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Mobile devices are much slower than PC as of yet, and thus it may often have trouble playing high-definition video using CPU only. Manufacturers therefore install multimedia chipsets to assist video decoding process specifically. HW decoder is using these chipsets to play videos whereas SW decoder only uses CPU to play them.What are the differences between HW and HW+?

HW decoder plays video(s) using stock media framework whereas HW+ decoder plays video using MX Player's own media framework. In general, HW+ decoder can play more videos than HW decoder. However, some devices may not support HW+ yet and some videos may not be played properly.Volume can be increased up to 200% and background playback feature can be utilized with HW+ decoder.HW+ decoder is disabled by default but can be activated on Settings > Decoder screen. This activation menu will not show up on unsupported devices.

To put it very simply, assuming your device can handle it, whenever available for the video you are playing:

HW+ > HW > SW

HW+ is MX's version of hardware acceleration with "extra" features, the most preferred mode if available for that video on your device.
HW is native hardware acceleration by the device.
SW you should only use when HW+ / HW cannot play your video properly, as SW means no hardware graphics acceleration and therefore more battery usage.