Kiyo X Review: Good Enough To Start Streaming?

The streaming scene is constantly evolving. And by now, your favourite streamers are probably using top-of-the-line cameras and even advanced lighting systems, which is pretty something. But, of course, the majority of us can’t afford such equipment, especially not from the get-go. But truth be told, neither did your favourite streamers start off as such.



So Razer recently announced their brand new entry-level webcam, the Kiyo X and it comes in at just about US$80 or S$119.


Is this good enough to start streaming or are there better options out there? And on that note, is it worth paying more than double for the Kiyo Pro? Well, let’s find out.


Now if you do go ahead and purchase a Kiyo X, you’ll realize that the box is fairly large, especially for what it is. But once you actually open it up, you only really get the Kiyo X itself, nothing else.


Now I don’t say this often, but I do really feel that the box is needlessly large for not much reason. It actually feels kind of wasteful. In fact, it’s bigger than the Kiyo Pro’s box which makes no sense because the latter actually comes with additional accessories.


But that aside, let’s talk about the webcam itself. First impressions? The Kiyo X is basically just like the original Kiyo without the ring light. And that’s it basically because the specs are downright the same as well.


Both the Kiyo X and the original Kiyo are able to do 1080p at 30frames per second or 720p at 60 frames per second with the same 82 degrees field of view, which is roughly 24mm full-frame equivalent.


Even the cable is arguably the same – a 1.5m braided cable that’s non-removable – which is fine, I would say. If Razer were to go ahead and add removable cables for an entry-level webcam at this price, it would have driven the cost up, which would kind of defeat the purpose of being an entry-level webcam.


As for the L shape joint itself, it is different from the original Kiyo, but this new design is basically an adaptation of the one from the Kiyo Pro. You can easily mount it on any monitor and should you want to do so, you can mount it on a tripod or light stand as well using the threading at the bottom.


The only difference between this mount on the Kiyo X compared to the one on the Kiyo Pro is that you don’t get any form of swivel. Now depending on your setup, this might not be an issue, but for me, I use an ultrawide monitor with another monitor on top, a 1+1 setup. So I place my webcam on the edge of the ultrawide monitor instead of right smack centre like most of you would. Being able to swivel and adjust the angle of the camera to frame myself properly without shifting my monitor is really great. This is something I can’t really do on the Kiyo X without some form of “modding” per se.


Anyways, enough about the design and ergonomics, let’s jump straight into image quality.


So you’re now looking at the Kiyo X running at 1080p at 30 frames per second. Just take note, most of what we do here in Asia, based in Singapore, we shoot in 25P PAL. This is 30 frames per second footage interpolated back down to 25 frames per second. It’s not the full fluidity of the 30 frames per second in that sense, but just to take note.


Overall, I would say that the image quality is still really decent and it does actually match up to the much more expensive Kiyo Pro. But you do have to tweak the settings a little using Razer Synapse to achieve slightly better colour and exposure.


Again, it looks fairly great, and for the price, it’s well within reason. Even more so if you’re streaming and you’re just going to have a small window in your stream overlay. I think it’s fine.


Now if you do prefer 60 frames per second, you will have to drop down to 720p, and this is what you get.


Honestly speaking, even looking at OBS right now, I can say that the tradeoff isn’t worth it – not at all. Image quality takes a huge hit as you can see from the noise and the grain, especially in my sound panels back here, in the shadows and areas like that – not that great. 60 frames per second is really nice – really fluid and really smooth – but again, just to mention, this video is rendered in 25 frames per second. So you aren’t seeing the full effects of it. But honestly speaking, putting this footage side-by-side with Kiyo Pro running at 1080p and 60 frames per second, makes the difference so much more pronounced.


In my personal opinion, I wouldn’t use the 60 frames per second on the Kiyo X. I’d much rather run it at 1080p at 30 frames per second.


So all in all, it’s just a solid entry-level webcam that can get you started for streaming or plain use for work and such. It has a wide enough field of view with pretty acceptable 1080p image quality, especially after some tweaking.


But there are definitely some things you should take note of if you're looking at picking this up. At US$80, the Kiyo X is slightly more expensive than the Logitech C920, which pretty much has the same specs. Now the C920 does have a slightly narrower field of view and can only support 30 frames per second on either 720p or 1080p, but if you already know you won’t use the 60 frames per second on the Kiyo X, you can save a little bit by going with the C920.


Secondly, I would say that Razer’s software really isn’t the greatest. It can do most of the basic stuff, but you really can’t fine-tune that much and Synapse is hit-or-miss.


Now at the time of recording this review, the virtual ring light that’s supposed to come with the Kiyo X isn’t available yet. But in all honesty, even not having tried it yet, I would suggest not to use it. If you’re even remotely serious about getting into streaming, I would highly suggest getting a key light from Elgato or just turn on your room light.


Anyways, I do think the Kiyo X is a solid entry-level webcam that can basically achieve the bare minimum of what you need. If you want a plug and play solution, this might perhaps be something up your alley.


On that note, compared to the original Kiyo, which is basically the same just with the ring light – that ring light is also hit-or-miss for some people out there who encountered some type of flaring or distortion because of light hitting the lens – honestly, it’s better without the ring light.


But what do you think about the Kiyo X? Is this something that you would purchase or not? Considering the fact that the streaming industry and where it’s heading towards, especially the streaming scene, with all your favourite streamers already using actual cameras as their webcam.


Personally, the image quality from a webcam, it’s already passable enough, especially when you’re using a small window as a face-cam in your stream overlay. That is already decent enough. Now, a bigger sensor would be nice, but it’s already passable.


What’s really lacking is the software. Software for webcams isn’t really there yet. We really need the minute and fine control you get with an actual camera. And of all companies, Elgato is the first one to do so with their new FaceCam.


So I’m just hoping that companies like Razer and Logitech can kind of follow suit and actually implement in-depth camera controls into their webcam software. That would probably change everything. Well, here’s hoping.


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Till the next one, see ya!

 

Content by Kai Hong

 


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