Review: Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter

I got my Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter today. My take on the idea of the product is to replace the need for cables while still retaining the function of a device connected via cable.

The design is, in lack of better words, nice. I have become accustomed to the rather plain, matte black design of most new Microsoft hardware devices and the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter does not differ much in that aspect and I think that is a good thing for a device that mainly is designed to be hidden behind a TV.

The device is small, not much bulkier than a larger USB drive. It is powered via a short length of USB cable (332 mm or 13.1 in), something that could prove a problem for a TV set that does not have a USB port available, that said none of mine had less than two available. The small form factor (88 mm or 3.46 in) made it rather easy to install it in my TV and the device is also delivered with a small adapter cable making me think that it should not be much of a hassle to mount in most television sets.



The device itself is to little surprise, based on Miracast – the Wi-Fi to HDMI protocol, the reason for me to pick this adapter over Chromecast or any of the other Miracast competitors were that this device has Wi-Fi Direct (And demands it, to my knowledge it is impossible to connect it to a personal Wi-Fi network), Wi-Fi Direct enables me to just plug the device in and run my presentations without setting up a hotspot, fiddling with guest passwords or other nuisances, it does however comes with its own set of quirks and drawbacks but more on that shortly.

My first set of tests, were to say the least a disappointing experience. The system worked on my Windows 8.1 laptop but just barely, it took a horrendous time to connect and when it did the experience were sluggish. Neither my Lumia 930 nor my Windows 10 machine could even connect to the device. This caused me quite a bit of grievance but since it was a work day I had to get back to work and decided to try it out some more later in the evening before surrendering.

For my second set of tests, I had more luck, remember how I wrote that Wi-Fi Direct had its own quirks and drawbacks? My home network is a 5GHz network and during the first test all of my devices were connected to the 5G network, for the second test I decided to use the regular 2.4 GHz connection and boy did it change my mood and opinion about the device! Disconnecting the 5G network and using the regular connection made all the difference and now I could use both laptops and my Windows Phone with the device in an environment that were much more fast and fluent. There are some latency so I will not be able to play a FPS games over this but a game of Angry Birds on the phone worked flawlessly. Watching a movie or streaming Netflix were also a very pleasant experience, except that I on both laptops had to manually specify that I wanted Netflix to use the TV as a speaker. My main use for this device will be for work doing presentations and showing documents etc. and for that I have no doubts it will work very well.

The RF range is specified to be up to 7 meters (22.9 feet) but my test showed roughly 5 meters (16.4 feet) but my numbers will surely improve should I try this out at a location with 7 meter of unobstructed space rather than in my apartment with concreate walls and lots of Wi-Fi routers. While eyeing through the datasheet the working temperature caught my eye, the maximum working temperature is 35 degrees Celsius! As a swede this would only prove a problem for about fifteen seconds in the midst of July and I know hotter countries have AC units so it isn’t really a problem but to me it stood out as rather low.

I have tried the Wireless Display Adapter with the following  devices, Lenovo T440S (Windows 8.1), Lenovo T530 (Windows 10 latest build) and a Lumia 930 and with the 5G network switched of they all work very well with the adapter.

Something that I also noticed during my testing was that for most testers the factory name of the device were “MicrosoftWirelessDevice” but mine were “MicrosoftWirelessDevice_A1” not sure why if there are different versions, firmware or regions but I’d like to mention it to give as much information about the particular device that I tested available.

Bottom line I think it does its job, my initial statement were that this product “is to replace the need for cables while still retaining the function of a device connected via cable” and I think it does that well, most of the competitors I have tested have apps for showing video or playing music and if that is what you are looking for Chromecast or Rook might be a better option but if your only goal is to have your screen duplicated or mirrored, this device does that job better than any other Miracast product I have tried yet. Do note that in my tests I were more or less unable to use this device with any of my computers or mobile devices while at the same time being connected to a 5G network, if you require to be connected to a 5G network I would seriously suggest testing that this will work with your devices before purchasing the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter.

Hope it helps!
Karl-Henrik “KH” Nilsson.