Black Friday is the perfect time to stock up on certified HDMI 2.1 cables for peanuts

Maxonar HDMI 2.1 cable with illustration of certification logo
(Image credit: Maxonar)

In all of the excitement around Black Friday TV deals, it's easy to overlook those all-important accessories – but there are bargains to be had on those, too.

While certainly not sexy, a 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 cable is essential for getting the most out of a PS5, Xbox Series X or gaming PC (and, to a lesser extent, an Apple TV 4K). With a lesser cable, you likely won't get 4K/120Hz – and VRR might not work either. Or you might get a generally patchy performance. Of course, the PS5 and Xbox Series X each come with an HDMI 2.1 cable, but you might need a replacement or an extra one.

Buying a good HDMI 2.1 cable used to be tricky, but the HDMI Forum recently introduced a certification program whereby you can verify the authenticity of the HDMI cable you've bought by scanning it with your phone.

I've trawled through the Black Friday sales and hunted down what I believe to be the cheapest certified HDMI 2.1 cable available. It's by a brand called Maxonar and it's just £3.99 at Amazon. This isn't a cable that I've personally used, but it's got superb user reviews which, combined with the official certification, makes it seem like a pretty safe bet.

If you'd prefer a personal recommendation, I recently bought two certified HDMI 2.1 cables by Vention, and they're both working a charm. You can currently pick those up for £6.49 each at Amazon.

Maxonar 48Gbps Certified HDMI 2.1 Cable was £5.99 now £3.99 at Amazon

Maxonar 48Gbps Certified HDMI 2.1 Cable was £5.99 now £3.99 at Amazon
Not a cable we've tested, but this Maxonar is officially certified for 48Gbps, which is what you need for 4K/120Hz gaming from a PS5, Xbox Series X or gaming PC. It also has lots of excellent user reviews. We've not found a cheaper certified cable.

To take full advantage of any HDMI 2.1 sockets, you will need HDMI 2.1 cables. The good news is that the two most common HDMI 2.1 sources, the PS5 and Xbox Series X, come bundled with HDMI 2.1 cables, so you should be good to go if you buy one of those.

If you need an extra cable, or perhaps one that's longer or shorter than the one provided, you'll want to make sure it's fully HDMI 2.1 compliant. Being confident of that is now fairly easy, as the HDMI Forum (the organisation responsible for the HDMI spec) runs a certification program for HDMI 2.1 cables.

So-called Ultra High Speed HDMI Cables feature a QR code that can be scanned so that certification can be confirmed. There are plenty of cables out there that claim to support the HDMI 2.1 bandwidth of 48gbps, and many of them do, but it's worth getting a certified cable to be sure.

If you buy the Maxonar above, there should be a a silver badge with a hologram and QR code on the packaging. Simply download the HDMI Certification app from the Apple App Store or HDMI Cable Certification app from the Android Play Store, scan the badge and, after a few seconds, you should get a big tick to let you know that the cable you've bought is certified for 48Gbps transmission.

If you don't get that big tick, get that cable sent back pronto. It's not worth messing around with cables that aren't certified. Even if they seem to work fine at first, you might find that you get signal dropouts further down the line.


Everything you need to know about HDMI 2.1

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Tom Parsons

Tom Parsons has been writing about TV, AV and hi-fi products (not to mention plenty of other 'gadgets' and even cars) for over 15 years. He began his career as What Hi-Fi?'s Staff Writer and is now the TV and AV Editor. In between, he worked as Reviews Editor and then Deputy Editor at Stuff, and over the years has had his work featured in publications such as T3, The Telegraph and Louder. He's also appeared on BBC News, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and Sky Swipe. In his spare time Tom is a runner and gamer.