If you have watched a Twitch stream in the past few years, you would be hard-pressed to not see some sort of Razer gear on display. From their iconic Chroma lighting, to their fun cat-ear headphones—Razer has become synonymous with streaming. So it is only fitting that they have a camera that lives up to this reputation, and while the past webcam offering: the Kiyo; was a decent option, it did not have the quality seen in the competition. This is where their new offering: the Kiyo Pro comes into the picture—offering a better all-around experience, and one of the best webcams CGM has reviewed to date.
The Kiyo Pro feels very similar in design to their past iteration—with a round face, subtle Razer touches, and a robust build quality. The sleek black design lacks the ostentatious look we have come to expect of the brand, but what they have done with the Kiyo Pro will make it feel at home in any streaming space, or any boardroom. Honestly, I was surprised with how stylish it looked, especially since I am used to all the RGB the brand is known for; and I am happy to say it is also one of the best looking cameras I have seen in a long while.
Razer has outfitted the Kiyo Pro with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 for the camera lens, allowing it to stand up to higher levels of wear and tear in comparison to plastic lenses found on many webcams. It also features an omnidirectional microphone, and while it works just fine, it is nothing to write home about. Granted, most people using the Kiyo Pro will have a headset or standalone microphone—it would have been nice to see something a bit more robust, especially considering how much thought seems to have gone into all other aspects.
One thing you won’t find this time around is the light-ring that the first Kiyo had as one of its major selling points. It was why many people I know decided to take the plunge when it first launched. While many users may be lamenting the loss, it is honestly not needed this time around, given that the new sensor and overall quality would make it redundant. Personally, I for one am happy to not have my face blown out with the direct light constantly in my eyes.
The first generation Kiyo had an impressive spec sheet for the time—offering 1080p at 30fps or 720p at 60fps—and overall it managed this for the most part. But due to technical limitations, while it sounds great on paper, the image quality always felt sub-par due to grainy image and an overall lack of clarity. Thankfully, by comparison, the Kiyo Pro is like night and day; boosting the resolution to an uncompressed 1080p, while still offering 60fps, meaning the clarity and quality blows past offerings out of the water.
If that were not enough, the Kiyo Pro also has the option of HDR 30fps, should you want more colour accuracy for streams or conferences. In practice, it is noticeable how true to life the picture is with the feature enabled. You will lose a bit of brightness, and, as mentioned; you will not be able to reach 60fps while the mode is on, but it does give a better looking picture. Although, I was very impressed with the out-of-the-box picture that, while a bit more cool in tone, and a tad more washed out; was much more fluid.
The Kiyo Pro features Sony’s STARVIS technology, normally found in security cameras, so lighting will not be a problem when using this web camera. During testing, I had no issues getting a clear picture, even at night. The first generation Kiyo had the aforementioned ring light that was easily turned on when needed, and even with that, it does not even come close to what the Kiyo Pro manages. And while the Kiyo Pro does show a bit of a grainy image with HDR enabled in low light, it still managed to be staggering in the level of clarity and detail it produced.
The Kiyo Pro comes equipped with a fantastic wide-angle lens that allows for an adjustable Field of View (FOV). There are three presets when you first set up the camera: narrow, medium, and wide—and while the differences are not dramatic, they are enough to please most markets the Kiyo Pro is targeting, and can be further adjusted with the help of Razer’s Synapse software, should you want to tweak it further.
While I was impressed with what I saw, there were some noticeable auto-focus issues that happened with the Kiyo Pro. The camera seemed to have trouble focusing if I moved around a bit, and would take a bit to dial in the picture to achieve a clear image. This issue mainly happened when the background was busy, or the lights were dim, so not unexpected for a webcam, but still a notable issue if you are planning to use it for streaming. It is also possible to manually focus, so that is always an option should you run into the issue while on a stream or on a conference call.
The Kiyo Pro shines in the modern work environment, offering a robust camera with style and all the features anyone broadcasting to work or the world could ask for. While there were a few places Razer could improve on for the next offering—the inclusion of Sony STARVIS, HDR, a crystal clear 1080p signal makes the Kiyo Pro an easy camera to recommend, even at its hefty price tag.