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I'd appreciate input on connecting phones to a projector. Here is some background.

I am bringing a older business BenQ projector with an HDMI port (no wireless or USB port) to a family gathering. I would like to let people plug in their phones after dinner and show photos they took that day. It could be a dozen or more phones of all different makes and OS.

One option is to bring a laptop, connect it to the HDMI port, and let people plug in phones, which will then be recognized as storage devices. Files can then be opened in the photo editor. The downside is that my laptop is bulky, and I would prefer not to need to bring it on the plane. There also may be  bit of a delay as the laptop installs different drivers for new phones.

Another option is to mirror phones to my Fire Stick plugged into the HDMI port. I've tried it with a couple of phones and it works, but the downside is that it requires digging through different settings on different phones, and I fear it will be a kludgey process. Also, I am not sure how many phones can cast to the stick.

I know some phones can be plugged straight into an HDMI port, but many are not enabled by MHL or otherwise to connect to HDMI.

I can also do kludgey workarounds like transferring files off of phones to a cloud account or thumb drive, then transfer those files on to a device connected to the projector, but I fear that will get unwieldy fast.

Are there any other options? For example, is there a portable digital media player along the lines of a Micca Speck which allows easy connections to files on phones once they have been plugged in? Or possibly connect wirelessly via Bluetooth, Miracast or Chromecast in a way that is easier than the Fire TV stick?

I get the sense popular portable media players only recognize plain file storage devices like thumb drives or hard drives, but I would be happy to be corrected.

Is there a Bluetooth dongle that can go into the HDMI port which allows easier mirroring than the Fire TV stick?

Am I missing any other options? Thanks for pointing out something obvious I cluelessly missed.
 
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