Today, 1080p is the norm. But this HD video standard has only been around since the early 2000s. Now, we’re starting to see newer formats like 4K and even 8K cropping up. And through the auspices of technology, you now find these resolution standards on devices like your smartphone. To hook your smartphone up to other devices like your laptop requires an HDMI port. But an ordinary HDMI port would take up most of the space on your smartphone. For that reason, manufacturers developed mini-HDMI and micro-HDMI for smaller devices. In this post we focus is on the difference between mini-HDMI vs. Micro-HDMI.
In order to fully get the difference between Mini HDMI and Micro HDMI, there are two things you need to understand.
- The structure of an HDMI cable
- The newer versions of HDMI
Ordinary HDMI is called Type-A HDMI. To this date, it’s still the most commonly used type of audio/video connector. Most consoles and devices come with a Type-A HDMI port. They’re considered the industry standard when it comes to transmitting video.
The Type-A HDMI is 13.9 mm x 4.45 mm for the male receptacle, while the female counterpart is 14mm x 4.55mm. It comes with 19 pins. There are channels for video, audio, and other special features. For example, there are clock channels that serve no purpose other than making sure the video and audio channels are always in sync.
HDMI cables also include a tiny five-volt power supply, which can power up certain devices without the need for an extra power supply. There’s also something called a swing pin (the 14th pin), which can set up an ethernet signal over short distances.
Finally, there’s the Consumer Electronics Control channel (CEC channel). This one can be used for a variety of applications, like making your TV’s soundbar automatically turn on every time you power your TV. Not all devices are compatible with CEC, but it’s a fun feature to have.
HDMI received its fair share of updates over the years. Some had minor improvements, while others were real game-changers. Here are some of the most notable updates.
In 2006, HDMI 1.3 was introduced along with Type-C HDMI (Mini HDMI). This version had a maximum bandwidth of 8.16 gigabits per second, which supported Quad HD (2560×1440) resolution at 60Hz.
HDMI 1.4 was released in 2009, with the introduction of Type-D HDMI (Micro HDMI). It added 4K (4096×2160) support at up to 30Hz.
Other notable improvements were support for 100 Mbit/s ethernet connections, expanded color ranges, and features that support some 3D formats.
So, now that we know everything about Type-A HDMI, let’s take a look at the Mini and Micro HDMI cables.
Mini HDMI is also referred to as Type-C HDMI. It has the same capabilities as the 1.3 HDMI cable but in a much smaller form factor. It’s only 10.42mm x 2.42mm, so around 60% smaller than the standard Type-A HDMI.
The Mini HDMI was introduced for devices that are smaller in size. You won’t find Mini HDMI in computers or TVs, since they can accommodate the larger Type-A HDMI without any issues.
You’ll find Mini HDMI ports for tablets, some iPads, laptops, cameras and monitors. They have the same 19 pins packed in a smaller frame.
The Micro HDMI is also called Type-D HDMI. It was released along with the 1.4 HDMI. The micro-HDMI impresses with a compact size, measuring only 6.4 mm x 2.8 mm. This is a whopping 72% difference in size compared to the original HDMI cable.
A Micro HDMI connector should come with more features than the Mini HDMI since it’s designed with the HDMI 1.4 standard. It retains the same 19 pins, but with a different pin assignment than the other types.
Micro HDMI was created to compliment smartphones and ultra-compact devices. There was a time when smartphones like the Motorola Droid X came with a Type-D HDMI port. Of course, the introduction of USB Type-C for transmitting videos quickly made it obsolete.
Nowadays, you’ll find Type-D HDMI ports on GoPro cameras, some DSLRs, laptops, and other compact devices. There are still a few advantages Micro HDMI offers over USB Type-C. For example, 4K playback is significantly better on an HDMI connector, which is why a lot of cameras still use Type-D HDMI.
However, it’s expected that USB Type-C will completely eclipse any HDMI connector. Newer USB Type-C versions are now faster than ever and packed with new features.
The differences between Mini HDMI and Micro HDMI are two-fold: the size of the connectors and the technology they use. Mini HDMI is still a lot chunkier than Micro HDMI, and therefore, it isn’t incorporated in a lot of devices.
Additionally, the Mini HDMI connectors are designed with the 1.3 HDMI architecture in mind. This means it won’t support 4K playback nor does it have support for newer color spaces. The 1.4 HDMI architecture is much more suited to today’s applications.
Here are some of the questions often asked about HDMI:
Yes! If your device only supports Mini or Micro HDMI, you can buy an adapter for a few dollars and use it with your standard HDMI cable.
Adapters can be found for most connectors. You can buy an adapter for:
The only adapter you won’t find is for Type-C or Type-D HDMI to Type-A HDMI.
Since Mini HDMI cables were released to HDMI 1.3 standards, they should only be able to do a maximum of 1080p resolution.
However, you can find newer Mini HDMI cables that support 4K playback. The HDMI version should be found on the packaging or the cable jacket.
Micro HDMI cables were released with HDMI 1.4. All Micro HDMI cables should support full 4K resolution. The only downside is that you’ll only be able to support up to 30Hz.
Again, some Micro HDMI cables could support newer technologies, but you’ll have to check the packaging first.
There’s the original HDMI cable (Type-A), the Mini HDMI cable (Type-C), and the Micro HDMI cable (Type-D). This might make you wonder: what ever happened to Type-B HDMI cables?
Well, Type-B HDMI cables were, indeed, planned before Type-C HDMI. It was called HDMI Dual-Link, and it promised speeds that were unheard of at the time.
The structure of Type-B HDMI was going to be noticeably different from the standard connector. It was supposed to come with 29 pins instead of 19. This enabled it to transmit much higher speeds across the extra pins.
So, what happened? Type-C HDMI happened. It had the same 19 pins, came in a more compact size, and had a newer technology that made the Type-B HDMI obsolete. Type-B HDMIs were obsolete before even being manufactured.
Yes, but you probably won’t ever come across it. It was created for automotive use. It has a locking mechanism that protects it from vibrations and a shell to protect it from dirt and moisture.
There’s a relay connector that enables standard HDMI cables to be connected to the Type-E HDMI connectors.
With all that said, hopefully you now have a better idea of the differences between mini-HDMI vs micro-HDMI. We need the HDMI transfer standard to support high quality digital video and audio. Fortunately, HDMI is so embedded into the current technological ecosystem that you’ll be hard pressed to find a modern device that doesn’t support some version of it. But depending on the size of the device, you’ll find either a micro-HDMI or mini-HDMI.