Streamers looking to get their foot in the door on popular platforms, including Twitch and YouTube, have traditionally relied on Logitech for their starting webcam. The Logitech C920 and the recently released C922 have been considered the standard for beginning streamers for years, but Razer intends to change that perception with their new line of streamer-certified products. Enter the Razer Kiyo, a unique webcam worthy of tackling the competition.
Retailing for $140 CAD, the Razer Kiyo strips away all of the negatives surrounding the Razer Stargazer, forgoing the premium dollar functions users didn’t use for a much more stable and simple experience at an affordable price. Unlike the Stargazer, the Kiyo doesn’t require any software to use it either. Users simply plug the webcam into one of the available USB ports on their computer and the Kiyo will show up immediately in the user’s preferred streaming software. With setup complete the user is now free to configure the video to their personal taste or simply use the automatic settings if they feel the quality is good enough.
The Razer Kiyo’s design and feature set gives users a wide variety of playability options, starting with resolution. As is standard with most HD webcams, the Kiyo is capable of outputting at 1080p 30 FPS, but what most streamers will end up doing is downgrading the resolution to 720p in exchange for a smooth 60 FPS framerate. Because most streamers delegate their facecams to a small corner during their broadcasts, the viewers won’t notice the crispness of the video as much as they do the smoothness. This transition to 60 FPS also improves the motion blur that occurs when a streamer makes sudden body or hand movements.
However, the real game changer Razer is promoting with the Kiyo is the built-in ring light. Located on the top of the device with the lens, users turn on and adjust the ring light by moving it like a dial. Ideally, this is a perfect solution for budget streamers who can’t afford a lighting system, effectively killing two birds with one stone. While the quality of the lighting isn’t as high or as competent as a well thought out lighting setup, the ring light still accomplishes the job of eliminating harsh shadows and keeping the focus on the broadcaster instead of their surroundings.
When compared to the Logitech C922, the Razer Kiyo puts up a great battle, trading equal blows of positives and negatives. After running a series of recording tests and streaming with both products live I’ve come to the conclusion that the Logitech C922 comes out on top for video quality. Whether it was 1080p or 720p, the C922 presented a more detailed and properly saturated image then the Kiyo. However, the Kiyo won in smoothness and functionality. While the Kiyo’s image was definitely softer then the C922, its snappy autofocus and consistent framerate make it a superior choice for streamers who incorporate a lot of movement in their broadcast.
As a result of these tests, I have to call this battle a draw with no clear winner. While I personally prefer the Logitech C922 for its sharper image, the Razer Kiyo succeeds in a different set of fields that will appeal to a different audience of broadcasters. The Razer Kiyo’s greatest strength comes from it being a complete package for budget streamers, bundling in a quality video experience and convenient lighting setup all into one portable cylinder. Compared to previous attempts on Logitech’s seemingly unbreakable hold on the webcam throne, the Razer Kiyo is the strongest competitor yet on the market.
A retail version of this device reviewed was provided by the manufacturer. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedures here.
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