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K-World GM220 Gaming Maker Capture Device Review

by on May 26, 2013
 

Video-capture has been big business in the videogames industry for a while now. It’s often much better for online publications (such as our good selves) to show sections of a game than simply tell readers all about it. As a result, several brands have become frontrunners in this particular area (Hauppauge springs to mind, for example), but not everyone can afford the hefty price-tags on their products.

One model offering a similar service for a considerably reduced price is the K-World GM220 Gaming Maker, performing in exactly the same way but for around half the price of its higher-tier competition.

Aesthetically, the GM220 looks pretty cool. Designed to resemble the Transformers All-Spark for some bizarre reason that’s explained nowhere in the literature or on the packaging (the device even has “All-Spark Cube” written on it), it’s small, lightweight and inoffensive. Setting it up is very easy provided you have some basic understanding of audio/video input, but you will need the necessary component cables if you wish to record footage from a games console. The cables provided will only bridge the pass-through connection between the device and your TV, while a HD/AV component cable is needed to connect the device to your console of choice. A sizeable USB lead links it to your PC.

Having the pass-through functionality is a real bonus, particularly for console users as you can leave the device set-up indefinitely and you lose no visual or audio fidelity whether you’re recording or not. It can record at 1080i, but you’ll struggle to maintain a decent image and I found that switching my Xbox 360’s output to 720p produced a higher quality capture. The GM220 works just as well with a PC as with a games console, and is compact enough that you can add it to your PC set-up without having to move any existing equipment.

The device will work with several different editing and production software packages, but it comes bundled with CyberLink PowerDirector 8 and CyberLink PowerProducer. Both suites are decent, but lack the sophistication of higher level equivalents. PowerDirector 8 is fairly easy to use, but not particularly user-friendly when you get to the more complex features; I managed to blunder my way around it and within a few hours I had worked out how to edit captured footage, add a splash intro, fade-out and voice-over, but it wasn’t a stress-free exercise. Seasoned video editors may find the software a little short on features compared to certain other suites, but it’s more than adequate for the task at hand. Of course, you can now upgrade as far as PowerDirector 11, which is likely to be a little more feature-heavy.

There’s a bevy of production options, and you’re able to produce in a number of formats, from MP1, 2, 3 and 4 to avi. and wmv. You can tweak certain details like brightness, sharpness and contrast, add or extract audio and adjust the final resolution. You can also produce videos designed to upload directly to YouTube, and all the changes you make can be saved as custom profiles to make your life easier. I should point out that the manual included in the software isn’t great, and as an uninitiated, rather non-savvy luddite I had to resort to watching YouTube tutorials to find the best settings for my recording. Given that this device is designed and marketed specifically for game capture, a dedicated set-up or tutorial in the software wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Device Specifications:

Audio Input: RCA L/R Input
Audio Output (pass-through): RCA L/R Output]

Interface: USB 2.0

Video Input:
Component (YPbPr) – RCA Jack
S-Video – 4-Pin Mini-Din
Composite (AV-IN) – RCA Jack

Video Output (pass-through):
Component (YPbPr) – RCA Jack
S-Video – 4-Pin Mini-Din
Composite (AV-OUT) – RCA Jack

System Requirements:

Pentium-IV 2.0 GHz or Higher (recommended)
Graphic Card must support DirectX 9.0c
512MB RAM
Windows XP SP3 / Windows Vista SP2 / Windows 7
1x Free USB 2.0 Port
AC97 Compatible Sound Card
1GB Free HD Space
DVD-ROM Drive (for installation of software)
Microsoft DirectX 9.0c

VERDICT: The K-World GM220 is a solid piece of kit, well-designed and compact. It is incredibly lightweight, and won’t take much punishment if you’re a clumsy butter-fingers. It records perfectly well for its price-range, putting out a decent picture at 720p, and is easy enough to set-up. While it comes with its own component cable, you will need to own the corresponding cable for each of your home consoles if you want to record straight from them.

Along with the pass-through functionality and the adequate though unspectacular editing software, the GM220 should cover the needs of any amateur video editor looking to learn the ins and outs of the process without getting swamped in complicated features – just be prepared to play around with the settings for a while before you hit the nail on the head. Retailing at £54.99 (or lower from some suppliers), it’s a decent model that should meet your requirements without breaking the bank.

This product was supplied free of change for review by Maplin.

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  • SHADOMEGA7569 .

    I bought the Allspark and was going to use it for my PS3, but anytime I change the resolution on my console i get nothing on screen, even at 720P and it only somewhat comes in at 480P and comes in perfectly black and white when i set it to standard NTSC. am I doing something wrong?