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Razer Kiyo webcam review: perfect for gaming and streaming – Business Insider – Business Insider

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Razer Kiyo 1



Simon Hill/Business Insider


It takes a lot of work to look your best on video, whether you’re streaming on Twitch or producing for YouTube, so the top streamers have professional setups with expensive cameras, lighting rigs, and microphones. For anyone with a more limited budget, just starting out streaming, or looking to upgrade from a basic webcam, the Razer Kiyo could be the ideal choice. 

This webcam offers high quality video up to 1080p and boasts an innovative built-in light ring that will help to boost your stream quality. I tested it out for a couple of weeks and found the smart design easy to use. While the Razer Kiyo can stream high quality footage, if you just need a decent webcam for video calls there’s no need to spend this much.

Video Resolution: 1080p at 30 fps, 720p at 60 fps, 480p at 30 fps, 360p at 30 fps

Field of view: 81.6 degrees

Image resolution: 4 megapixels, 2,688 x 1,520 still images

Connection: USB 2.0

Cable: 1.5-meter (4.9 feet) braided cable

Mount options: L-shape joint or Tripod (not included)

Compatibility: Windows 7 or later, macOS 10.10 or later, XBox One, Chrome OS, Android v 5.0 or later

Razer Kiyo 5



Simon Hill/Business Insider


Webcams tend to have unobtrusive designs so they can clamp onto the top of screens unnoticed, but the Razer Kiyo has a very distinctive look that makes it stand out. The camera lens is in the middle of a ring, surrounded by subtle concentric circles and an etched Razer logo in black. There’s a tiny LED indicator at the top to show when the camera is live and there’s a pinhole for the microphone at the bottom. A white LED ring light wraps around the lens and the outside is black textured plastic which serves as a control to turn the ring light on and to adjust the brightness.

This main disc has another two discs below it, enabling it to fold open into an L-shaped joint that’s capable of clamping onto any monitor or laptop screen. The parts that have contact with your screen or frame are finished in grippy, soft-touch, matte black, rubbery plastic to ensure the webcam doesn’t scratch or damage your display. The central disc has the power cable running out of the back, while the bottom disc has a screw mount in the middle for a tripod attachment.

While the braided cable feels durable and offers enough length to accommodate my standing desk when extended, it may prove frustrating for some people at just shy of 5 feet long. Sadly, the cable is firmly attached to the webcam, so there’s no option to replace it with a longer one. 

The Razer Kiyo is relatively large and heavy compared to other webcams. The part that hooks over my monitor covers a tab in my browser, which is slightly annoying, but I do like the look of it. Webcams tend to look quite boring, but this is a thoughtful design that combines style and function. 

Setup and interface

Razer Kiyo 3



Simon Hill/Business Insider


The Razer Kiyo couldn’t be much easier to get started with, as it’s plug and play. Find a spare USB port on your PC or laptop, and you’re good to go. The default settings are solid, with auto-focus enabled, good color accuracy, and automatic white balance, but you’ll likely want to tweak the settings for yourself. Install Razer’s Synapse 3 software, and you get access to camera controls with sliders for brightness, contrast, saturation, and white balance.

Beyond the default, Razer offers three presets (cool, vibrant, and warm) and a custom settings option. You can choose to turn auto-focus off if you prefer to set focus manually. There’s also an advanced settings menu that lets you dig deeper with extra options like sharpness and gain, as well as controls for zoom level, pan, tilt, and exposure.

Performance and features

Razer Kiyo light ring



Simon Hill/Business Insider


While you expect to find 1080p at 30 frames per second (fps) as an option in a good webcam, the Razer Kiyo outperforms some top alternatives when it comes to 720p, offering 60 fps. The Logitech C920S, for example, only runs at 30 fps for 720p footage using Logitech’s software. The higher frame rate makes for smoother footage. The autofocus works well, but it’s very quick to react, so if you move around a lot it can prove to be distracting.  

I found the Razer Kiyo offered impressive color accuracy in natural light and a pleasingly detailed image. It can also snap good quality still shots. I tested it with Google Meet and Skype for video calls and it served perfectly well. Callers said the picture quality is great and they didn’t have any issues hearing me, though the Kiyo does have a pretty basic microphone. 

It’s good that it handles video calls well, but the Razer Kiyo is really designed for streaming on services like Twitch or creating video for YouTube. Razer recommends using Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) or Xsplit to broadcast gameplay. I fired up OBS, which instantly detected the camera, and had a game of Borderlands 3, and the resulting footage looked decent. Mixed with the game sound, my voice was relatively quiet through the built-in microphone and got drowned out at times. Serious streamers will prefer a standalone microphone or headset.

The ring light is the headline feature here, and it serves a couple of purposes. Even if you have good natural light in the room, the ring light helps to eliminate shadows on your face. It’s obviously also very handy when there isn’t much light, or you’re in a dark room. Noise creeps into the video when the light is low, but simply turn the outside of the main ring and the LEDs spring to life to evenly light your face. It’s extremely easy to adjust and find the level that suits you. The white layer on top does a good job of diffusing the light, so it’s never too harsh.

My son, who has more experience producing gaming videos and streaming, tested out the Razer Kiyo with Fortnite and is impressed by the results. He also points out that if you’re streaming game footage with yourself in the corner, even 720p is probably more than you need. The light ring is really only enough to illuminate your face, but that’s the most important thing when you’re streaming, and any noise you see in the background on full screen is far less noticeable when you’re in a small window in the corner.

Razer Kiyo Synapse software screenshot 1



Simon Hill/Business Insider


The Razer Kiyo is tailor-made for budding streamers looking to put out better quality video and ensure that they’re lit in a flattering way. It’s also very capable for video calls and fully customizable with Razer’s Synapse 3 software.

Should you buy it?

Yes. If you don’t want to worry about a separate lighting rig, the Razer Kiyo is a great all-in-one device for streaming. If you just want something for video calls, then it’s a tougher sell.

What are your alternatives?

The Logitech C922 is priced the same as the Razer Kiyo and matches the video options, both 1080p at 30 fps and 720p at 60 fps, but it lacks the light and doesn’t look as interesting. 

If you can live without the higher frame rate, the Logitech C920S is a lot cheaper, offers 1080p or 720p at 30 fps, has a handy privacy shutter, and boasts better audio with two integrated microphones.

Pros: LED light ring, clever design, high image quality, high frame rate at 720p

Cons: Basic microphone, cable is attached


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