Friday, September 14, 2012

Chromebook VGA adapters

Have you recently opened your new Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook only to be surprised that you couldn’t hook it up to your projector? That’s because Samsung/Google decided that they would only allow output through a little connector called DisplayPort++. The older Chromebooks had an entirely different port for output. If you go to amazon today and search “chromebook VGA adapter,” you will get a page full of items you aren’t looking for. What you need to search is “DisplayPort to VGA adapter” or “DisplayPort to HDMI adapter.” If you do this, you will get many options that will work with your chromebook, but plenty that won’t. The issue is that Apple calls their output a Mini DisplayPort, which is different than the DisplayPort on the chromebook. To simplify the process for you, I have tested three adapters that will be compatible with your chromebook:

Dell DP to VGA Adapter - This is a DisplayPort to VGA adapter that worked flawlessly with the chromebook. When refreshing the output (Ctrl + full screen function button), it even cycled through the normal options for outputs (1. just projector,2. just monitor, 3. both). A very nice option.

Cables to Buy DP to VGA Adapter – This is another DisplayPort to VGA adapter that worked flawlessly. Even with shipping, this is still less than half the price of the first adapter. So now the obvious question: Why would I buy a more expensive adapter (i.e., number 1) if they do the exact same thing. Here are two things to consider: 1) The VGA cable connects directly to the adapter, which can weigh it down and loosen the connection, which may cause the adapter to fall out of the port. 2)Because it is rather wide, the two ports next to the DisplayPort (USB and Ethernet) are tricky to access. The Ethernet is still accessible, but the USB port is impossible to use. There is still another USB port available on the other side of the Chromebook.

Cable Matters DP to HDMI - This adapter is DisplayPort to HDMI, which is nice because it brings sound with it through the connection. The problem is that this connection had the most troubles interacting with the projector. The first time it was plugged in, the screen on the chromebook flashed repeatedly and would not stop. The second try worked fine until I tried to refresh the output; then the screen started flashing again and wouldn’t stop until I unplugged it.

Summary: If you want to spend a little more money to have access to a second USB port, go with number 2. If you want to save money (like me) and still be able to project your chromebook, go with number 1. If you really want audio running into the projector, go with the HDMI and number 3, but prepare to deal with screen refresh issues (I would avoid this option). Conclustion: I’m going to recommend number 2 to anyone that asks.

Happy Chromebooking!


  1. Thanks David.

    I've had a couple of tries at buying a chromebook HDMI to VGA adapter. The other problem is being able to ship if bought from Amazon US to addresses in Australia where I am.

    If you dont have a contact in the US but do have one in UK here's a link to what appears to be an identical product to your second recommendation.

    I haven't received the item yet but it looks identical to the cable matters product. I'm hoping it will work.

  2. Just realised you are talking about a different Chromebook!

    Mine is a Samsung WiFi model...hope the output works in the same way