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Razer Kiyo Review [2021 Update] – Still The Ultimate Webcam?

The Razer Kiyo solves a lot of starter streamer lighting issues, but is it worth the money? 📷
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Despite its official release date back in 2018, the Razer Kiyo Web Camera is still among the best webcams in 2021. When it comes to improving your Twitch stream or coming through crystal clear on a Zoom call, the Razer Kiyo can do it all.

In this comprehensive Razer Kiyo Review, we’re going under the hood to discover what makes the Kiyo so special and comparing against other popular webcams.

Razer Kiyo Web Camera Review Summary
  • Aesthetics
  • Features
  • Total Value

Razer Kiyo Web Camera Summary

The Razer Kiyo solves a lot of starter streamer lighting issues and has superb image quality. It would have received a 4.9 star rating from our team, however, the weak microphone and detachable cable somewhat lets this down for non-streamers. That said, if you’re purpose is solely for streaming and you have a separate microphone output, this is one hell of purchase.

Overall
4.8

Pros

  • High Quality Imagery
  • Massively Improves Lighting
  • 60fps With 720p Streaming

Cons

  • Poor Microphone.
  • Cable Un-Detachable.

The webcam is arguably more important than ever in 2021. The world has become more disconnected and our reliance on remote connectivity has never been stronger. Thankfully the Razer Kiyo’s versatility solves a lot of problems this remote new world delivers.

Read on to find out more and don’t forget to hit us up in the comments when you’re done. We want to hear your questions about the Razer Kiyo and would love to help answer them.

If you’re short in time, feel free to skip ahead to the different sections of this Razer Kiyo Review.

Razer Kiyo Webcam Overview

The Razer Kiyo is designed with one purpose, to make you look good when you’re on a video call or stream. Heralded by the streamers and Zoom veterans, the Kiyo delivers better overall image quality than most other cameras at the same price point, even three years later in 2021. Yes, there are 4k webcams out there, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one within the same price point, if at all.

Razer Kiyo Streaming Webcam

Overall, the Razer Kiyo is one of the better mid-tier options when it comes to web cameras and video streaming. From it’s sleek design to improved image quality over similarly priced cameras, you won’t be disappointed.  The closest competitor, Logitech C920, also has some issues with its microphone so if you’re only looking for video capabilities, the Razer Kiyo is a better option.

We’ve used this camera for both Zoom and streaming with the now-defunct Mixer on Xbox. The Razer Kiyo’s specs are more than sufficient for business or personal video calls and deliver a very smooth, crisp and well-lit image.

As for streaming, it also ran very smoothly with crystal clear images both with wired and non-wired internet connections. We did find the camera a little tricky to set up when streaming with Mixer using OBS but that may just be Mixer.

The Look Station

One of the biggest plus points for us with the Razer Kiyo was not only how you look on camera, but the aesthetic design of the webcam. The circular camera shape and built-in ring light really make for a really aesthetic component that will enhance your setup. When closed, the Kiyo looks like a stack of micro CDs with its camera, light ring and grip that hugs your monitor. Where most streaming web cameras can look clunky and square, the Razer Kiyo looks absolutely stunning.

The rubberised base of the Kiyo webcam did make for a device that collects dust quickly but it gives the feel of something more premium. What you would typically expect from a camera of this price range is a plastic shell. The Kiyo is much more than that. Whilst most of you won’t care too much about how the camera feels externally but it’s important to keep this in mind when purchasing. Manufacturers which attention to every detail of a product often deliver superior outcomes!

Then there’s how you look when live streaming. We’ll delve further into this when analysing the features, but we’d like to make note that the image quality is extremely crisp. The LED light ring really makes a difference to the balance of your face on the screen. There’s nothing worse than seeing dark shadows in places you don’t want them to be!

Razer Kiyo Review - Webcam With Light
The Razer Kiyo looking pretty on top of a laptop display.

Razer Kiyo Software (updated for 2021)

The Razer Kiyo can now be controlled through the Razer Synapse 3 software. This was not possible before but Razer implemented software controls to add a greater level of image customisation. You can control the following and more:

  • Switch between Auto/Manual Focus
  • Adjust Brightness
  • Adjust Contrast
  • Adjust Saturation
  • Adjust White-balance

All of these adjustments can be saved to different video profiles ensuring you have the perfect set-up for the different scenarios in which you use the webcam. In addition to the official Razer Synapse 3 software, there is numerous 3rd-party software the Kiyo will connect to. Two major players that most streamers will be aware of are supported very well, with those being Xsplit and Open Broadcaster (usually known as OBS). Both of these are generally excellent choices.

Razer Kiyo Firmware Update (2021)

Another 2021 update you should be aware of before purchasing the Kiyo is the recent firmware update, which improves certain aspects of the image quality. Here is a quick overview:

  • Default 4:3 aspect ratio: 4:3 is now the default ratio sued by pretty much all software and hardware and as such, the Razer Kiyo has been updated to reflect this. There will be no distortion.
  • Neutral color representation: Neutral colors are now less saturated, resulting in a better image.
  • Auto white balance adjustment: The Razer Kiyo will now auto-adjust the white levels to create a more natural and accurate to real-life image.
  • Low light compensation enabled: Automatic low-light adjustments will maintain a more well-lit image.
  • Better autofocus: You’ll fall out of focus much less often with the new and improved autofocus capabilities.

You can download the latest firmware for the Razer Kiyo here.

The Best Features

It’s pretty obvious that your biggest attraction will be the Kiyo’s built-in ring of LED lights. This is, after all, the primary function of the camera and we have it say, we were thoroughly impressed. Now, whilst a dedicated lighting setup for streaming will trump everything, the Kiyo is the perfect compromise for those looking to light their faces evenly.

The lighting itself is not super powerful, but it’s perfect for those of you who are streaming without natural light, this makes a huge difference. Even still, if you do have natural light, additional LED lighting will help smooth out your face evenly on the screen.

We’ve been using the Kiyo for a few months now on Twitch and the lighting is more than sufficient. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the Kiyo is a unicorn, however. It’s not going to solve all your stream quality issues but it goes a long way with improving your streams appeal. Not to mention that it records at 60 frames per second which is 30 frames more than rivals such as the Logitech C920.

Razer Kiyo Streaming Webcam

The Razer Kiyo is an excellent webcam for streaming due to its ability to either record 1080p at 30 FPS is you prefer a crisper image and lower frame rate, which is generally fine for most streaming purposes. If you’re sat at your desk gaming away, 30 FPS is more than suitable and your chart will certainly not be complaining about the frame rate.

However, if you do want to record at 60 FPS you absolutely can, albeit at 720p, which again is hard to notice when you’re just a small box overlayed on top of your gameplay.

The built-in ring light is also a great feature for starter streamer who don’t yet want to invest in a dedicated lighting set-up.  With the recent software and firmware upgrade, the Razer Kiyo is more suited than ever to streamers.

Just a note, which is expanded on in more detail further in this review is the average microphone quality. It is certainly not good enough for anyone who wants to sound professional while streaming.

Razer Kiyo for Video Calls

Opting for the razer Kiyo as your webcam of choice for video calls will put you head and shoulders above most of your colleagues on your daily Zoom meeting (sigh). With the excellent image quality, built-in light and software integration, you’ll look fresh and crispy even during your 8.30 am Zoom call!

As discussed above, the microphone is far from the strongest aspect of the Kiyo, but it is better than the average laptop microphone, so chances are you’ll sound better than most, but still far from perfect.

Razer Kiyo Webcam - Streaming Camera

The Worst Features

Whilst we were super impressed with the lighting and image quality, we have to say that the microphone playback was pretty weak. If there is one thing you don’t want to cheap out on with your stream, it’s definitely your microphone. Whilst we recommend a dedicated streaming microphone to partner your camera as a separate device, the Razer Kiyo seriously underperforms if you had hoped of an all in once device. It’s almost like the team at Razer threw this into the mix just to match features with direct competitors. We really wish they hadn’t on this occasion.

Another feature we were surprised by was an undetachable cable. It’s fairly common to be able to detach the USB cable completely, but Razer has opted for a firmly fitted version. If you’re going to leave your camera in place forever then this is not such an issue. However, for those of us who like to stream from different locations, it’s just easier to keep the part separate.

Razer Kiyo Vs Logitech C920

The Razer Kiyo trumps many streaming webcams for image quality and the C920 from Logitech is no different. Whilst a cheaper webcam than the Razer Kiyo, it doesn’t capture colours with as much accuracy and the overall quality is weaker. This is important if you are going to be using a green-screen as you really want that background colour to pop. The Kiyo is pretty much a plug and play device whereas other cameras in the market require compromise.

Winner: Razer Kiyo

Razer Kiyo vs Logitech C920 – Video Quality

For those who really care about your stream quality, the Razer Kiyo also has a better frame rate. Whilst most cameras in this price range refresh at 30 frames per second (when streaming at 1080p), many remain at 30 frames per second with 720p. This is not the case with the Razer Kiyo as it can deliver 60 frames per second at this resolution. With most streaming platforms like Twitch optimising towards 720p, this is a huge win for the Razer Kiyo.

Other than the Kiyo’s superior image quality over the Logitech C920, you can’t deny that it simply just looks much nicer. We really do love the circular shape and that ring light will never disappoint.

Winner: Razer Kiyo

Razer Kiyo vs Logitech C920 – Lighting

The biggest difference between the two webcams is the inclusion of the built-in right light offered by the Kiyo. In comparison, the Logitech C920 offers nothing in return. This isn’t a make or break deal for most, but if lighting your face is important to you, then there is clearly only one choice, the Kiyo.

Winner: Razer Kiyo

Razer Kiyo Full Feature & Specifications List

Packed with superb image outputs, the team at Razer have put additional focus into developing a product that suits the requirements of an active streamer. Take a look at the full features of the Razer Kiyo below:

  • Desktop Streaming Camera.
  • Multi-Step LED Ring Light.
  • Compatible with Xbox & PC Gaming.
  • Brightness, Contrast, Saturation & White Balance Adjustments.
  • Image Presets Available
  • Compatible With Razer Synapse.

Full Camera Specifications:

  • Image Resolution: 4 Megapixels
  • Connection Type: USB2.0
  • Video Resolution: 1080p @ 30FPS / 720p @ 60FPS / 480p @ 30FPS / 360p @ 30FPS
  • Video encoding: YUY2/MJPEG or H.264
  • Still Image Resolution: 2688×1520
  • Image Quality Settings Customization: Yes
  • Diagonal Field of View (FOV): 81.6 °
  • Focus Type: Auto
  • Mounting Options: L-shape joint and Tripod (Not included)
  • Cable Length: 1.5 meters braided cable
  • Illumination: 12 white LEDs

Full Ring Light & Microphone Specifications:

  • LED Diffuser: Milky White
  • Buttons: 12 Step Ring Dial
  • Brightness: 10 Lux @ 1m
  • Audio Codec: 16bit 48KHz
  • Polar patterns: Omnidirectional
  • Sensitivity: -38dB

Razer Kiyo Webcam - LED Light Ring Camera

Razer Kiyo Price

The price of the Razer Kiyo has changed over the years, but currently in 2021 you can pick it up from almost all major tech retailers. To get the latest price, click the button in the box below! It is still very competitively priced compared to more modern webcams, while still offering similar capabilities.

Price reduction

Razer Kiyo Review Verdict

Even in 2021, it’s hard to find a better, more-rounded webcam that is suited to both streaming and video calls at this price point. When we initially reviewed the Razer Kiyo in 2018 we were impressed, in 2021 we’re even more impressed! Perhaps it’s more to do with the lack of innovation since, but the Razer Kiyo is still going strong!

When we began to write this Razer Kiyo review, we couldn’t help but continuously mention how the web camera had been extremely well thought out. It really does fulfil the needs of the everyday streamer. Yes, there are quality alternative web cameras on the market. However, the Razer Kiyo takes lighting to the next level without the price tag. Its single light ring alone brings a lot more to a home streaming setup than most cameras and we can’t deny how great both the device and we looked when in use.

If you are really on a tight budget, you may swing towards the Logitech C920. However, for a slightly larger fee you’ll be in love with the Razer Kiyo too. We still recommend that you set up with a separate microphone or headset as the playback does suck. But if you are looking for a camera that delivers strong imagery and vibrant lighting, you can’t go wrong with the Kiyo.

You may also be interested in:

Razer Kiyo FAQs

Absolutely, the Razer Kiyo is still one of the best webcams you can pick-up in 2021! Especially when compared to other medium-range webcams on the market. It offers new and improved image quality, a built-in right light and customisation options through Razer’s Synapse 3 software.

Last update on 2021-07-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Yes, the Razer Kiyo outputs at either 1080p/30fps or 720p/60fps. For most webcam purposes both resolutions and frame rates is fine but the Kiyo offers either. Depending on your preference you can choose either.

Last update on 2021-07-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Yes, the Razer Kiyo works with all video calling software. Simply choose the Kiyo as the webcam device in Zoom and you’re ready to go! The Razer Kiyo also has a built-in microphone so you can choose to use the microphone with Zoom as well.

Last update on 2021-07-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Razer Kiyo webcam is compatible with Macs but the companion software isn’t, which means you miss out on some customisation options. Even without the official software, the Razer Kiyo is an excellent choice for Mac uses and operates as a standard USB Webcam. There is third-party software that you can use in place of the Razer Synapse app if you want some level of customization.

Last update on 2021-07-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Yes, The Razer Kiyo workes with Xbox One, just like almost every other USB webcam.

Last update on 2021-07-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Yes, the Razer Kiyo has a built-in microphone. It does a good job of picking up voices but will also pick up the ambient noises around you.

Last update on 2021-07-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Yes, the Razer Kiyo is an excellent webcam, especially for the price. It has more than acceptable image quality and is very easy to set-up.

Last update on 2021-07-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Content Disclaimer: Our ‘Razer Kiyo Review’ is totally independent and has not been commissioned by the company in any capacity. Mr Gadget has not received any endorsements for this writing including financial reimbursement, free advertising or the Razer Kiyo Webcam by way of gift. If you purchase this item via an affiliate link on our website, we may receive a small commission from the seller. We hope you enjoyed it!

Last update on 2021-07-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Obsessed with technology. Compelled by innovation. We're your home of gadget reviews, technology news and intensive buyers guides. We believe that technology goes far beyond the gadget itself. From groundbreaking technological advancements to quirky gifts and gizmos, we're here to tell you all about the clash between man and machine.

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