Webcams are a hot commodity these days, and if your laptop’s built-in cam isn’t doing you any favors, Razer’s new Kiyo Pro promises to make you look good even in bad lighting.
The $200 Kiyo Pro is taking aim at popular premium webcams like Logitech’s Brio and SteamCam, among others, but also has a few major upgrades from Razer’s older webcam.
The biggest change is that unlike the standard $100 Kiyo, the Kiyo Pro doesn’t feature a built-in ring light. Instead, Razer upgraded the Kiyo Pro with a larger 1/2.8-inch full HD CMOS Sony Starvis backside illuminated sensor, which has been tweaked to deliver improved image quality even in harsh conditions like low light or a backlit background. The end goal for the Kiyo Pro is to deliver solid image quality without the need for additional lighting.
The Kiyo Pro can capture video at up to 1080p/60 fps or 1080p/30fps with HDR for improved color and exposure. The webcam also offers three fields of view: 80 degrees, 90, degrees, or 103 degrees. And for audio, the Kiyo Pro also comes with a 16-bit stereo mic with an omni-directional polar pattern, which seems fine for general use, but isn’t really meant to replace a high-quality external stand mic.
While I haven’t had a chance to fully test out the Kiyo Pro just yet, I do have to say I like its design. It’s simple and surprisingly understated in a way that should work for both gamers and folks who work from home, and it comes with a detachable stand that can be used to prop up the Kiyo Pro on a desk or on the back of a monitor. I also appreciate that Razer included two tripod mounts for additional flexibility: one on the bottom of the camera itself, and another on the bottom of the detachable stand.
Razer even throws in a plastic lens cover, which is nice, but I have to admit, it seems a bit like an afterthought. Unlike privacy shutters, which are becoming increasingly common on new laptops, the Kiyo Pro’s cover is closer to what you’d get on a DSLR or mirrorless camera, and when you remove it, there isn’t really anywhere to store it, so it ends up being extra clutter on your desk. I wish Razer had made the cover so that it flipped up or behind the camera when not in use.
Video from the Kiyo did look to be slightly sharper and more colorful in my early testing than the Logitech Brio I’ve been using for the last year. Razer said it specifically designed the Kiyo Pro to handle more gamer-style environments, including setups with RGB lighting, but I haven’t been able to compare quality across a number of different lighting conditions just yet.
Logitech still dominates when it comes to higher-end webcams, but it’s good to see a competitive alternative from Razer. Many jobs are expected to transition permanently to partial remote work post-pandemic, so it’s probably time for a lot of people to start considering upgrading from the panic placeholder gadgets they bought last year.
The Razer Kiyo Pro is available online today direct from Razer for $200, with additional availability from third-party retailers sometime before the end of Q1.