For the longest time, whenever I wanted to stream or record something, it was always an ordeal. I had to set up my lights, make sure the lighting was good and also making sure I didn’t blind myself in the process. Let’s be honest, doing this constantly is a chore. However, with the introduction of Razer’s Kiyo Webcam, it’s a bit easier and faster to get ready for a stream or recording session.
Release Date: Available via Razer store now, later this year
Let’s get this out of the way, the Razer Kiyo is a fantastic product. It’s the first webcam on the market that includes a build in light ring. Meaning that just about every stream or recording session will benefit from it’s included light. Why another company hasn’t thought about it first, is being me. But we’re not here to debate that.
Right out the box, you’re presented with the Razer Kiyo, a thank you note, a manual and that’s it. There’s nothing else in the box, no software, You’re getting the webcam and nothing else. However, if you pick up the Kiyo now, Razer will also send you a cool little case that’s no bigger than the actual webcam.
Attached to the Kiyo webcam is a 1.5 meter/ just under 5FT, braided USB 2.0 cord. The entire presentation is a no-frills affair. There’s nothing super exciting about the webcam. Though I do wish the USB cord was a bit longer, perhaps 5FT. I’ve had a bit of an issue getting it routed behind my computer setup. Of course, your mileage may vary. It also supports both a 720p@60fps and 1080p@30 fps. In action, the camera looks really nice regardless of which resolution you use.
The camera also folds down for easy and convenient carrying. When folded down, it looks like a mini Bluetooth speaker, sitting 2 inches high. It can also be mounted to a tripod, thanks to the 1/4-20 thread adaptor under the base.
What the webcam lacks in presentation, it more than makes up for it with its usage. That attached light ring gets pretty bright. Not so much that it blinds you, but it provides just enough light and accomplishes a feat that many webcams can’t. Low light situations are nearly eliminated, which is fantastic. I’ve tested the webcam in at least ten streams so far. Some in low light, some with no lights and others with just a ceiling light. In every test, I was able to be seen with decent to great results. Gaming in the dark with just the light ring turned a non-existent face, into one that could be seen clearly. Add some light into the mix and it looks even better.
To adjust the light ring’s brightness, you simply turn the knob left to lower, and right to increase. In total, there are 12 different levels of luminosity. The knob will also keep moving in either direction, it doesn’t have any stopping point. However, once it’s reached the lowest or highest setting, the light won’t do anything else. You can keep turning the knob, just without any results. The light ring also doesn’t work unless it’s activated. Meaning it won’t work until it’s needed.
The webcam works with popular stream software like Xsplit Broadcaster and OBS. I’ve had success using it with Nvidia’s Shadowplay and Elgato’s capture software as well. Seeing how it’s just a webcam, I have little doubt that you’ll have any issues with most capture software, including Skype. I did encounter an issue where Xsplit Broadcaster refused to recognize the camera, but a simple restart of the application fixed the issue.
The Kiyo also takes some really nice selfies. I’ve taken quite a few and I was impressed with the quality. It doesn’t hurt that the camera can take photos up to 2688 x 1520 resolution. Having the adjustable light is an added bonus. The downside is that there is no custom software to control the camera. Not even Razer’s Synapse software controls anything for the Kiyo. You do have control over those settings, but only via a very basic interface with several sliders, thanks to the built-in Windows controls. I also felt that the light ring knob feels a bit cheap. When turning adjusting the light, I thought I’d break it at times.
To get an idea of how it looks in action, check out my previous stream here.
Now, the price tag may put off some people, as it puts the webcam into a category where more expensive cameras exist. And perhaps one of the biggest thing that streamers are looking for in a camera is chroma key abilities. Something that the Razer Kiyo does not include. Being priced similarly to the Logitech c922 or even Razer’s Stargazer is also definitely a challenge. That said, I do feel that the light ring brings a tool that streamers are going to love. And while having a built-in chroma key feature is nice, I feel having a quick and painless lighting option can trump this omission. It just depends on what you’re looking for.
I think Razer is on to something with the Kiyo. It features a nice camera, performs well and is super portable. I’m pretty sure that this will be an item that streamers are going to love. I know I sure do.
The Razer Kiyo is currently available via the Razer store. It will be available in most stores later this year.
Razer Kiyo Webcam Review
I’m not sure how Razer came up with the idea for the Kiyo. But whatever or whoever it was, the product is definitely going to be an item that anyone who streams is going to want. The built-in light ring is a godsend for streaming and recording in less than desirable lighting situations. Portable, easy to use and helps light up just about any area, as long as it isn’t pitch black.
- Easy to use
- I enjoyed the folding ability of the webcam
- The light ring helps to lighten any dark/low light areas.
- The control knob feels cheap
- I wish the USB cable was a bit longer