Neoya X2VGA+ Review

Back in the days before HDTVs were cheap and affordable (I just bought a 43" smart TV for $380 ...), if you wanted high resolution visuals out of your game systems for cheap you needed a VGA adapter to connect it to PC monitor.  Nowdays most monitors have HDMI inputs and HDTVs are cheap, but in 2004 / 2005 adapters like this were amazing.  This should not be confused with video capture devices that connect to your PC and allow you to record footage.

 The X2VGA+ only connects to your monitor and doesn't capture video.  Keep in mind this article was originally written in 2005 or so.

Overview

Want the best visuals possible without paying an arm and a leg for an HDTV? Of course you do, so do yourself a favor and check out the Neoya X2VGA+ adapter that allows you to hook your Xbox up to your PC monitor. Why pay thousands of dollars for an HDTV when you can buy a little device for $70 and hook it up to a monitor you already have and get nearly the same result. It isn’t exactly the same as a real HDTV, but for a fraction of the cost the X2VGA+ is a solid investment.

What It Is

To understand what the X2VGA+ is and why it works so well you have to know a few things about standard televisions and game consoles. Standard televisions display images in a mode called 480i which is good enough for broadcast TV and that sort of thing, but it isn’t nearly as nice of a picture as is possible.

Since most game consoles up till now have only been intended to be played on standard TVs, they are made to display images in 480i.

PC monitors, on the other hand, are built to display images at higher resolutions and most of them can’t properly display 480i, so that is why there haven’t been many products such as the X2VGA+ up until now.

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With HDTV becoming the new standard for broadcast television in a few years, though, Microsoft had the foresight to make the Xbox compatible with both 480i mode as well as much nicer looking modes such as 480p, 720p, and 1080i. The only problem is that you have to have an HDTV that costs thousands of dollars to display them. That is where the X2VGA+ comes in. It gives you the ability to hook your Xbox up to your PC monitor so you can enjoy the sharper looking graphics that the Xbox can produce without having to spend a lot of cash.

Setup

Click for big picture

The X2VGA+ hooks directly into the back of your Xbox through the AV port just like your composite, S-Video, or component cables do now. On the X2VGA+ itself there are a set of input/output VGA connectors as well as input/output audio jacks and there is also a digital audio out if you need it. The way you set everything up is you hook the X2VGA+ to your Xbox and then a standard VGA cable from the X2VGA+ to your PC monitor through the VGA out port. You then have to hook the sound up to either your PC speakers or stereo system through the audio out or to your surround system with the digital audio port.

You can also hook your PC audio and video through the X2VGA+ via the handy VGA and audio in ports so you can have both your PC and Xbox hooked up at the same time. Once you have the hardware hooked up, all you have to do is enter the Xbox dashboard and go to Settings->Video-> and then switch the 480p, 720p, and 1080i options to “Yes” and you’ll be set for some high definition Xbox gaming. Pretty easy, huh?

This will give you a good idea of how to hook it up and what the setup will look like. http://www.x2vga.com/images/x2vga_applicationexamples.jpg

Beautiful Graphics

Games really do look spectacular through the X2VGA+ and once you see the crisp HD visuals it is hard to go back to a normal TV.

Games pop out at you like never before and it really feels like a different experience. I have tested everything from Halo and Halo 2 to KOTOR I and II to Need for Speed Underground 2 and everything looks gorgeous. Other games such as Jet Set Radio Future and 2D fighters like Guilty Gear X2 #Reload are so sharp you can cut yourself just looking at them. Even Enter the Matrix looks beautiful in HD. A handful of games (mostly junk from the Xbox launch) only run in 480i so they won’t work, but everything else in the Xbox library runs in at least 480p and it all looks wonderful through the X2VGA+.

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Not Perfect ... But Still Great

There are a couple of things that get in the way of enjoying your new setup, but they are the fault of the Xbox itself and not the X2VGA+. Like I said, PC monitors can’t properly display 480i and that just happens to be what mode the Xbox dashboard is displayed in (though a recent XBL update fixed that). For those of you that don’t have Xbox Live and don’t want to switch your Xbox from a monitor to a TV every time you want to change a setting, the X2VGA+ has a 480i EasyView feature that produces a stretched out ugly 480i image on your monitor so you can tend to your dashboard.

Another issue is that the Xbox only displays DVD movies in 480i mode and there is no workaround for this problem, so if you are hoping for some high definition DVD viewing through your Xbox are out of luck.

One more slight problem is that not all PC monitors are the same and it isn’t 100% guaranteed that the X2VGA+ will work properly with your monitor.

For example, my main monitor that I do all of my work on displayed a very dark image when used with the X2VGA+. A second monitor that I recovered from the garage worked perfectly, though. Most monitors will work just fine, but some don’t and that is something you have to be aware of.

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Like Racing Fuel For Your Xbox

These tiny little nitpicks are easily forgivable when you finally get to see your Xbox displaying its games the way they were meant to be seen. I like to compare the Xbox to a sports car. Your Viper is awesome just cruising around town, but it is really meant to be out on the highway putting that awesome engine to work. The Xbox is the same way. The games look gorgeous on a standard TV, but to really get the most out of it you need to see these games in action on an HDTV or on a PC monitor in all of their 480p, 720p, and 1080i glory.

One thing you need to know before hand is that with a clearer, sharper image comes more detail and not always the good kind. Objects that have solid lines and look smooth on a standard TV won’t always look so smooth in HD. This results in objects having “jaggies” or noticeably jagged edges. This isn’t a fault of the Xbox or the X2VGA+ and is just a result of seeing things in HD. It takes an extra amount of time and effort on the part of developers to draw in everything so it looks good in HD. Considering that the number of gamers with HD capability is tiny compared to those with standard TVs, it usually isn’t worth it to make everything perfect.

It still looks amazing, so be happy.

Bottom Line

Overall, the X2VGA+ is highly recommended. It is the sort of gaming accessory that will change your life and the way you play videogames. The upgrade in visual clarity really is that dramatic. It is also an incredible value. HDTVs cost hundreds and even thousands more than standard TVs. With the X2VGA+, you can spend $100 for a monitor and $70 for the X2VGA+ itself and for less than $200 you have an HDTV setup for your Xbox. Realistically, though, you don’t even have to buy a new monitor because you already have one sitting right there on your desk in front of you. For a fraction of the price, you get the same result as an HDTV. Sounds like a winner to me. I highly recommend the X2VGA+ for purchase for any and every Xbox owner that wants to truly experience their games the way they were meant to be seen.

Buy the X2VGA+ at www.x2vga.com.