Belkin promises its Smart TV Link is the simple and elegant answer to the mess of wires and cables running between your various multimedia devices – but is this product packing the features to match the marketing?
Design and build quality
This is marketed as somewhat of a high-end product, and Belkin stuff is typically quite pricey, so I was expecting a pretty high standard.
I didn’t get it.
The entire device is made out of what feels like very cheap plastic – it’s extremely thin, particularly at the base, making the whole thing feel a little unstable.
Belkin have attempted to smart it up a little with a shiny black finish on the front and back, as well as some blue highlights running along the edges; and it admittedly does look quite elegant as part of a home entertainment system.
That being said, as soon as you pick it up the cheap materials are obvious, and that really is a shame.
On the wider of the two sides, you’ll find 4 Ethernet ports, a power input and a tiny reset button. These sides are done in a grey/blue plastic, but are mostly hidden behind the front and back panels.
Features and functionality
The Belkin was pleasantly easy to set up, with only a few short and easy steps required to get the device running. Configuring your various televisions and devices to make use of it is a different matter altogether, and it will likely take a bit of time to get everything how you want it.
Belkin promises to wirelessly connect your various devices such as Blu-Ray players, video game consoles, televisions and computers – and it does this job well. However, the device isn’t cheap, and one would have expected the inclusion of different outputs such as HDMI.
As it stands, Ethernet and Wi-Fi are your only connection options, which not every television can make use of.
The Wi-Fi signal appeared to be quite strong, which is a plus, and there were no problems streaming HD quality videos and music, as well as browsing the web on my television.
The Belkin can even function solely as a Wireless Access Point for your network, if you like your access points pretty and overpriced.
The thing you need to know about this product, is that it is just essentially a Wireless Access Point in pretty packaging. The marketing of the product may lead you to believe it does something more, or is specifically designed as a multimedia device, but unfortunately it isn’t.
The lack of HDMI ports or any other kind of extra connectivity doesn’t give this product any kind of edge over a bog-standard WAP.
It’s important to know that you’re paying a premium for a pretty package, and not for additional functionality. The Belkin will fit in great with the look of your home entertainment system, and for many that may well be worth the extra cash.
It is a great pity that the device was so poorly built – the cheap, plastic materials make the device very difficult to recommend, even for those simply wanting a sleek looking device to match their Smart TV.
A bit of poking around on the Internet revealed that some people have had issues with the device in the long-term, which raises concern that the hardware itself was put together on the cheap as well.
For the few days it was used, it did work flawlessly – but at an RRP of R1,129 (excluding VAT), I’m going to have to advise you to look elsewhere – the value for money just isn’t there.