In the wide world of streaming, a few companies are always pushing to be the go-to resource for gamers. At the top of that list is long-time gaming company Razer who has been hard at work providing cutting-edge tech since early 1998. Always pushing to better its tech, Razer recently released the new Kyio Pro WebCam specifically targeting streamers to offer a one-stop-shop solution for all their camera needs.
Razer graciously sent over the New Kiyo Pro along with their 12inch LED ring light for me to test out. Equipped with one of Sony’s IMX327 STARVIS sensors and packing a host of features and customization, I’ve been putting the camera and highlight through the gauntlet to see just how far I could push them. Can the Kiyo Pro produce the kinds of high-quality video that streamers aim for? Grab that coffee, kick back and check out our review of the Kyio Pro and LED Ring Light from Razer.
- Current Price: $198.99 (Amazon)
- Connection: USB3.0
- Image Res: 2.1 Megapixels
- Video Res: 1080p @60/30/24FPS / 720p @60FPS
- Still Image Res: 1920x1080
- Field Of View: 103°, 90°, 80°
- Focus Type: Auto
- Mounting: L Shape Joint with thread connection Point
- HDR Support: Yes @ 1080p 30FPS
- Lens: F2.0 with corning Gorilla Glass 3
- Sensor: IMX327 with Sony STARVIS tech
- Mic Channels: Stereo
- Audio Codec: 16bit 48KHz
- Polar Patterns: Omni-Directional
- Sensitivity: -38dB
Razer Ring Light
- Current Price: $79.99 (Razer)
- Light Source: LED SMD
- Blub: 192pcs
- Brightness: 500 Lumens
- Dimable: 10-100%
- Colors: White (3000k, 4500k, 6500k)
- Mounting: Tripod ball mount with ¼ screw and cell phone holder
- Power: USB
Built Razer Tough
The Razer Kiyo Pro webcam is built from the ground up to be a sturdy workhorse for streamers. Equipped with one of the better sensors I’ve seen to date in a webcam, the Kiyo is designed and built with quality in mind. The outer shell is comprised of both hard plastic and metal materials. The former has a smooth, matte black finish while the latter offers a textured design. These combined offer a sleek, solid-looking webcam. Attached to the bottom of the camera proper is an adjustable L-shaped joint allowing for flexibility in positioning. The camera also offers a 360° swivel allowing for perfect placement.
The lens itself is comprised of corning Gorilla Glass 3 which, according to Razer, is 4x times more scratch-resistant than the competitors. While I can’t say I know a lot of streamers that constantly set up and tear down their camera rig, it’s reassuring to know just how durable the camera is. In fact, the whole design of the Kiyo speaks to its durability. The solid, rounded design means less catching on other items if you were to store the camera in a bag for travel. Additionally, the Pro comes with a hard plastic privacy cover that doubles as a protective case forth the lens itself.
I’m impressed with the build quality of the Razer Kiyo Pro. It feels heavy and durable and once mounted to a tripod or even resting on the back of the monitor I found I wasn’t too worried about it taking damage from a fall. Compared to other webcams it does feel a bit larger but when compared to a DSLR or Mirrorless (another mainstream for streamer setups) the Kiyo finds a nice middle ground.
Let’s Talk About That Sensor
Speaking of webcams and mirrorless/DSLRs, the Kiyo seems to be trying to bridge the gap between these two worlds. From a webcam standpoint, it hands down feels like an improvement to other webcams I’ve used in the past. With HDR and consistent 60 FPS at 1080p (30 FPS with HDR on), it stands above most of the webcam competition out there.
One area that the Kiyo definitely rises far above is its ability to handle various lighting scenarios. Traditionally, one of the biggest drawbacks to a webcam for streaming has been its ability to process the light spectrum and produce any type of quality image.
As a result, many streamers have opted for a mirrorless or DSLR option for webcam needs. This does mean better lighting control, higher quality images and typically better FPS. On the other hand, even an entry-level mirrorless is going to come in at $700.00USD. Not to mention that many require some type of capture card or USB cam link in order to get up and running. That’s typically another $200.00 plus just to get the video feed to the computer. It’s costly and for someone starting out can be a deal-breaker.
The Kiyo, by contrast, attempts to bridge that particular gap by offering some of Sony’s best lighting sensor tech into a compact webcam frame. Sony mirrorless cameras are well known for their low light capabilities (check out the Sony a7sIII for example). The sensor used in the Kiyo, while not on the level of something like the a7sIII, is designed specifically to handle a wide range of lighting conditions.
This sensor, the IMX327 with Sony STARVIS tech, is designed from the ground up to handle low light situations. This is achieved by a combination of the image sensor itself (a 2.1MP sensor) and the STARVIS technology. The latter is proprietary software from Sony that is typically used in high-end security cameras specifically geared towards capturing images in extremely low light situations.
This coupled with HDR attempts to balance out the capture for a more even and less noise-filled image. It’s an impressive piece of technology on paper. I appreciate that Razer is working hard to bring new and creative ways to get as much power out of those little sensors as possible.
In my tests, I found that the sensor performed much better than any webcam I’ve used before. When properly backlit, the sensor did a great job balancing the color. In the comparison images below (shot at 3000k with the Razer Ring Light), there is a noticeable difference in noise between the backlit and non-backlit image.
Overall, both images look great but the right image is able to pull a much clearer and crisp image. Both were taken with HDR which further help with color correction and distinction. The backlight on the right side is also set to 3000k which further helped the sensor white balance correctly. Does this compare to a mirrorless or DSLR? In some cases, yes, but there is still a lack of sharpness that you can find in a traditional lens. Despite that difference, it comes much closer than any other webcam I’ve worked with. What it does offer is a significant quality increase over most other webcams without the financial investment of high-end options.
The Kiyo Pro also comes packed with a list of settings for you to tweak to your heart’s desire. All tucked away in Razer’s Synapse software, the Kiyo can handle just about any setting you can throw at it. brightness, color correction and contrast are just a few of the features that can be manipulated.
An advanced settings tab offers further customization allowing you to really set your video up just the way you like it. It is exceptionally handy for accenting a great background while still making sure you stand out in the foreground.
The Razer Kiyo Pro also comes equipped with a built two-channel stereo mic. It captures at 48,000KHz which is pretty solid especially for a webcam mic. During my tests, I noticed that it did a decent job at separating my audio from background noise. I was impressed that it did such a solid job filtering the sound considering its omnidirectional polar pattern (capturing audio from virtually all directions). Unfortunately, there isn’t much by way of settings for the mic so you’ll need to rely on capture software to boost gains if you ever needed to use it for streams.
As much as I appreciate the addition of a decent quality mic in the Kiyo, it really wouldn’t get much use for streaming. It could make a great backup though in a mobile setting while traveling as it’s still leaps and bounds ahead of something like a laptop mic.
But It’s Not Perfect
As much as I appreciate what the Kiyo can do there are a couple of things that I wasn’t overly impressed with. For starters, the autofocus feature can struggle a bit in lower light settings. When running my tests I found that a few times the autofocus would hang for a moment if I moved something in front of the camera and quickly pulled it away. It was better if I had backlighting but still took a few seconds to adjust. According to the Synapsis software, there is a firmware update to help improve the autofocus.
This brings me to my second frustration. The Synapse software is great at telling me things about updates but it’s not so great at managing those updates for the Kiyo Pro. At the time of writing, I’ve still not been able to get the firmware downloaded or installed.
Another quality of life issue that I found odd was how short the USB cable is. Measuring in at roughly 1.5 meters, it can actually limit the positioning of your camera pretty drastically. In my situation, I tuck my tower under my desk to make room for the three displays, a laptop and studio monitors that take up all the space on my desk. The camera has to be positioned on the opposite side of the desk as the tower to make the setup work. This means stretching the USB cable to its max and occasionally, accidentally unplugging it with my foot or, alternatively, running a USB3.0 extension cable from the tower to the camera.
Who Turned The Light On?
Before I share my final thoughts though it’s important to highlight another piece of tech that accompanied the Kiyo on all of its testing journeys. I am referring of course to the Razer 12 inch, USB-powered Ring Light. This 192 LED-driven ring light comes as a separate purchase and has a host of accessories to adapt to your streaming or lighting needs.
Out of the box, the Ring light comes with an adjustable tripod, multiple mounting plates to accommodate DLSR, mirrorless, Webcam, and even a cellphone. A small USB plug makes it further adaptable as it can be powered via an AC adaptor or a battery bank for portable setups.
The light itself is made of hard plastic and offers three different temperature settings; 3000k(warm white), 4500k(balanced white), and 6500k (cool white). These three light settings essentially hit the range of white light that cameras typically shoot in. The light also comes with a brightness switch to assist with white balancing your camera.
My only real frustration with the ring light is the lack of information readily available when it’s on. As there is no indicator or display, I found I had to typically cycle through the colors and brightness every time to get it set the way I wanted it. If you only need to set it once and forget it then it’s not an issue. However, if your office has a window and you change the lighting based on time of day or other external lighting conditions it can be a bit of a frustration.
However, despite this minor inconvenience, the light did a great job at producing consistent light for my tests in all three settings. I compared each light temperature to my Viltrox RB10 panel light and as far as my eye can tell the ring light produced the correct temperatures.
It’s a solid light that works really well with the Kiyo Pro and at a price of 79.99USD, it’s comparable to other lights in that features range.
The Razer Kiyo Pro attempts to bridge the gap between webcams and mirrorless cameras. With a compact and powerful sony sensor at its core as well as a host of adjustable settings and features the Kiyo does a fairly good job of it. It does suffer some in low light settings and its autofocus delay can be a point of contention. However, for the price point, It offers a far better experience than your average webcam while keeping you from getting a small loan to set up a high-end camera solution. Throw in the solid, albeit, basic 12-inch ring light and you have a recipe for quality video streaming for less than $300.00 dollars.
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.