So many capture devices, so little time.
When Avermedia sent over the Game Capture HD II I was expecting yet another piece of hardware that captures game clips, offers commentary and has one or two quirks that simply annoy me. Much to my surprise, this device actually brings something new and interesting to the table. This is the first capture device that does not require a PC to function, making it much more appealing to those without hefty hardware who want to become a YouTube sensation.
First let’s start with what is in the box. The Game Capture HD II is a hefty piece of hardware, especially when compared to the Extremecap U3 that I just reviewed. The device itself is the size of a small console, and hosts a bevy of inputs on the back including component, HDMI (both in and out), LAN and power. The front houses the record and power buttons, headphone and microphone slots, and a USB input for either an external hard drive, or a USB drive.
The device also comes with a remote control to navigate through the menus, or I could download an external app on my phone or tablet that controlled the device. It is available on the Google Play store as well as iOS.
What is unique about this device is that without the use of a PC, I was required to provide my own storage. That could be as simple as a USB stick, external hard drive, or even an internal one with minimal caveats. Hard drives have to be formatted in NTFS, are recommended to be at least 500GB and no more than 2TB, which is sufficient space for quite a few recordings. I actually had a spare SSD lying around that I put in just to see if it worked, and it did.
This feature is great, but using an internal HD comes with its own issues. There is no simple way to get the items from the device to a PC. So if you prefer to transfer it before uploading to edit in something else, say Sony Vegas or such, it is best to use a removable storage device for easier transfer.
The major bullet point feature though is something that should be great for newcomers to capturing and uploading. The menu system simply overlays the game, allows for editing clips, and even uploading them directly to YouTube. It is all fairly simple to use, but also limited. I could only mark highlights, but not splice them together. Voice was also attached to the file and not separated, which is fine, but also makes for editing troubles in some cases.
The Game Capture HD II captures in 1080p, and for the most part it looks alright running at 30fps, but I actually found that recording in 720p at 60fps resulted in better quality files, with less artifacting and stutters in the final product. I also liked that the software allowed me to create an overlay of text for the videos, so I could watermark my creations for the web. It is a small touch, but one that can definitely add some personalization.
The device outputs files in an MP4 format using H.264 and AAC codecs, so they are pretty universal files. They also remain relatively light in size, making them quicker to transfer and upload, which is always nice.
The software used to edit and record gets the job done, but also suffers from slight delays and lag from time to time. There were instances where I would press the menu button and get a delay, or sometimes nothing at all. This also happened when pressing the record button. Thankfully the device has a light that flashes when recording so I always knew when it was, and wasn’t, working.
Overall the Game Capture HD II is a great device for those just starting out, or without a hefty PC to handle the encoding and editing. This also comes with limited capabilities and some technical hiccups, but for the most part, they don’t hinder the functionality.
Recommendation: Great for beginners without a monster PC to handle rendering.
Review copy of device provided by publisher.