Razer Kiyo Pro – Crystal Clear

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We’re using webcam’s more so than ever, when it comes to both work and play. Besides having a fairly fast internet connection it’s important to have the right tools for the job. Streaming in particular demands this as putting a face on your gaming streams humanizes your content, puts a face to the name and you really should look good doing it too!

In comes Razer with an enhanced update to their Kiyo web camera, the Razer Kiyo Pro from 2018. It comes with uncompressed 1080p60 video capture, HDR, and a Sony CMOS sensor with STARVIS low light technology but it does however cost a pretty penny so people who invest in a gaming/streaming setup will probably prefer something like this.

Design

The Kiyo Pro takes on a circular design to stand out from the sea of rectangle designs that you’d expect from Logitech. It looks like a DSLR lens and it will rest fairly sturdy with its grip. The lens panel is Gorilla Glass 3 and has a lens cap with the razer logo engraved in it and is plugged in through USB-C. It’s a looker to say the least.

The camera also has a thumb screw that will fit on most conventional tripods if you want to take this camera to more portable setups. It also a full 90 degree tilt if you’re doing a top down shot, so in all respects it’s fairly versatile.

Inside, the Kiyo Pro has a Sony IMX327 sensor (2.1MP) and a F2.0 aperture but what really sells the Kiyo Pro is Sony’s very own STARVIS tech along with HDR that allow the camera to record in some very dark conditions with way more better image quality than standard web cameras and adapts better.

The Kiyo Pro can output uncompressed 1080p60 compared to the original’s 720p60, however a noticeable difference is a the ring light is gone. I assume Razer made this decision because of the cheaper ring lights now available but it’s definitely something that could have helped and I’m curious as to why it was an exclusion.

You do need Razer’s Synapse software to get the most out of the camera, it lets you pick your field of view and HDR settings. Field of view settings are narrow, medium and wide and it will easily accommodate two people, it also has some basic camera controls too which can be accessed by other streaming softwares with the likes of OBS or Streamlabs OBS.

Performance

All in all, I tested the Razer Kiyo Pro against Logitech’s C922 webcam in real world testing while streaming and conferencing. Suffice to say, the Kiyo Pro on default settings will work for you but you’ll need to tinker with the custom settings a fair bit to really get it to shine.

I have a lot of RGB lights coming out of the PC but it handled highlights well. It gravitates more towards the warmer tones but it does suffer from the usual moire problems as evidence with a light source coming from the HyperX Quadcast S RGB microphone. Turning HDR off does however give you the 60fps and I’ll take that over enhanced lighting but the HDR does save you in a pinch.

In bright light situations however, the Razer Kiyo Pro is a star. I had people ask what camera I was using at the time when it came to regular conferencing because of how clear it was and how well it performed under white light. It autofocused quickly too which is what beats the C922 and to some extent, the Logitech Brio 4K too, albeit the the brio is a tad bit cheaper.

For audio, the Kiyo Pro uses stereo omnidirectional microphones that aren’t perfect but ideally but most streamers would be using a standalone microphone or headset mic anyway.

Verdict

The Razer Kiyo Pro works well if you play with the settings. The obvious exclusion of 4K and a ring light may deter some given the $199 price tag but overall it does offer a great output and it works very well even in low light. It’s a perfect addition for your gaming setup and it will also work well in portable streaming situations. Like most Razer products, the ability to let you choose your settings with their Synapse software is the cherry on top and the reason you’d buy their product.

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