2-Port 4K KVM Switch with HDMI (GCS92HU)
The 2-Port 4K KVM Switch with HDMI (GCS92HU) from IOGEAR provides added productivity for users with multiple computers and a single workstation. The device works really well with no lagging from connected peripherals detected. There is a slight delay when switching between computers but that's to be expected. The cable harness that extends from the switch box is a bit unruly and it would have been nice if users had the option to disconnect the cables they aren't using. In comparison to other KVM Switches that offer HDMI Connection with 4K 60Hz, it's fair market value and actually closer to mid-range than the higher end priced switches.
- EASE OF USE
KVM Switch provides enhanced productivity when using multiple computers with a single workstation.
Over the years I’ve fought bouncing back and forth between computers throughout the day. I currently toggle between my personal 2020 M1 MacBook Air (13-inch) and a 2019 MacBook Pro (16-inch) for work. In the past though, I’ve switched between macOS and PC systems on a daily basis. Personally, I’ve never had an issue with switching between systems, but the mechanics of it can get a little cumbersome.
In my home office, I have an external monitor, speakers, Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and a USB camera for video conferences. All of these peripherals are connected through a single Thunderbolt 3 docking station. I will then connect a single Thunderbolt cable to whichever laptop I am using at the time. Since both Mac notebooks will operate in closed clamshell mode, I can keep things pretty tidy by storing them in a vertical laptop stand.
This type of setup works pretty well except when I end up having to switch systems on a whim. If I could be 100% dedicated to my work laptop between 9 am-5 pm and then switch the cable to my other computer, I wouldn’t have any issues. But that doesn’t always work out that way. Inevitably throughout the day, I end up checking my email or working on smaller projects during breaks and the flip-flopping is endless.
This scenario is exactly why KVM switches are useful. A KVM (an abbreviation for “keyboard, video, and mouse”) switch is designed for the specific purpose of being able to use one set of external accessories for multiple computers.
I’ve had different KVM switches throughout my life, but in the past few years, I’ve not had one suitable for my precise needs. Fortunately, one of my favorite companies, IOGEAR, has a wonderful variety of KVM switches and I’ve been able to try out their 2-Port 4K KVM Switch with HDMI, USB, and Audio Connections.
About IOGEAR & the 2-Port 4K KVM Switch
IOGEAR creates some wonderful, innovative, high-performance products that help people connect to other technologies. I’ve always found their products to be reliable and intuitive. If I had to describe IOGEAR products in one word it would be “consistent.” They are consistently good, solid products that you can depend on. Here is a little more about the company:
IOGEAR, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., manufactures innovative information technology products for consumers and organizations of varying sizes that are designed to help integrate technologies in everyday life, share resources and decrease clutter at home, in business, and on-the-go. IOGEAR meets a variety of user needs by offering a broad range of solutions including: KVMs, AV & Digital Home, Computer Accessories, Networking, Mobility and Gaming. IOGEAR distributes throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia.
The 2-Port 4K KVM Switch with HDMI, USB, and Audio Connections (KVM Switch, for short) allows users to connect two different computers to several accessories for the purpose of switching easily between systems. The switch can support 4K video quality and provides a seamless experience between operating systems.
The switch does not require specialized software to work with different operating systems as it features plug-and-play technology. The switch is also bus-powered and does not require an external power supply. It does, however, include a Micro-USB port for a supportive power source if any of the USB peripherals require additional power.
|Port Selection||Remote Pushbutton|
|Keyboard||1 x USB Type A|
|Mouse||1 x USB Type A|
|Audio||1 x 3.5mm Mini Stereo Jack (Green)|
|Microphone||1 x 3.5mm Mini Stereo Jack (Pink)|
|Monitor||2 x HDMI|
|Keyboard & Mouse||2 x USB 2.0 Type A|
|Audio||2 x 3.5mm Mini Stereo Jack(Green)|
|Microphone||2 x 3.5mm Mini Stereo Jack(Pink)|
|KVM LED Indicators||2 x White|
|Video Resolution||up to 4096 x 2160 @60Hz|
|Operation Temperature||0~50C (32~122 F)|
|Storage Temperature||-20~60C (-4~140F)|
|Humidity||0~80% RH, Non-condensing|
|Cable Length||KVM cables: 48″ (121.92cm)|
|Unit Weight||0.8 lb (0.36 kg)|
The KVM Switch comes in a standard green and white IOGEAR branded box. An image of the switch box and button is on the front while the back showcases the suggested diagram of connections with the switch. The back of the box also includes a feature list of the switch and the model number (GCS92HU). One side of the box has the full name of the product printed horizontally (in case the box were laying on its side) and the other side has the package contents, system requirements, and icons representing the different OS compatibilities.
Before I dig too much further into this review, I want to point out that the webpage description of this KVM switch includes some incorrect information. The description says: “Control and switch between two DisplayPort computers from a USB keyboard, mouse and DisplayPort monitor” and “DisplayPort 1.1, HDMI and HDCP 2.2 compliant.” There is no DisplayPort included on this particular KVM Switch. I’m hopeful that IOGEAR will update this information soon.
When I removed the contents of the box (the KVM switch, quick start guide, and warranty card), I was taken aback at first. The box itself is very lightweight. But it has a large cable harness attached that weighs it down. The cable tentacles were what was surprising to me.
For some reason, I thought the cables would be detachable. They are not. The back of the box has a permanently attached wiring harness with 4 feet of cables extending away from it. The front of the box is where you will find the connection ports for your peripherals.
Now while this isn’t really a functional problem in terms of how the device works, since I’ve been working rather hard to eliminate excess cables in my workspace, the addition of some rather long cables was a shock to the system – to say the least. The first thing I did was split the cable harness into two sections one for each computer.
I happened to have some twist ties handy so that made separating the wiring harness much easier. While having the cables loose and easy to route in different directions, it would have been nice if IOGEAR had included at least a couple of cable ties or something to help with cable management.
Once I had the cables managed — well as best as I could anyway — I connected the keyboard, monitor, mouse, and speakers to the switch box. Now, I want to point out that I typically use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse with my setup, and my monitor is usually connected via DisplayPort and not HDMI.
After I had the peripherals connected, I connected the laptops to the switch. It’s important to note here that both of these macOS notebooks only have Thunderbolt/USB-C connection ports. Therefore, I had to use hubs to connect the HDMI and USB-A cables to them. The 3.5mm cable for the speakers was plugged directly into the headphone jack on the laptops and then I connected each laptop to external power.
I didn’t have identical hubs to use for connecting the switch to the laptops, but I did have very similar options for testing purposes. I used the HyperDrive Duo 7-in-2 USB-C Hub and the Satechi USB-C Pro Hub Max. The HyperDrive was used with the MacBook Air and the Satechi was used with the MacBook Pro. Each of these hubs supports at least 4K 60Hz resolution on a monitor through a single HDMI port. It was very important to me to try and match the systems as closely as possible while ensuring each computer had what it needed to operate properly.
I want to point out here that at first, I was using a different USB-C hub with the MacBook Air — the Kanex iAdapt 7-in-1 hub. It’s a great device, but there was a feature that it was lacking — 4K 60Hz support with HDMI. It had an HDMI connection, but it only supported 4K 30Hz. I didn’t realize this when I initially set it up and because of that, the resolution between the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air was very different. The MacBook Air looked blurry and after a while, it actually started causing me to have a headache. After a bit of troubleshooting, I swapped the hubs on the MacBook Air and discovered the video resolution difference.
I am bringing this up because when you connect two systems like this you want to make sure they can match as closely as possible. Since you are using the same monitor and each system will be using the same HDMI cable to send a video signal to the monitor, it really is a matter of how the KVM switch cables connect to your computer.
I was actually very surprised at how well I was able to switch back and forth between the two laptops. There is a small delay (less than 5 seconds) between when you click the switch button and when the computer you are switching to is active. I did not have any issues with the peripherals lagging or operating incorrectly. I did notice a strange high-pitched tone that occurred intermittently when I was playing audio through my iPad. This was odd because the iPad wasn’t connected to the system at all – except through Universal Control.
I have not detected any major heat spikes from the switch box or either of the hubs that are running the connections to the laptops. The night that I set the switch up, I actually had a work project that was active late into the night. I was updating content on a website and then waiting for approvals from other people. There was plenty of time for me to switch back and forth between systems so the KVM Switch really came in handy. It saved me a lot of time and frustration that I usually end up feeling when I have to shuffle back and forth.
Some Final Thoughts
The 2-Port 4K KVM Switch with HDMI Connection is a great addition to any workstation with multiple systems. It is very convenient to be able to click a single button and be able to switch between two systems. For me, it removes a huge frustration that I feel every time I have to shuffle between my laptops. I do wish that the cables were less bulky or that I was able to use my own. I won’t be using the microphone cable so it would be nice to have the option to detach a cable if you aren’t using it.
That said, the way the switch is designed works really well. I just have the problem of figuring out the neatest way to organize and manage the cables so they aren’t quite so chaotic.