We've said it before, and we'll say it again; in this new world forever coloured and changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, there's always increased need for a solid webcam. Whether it's to launch your Twitch career from the comfort of your bedroom, or to look your best for the next meeting, and all the manufacturers behind them already know that.
Most manufacturers have immediately increased development and production on webcams, but Razer is now trying to put everyone to shame with one of the most expensive, and perhaps best. Here's the Kiyo Pro Ultra.
Yes, there's both a "Pro" and an "Ultra" in the same name. That in itself is pretty wild, but there's also action behind those words. First of all, this is the biggest sensor you'll find in a webcam anywhere, a 1/1.2-inch Starvis 2 sensor shooting pixels at 2.9 microns that can deliver at 4K/30fps in RAW, or 4K/24-bit uncompressed via an f/1.7 aperture, so there's some serious hardware here.
The unit itself is circular, and sticks up quite a bit on top of the computer screen. However, there's a physical aperture that rests a piece of plastic down in front of the sensor when not in use, and the USB-C cable can be removed so you can fiddle with the cabling yourself. The clamp is pretty versatile, and can be adjusted as needed. It should be said though that it weighs 348 grams, which really isn't nothing, and it requires you to fiddle with it a bit before you get the desired result.
The Kiyo Pro Ultra is totally plug-and-play, and even if you don't install Synapse then auto-focus, auto-exposure and auto-balance are turned on, which gives you optimal results when one face is centred in the middle of the frame, which is the case 99% of the time anyway. You can, however, via Synapse, set ISO, shutter speed and other settings, as well as turning on face recognition so that the focus can shift more naturally if, for example, you place an object in front of your face you want it to focus on.
With such a large sensor, though, there's so much more light to play with, and that also means the camera performs a lot better in worse lighting conditions than, say, the Logitech Brio. It's annoying that there's no 60fps here, some would say this is crucial and we can certainly follow that. You can theoretically get that here too, but it requires you to downgrade to 1080p.
To be honest, though, we've never seen focus as nice as on the Kiyo Pro Ultra. Natural face recognition creates a silky bokeh effect that naturally blurs the background and creates bold layers in the footage, but the focus is razor sharp - every time. Frankly, it just looks better than anything else you'll find on the market.
There's also a microphone, but it's not a direct replacement for a solid mic. But other than that, and a ferocious price of almost £300, it's hard not to recommend the Kiyo Pro Ultra to anyone who wants a solid image.