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Lifewire / Emily Ramirez
4k at 60 Hz support
Some inputs located on side instead of rear
No PIP Mode
The Kinivo 550BN HDMI Switch is a great solution for those with lots of 4K devices, packing slots for up to five inputs. However, there are cheaper options for those who don’t need that embarrassment of ports.
The Kinivo 550BN is an HDMI switcher made with power users in mind: five inputs, 4K resolution, and a 60Hz refresh rate. If you have a lot of devices you need to connect to your 4K TV or display then the 550BN is well worth a look. When we tested it, the switch performed reliably, with a nine-second auto-switch function and vibrant colors. However, to shove so many inputs into such a small box, several ports are located on the sides of the switcher, forcing thick HDMI cables to remain in sight on your console or desk. This is a tad disappointing, given that the Kinivo is one of the pricier sub-$50 HDMI switches.
The Kinivo switch has five HDMI input ports, one HDMI output, an AC adapter, and a remote. To keep the box as small as possible, only four of the inputs are on the back side; one input is on the right, and the output is on the left. Unfortunately, this makes it harder to organize cables in a pleasing manner. The box itself is made of a robust plastic, and the sides are metallic-coated. The bottom has rubber feet for traction, and the top has a glossy black finish with a huge Kinivo logo on it.
Having an HDMI cable and an AC adapter cable sticking out of the sides made cable management a lot trickier.
It’s not the most gorgeous HDMI switcher on the market, but it runs 4k video at 60Hz, is HDCP 2.2 compliant, has a huge amount of inputs, and is only 6.9 x 2.5 x 1.0 inches. It also comes with a very robust user’s guide, which even lists popular devices that do not support auto-switching (and it explains why they’re not supported). The remote uses IR signalling and includes buttons for the five inputs, as well as arrows to cycle through the inputs.
To set up the Kinivo HDMI Switch we connected three HDMI inputs and one HDMI output, along with the included AC adapter. The switch automatically sets itself to the active HDMI input. We tried our best to set up the switch in an eye-pleasing manner, but having an HDMI cable and an AC adapter cable sticking out of the sides made cable management a lot trickier. We would have preferred a longer/wider switcher with all seven ports in the rear. The switch itself would have been bigger, but it would be much easier to hide unsightly cables, a compromise we would’ve happily made.
This little switcher is packed with features. It displays up to 4K at 60Hz, can output from up to five devices, and has automatic switching. The only downside is that this switch does not have an HDMI splitter built in, meaning that you will have to use a 3rd party solution to reroute audio if your sound system is separate from your viewing device. In our case, we tested the Kinivo Switch with the BenQ HT3550, which has an RCA output that we connected to the rest of our sound system. Once you have your A/V system properly set up, the Kinivo switch supports Dolby digital encoding, HDCP, HDR, 3D video, and an 18Gbps connection. It even comes with a two-year warranty should you need any additional support.
The Kinivo Switch is competitively priced, especially given its five inputs.
The Kinivo switch takes about nine seconds to switch between inputs when prompted, not the fastest speed but in line with other sub-$50 HDMI switches. When we tested its refresh rate at 4K, it delivered 60Hz, as promised. Overall, it was a simple and pleasant switch to use, although its most remarkable feature is the sheer number of inputs it can support. While it can take up to five inputs, we only tested with three inputs: a PC, a Nintendo Switch, and a Playstation 4. Video played beautifully, with HDCP support and clean audio. Gaming was a similarly seamless experience, with no noticeable lag between our controller input and the display.
For about $45 the Kinivo Switch is competitively priced, especially given its five inputs. At this price, most competitors only have four inputs. However, the lack of some extras, like Picture-in-Picture mode, is a little disappointing at this price point.
Among sub-$50 HDMI switches, the Smartooo 3-input 4K/60Hz Switch gives the Kinivo a run for its money. The Smartooo has only 3 inputs, but it performs just as well and only costs $30. Given the same resolution and refresh rate output, the Smartooo is a fine choice if you don’t have a host of four or more devices to connect to your display.
A great switcher with some caveats.
For $45, the Kinivo five input 4K/60Hz switch is a solid purchase. If you only need three or four inputs, however, it is worth looking at the competition, which is often cheaper and in some cases more fully featured. For those that do prize the five inputs, the Kinivo switch performs cleanly and reliably, but it may cause some cable management headaches.
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