- Easy to use
- No good for widescreen sources
- Low-quality inputs
- Middling build quality
Review Price £26.56
Backing up has become ammunition for doom-mongerers. Take heed, they say, fail to back-up regularly and all your precious memories will be sucked into a digital vortex, never to be seen again.
Yes, some have a tendency to over-dramatise, but it's always better to be safe than sorry, as the old cliché goes. Backing-up between different formats complicates things though, especially when you're reaching back into your old non-digital days. Enter the Compro Video Mate C200 Pro, which will let you save your old video tapes and camcorder footage to a hard disk.
The main hardware of the Compro Video Mate C200 Plus is achingly simple. It's a USB dongle adorned with a single button and a little LED light. As it's larger than the average USB stick, Compro includes a USB extension cable in the box, especially useful for use with laptops where the wide body of the dongle might otherwise prohibit using other USB devices alongside.
At the other end of the C200 Plus is a socket that plugs into the supplied A/V interface. This is a cable that offers female stereo audio RCA adaptors plus S-video and Composite video sockets.
Setting-up the device requires installation of specific drivers using the installed CD, or from the support section of the Compro website, but was otherwise painless. Install the drivers, install the bundled CyberLink PowerDirector 7 DE software and you're away. We found no hardware or software conflicts in our various test-runs - the stream from the dongle appeared in the preview window of PowerDirector 7 DE without any secondary fiddling required.
This ease of use is one of the main benefits of the C200 Plus. It's not plug-and-play in its operation, but is free of the setup frustrations we were half-expecting.
We're less convinced about the dongle's build quality. It feels cheap, and while we didn't subject the C200 Plus to any cruel treatment, we doubt whether it'll survive as long as the video content you back-up using it - especially with a physical button on-board that may fail.
There's an element of the suspicion of too-light devices at foot here too though. As the dongle isn't much more than a pass-through device for a video stream, there's not a great deal to house within its bod.