[Review] M17x R3 configured with Dell WirelessHD Trasmitter paired with Zyxel Receiver from Dell
So some of you may have ordered your M17x R3 with a WiHD module and have been left scratching your heads as to whether it was a good investment. This is a small review to give everyone a head up on what these products are all about.
It claims to be able to do full 1080p over wireless. I paired the module with the receiver using the driver I downloaded from the Dell website. The M17x R3 driver page no longer lists this so I got it from the M18x.
After pairing, your video card drivers such as Nvidia Control Panel or the CCC as well as settings withing windows all act as if the laptop was plugged into your monitor/HDTV.
It immediately pushed an HD 1080p signal to my TV using mirrored mode. My plasma is an old HD Ready TV and has rectangular pixels - 1024x768 @ 16:9. Therefore the best 16:9 output is probably 1366x768 which was one of the options in my NVCP. This is the resolution I use normally with the HDMI cable but I went through all kinds of resolutions just to make sure they were all working well.
My HDTV is reasonably old and is only HD Ready, wireless or not, when connected using HDMI, NVCP gives me numerous options split into two categories: PC and HDTV. The HDTV ones are "standard" widescreen and normal resolutions from 800 x 600 to 1920 x 1080 with everything in between. It also detects all the refresh rate capabilities of my laptop too.
Now, probably due to a limitation with either the bandwidth or just the specific drivers I have been using, when set to 60Hz refresh when using any of the "HDTV Resolutions", there is no audio over HDMI for any of them. When set to 50Hz, it is perfectly fine with good audio. I guess the module can push 60Hz video or 50Hz video + audio.
When using the "PC" resolutions setting to any resolution, @60Hz works and there is audio. Somehow, the same (similar) resolution using the HDTV signal gives no sound but PC signal does. Weird. Although when using the "PC" signals, some picture options in my TV were disabled so the quality was compromised. I'm sticking with HDTV resolutions @50Hz
The audio is clear and without any lag. To be honest, I am not noticing any difference than when I had the cable plugged in. I have noticed that with the cable plugged in, I could tweak the black levels on my TV but over wireless, the settings give the same picture. Probably also a bandwidth limitation but the picture is crisp and clear anyways so it doesn't bother me. I tried a bit of gaming and there is a bit of lag, less than a quarter of a second and noticeable in FPS games. 3rd person sandbox games like Assassin's Creed work well though RPGs and RTS games will probably be great too.
Now the one big issue is signal strength. At only a few meters away and the driver software reports 100% but as soon as someone walks in between the laptop and the receiver, the signal is gone The receiver is mountable so I suggest sticking in a higher place where it will receive less "interference" from people walking around. But as long as you don't have anyone walking around, if the laptop has line of sight with the receiver, it will work beautifully.
To summarize, the Zyxel receiver is a very good and cost effective component if you have a WiHD module and a TV without any WiHD capability. The signal is something to be desired but it will be enough for most situations.
I rate this 8/10 for features, 9/10 for design because I think it looks slick, and 10/10 for convenience . Peace
Last edited by widezu69; 4th May 2012 at 09:52 PM.