OmniView SOHO 2-Port KVM Switch With Audio PS/2 and USB Platform - F1DS102T - Belkin Components, Continued
The introduction of the F1DS102T also proved to be the first KVM unit that offered audio switching support. Yes, that is right! Now, for the first time, not only can you share the monitor/keyboard/mouse, but you can also share one set of speakers between two systems. This is the feature that I really liked best about the F1DS102T, and it is a feature that I think is long overdue in all KVM units. The F1DS102T offers both stereo speaker 3.5mm mini jack and mic support. It would have been nice to see the F1DS102T offer support for both front and rear speakers, but we will have to wait till the next version of the F1DS102T to see that, because it isn't included with the F1DS102T. This is important if you have a sound card that has both a front and rear output.
Another interesting feature is the auto scan feature which allows you to stay on one port before switching to the next port every ten seconds. The time interval can not be changed. The AutoScan mode is good in a situation where you are not necessarily using the systems, but would like the flexibility to monitor the activity of the system every ten seconds, such as in a server environment. When the AutoScan mode is enabled, it can be aborted by pressing the space bar.
Selecting computers on the F1DS102T is a very simple task. You can use the buttons on the front of the F1DS102T, or you can keyboard hot key commands. Both of the command sequences for the F1DS102T start with SCROLL LOCK - SCROLL LOCK and then the command, which can be either an up or down arrow key or a number. I found the buttons on the front of the F1DS102T on the small and narrow side, but the lighted indicator is a very nice touch. It is easy to glance at the unit and know which KVM port/computer you are currently using with the indicator lighting.
Belkin includes both a Users Manual and Quick Installation Guide with the F1DS102T. The manuals are extensive and use ample illustrations on how to connect the unit. I found the manual to be very well written. The FAQ and trouble shooting sections of the manual are concise, and should address almost any issue that a user might have with the F1DS102T.
The performance of the F1DS102T in our testing was good, and we didn't really find any problems. The F1DS102T produced an excellent picture and had no trouble switching between systems. An issue that I do have with the F1DS102T is that there are no included cables, as I mentioned above. Belkin suggests the reason for this is to provide the user with more options and flexibility in the setup and configuration of the F1DS102T by letting the user purchase the cable lengths that best suit them.
I found this to be a difficult sell: if you add just two of the Gold Series PS/2 6-foot cable kits and the required audio kits, this will add almost $125 US to the total cost of the F1DS102T, bringing the total cost of the F1DS102T to about $275 US. Quality and features do cost money, but $275 is steep for home and non-professional users wanting a low cost KVM solution. However, if you want a KVM with one of the most complete feature sets available, this is the one, although it is a bit pricey.
Overall, I found the F1DS102T to be an excellent product with a very unique and functional design. Belkin has done a good job of adding new, very useful features to the KVM arena with this product. Other companies are going to have to add these new features in order to stay competitive with Belkin. Belkin also offer a four-port version of the F1DS102T called the F1DS104T.