Review of the StarTech USB HDMI External Dual or Multi Monitor Video Adaptor with Audio

Back in August we told you about StarTech launching a new USB HDMI video adaptor. Now it’s time for our review.

The USB2HDMI USB to HDMI External Video Adapter (Dual or Multi Monitor with Audio) turns an available USB 2.0 port into an HDMI output, with high resolution video support (up to 1920×1080) and audio.

The USB HDMI adapter can be used to mirror your primary desktop, showing the same image on each display, or to extend your desktop to double your workspace and increase your productivity. This external graphics card is a cost-saving multi-monitor or dual display solution, for either laptop or desktop applications, offering the ability to connect an additional HDMI (or DVI) enabled display to your computer setup without the hassle of opening the computer case to install a new video card.

Features

  • Quick and easy installation
  • Supports resolutions up to 1920×1080
  • USB-powered – No external power adapter required
  • Choose between Mirrored, Extended or Primary display configurations
  • Driver software supports display rotation
  • Supports the Windows® Aero interface
  • Supports 2-channel (Stereo) audio

Applications

  • Add a secondary display adapter and extend your desktop display without taking apart your computer to install a new video card
  • Connect multiple monitors to a single computer, to create engaging multimedia presentations
  • Use the adapter to connect your PC to your television for showing family pictures and movies
  • Great for researchers and writers offering the ability to have reference material on one display and a working document copy on the other
  • Increase productivity by running multiple applications on different screens, check your email on one display and search the web on the other
  • View large or multiple spreadsheets across multiple displays
  • A compact, lightweight solution for traveling business associates using laptop PCs, enabling connection to a secondary display/projector

Who are StarTech?

From their website:

StarTech.com is your one-stop source for every connectivity part you need. From the latest technology to legacy products — and all the parts that bridge the old and new — we can help you find the parts that connect your solutions.

We make it easy to locate the parts, and we quickly deliver them wherever they need to go. Just talk to one of our tech advisors or visit our website. You’ll be connected to the products you need in no time.

Specifications

What’s in the Box?

Along with the adaptor is a manual, a driver CD and a cable.

A Closer Look

Installing and Using the Adaptor

Connect the USB cable to your computer and then to the adaptor – when it is powered the green light will be illuminated. You can then connect the HDMI cable to the other end of the adaptor (as you can see below):

Installing the driver software is simple – for Windows you just pop in the CD and follow the steps.

A new icon appears in the Task tray.

From here you can run the DisplayLink Manager, check for updates, optimize for video, fit the image to TV and make advanced configuration changes.

In my case there were no updates to the software.

To use it then is as simple as choosing whether you want to use your second monitor in either extended mode (which creates an extension to your desktop) or whether you want to use it in clone/mirror mode (which basically creates a clone of your desktop – very useful if you are giving presentations).

Installing on a Mac

Unfortunately the software provided didn’t run on my MacBook Air running Lion. It claimed that it would only run on Intel-based computers – which the Air is!

After speaking to a very helpful member of StarTech’s technical support, I was informed that it would only run on Tiger or Leopard (not even Snow Leopard) which was a shame. So if you have a very old Mac it might work, if you have anything new it won’t!

Final Thoughts

The USB2HDMI adaptor from StarTech is small, light-weight and is very easy to set up and use.

After you have installed the software, which is very quick and easy, it’s just a case of connecting it up to the monitor/TV using an HDMI cable (which isn’t supplied, so make sure you buy one) and choosing which mode you want to use it in.

I found that both modes worked fine for my purposes, on both a desktop and a laptop. However, when I tried to use it on my MacBook Air running Lion it doesn’t work because the software doesn’t support either Lion or Snow Leopard. This is a shame, and there is no word on when it might support them either.

There are also two useful options in the software – optimise for video (which is used for video playback on either Windows Vista or Windows 7) and Fit to TV (which is used to adjust the size of the desktop on the TV if you are in extended mode. Both are really useful additions.

This particular version supports USB 2.0 – I believe a USB 3.0 is available, or coming very soon, so I will be eager to see how it compares.

The retail price is £83.99 + VAT, but if you search around you can find it for around £59.99 including VAT, or less.

Learn more from the StarTech website

5 COMMENTS

  1. Slimtom
    My notebook is unable to play HD movie because video card in not HD capable. Is it possible to use this device t owatch movies in HD?
  2. Slimtom
    My notebook is unable to play HD movie because video card in not HD capable. Is it possible to use this device t owatch movies in HD?