Razer Kiyo Webcam Review – Is It THE Webcam for Streamers?
+ Ring light improves visual quality
+ Tripod thread mount gives it versatility in positioning / placement
+ Plug-n-play / Easy to use
+ Easy to pack if you need to bring it out
+ Can easily clip it on the top of monitors / TVs
- Suffers greatly if environment is not at least decently lit
- Ring light max brightness tends to reflect off face
- Built-in microphone is absolutely terrible
We took Razer’s entry into the world of webcams, the Razer Kiyo, for a spin. Does the ring light make a huge difference? Spoiler alert, yes it does indeed.
Razer Kiyo Webcam Review
When you think of webcams, people will generally lean more towards Logitech. Sure, there are other brands around like Microsoft’s Lifecam line of products but Logitech has done such a good on this end, they are generally the go-to brand for webcams. Then in comes Razer with their entry, the Razer Kiyo. Question is, can it fare better, if not on-par with such a major adversary? Let’s find out, shall we?
Unboxing the Razer Kiyo
We did an unboxing post for this earlier, in which we wrote some interesting tidbits about it. If you want to be caught up to speed, click here to read all about it. If you just want to see the unboxing of the product, we included the unboxing video right above here for you to enjoy.
If you are used to other webcams, chances are that you might perceive the Razer Kiyo as a rather unique-looking one with its circular design. It’s designed this way so the ring light will fit perfectly, and the light won’t end up being a rather weird shape which might cause some irregularities such as not lighting your face properly.
When it is completely folded, you’ll feel like you’re holding to a miniature camera lens sans the focus ring of course. This is a clever design choice by Razer as it is space-saving and convenient to pack in case you ever need to bring it out.
Upon unfolding it, you can easily clip the Razer Kiyo to your monitors or even TVs if you happen to use the latter. I personally use an older Philips 42-inch Full HD LCD TV, which is slightly thicker than today’s LED TVs, and it comfortably clips on the top without any fear of falling it off.
And of course, should you choose to not clip on any of your displays, there is a standard tripod thread mount on the bottom of the Razer Kiyo. In other words, you can actually mount it on virtually any tripod, which adds versatility to the product in terms of positioning. This is especially important as you might have a particular angle that your displays might not be able to give.
One particular design choice that I liked is how you adjust the lighting on the Razer Kiyo’s ring light. As it is designed as a plug-and-play device, much like the Razer Seiren X which we reviewed earlier, you just have to turn the ring light clockwise to turn it on. It gets brighter, up to 12-steps, so feel free to adjust to the level that you prefer. No software needed, and you can adjust lighting on-the-fly.
Overall, I would describe the Razer Kiyo as a unique, yet practical approach to webcam design. It’s easy to fold and pack, it’s easy to setup, and the tripod thread mount gives it that versatility that will instantly put it on par with its fiercest competitions out there. It may be a little big but you are recording with this so it doesn’t matter. Razer has done their homework and it doesn’t fall short in terms of design.
|Video Resolution:||1080p @ 30FPS / 720p @ 60FPS / 480p @ 30FPS / 360p @ 30FPS|
|Image Resolution:||4 Megapixels|
|Field of View:||81.6 °|
|Ring Light:||12-step ring dial, 5600K “Daylight” temperature, Milky White LED Diffuser, 12 White LEDs|
Now for the most anticipated part of the review, how the Razer Kiyo actually performs. If you have good lighting, the Razer Kiyo produces some pretty good visuals and the subject will be in focus with little trouble. After all, lighting is a every camera’s best friend, regardless of whether it’s a DSLR or even a simple webcam.
The moment I turned off the studio lights, you can see a huge downgrade in quality. This is to be expected since the environment I was in is rather dark. You can see a whole lot of digital noise in the video. Upon turning on the ring light, it did help but it also made the digital noise on everything except myself more apparent out of comparison. And on that note, the ring light is pretty bright so most of you would not want to put it on its maximum setting as it will reflect on your face. Washing your can help reduce it but best to set it a bit lower.
Another thing worth noting is that after I turned off my studio light, the autofocus is a bit out of whack. It seems to have trouble focusing on my face but once it did manage to lock in and I don’t put anything in front of the webcam (such as my hand when I’m adjusting the ring light), it seems to be fine. The ring light definitely helped it focus faster, that’s for sure.
As for the built-in microphone in the Razer Kiyo, it can capture audio but it’s going to be very soft. Built-in microphones in webcams tend to be of poor quality anyway, and it’s the same for its competitors as well. However, I’m also surprised there were weird digital noises that were unpleasant to hear as well. This is possibly due to the connection and isn’t suppose to happen normally.
The idea here is that if you want to use this, don’t use the built-in webcam unless you really have no choice. Pair it with a standalone condenser microphone, be it USB or XLR, or even use a gaming headset’s microphone. Even the latter will provide a significant upgrade over the built-in one.
To wrap that up, the Razer Kiyo can actually perform well if you have good lighting. While the ring light helps, do not solely depend on it. A mix of a decently lit environment and the ring light can work wonders. Just be sure to not use the built-in microphone.
Razer Kiyo Verdict
The Razer Kiyo can perform pretty good. There were issues with regards to the auto white balance going a bit crazy before but that appears to not be the case here. This might’ve been fix with the most recent firmware update for it that is available in the official Razer website. It wasn’t something that blew us away, but it’s also something that we definitely cannot say is a bad product.
Simply put, if you want a good time with it, make sure to have at least a decently lit environment while also using the ring light. Depend solely on the ring light and you’re gonna have a bad time. Also, don’ bother with the built-in microphone. I may sound like a broken record emphasizing this over and again but people really need to take note of this.
If you’re looking for a USB condenser microphone that is easy to use, you might want to consider the Razer Seiren X. Click here for our review of the microphone.
With that in mind, I award the Razer Kiyo webcam with our Silver Pokdeward.