So after taking a look at the Apple Component Cables, when we were given the chance to take a look at the we thought it would be a great opportunity to do a comparison of the two.
Hit the ‘read more’ to find out what we think and see a video of it in action.
First the Good:
The dock connector to VGA cable is a neat little cable (on it’s own). It brilliantly outputs certain apps to a Monitor or projector / presentation system.
If you have Keynote installed then it handles this output brilliantly, as soon as you switch keynote to presentation mode it outputs to the display and gives you handy on screen instructions. It also allows you to use the screen as a virtual red laser pointer, by holding your finger down on the screen.
Next, the not so good:
I realise that it is just a cable that outputs your iPad display to a Monitor or TV, but it was my understanding (and many others) that it would output what ever was on the display of the iPad. Unfortunately it doesn’t, instead it only outputs apps that have been pre-programmed to allow this. Developers can build this in (a la Chopper 2) but it isn’t automatically enabled.
You would think that Apple’s own apps would have this built in (pages, numbers) but again it doesn’t.
The next thing we noticed is that it wont output HD DRM’d content at all – not even down-scaled to SD. So if you purchase a video in HD from the iTunes Store don’t expect to be able to view it. SD seems to work fine, but not HD.
It doesn’t work with the iPhone or iPod touch, unlike the component cables which do. This is a big miss for this product as they would have probably sold a lot more of them worldwide. It is possible that they will allow it in future releases of the iPhone but at this stage it’s a no go.
So what it outputs aside, what is the resolution like? Well again to be honest it’s not brilliant. For the iPad it is supposed to output at a resolution of 720p with the VGA connector, but I personally couldn’t see a great deal of difference between that and the component cables output of 480p. Now I know there is a difference but it didn’t really feel as if it was that noticeable.
Video of VGA cable connect to a TV:
To buy or not to buy?
So when buying this, over say the component cable, you have to ask yourself it it’s really worth it? I guess if you want to connect your iPad to your Monitor then yes of course it is.
If you were buying it as a way to connect to your iPad to your TV at a higher resolution then no it most definitely isn’t.
The VGA Cable is just a Dock connector to VGA adapter. You then have to make sure you also have another VGA cable to plug into the TV / Monitor AND you also need to have a 3.5mm to RCA cable for the audio. Plus on top of all of this you have to make sure the iPad also has enough charge to ensure the battery doesn’t die half way through whatever you are doing (although the iPad battery does last forever!).
It retails at $29.00 US (approx $40NZD plus shipping) and will be available here as soon as the iPad is available. For those of you who have an iPad and were thinking of getting one shipped in so you can connect to an external Monitor or projector / presentation system then it is worth the price tag. If you were wanting it to output as an alternative to the component cable so that you can output to a TV then I would go for the slightly more expensive component cables. At $89 it isn’t a great deal more, plus it charges your device at the same time, you don’t need to fork out for another VGA cable plus an audio cable. it will play you HD DRM’d content (albeit at 480p) and if you have an iPhone you can output from that too.
I would also check to see if your projector / presentation system can handle component cables. If it can, then don’t bother with the VGA at all.