Product review by Steve Cullum
Product – AVerMedia Game Capture HD II
Original MSRP – $184.99
Obtained – Review Copy from AVerMedia
Today, gamers are not satisfied with just playing on their own and showing their best friend how they beat a level. No, they want to share it with the world. AVerMedia claims to make that possible with their Game Capture HD II device. Over the last couple months, I have been test-driving it with my Wii U. Here is my review.
The Game Capture HD II is made of plastic. Not only is it made of plastic, but it feels like plastic. There is not much of an indestructible feel to it at all. In fact, I am pretty sure that a fall to the floor might damage the casing and even shake up the insides. With that being said, the device does offer several I/O ports that make sense for modern HD gaming systems. These include input and output for HDMI, a component input, microphone and headphone jacks for commentary, a LAN port, a USB port for an external hard drive, and a storage slot for a 2.5” hard drive. All of this makes for a significant device, even if it is probably not very strong.
The footage captured by the device is great, though. Even when capturing video at the “good” setting, it still came through in very high quality. In fact, I forgot that it was even on that setting until I went back into the menu. This tells me that the internal hardware is doing its job, and I have little to complain about its ability to capture wonderful looking footage of my games.
Ease of Use
When I first hooked up the GCHDII to my TV and Wii U, I had some issues. It did not work at all. After unplugging the HDMI and power several times, I finally got it to work, though. Setting it up was fairly easy, as all the inputs and outputs made sense. The menu structure was a bit clunky, but it was easy to figure out what to do. After finally getting it setup, I realized it did not have an on-board hard drive, so I needed to find one I could use. After searching my house, I found an extra that I was not using. Unfortunately, it needs to be formatted using a Windows machine, and all I have is a Mac. So, I had to go find some software online that allowed me to format my hard drive using the required method.
I turned on my Wii U, and then I turned on the device. After the screen flickering many times while the device was powering on and going through all its initial screens, I was finally able to use it, and honestly, that was the easiest part. When you want to record, you click the corresponding button on the remote. The same goes for taking a screenshot. The only problems come when the device decides it wants to freeze up and not acknowledge any of your button presses. At this point, the only solution is to turn off the device, and restart it. Upon restarting, the device will tell you that you did not disconnect your hard drive correctly, and it needs to run a disk check to make sure everything is fine. It always is. This process alone could frustrate people who do not know what they are doing. It frustrated me, and I do know what I am doing.
The GCHDII offers the ability to upload directly to the internet via the LAN cable, record live commentary, edit recorded video on your TV, and add watermarks. Uploading and live commentary are great, but the editor is very clunky. Honestly, if you want to do some real editing, you need to take the footage to your computer. For quick trims, though, it is not bad. Watermarks are great, too, but it defaults to one that says AVerMedia. Also, you cannot change the font or color. It would have been nice to have wifi built in too, instead of having to use an ethernet cable.
The main issue with navigating through the menus and editing software is that you have to use the remote for everything. They have an app for iOS devices, but it never seemed to work for me. With an update to that app, maybe navigation will be better. Until then, you must use the remote, which is hardly ever a good solution for menus, and it definitely is not how you want to edit video.
Final Score: 6 out of 10
While the AVerMedia Game Capture HD II has a lot going for it, the features often fall short. The price might seem great, but the clunky menu and freezing problems are enough for me to tell you not to jump right up and order one today. However, if you are willing to add your own hard drive and deal with the freezing, this is not a bad device to start capturing game footage to share with the world. If those things sound annoying to you, then you should probably look elsewhere for a capturing device.
Pros and Cons
+ Fairly easy to setup.
+ Easy to record game footage and take screenshots.
+ Captured footage looks great.
– Clunky menu and editing software.
– Freezes often.
– Probably will not survive a fall.
Setup and First Capture
Where to Buy:
More info on AVerMedia’s site – http://gamerzone.avermedia.com//game_capture/game_capture_hd_2