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Although my LG TV has three HDMI ports I now find that it is not enough for all my HD needs with the recent edition of a Sky HD box I was having to swap HDMI leads around when I wanted to switch from my Xbox to my Ps3 and as we all know that is not a good long term solution as it can loosen the sockets on the TV.
I had a quick browse on Amazon.co.uk and ordered a Duronic HDMI Mini Switcher, for £7.99 including free super saver delivery. When the switcher arrived I was pleased to see that it was a compact device about, unlike those horrible Multi Scart switchers from not so long ago. The Duronic Mini Switcher promises Ultra-High performance with little to no loss of picture quality, this was what I was looking for.
I promptly presented my little black box to the husband for wiring up; first of all you do need a spare HDMI lead as the Mini Switcher does not come with one. Hubby plugged a HDMI lead into the port marked output, this will be the HDMI lead that plugs in to the back of the TV, he then plugged in the Ps3 and the Xbox in to 2 of the ports marked input, the switcher then switches between whichever device you have turned on automatically. There are three inputs but I only use two.
The quality of the picture was excellent on the Xbox but for some reason the picture quality on the Ps3 was showing a little bit of interference, this had happened with another HDMI splitter that we had tried and sent back as faulty, as we mainly use the Ps3 for playing Blu Ray films it was decided that the slight loss of quality was unreasonable so we moved the switcher onto the PC and the Sky HD box, where I am happy to say there is no notable loss in picture quality.
The Mini Switcher automatically switches the signal over from whichever device you have turned on. The Mini Switcher can also be switched manually by pressing the small button that is on top of the box, this is useful if you want to have two of the plugged in devices running at the same time.
The only downsides of the Duronic HDMI Mini Switcher are that it has an ultra bright blue LED situated on the top of the box, when the power is on this little light is on, during the day the blue glow is not notable but at night it does light up the corner of our lounge, this problem is easily cured by placing a small piece of Duct tape over the LED. The other issue is that the HDMI Mini Switcher just hangs in the air supported by the HDMI leads that are plugged into it, I have Blu Tacked it to the top of the PC so it is out of the way but if the TV was wall mounted I can imagine that it would be a bit of a problem.
In conclusion I think this is a brilliant HDMI switcher for the price, it does have a couple of small issues but these are easily cured with a bit of Duct tape and Blu Tack (as are most faults) the loss in picture quality is very slight and only noticeable if you are looking for it. I happily give the Duronic HDMI Mini Switcher 4 out of 5 stars.
Thank you for reading xx
Even though my television is less than two years old Goodmans (its manufacturer) skimped on the HMDI input sockets on my model and provided just 1. A single HDMI socket is clearly not enough in this age of High Definition and I had the problem of how I could connect my Sky HD box, Blu Ray Player and Xbox 360 to my TV without having to change over the HMDI cables every time I wanted to watch a film, play a game or watch some television. Figuring that there must be a solution available somewhere I looked on Amazon and found the subject of this review, a HDMI switch from Duronic. Admittedly I was slightly reticent about ordering a HDMI switch having had problems in the past with Scart "splitter" boxes which I found were as much use as a chocolate fire-guard but taking notice of the mainly positive amazon reviews I placed my order and a few days later received a little parcel through my letter box. So, does it work?
What is it?
Simply speaking this HDMI switch box from Duronic is a small (only 5cm square) flat plastic box. It features one output connection and three input ones and is designed to be an "intelligent" piece of technology which allows 3 HDMI cabled items to be connected to it. For me this means that I can plug my Xbox, Blu Ray player and Sky box into the 3 input connections and using a seperate HDMI cable from the output socket to the HDMI input on my television I can have all 3 devices connected to it at the same time. It's a clever piece of technology as it works on a priority basis meaning that whichever item is plugged into socket number 1 (the 3 input sockets are numbered 1-3) is the one that automatically is connected to my television, so for me this means that my Sky Box is always connected when I switch my television on. If I want to play a game on my Xbox the box knows to switch to that device once it is turned on and the same applies if I turn my Blu Ray player on. The box itself has little blue lights on it which illuminate next to the numbered input so it tells you which socket is currently working and reverts back to whatever is connected to socket number 1 if the other 2 aren't in use.
I've probably over complicated the above paragraph trying to describe how it actually works, as is often the case it's far easier to use than it is to describe and in reality this really is an instinctive no-nonsense product that does the job it was designed to do and more importantly it does it well. There is no loss in picture quality from any of the output sockets and my Blu Ray discs play in full HD, similarly the Sky HD channels are displayed clearly and crisply in HD and in the time I have owned my little Duronic box I have had no problems with it whatsoever.
The main drawback with anything like this is the amount of cables that are needed but that's a hazard of owning a few different pieces of technology anyway, fortunately the switch box itself is small enough to fit easily onto my TV stand and although it can be awkward getting all of the HDMI cables to sit in the right places once they are in place and the box is connected to the TV you can pretty much just leave it alone. It doesn't require manual switching between the outputs although you can if you want to as there is a small round button which allows you to flick between the 3 outputs and depending on your television this may be something that you might have to do. For me and my Goodmans TV it works perfectly and I can choose to watch TV, a film or play a game simply by using my remote control and don't have to manually select the HDMI output from the box as it knows to play the device that is switched on.
The switch box doesn't have its own power supply as it is self powered via HDMI so doesn't need plugging in at the mains and has gold plated connector plug contacts which I know from reading about them that Gold is the best metal to use for HDMI cables. It comes simply packaged in a small cardboard box complete with full, easy to follow instructions and has been a great buy for me. It's easy to set up despite my overly complicated explanation of how it works and once in place it just works and I can't say fairer than that. It is a bit on the light side, the box is made from plastic and admittedly doesn't feel all that durable but it's not something that needs to be moved once it has been connected so I simply leave mine alone.
For around a tenner (I paid £9.99 on amazon for mine) it has to be money well spent as far as I'm concerned and I would highly recommend this switch box from Duronic to anyone who needs a device of this nature. Five stars as a rating from me, I have no reason to deduct any marks from my score, thanks for reading my review.