked, you plug the HDMI cable in, and everything on the phone is instantly mirrored on the connected display. Android isn’t suddenly rendered at higher resolution, it’s just scaled up to whatever resolution of HDMI device you connect to, but that looks surprisingly good.

In portrait mode, there are black bars at the left and right, but rotate to landscape and the WVGA Android screen fills 1080P displays. WVGA (800x480) isn’t exactly 16:9, but it’s close, so there’s a little stretching in landscape but nothing noticeable.

The result is that you can use the 2X to play angry birds on a 55” TV without waiting for the console version, browse the web, give a PDF or PPT presentation, or do anything you’d do on the phone on a different screen. I put together a reasonably comprehensive video showing off HDMI mirroring.

There’s a tiny bit of input lag. In the video I shot showing off HDMI mirroring, it’s entirely possible some of that is just the result of my Onkyo TX-SR608 A/V receiver which seems to add a consistent 100ms of lag to almost everything, even in game mode. The supplied microHDMI cable is just long enough to stretch from the receiver to my couch, I could use a few more feet to be comfortable however.

You can also play videos over the HDMI connection, while doing so the 2X shows a "showing on second display" message:

HDMI mirroring works shockingly well, and sends all audio over HDMI. It’s a bit difficult to look at the TV and interact with the phone’s touchscreen, but not impossible. WebOS and others have drawn circles on the screen to show where fingers are. The tradeoff there is that it’s one more element to clutter display.

Video Playback

The big question is how well the X2 (or any Tegra 2 smartphone) could work as a mini-HTPC. NVIDIA advertises a big long list of codecs that Tegra 2 can decode:

LG’s own spec list (what's below is actually for the Korean version, but the video codec support is the same) is much closer to the truth for the X2 because of Android’s player framework and other limitations.

You can play back H.264 1080p30 content, but it has to be Baseline profile—no B frames, two reference frames. I used handbrake and messed around with a variety of other encode profiles and eventually settled on a bitrate of around 10 Mbps. That puts a 2 hour movie at around 8 GB total, which is too big to fit on a FAT32 microSD card. If you’re going to fit 2 hours of video on that SD card and stay under 4 GB, bitrate should be around 4 Mbps. Tegra 2 can decode H.264 1080P baseline at a maximum of 20 Mbps.

Interestingly enough, I tried the iPhone 4 preset in handbrake which is H.264 960x400 High profile and noticed some stuttering and dropped frames. Media playback on Tegra 2 as it stands definitely works best with H.264 baseline, it’s just a matter of having gobs of storage to park video on.

The 2X didn’t do very well in our media streamer test suite. Some of that is because the software lacks the ability to open mkvs and a huge number of our files. The two that did open and playback successfully were test 3, an 8 Mbps 1080p WMV9 video with 5.1 WMA audio, and file 19, a simple m4v container test. Unfortunately we’re still not at the point where you can dump just about anything you’d stick on an HTPC on your mobile device without a transcode in-between, it’s no pirate phone.

Software Preload and Constant Crashing Battery Life and Final Thoughts
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  • matt b - Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - link

    Just curious because I've heard rumors that HP will use the Qualcomm chipset and I've also heard rumors that they will stick with Ti for their new tablets/phones. I just wondered if you know for sure since I know that you met with folks at CES. I hope that we all find out tomorrow at the HP event.
    Great review.
    Reply
  • TareX - Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - link

    I'd like to see Tegra 2 on the Xoom compared to Tegra 2 on the Optimus 2X.

    Why? Well, simply put, the only Android version that seems to be optimized for dual-core is Honeycomb.
    Reply
  • Dark Legion - Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - link

    Why is there no Incredible on 2.2? I could understand if you had both 2.1 and 2.2, like the Evo, but as it is now does not show the full/current performance. Reply
  • Morke - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    "It’s a strange dichotomy that LG sets up with this launcher scheme that divides “downloaded” apps from “system applications,” one that’s made on no other Android device I’ve ever seen but the Optimus One. The end result is that most of the stuff I want (you know, since I just installed it) is at the very last page or very bottom of the list, resulting in guaranteed scrolling every single time. If you’re a power user, just replace the launcher with something else entirely."

    You are not right there.
    First you can create additonal categories (aside from system applications and downloads) and move applications between them.
    Secondly you can rearrange the ordering of the applications inside a category (allowing you to have those on top which you access most frequently). You can also delete applications right away in this edit mode.

    There is a youtube video demonstrating this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dvvtl6pSNp8
    See time index starting with 4:21.

    Maybe you should correct your review on this?
    Reply
  • Morke - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    The correct youtube URL demonstrating application launcher management is actually
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDo-1-jwLko&fea...
    Reply
  • brj_texas - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Anand,
    A question on the statement in the benchmarking section, "the SunSpider benchmark isn't explicitly multithreaded, although some of the tests within the benchmark will take advantage of more than one core. "

    My understanding was that all of the tests within sunspider are single-threaded, but a dual-core processor can run the javascript engine (and the sunspider tests) in a separate thread from the main browser thread when you call sunspider from a browser window.

    Can you clarify which tests support multi-threading in sunspider if that is in fact what you meant?

    On the topic of multi-threading, we've used moonbat, a multi-core variant of sunspider, to explicitly test multi-core performance with javascript code. I wonder if you have any other benchmarks under investigation that measure multi-core performance?
    Thanks

    -Brian
    Reply
  • worldbfree4me - Saturday, February 12, 2011 - link

    Thanks for another thorough and in-depth analysis. But I have a question to ask,

    Should we upgrade (break our 2 year contract agreement for this phone) or ride out our contract?

    We trust and value your our opinion. Tom’s hardware does a GPU hierarchy chart every few months, can you do a phone hierarchy in the future?
    Reply
  • lashton - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    They have a really good idea and lead the market but it falls short because its not quite right Reply
  • tnepres - Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - link

    I now own a optimus 2x. The first was dead on arrival, but this one is perfect. The LG software is innovative and pleasing to the eye. In various places they made real improvements to the UI that are just brilliant,ie. the ability to sort and categorize apps. At times the UI is not as fast as you would expect, especially when adding apps/widgets to one of the 7 pages. It seems LG generates a list of widgets for you, so you can see what apps support this mode, and that takes about a second. As I recall, on HTC devices you are just presented with a list of apps and u have to try and see if you can widget it.

    The LG keybord has a brilliant feature, you tab the side of the phone to move the cursor. Sadly in other respects the keyboard is lacking, ie. when you long-pres you do not get the alternates you might wish, such as numbers.

    The batterytime is superb, using the UI consumes much less power than on my desire.

    Copy/paste in the browser does not activate via long-pres, you have to hit menu button, but on the plus side its easier to use than what HTC made.

    During 2 days of very intensive use i have had 1 app (partially) crash and that was the marketplace. No other issues so far, its my verdict that the unstability issues are overrated.

    No problems with wifi using stock ISP (TDC) supplied router. (sagemcom)

    To engadget: How on earth (!!?!!?) can you state there is no use for dualcore. When browsing one loads flash the other the rest. Its so fast you cant believe it. Try loading www.ufc.com on a non dualcore phone and you get my drift.

    I do not hesitate to give the optimus 2x my warm recommendations.

    VERDICT: 9/10 (missing 4g)
    Reply
  • Sannat - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    gsmarena sound benchmark for optimus 2x isnt great...could it be a s/w issue...?? Reply

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