Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra review: Crisp detail comes at a cost
Razer’s Kiyo Pro Ultra webcam might come with a price tag that stings, but this webcam offers excellent quality and features for content creators and gamers alike.
Webcams have been in a pretty strange spot for the past six or seven years. But, the advent of streaming on Twitch changed all of that. Suddenly, companies like Elgato were creating webcams that blew market standards out of the water. Razer’s latest, similar product is the Kiyo Pro Ultra which offers a wealth of new options, and some mighty impressive hardware to boot.
The only downside here is that the camera costs $299. Though, it’s positioned as an alternative for content creators using mirrorless cameras, or DSLR solutions for streaming instead of a webcam for your average punter.
- Recording resolution: 4K 30FPS, 1440p 30FPS, 1080p 60/30/24FPS, 720p 60/30 FPS
- Field of view: 82-72 degrees
- Resolution: 8.3 Megapixels
- Microphone: Omnidirectional
The Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra is an absolute juggernaut of a webcam. The entire package is weighty out of the box, largely owing to the fancy 1/1.2 inch sensor that Razer has packed inside, which can achieve an aperture of f/1.7, allowing the webcam to seep in light, which can be useful in low-light scenarios.
There’s a black rubber cap for extra protection, but the webcam ditches a focus ring and replaces it with a privacy cover, which is operated by simply twisting the front of the device. It’s nice to have two privacy options, and the lens cap to protect the webcam from scratches while not in use. Though, for those mounting it to their monitor, it can take some force to pull it off, which could throw its mounting mechanism off balance.
The mechanism’s cylindrical shape rests upon a pivoted series of joints, which allow you to adjust the vertical angle of the webcam, in addition to moving it from left to right.
The camera’s mount also has a threaded point, should you wish to mount it onto a tripod, though the standard mount also carries one. The default mount is pretty standard and managed to fit onto our monitor with ease. The small lip at the front allows for a slim profile on the front of your monitor. Those with bezels smaller than 1cm may have some interference with the display, but it fits onto our curved panel just fine.
The Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra not only has impressive hardware, but the software to match, too. Within Razer Synapse, you have access to a wealth of options to configure your image exactly how you like it. The benefit of Razer’s 4K sensor means that you are able to crop your image, if you solely wanted to focus on yourself, rather than you and your entire background. It’s here that you are able to also switch up between your image processing, and even set a function to automatically focus on your face.
Honestly, the options available here are enthusiast level, and will be sure to sate even the pickiest people. We did find however that the camera shines when it is manually tuned for your particular scene, with manual focus rather than being left on auto.
Synapse does have its issues with recognizing when you can change resolutions. We found that the camera refused to switch to its highest, 4K resolution unless it was hooked up to a USB 3.2 port. Additionally, we also had several issues retaining our specific settings. If you use it with something like Nvidia Broadcast, settings are overwritten completely, so just be aware of possible conflicts.
Out of the box, the Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra’s sheer image quality made us gasp. Once you get into using it, however, some cracks begin to appear with regards to the speed of the autofocus. It often takes slightly longer than we’d like to fully figure out what it should focus on. However, the focus distances can be manually tuned.
Equally, the Kiyo Pro Ultra also manages to deliver incredible low-light performance. For those with dark gaming setups, our image was crystal clear while setting up a mock OBS stream. We were able to crop the 4K image down to focus only on ourselves, and due to the resolution, you can punch in without any noticeable loss in quality versus a normal 1080p camera via third-party software.
This is priced to compete with DLSRs and Mirrorless cameras, and we think that the Kiyo Pro Ultra actually manages to do that. Fine details are easily visible, and the image reproduced has colors that are pretty true to life, with no washed-out look cheaper, lesser webcams. But, if you’re looking for an all-in-one broadcast-level solution for audio and video, the Kiyo Pro Ultra does, in fact, have some weaknesses.
The Kiyo Pro Ultra’s embedded microphone fails to impress on any level. Audio can come across as tinny, and is nothing more than serviceable. With that said, if you are dropping $300 on a webcam, we should hope that you also have a microphone to match.
Should you buy it?
Razer’s Kiyo Pro Ultra is an impressive piece of hardware, but Synapse can also be tough to deal with at times. When combined with its microphone, it makes the camera not quite perfect. Though, at this price point, its image quality is utterly fantastic.
For those who are serious about their image quality while streaming, there is no better webcam on the market, unless you want to hook up a (potentially more expensive) camera setup.
The verdict: 5/5
The Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra is a deeply impressive camera, though its high price will put some off, it’s an impressive piece of gear that no other brand can rival right now, despite its few shortcomings.
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