The first thing you will notice when you open the Monster Gamelink 360 Component Cable is the fabulous build quality and shielding. The cable uses 100% Mylar foil and 95% copper braid which does a very good job of blocking out electromagnetic and radio frequency interference. In many people’s audio visual setup there will be a lot of electrical equipment very close together which can degrade picture quality – the Monster cables shielding should eliminate this even in the most extreme circumstances.
As you will notice when you open up the cable, the end connectors are very different to standard RCA or component leads. The Monster Gamelink cable uses 24k gold Turbine connectors. These have to be screwed on and fit very tightly (be careful when putting them in as pushing hard can damage your TV). The tight fitting ensures that very little signal is lost. The cable also has two phono connectors for getting the sound from your 360 to your TV set. The phono connectors have the same 24k gold Turbine connectors and shielding that the video connectors have which gives a very impressive sound quality.
This, unlike other Xbox 360 Component cables boasts THX Certification. This means that the cable has gone through a number of tests and is guaranteed to give a good quality performance for years.
Now, the spec sounds very good on paper but does it really make a difference? Well it’s a big “yes” but, it does come at a price. When comparing the cable to the official Microsoft cable you can see a definite decrease in interference and an increase in the quality sharpness and colours.
I tested the cable with a number of games. The first game I put to the test was Gears of War as it has a nice blend of colours and a lot of darker areas. The red on the start screen of Gears of War was much more vibrant and generally clearer than when using the official Microsoft cable. In game the blacks using the Monster Gamelink looked a lot clearer and deeper than when using the Microsoft cable.
The second game that was put to the test was Crackdown. I chose this game due to the much defined colours and graphical style of the game. The results with Crackdown were astonishing and you can really see a difference. Edges or characters were more defined and colours were generally more vibrant.
Sound too good so far? Well, there are a few flaws. Firstly, there are two versions of this cable. The one on test was with phono connectors for the audio. You can also get this cable with an optical cable for the audio side of things. For the price (which I shall move onto in a minute) you would think that they would have included both in one cable. What’s slightly more annoying is the fact that the cable with the phono connectors doesn’t have an optical output but it has a special connector and thus you have to buy a special Monster optical cable to fit it, which is pretty costly at £24.99. The other flaw with the cable is the cost. The component video cable with phono connectors retails at around £50 and, if you want to have the option of both phono and optical for audio then the total is going to be around £75. The version with just the optical connector retails at around £55 but you do not then have the option of having phono connectors.
To conclude, the cable is very impressive but it is hard to justify the amount you spend on creating a slightly better performance. If you have never had the Monster Gamelink 360 then I’m sure you will not miss it – it’s only until you have had it that you know your high definition image can still get better.
32″ LG LC2D
26″ Samsung LE26R74BDX
Gears of War
Official Microsoft Component AV Cable