Razer Kiyo Pro, analysis and opinion

In recent years we have seen how streamers took a significant leap in quality both in the sets and, above all, in the quality of their cameras. They have gone from using webcams that had become outdated in features, but at the gold price, to using both DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

Razer is one of the most powerful gaming companies and they wanted to rethink their strategy to try not to fall behind when it comes to streaming. A few years ago they launched their Kiyo camera with a surprising ring of light, but now they have realized that you really have to bet on bigger and better quality sensors.

As a complement to the analysis of the Razer Kiyo Pro, we recommend you to watch this video first in which we test different image modes and streaming situations with both background and front lights and in which you can see, perfectly, what the camera can offer in varied situations.

Modular and robust design that adapts to any space

Let's start with the design, as it is one of the points that differentiate Razer's cameras from that of competitors. They are not cameras that pass, precisely, unnoticed due to a circular format and fairly large size, the truth.

You can tell they're there, but it's really something done on purpose because Razer is one of those companies looking for their devices to be totally recognizable at a glance, and it's something they get almost always.

The previous Kiyo, in fact, was very recognizable because it incorporated an LED light ring that helped in environments with low lighting, but it was, honestly, the only special thing of that webcam, since the sensor and optics did not accompany.

Yes, it illuminated the face thanks to that small focus, but the image quality was not optimal. I'm glad to see that Razer has noticed this and removed the ring of light to bet on what really matters in photography/video: a good sensor and good lenses.

Before going into detail with the sensor, let's keep looking at the design, as two parts need to be differentiated here. On the one hand, the camera, which weighs practically nothing and is the round part where the heat outlet is at the back, the front crystals and the different data of the camera surrounding the glass.

On that front we have a white notification LED that turns on when the camera is in use and that works on both Windows computers with Razer software installed and on a Mac/Windows without the software.

In addition, for more security in case you don't trust the LED, the company includes a physical cover that fits perfectly into the body of the camera and that is what most guarantees of privacy will give you, really.

On the back we have the USB-C power and communication with another USB-A end for the computer. It is a braided cable of very good quality, like those that Razer always includes in his equipment.

And at the bottom is the standard 60-millimeter female thread connector,so we can put the webcam both on its base and on any universal stand we have at home. This is most useful if, for example, you already have an arm on which you have a spotlight and a microphone.

But note, although this is a more than valid option, especially for enthusiastic streamers, the basis of the Kiyo Pro has seemed very, very good to me. Combining metal and rubber, it has stability and "grabs" well to any surface so as not to slip.

It can be placed on top of a monitor, but we can also anchor that base to a tripod. And if we want to put it, directly, on a surface, we're also going to be able to without the camera moving because the base is really solid.

The camera can be rotated from left to right and can also be tilted, but it would have been nice to move on a third axis so that, in some rooms like mine due to perspective, the furniture and shelves do not seem tilted.

Only in design, we already see very logical things that are a step forward compared to the standard Kiyo, and another detail that I liked is the protection. The front glass features Gorilla Glass 3 protection. It's not the most efficient fall protection, but it is against scratches, and I think it's the best thing for such a device.

Razer bets on Sony STARVIS shining in dark rooms

I have already commented that the key to a camera is the conjunction between light and sensor. There are times when the light cannot be controlled, but in that section also come into play the sensors that get along well with dim lighting.

Any user (an office, a telework professional or a student) can use this camera,it would be missing more, but we are talking about a price for enthusiastic users, and these are usually the streamers.

That said, Razer knows (just as he knows streamers have their spotlights) that rooms in the potential user's rooms are going to have discreet lighting and that's why they've introduced a Sony sensor with STARVIS technology.

This is the IMX 327, a 2.1 megapixel sensor,but don't worry about this figure because you know that megapixels aren't everything. The sensor is CMOS, compatible with HDR and color of both 10 and 12 bits and is capable of offering 1,080p at a maximum of 60 fps.

It has a size of 1/2.8" and no, it is not too large, but for 2.1 Mpx is more than enough. However, a somewhat larger size would have been appreciated to make the noise in certain situations less, but well, the image quality is good.

The particularity of this sensor is that STARVIS technology that is used, above all, in security cameras being a pixel backlighting technology in these CMOS sensors to increase the sensitivity of the camera without losing quality and thus "see" in very dimly lit environments.

And the truth is that, with more or less noise, the result is surprising. In the top video you can already see the camera's performance in different situations, but below I go with four more real-world usage examples... "streaming".

Except for the first video, where it is more evident that there was natural light, in the other examples the tone of my skin and the noise is very, very similar is the front light that is, which speaks very well of the sensor.

In addition, noise stays in the background when I add lighting at the back. Without that rear lighting, as we saw in the initial tests, the noise was quite evident, but it is greatly mitigated when we improved that aspect. And another thing, if we don't have front lighting, I've noticed 'tintineo', or flickering, sometimes on the rear LEDs. As I say, this is solved by better illuminating our face.

The 60 fps capture also helps to improve the image quality, since the movements are smooth at all times, without that fan effect that many webcams have, especially those integrated in laptops.

Now, beyond the image quality, which we liked, I also like the field of view and the focus, but there we are getting into the field of software.

Webcam with Adaptive Light Sensor - Razer Kiyo Pro

Synapse is the brains of the team, but it's a Plug&Play camera

Like everything Razer launches, the Kiyo Pro is within the Synapse ecosystem,the application that goes very, very well on Windows 10 and that, although it exists on MacOS, I do not recommend installing because it is difficult to remove and is not valid for... Well, not at all.

Since the camera is Plug&Play, you'll be able to use it perfectly on a Mac by installing it directly to your computer's USB port (not an external USB multiplier because, even if it's powered externally, I've tried two and the webcam didn't work) and the system will recognize it as a camera and as a microphone.

Now, on Mac you're going to miss some of the best features of this model that can only be enabled by Synapse. And it is that, the application is very complete and allows us to modify parameters such as the field of view -FOV- to leave it at 103o, 90o or 80o. I like the 80o, but for what camera position and environments, I appreciate the other more angular options.

In addition, and this is a very strong point, we can choose between autofocus or manual focus. The autofocus has seemed to me, in good light, quite fast and precise and I have not had the problem that I have found on other webcams on which the camera is constantly looking for me, which results in those 'jumps' in the spotlight.

If we want to, however, we can leave a fixed focus, although since it does not produce much background blur, and AF mode works well, I prefer to leave it in automatic. All right, Razer, in this sense.

Amazon.com: Razer Kiyo Pro Streaming Webcam: Uncompressed 1080p 60FPS - High-Performance Adaptive Light Sensor - HDR-Enabled - Wide-Angle Lens with Adjustable FOV - Lightning-Fast USB 3.0: Computers & Accessories

And also very well because, if we have a room with special lighting and we want to highlight that section, or if we are going to record gameplay in HDR, we can configure the camera to record us in high dynamic range. The fps rate goes to 30, but still, we have smooth, quality movements.

What I like about Synapse is that it is very easy to use and gives us some basic image parameters to control color, saturation, white balance, brightness and contrast, always with a real-time preview, but if we want to dig a little deeper, we have the advanced settings.

Omnidirectional microphone with a warm sound, but somewhat low

Of no, we have a built-in microphone. It's a basic thing for communications these days and if you don't have a mic on your desktop or your laptop is very fair, the Razer Kiyo Pro will do you good.

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