The Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra is an incredible camera, let alone a webcam. With the ability to capture 4K HDR video it delivers super impressive results even in low light setups.
the good bits
Phenomenal 4K video quality
Incredible low light performance
Flexible stand and mounting options
the not so good bits
Can’t edit video settings with other apps running
Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra
Every now and then a brand releases something that near enough defines a new era for that kind of product. With the launch of the Kiyo Pro Ultra, Razer may have just pulled the world into a new age of webcams.
The spec sheet rolls on from one impressive line to the next and it’s clear Razer have come out swinging. The iconic gaming brand claims it ‘outclasses all other webcams’ and honestly, they’re not wrong.
Let’s not mess about here, the next few hundred words aren’t a review – they’re a love letter. I think I’m in love with a webcam.
The fourth generation of Razer’s webcam offering, the Kiyo Pro Ultra retains the familiar hockey puck form factor of its older siblings. Though like its name, the newest Kiyo has grown over time and now clocks in at 7cm wide and around 6cm deep. It’s not small by any means, but actually it’s a surprisingly compact unit and it perched happily on top of my super thin monitor without issue.
As you’d expect from Razer build quality is excellent across the board and certainly in line with the £299 price point. There’s no getting around the fact that represents a massive investment for a webcam, but the more you explore the Kiyo Pro Ultra the more it becomes clear no corners have been cut. Even down to the packaging, which feels premium at each step of the journey before the foam encased webcam stares back at you for the first time.
Overall it has to be said that the Kiyo Pro Ultra just looks the part. It belongs in a studio setup and it wants you to be reminded of that at all times. The all black metal and plastic body has a distinctly premium vibe and that’s echoed in the braided USB-C cable. When you’re ready to go offline the textured metal ring around the Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra engages a nifty built in privacy shutter. The movement of the shutter is over the top, needlessly eccentric and yet wholly appropriate for the Kiyo Pro Ultra experience. Why just drop a single piece of plastic when you can have six blades slide their way in from all angles until they meet in the middle? Incredible.
A special mention too for the thought that’s gone into the mounting options for the Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra. On the bottom of the webcam itself you’ll find a standard ¼” thread tripod connection allowing you to use an existing mount or even a mic boom arm, or you’ll find a detachable stand in the box too. The stand is a stealthy little transformer that unlike most others I’ve seen before actually works as a monitor hook and a freestanding unit too. It’s a really clever touch and works well in a variety of different positions thanks to a surprisingly heavy base plate to keep things anchored.
I mean, wow. When it comes to picture quality and overall performance the Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra might just be the best webcam ever made.
With the largest sensor ever in a webcam, the Kiyo Pro Ultra promises ‘DSLR-like’ quality and boy does it deliver. Offering full 4K resolution at 30fps, I was instantly impressed with the image the Kiyo Pro Ultra managed to produce. The picture is super sharp and picks up detail well, even in fine detail areas like my knitted jumper and the same was true at 1080p. Even blowing up the image in OBS retained quality until it was uncomfortably zoomed in on my face.
Yes, I’ll admit initially I did think it was a shame 60fps is limited to 1080p and below but then needed to remind myself, this is a webcam after all. Plus the primary use of the Kiyo Pro Ultra is likely to be a face cam for streamers where movement tends to be limited anyway, so even on stream alongside 60fps gameplay it wasn’t a noticeable downshift.
An impressive f1.7 aperture means the Kiyo Pro Ultra drinks in light which is perfect for streamers who run more artistic lighting setups and this wide lens aperture also generates a natural bokeh effect without post processing or filters, pretty neat. It also means low light performance is excellent with very little graining, even in poorly lit areas. This high ISO graining is usually the biggest let down of webcams so it’s a big tick that the Kiyo Pro Ultra handles it so well.
Razer have also stuck HDR technology in the Kiyo Pro Ultra, because why wouldn’t they? If you’re going to go all out, go all out. For controlled lighting setups the benefits of HDR are more muted than in outdoor settings but I did notice an improvement when toggling it on. Colours are deep and vibrant with a nice contrast ratio between deep black and bright coloured lighting. It’s worth noting enabling HDR does cap the frame rate at 30fps, but again, it’s a webcam don’t forget.
All of this works hand in hand to deliver a seriously impressive experience. I cannot stress enough how incredible a picture the Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra manages to produce. My regular streaming facecam is a Sony ZV-1 compact camera which comes in at double the price of the Kiyo Pro Ultra and the difference between the two is nowhere near as great as it should be.
Unsurprisingly the Kiyo Pro Ultra integrates fully with Razer Synapse 3 to unlock a host of customisation options to control your output. You could probably lose an hour manually tinkering with each individual option but for the most part I found auto handled things pretty well. One drawback is you’ll need to give Synapse the camera’s full attention if you want to change settings, it won’t send video to two apps at once and you can’t use another apps view of the camera while changing settings either. So if you’re streaming in OBS and want to tweak your autofocus settings you’ll need to disable the source in OBS before you can fiddle with sliders in Synapse. This is one area I would like to see an improvement, Elgato allow you to change Facecam settings on the fly while using the output in other apps so there’s no reason it shouldn’t be possible.
There’s a decent level of choice when it comes to focus settings which is nice to see. Razer provide the choice of standard or face tracking autofocus, with extra toggles for responsiveness and lighting setups. On the whole autofocus performed pretty well in my testing, the Kiyo Pro Ultra did a decent enough job of keeping what I wanted in focus, in focus, but I did find it would occasionally get distracted and drift. There was a tiny bit of focus bouncing when the camera wasn’t directly front on to me as it clearly searched for a full face, but if you’re not moving around much you can also just stick it in manual and leave it be.
One surprising feature that goes completely under the radar is the fact the Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra comes with a built-in microphone. It’s so under the radar in fact that the word microphone doesn’t even appear anywhere on the Kiyo Pro Ultra page of Razer’s website. It’s admittedly a slightly redundant feature for the target audience, if you’re investing £300 in a webcam you’ve definitely got a good microphone already but I have to say it actually performs pretty well. It’s never going to be a valid option for livestreaming or content creation, but it was far better than I’d expected and would be more than enough for video calls at work.
Top marks here is simply a no brainer. Razer have absolutely smashed it with the Kiyo Pro Ultra, a webcam simply shouldn’t be this good and shouldn’t be able to deliver what it does.
Picture quality is super impressive, low light performance is incredible and even the built in microphone does a good job for what it is. For a majority of people it’s all going to be a bit overkill, but for creators and streamers looking for a stepping stone between a ‘traditional’ webcam and a full on camera setup the Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra is perfect.
Did I mention I love it?