Score: 9/10 | WEBCAM | 1080P@30FPS or 720P@60FPS | PLUG-AND-PLAY
“The Razer Kiyo is a fantastic broadcasting camera for beginner and casual streamers looking to add professional features to their streams.”
Over the past year or so we have seen the rise in profile of game streamers across the world with streamers such as Ninja, Shroud and Dr Disrespect on platforms such as Twitch, YouTube and Mixer, amongst others. I’ve enjoyed watching and being part of Pete and the Game on AUS Twitch streams with many hilarious nights in PUBG, Call of Duty Black Ops IIII, Destiny 2 and other games.
I’ve had the itch to start my own stream for a fair while now but felt I didn’t have a powerful enough PC. I’ve been waiting to build up a budget of funds for a new PC build so I can stream, however with a 2-year old daughter our family’s priorities come first. Recently I’ve dabbled in some streams both from my Xbox and on PC through Mixer with mixed results, but one thing I’ve been missing is a webcam. I started doing some research on webcams and many of my mates that stream all have their own favoured cam, but there are so many available and at different price levels that it was getting overwhelming.
Recently I was given the opportunity to review the Razer Kiyo webcam and in my opinion, this is a perfect webcam for a beginner streamer like myself and reasonably priced at AUD$149 from PLE Computers. Despite being released back in 2017, it’s still a very good webcam for today’s standards. Not only is it easy to plug-and-play, it has two hinges allowing you to easily attach the cam to your monitor, sit it on your desk or attach to a tripod. I attached it to the top of my monitor and with only a couple of tweaks, had it positioned well to frame my face for my streams. The USB 2.0 cable is permanently attached and the cable length was just long enough at 1.5m. If my monitor was further away from my PC then I would have had issues with the cable length. Thankfully I have a full tower case on the floor with plenty of USB ports.
One of the best features of the Razer Kiyo is the ring-light built into the design saving me from having to purchase a separate and likely more expensive backlight for my room. Professional streamers will still opt for studio-style lighting but for a casual streamer like myself, this was all I needed. After downloading the Razer Synpase software, I was able to view and adjusted individual settings. The camera features auto and manual zoom focus as well as adjustments to brightness, contrast, saturation and white balance, amongst others. The white balance was important for me because the light globe in my gaming room gives off a yellow-ish light. There are also some preset settings to utilise as you learn it’s features.
The ring-light itself can be physically adjusted to provide more or less light depending on the time of day or night. I could easily reach up and adjust the ring-light brightness to get the best lighting on my face. When turned up to full it is very bright being around 50cm from my face. You can see the difference the light adds in the comparison picture below. The left image has the light turned off, whereas the right side has the ring-light adjusted enough to suit the time I was streaming. You can see the ring-light provides more colour to the image where you can see the shirt I’m wearing is Navy Blue, not Black, and you can see more colour in my eyes (though it does highlight my grey hairs, doh!).
The camera quality is very good at 4-megapixels taking photos at 2688 x 1520 resolution. For game streaming, the default resolution is set to 720p at 60fps. If you want to stream at full HD 1080p, you’ll only be able to get 30fps which is still reasonable. You can stream in lower resolutions but these are also limited to 30fps. I’m yet to invest in a green screen so when streaming games you can see the background of my gaming room, though the ring-light helps illuminate my face enough to be seen clearly. The Razer Kiyo is Streamlabs certified so it was very easy for me to add the camera layer to Streamlabs and start streaming games to Twitch and Mixer.
The only thing that I found disappointing was the quality of the built-in microphone . When gaming with a friend one night, I didn’t realise that the Razer Kiyo’s microphone had been set to my default input source. When I started to chat to my mate in Discord, he said the sound was coming through echoey with a fair amount of background noise. I checked my settings and changed back to my headset microphone, my voice then came through alot crisper and cleaner. The in-built microphone would probably be suitable for Skype and teleconferences, however for gaming I’d recommend using your headset or getting a standalone microphone.
Overall I gave this webcam a 9/10. The Razer Kiyo is a fantastic broadcasting camera for beginner and casual streamers looking to add professional features to their streams. The simple hinged design enables you to place the camera in the best position to suit your set up, and the addition of the ring-light brightens the quality of your streams without any additional equipment costs. The microphone leaves more to be desired but would be ample for business meetings and Skype.
This review utilised a Razer Kiyo webcam provided for review purposes.