Following on from the StarTech USB to HDMI External Dual or Multi Monitor Video Adapter with Audio and the StarTech Portable eSATA USB to SATA Standalone Hard Drive Duplicator Dock, the StarTech 2 Port USB VGA KVM Switch with File Transfer and PIP continues StarTech's run of useful peripherals with very descriptive, if rather long and unglamorous, names.
This is a KVM switch, which stands for Keyboard, Video and Mouse. It enables you to connect two computers that share just one keyboard, mouse and monitor.
By plugging both computers into the StarTech 2 Port USB VGA KVM Switch with File Transfer and PIP via the included VGA and USB cables, you can quickly switch between the two computers by either pressing a button on the switch or using the keyboard shortcut of double tapping the Caps Lock quickly.
You can also plug in the audio cables from each PC, so that audio gets switched as well. Going between the two computers was quick, with barely a pause for the mouse and keyboard to be detected by Windows as we went from one PC to the other.
Installation was easy - although one of our PCs didn't have a VGA port on the graphics card - just a DVI one. If you have a newer computer or graphics card then you might have the same option - so make sure you have a DVI to VGA adaptor. Many graphics cards come with them, so check if you've got one before you buy a new one.
What really sets the StarTech 2 Port USB VGA KVM Switch with File Transfer and PIP apart from other KVM switches we've tried is the file transfer and PIP (picture in picture) features. These enable you to quickly bring up a small version of one PC's desktop on the other computer, then drag and drop files straight onto the desktop of the other PC. It's a great feature that makes this KVM switch incredibly useful.
KVM switches can be notoriously unreliable, but from what we've seen of the StarTech 2 Port USB VGA KVM Switch with File Transfer and PIP, we're confident that it's a well-made product. It's small and does the job.