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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

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Razer Kiyo Pro Review 2021

The Razer Kiyo Pro barges onto the webcam scene like a 50’s muscle car. It’s chunky, powerful, and impressive. Much like the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog keyboard, it’s also terrifically expensive. But you know what? It’s worth the price of admission if you’re a streamer or influencer. It’s one of the best premium webcams you can get your hands on right now, and it makes a very good companion to the best capture cards.

Today's best Razer Kiyo Pro deals

Features

The Razer Kiyo Pro establishes itself as a premium webcam first and foremost; as well as a wide-angle lens with an Adaptive Light Sensor, it totes uncompressed full HD at 60fps or an HDR mode of 30fps. In addition, you’re getting a built-in omni-directional microphone to go with a speedy USB 3.0 cable for passing a 5GB per-second signal. The camera itself can handle 103°, 90°, or 80° fields of view too.

Finally, the Pro is fitted with STARVIS technology. This may sound like a much less impressive version of Iron Man’s Jarvis AI, but it’s actually “a back-illuminated pixel technology, used in surveillance camera CMOS sensors, to create high-quality images from visible and near-infrared light regions.” Basically, this webcam is great in low-light settings and a worthy addition to the Razer streaming line-up.

Design

Most webcams are dainty little things that don’t take up much real-estate on the top of your monitor or laptop. The Kiyo Pro goes for a different approach. This is a hefty piece of kit that’s reminiscent of DSLR camera lenses thanks to a circular design and a ridged grip.
Funnily enough, this is actually the point. The Pro is expensive, yes, but it’s aiming to fill the gap between standard webcams (like the cheaper Razer Kiyo) and full streamer-style DSLRs.

For what it’s worth, I was keen on the ‘hey, look at me’ ethos behind its design – it looks every bit like the luxury webcam it is.

Performance

In terms of how the on-screen picture looks, the gulf between the Razer Kiyo Pro and other webcams is vast – it makes a lot of promises, and somehow lives up to them. The low light sensor excels in almost any scenario, be it a darkened room lit only by your monitor or a bright office with plenty of overexposure. In fact, we got to see it performing alongside competing, similarly-priced Logitech webcams and it nailed the landing. Regardless of whether you need a webcam for streaming in a more atmospheric space that shows off your RGB lighting or as a conference call device, it was usually head and shoulders above the competition when it came to quality (particularly after switching to the rich HDR mode). It’s easy to use, too. Simply plug it in and you’re good to go.

It’s a shame that the old Kiyo’s integrated ring light is gone, but ditching it here makes sense. The target audience – streamers – probably have one of the best ring lights already, and the Kiyo Pro is expensive enough without adding another pricey feature to the list.

Luckily, there’s plenty of fiddling that can be done to make it exactly what you need. As with every other Razer peripheral, the Kiyo Pro uses downloadable Synapse software that gives you access to its more complex functions. To be precise, it lets you change settings, brightness, color, warmth of picture, saturation, focus, and more. There’s a lot to get your teeth into, allowing you to tweak the experience to suit your specific setup. Because these settings can be saved to onboard profiles, you don’t need to worry about redoing them if you jump from one device to another either.

The only trouble we ran into (besides a strop from Windows that interfered with the onboard mic and eventually resolved itself) was slightly obtuse Synapse choices. Namely, the buttons for swapping to HDR, wide-angle, and the rest aren’t the sort of ‘press to activate’ kind you may be used to. Counterintuitively, they display the mode you’re currently on instead. It’s not a big deal, but it did throw me for a loop when the mode I thought I was activating ended up being something else entirely.

Overall - should you buy it?

If you’re the average person who just needs a camera for work meetings, the Razer Kiyo Pro won’t be for you. There are a wealth of cheaper options available that will serve your needs just fine. However, it’s perfect if you’re a streamer who wants to up their game or struggles to find a webcam worthy of the job. In fact, it trounces the competition where it matters.

As such, the Kiyo Pro is a worthy investment if you’re hoping to stream or record and need something for meetings as well. It performs admirably under harsh conditions, and that makes the high price worth paying.

Lucian
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