Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra Review: It Comes So Close to Greatness

My preliminary response to the Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra’s video was “Wow! Lastly a webcam pretty much as good as a compact vlogging digital camera.” My response after attempting to regulate the settings, particularly when utilizing it with a third-party software, was “I am going to attain by my display and punch you now.” Significantly: Razer’s Synapse software program is the one factor stopping this $300 (£300, AU$500) 4K webcam for streamers and energy videoconferencers from getting an Editors’ Selection award.

It noticeably raises the standard above Razer’s Kiyo Pro — sufficient that the Kiyo Pro’s value has dropped considerably, and at $100 the Pro’s an amazing various in case you simply desire a step up to strong 4K.

Synapse is the one manner to management many of the settings, so it could make or break your expertise. If you happen to do not want to change settings apart from zoom, focus or white steadiness that always (they’re accessible by way of the Home windows driver), you then’ll most likely be OK. And even Synapse 3 does not work on the Mac, so the webcam’s not properly fitted to that platform.


Glorious high quality and performanceNice built-in lens cowl designHas a comparatively giant variety of adjustable settings which compensate for points different cameras have


Do not Like

Synapse management of digital camera is glitchy and the digital camera often hangs when altering settingsYou can solely change settings when Synapse has unique management of the digital camera

The Kiyo Pro Ultra’s closest non-Razer competitor would have been the Elgato Facecam Pro, which not appears to be accessible anyplace regardless of delivery in November 2022. (It used a earlier era of the Sony Starvis sensor, and it is at all times potential that it is being reworked with the newer sensor.) 

That digital camera supported 4K at 60fps in contrast to the Razer’s 30fps (at 1080p and decrease it could do 60fps), however in any other case the Razer has plenty of the identical strengths, together with handbook publicity controls, person presets and different settings which can assist you tweak the standard of your output, equivalent to MJPEG high quality (for streaming at 1440p or 4K) and the power to meter off your face in autoexposure mode (essential in case you’re off middle) and lens distortion compensation. 

Whereas it appears related to the remainder of its Kiyo siblings, the Pro and the X (on our checklist of the greatest webcams we have examined), it has one thing I’ve wished for some time: a built-in lens cowl. Razer cleverly integrated it as an iris that closes if you rotate the outer ring.

Prime marks for high quality and efficiency

When it is good, the Kiyo Pro Ultra is nice. It incorporates a 1/1.2-inch Sony Starvis 2 sensor, which is a simply bit smaller than the 1-inch sensor in compact vlogging cameras just like the Sony ZV-1 however masses greater than the sensors in different webcams, with a very good dimension f1.7 aperture. 

The bigger sensor and aperture means it reveals perceptible depth-of-field blur. It does not have as extensive a discipline of view as many webcams, solely up to 82 levels (72 levels with distortion correction on) somewhat than 90 or extra, which might have an effect on its suitability in your wants. 

The Kiyo Pro Ultra sitting next to the green logo graphic on the cover of a Razer Blade laptop
Lori Grunin/ClassyBuzz

The Ultra shows wonderful tonal vary for what it’s, although it falls quick in dealing with brilliant areas. It wants some software program tweaking for that, I believe. It has the everyday HDR choice, however in a backlit shot with a correctly uncovered foreground (in addition to with out), it did not assist clip the overbrightness within the again. There are toggles for each darkish and light-weight rooms, however neither appeared to make a perceptible distinction. I’ve had different cameras deal with it higher. 

It meters correctly, for probably the most half. Middle metering works greatest in case you’re within the middle — face metering overexposes oddly with out tweaking the publicity compensation, in any other case. However in case you lean to the facet, face metering retains it from spiking when it sees your black chair as a substitute of your face. White steadiness is excellent so long as you are not in too darkish an atmosphere. Even then it isn’t dangerous. Nor does it lose plenty of shade saturation. 

You may toggle a few noise discount settings and so they do make a major distinction in low gentle. The distortion compensation makes a visual distinction as properly. 

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You could have to look good on a webcam as we speak


Normal autofocus is meh, similar to all the opposite webcams. However there are a number of settings to mitigate the frequent searching, which different webcams do not have. Face autofocus does a very good job of holding it from searching if you transfer your head, and there is a “stylized lighting” setting which helps the AF system lock when the lighting would possibly in any other case confuse it. 

The digital camera handles a few of the picture processing that may in any other case be despatched to the PC, notably the MJPEG compression of the stream you are sending, and you may set how aggressively it compresses both robotically or on a performance-to-quality continuum. 

Nonetheless wants some baking

Sadly, it is nonetheless just a bit too glitchy and the software program limits it unintentionally. You may’t entry any of the settings in Synapse — most notably decision/body price and handbook publicity (ISO and shutter pace) — except digital camera preview is enabled. And Home windows solely permits one software to entry a digital camera at a time. 

So, for instance, in case you’ve by chance left the decision at 4K however you want it to be 1080p in OBS, to change it you’ve to first deactivate the digital camera in OBS — fortunately, OBS has that choice, however Nvidia Broadcast does not. Then leap over to Synapse, activate preview, change the decision, flip off preview, leap again to OBS and reactivate the digital camera. And determination, amongst different settings, does not appear to be saved as a part of the profiles you’ll be able to create.

Doing it as soon as is not that a lot of an issue. After the tenth time in an hour it will get outdated. 

It’s additionally sophisticated by the occasional failure of settings to kick in, which typically forces you to loop again by that activate-deactivate cycle: Why does my adjusted publicity not look adjusted? Do I’ve to kick it to get autofocus to kick in? The preview in Synapse is not at all times correct, although that is not distinctive to Synapse, but it surely means you’ll be able to’t assume your changes there will likely be appropriate. Synapse additionally froze a number of occasions whereas I used to be attempting to swap between profiles.

Virtually each different cheap webcam utility permits you to change settings whereas viewing inside the software you want them for. Sure, typically a couple of are disabled (as a result of Home windows), however at the least they are not all unavailable. It’s potential that each one these points might be ameliorated with firmware and software program patches, however I’ve realized by no means to assume that simply because they are often that they are going to be.

The Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra is a succesful webcam that simply wants some software program and firmware polish earlier than I am snug contemplating it a dependable, constant performer.

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