If you are looking into being a streamer online or just looking to show off your KDR (Kill Death Ratio), you need to have the best equipment that will show every pixel of that victory you got from killing that newb who was camping in the bush. There are plenty of capture cards out there with the promise of recording everything in HD and telling you it will be the clearest sound quality to boot! Then you watch and listen to the recording to find out that Solid Snake looks like a giant boulder and somehow you can hear the neighbor’s dog barking but can’t for the life of you understand a single word that you’re saying. What a nightmare!
I decided to take the plunge and pick up a capture card to work on some other projects and figured I would share my experience here with all of you guys as well. I picked up the Avermedia Live Gamer Portable 2 and will also showcase my recording at the bottom of the review so you guys can judge for yourselves. Note: I can’t help if you don’t like the sound of my voice. I was told that I am beautiful just the way I was. On with the review! If you are looking to buy this product, click on one of the Amazon pictures or blue link through out the review!
For those who might not know, capture cards are what a lot of Gamers use to record their gameplay. A lot of You Tubers and Twitch streamers have their preference of what they like to use, some go for the Elgato line and some might not have that much money and go with a less expensive option with the EasyCap capture card. I would consider the Avermedia to be in the middle of the best and the worst capture cards out there. Let’s break it down from an aesthetic point first and then go into the meat with how it operates and it’s specs.
Tell Me I’m Pretty
The Avermedia comes in a great looking box and when I first saw the card it reminded me of a really big Toblerone box but with electronics inside….probably not a good idea for anyone to break it open to try to get the chocolate inside. The box the capture card comes in is pretty sturdy and is designed to house the capture card when not in use, in my opinion, that is a great feature. You don’t want to have your hardware just laying about where it can be damaged or have someone accidentally spills liquid on it. Let’s take a look at the actual capture unit first. I give it credit for aesthetics alone, they could have just gone with a regular run-of-the-mill rectangle box and shipped it on out but they went with the Toblerone look. I am making myself hungry, I’ll stop with the chocolate references now. The color scheme is pretty nice to look at as well. It’s mostly black with a splash of red to make it stand out. The recording button which is smack in the middle has a circular blade insignia which when turned on turns blue and red during recording sessions. You don’t need to smash the recording button either, you just give it a nice tap and bam! You’re in business. All in all, a very nice presentation on the look of the unit.
Inside the box, you will notice three slots where you keep all the wiring you will need to connect to your respective systems or to a PC. You have the power cable that of course connects to the unit and to a power supply, the cable is made out of very strong conductive material which will provide a great power supply to the unit. It’s similar to the wiring you get with a wired pro controller from Razer like the Wolverine. The power cable is a USB which will connect easily to your PC for power but if you are looking to game on your console you will have to connect it to the base of your smartphone charger or something. That’s a little bit of an inconvenience not including a connector like that with the product but not too much. If you’re looking to stream video games, the odds are you have a smartphone charger base to use. The cable itself runs around 6 feet, so that should give you plenty of slack to connect to an outlet.
After the power cable, you have your 4 pole 3.5 mm audio cable, you plug the cable into the unit and the other side into your headset if you have the option to do so. I am using my Turtle Beach headset that I bought and reviewed a little while ago, I love it so much. It’s interesting because as you’re speaking into the mic to provide commentary on the game, you realize you’re essentially a crazy person and speaking to yourself. Last but certainly not least we have the HDMI cable, this, of course, is what you connect to the unit and then into your system or PC if you have an HDMI port. This basically transfers the audio and video from the system or PC to the card to be recorded. That ladies and gentlemen are the contents of the Avermedia. I would have liked the HDMI cable to be at least a foot longer so it doesn’t have to be all up in the console or PC’s business if you’re OK with a short cable this won’t bug you so much. Now, let’s talk specs and how it operates!
Summer Time And The Streaming’s Easy
While researching through all the capture cards out there, the thing that stood out to me most about this unit was how you don’t have to be plugged into the computer for it to work. It blew my mind too! All you need is a MicroSD card and for the most part, you’re good to go. Let’s say you want to record something but you’re away from your laptop and PC. Plug the Avermedia into the console you’re playing on, pop in the MicroSD card and record away. You can go home later, switch the unit from capture mode to upload mode, plug it into your PC, edit your footage and upload it onto YouTube if you like. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Yea I just said that. I am not always on my computer and am more of a console gamer myself, so this was a home run detail for me.
The recording can reach a maximum capture resolution of 1080p60. Does it always capture that high of resolution all the time I hear you ask? Sadly, no. From what I have recorded so far on the SD card, it does sometimes dip and can really stay close to 720p30 a lot of the time. The resolution isn’t abysmal or anything but you will see frame drops from time to time and that may ruin the experience for a lot of people. I have heard a lot of people who captured from the PC having a bit more framerate drops, so you might just be better off going straight to the SD card itself. The unit does not capture in 4K for those with the newer TV’s out there but it will still capture in 1080p if you’re looking for one to capture in 4K you could check out the Avermedia Live Gamer Portable 2+. Just when you think the first one was a mouth full. The audio that was captured for commentary was pretty good as well, the mic picked up everything as it does while online with friends. You do also have the option to record your chat with friends too by plugging your headset into the unit and have the audio cable plugged into a headset.
For those who want the full specs, here it is straight from the box:
- Interface: USB 2.0 plug and play
- Input: HDMI*
- Output: HDMI pass-through
- Audio Mixing: 4-pole 3.5mm (headset), 4-pole 3.5mm (controller)
- Maximum Capture Resolution:1080p60
- Bundled Software: RECentral 3
- Compatible Software: DirectShow compliant software such as XSplit or OBS
- Dimensions: 5.8 x 2.2 x 1.8 in (146.8 x 57 x 46.5mm)
- Weight: 6.5oz (185.5g)
Here are the system requirements as well:
- Windows 10 / Windows 8.1 / Windows 7
- Intel Core I5-3xxx or comparable ( I7 is recommended)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 / AMD Radeon R7 250X or above are recommended
- 4 GB of RAM
- Powered USB 2.0 port
- microSDHC Class 10 for PC-free recording
The Moment Of Truth
The biggest selling point of the unit is the ability to capture your game footage without having to be plugged into a PC as I mentioned before. The ease of capturing and trying to make things a bit easier, however, can be overshadowed by the frame rate dropping. With the price tags and capabilities of a lot of other capture cards out there, this isn’t the worst one to pick up but it is not the best either. If you’re a first time YouTuber or Twitch streamer looking to get your channel off the ground this will be a pretty good fit. Just don’t expect the best of the best, if you understand this is more of a middle of the road capture card you won’t have any problems or buyers remorse.
All4Gamerz rates the AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2: 7/10.
An alright buy with some very interesting features.
As promised guys I am leaving my recording at the bottom of this review right here, let me know what you guys think! Did you like the review, do you have an Avermedia? I want to hear from you in the comments below! Take care everyone.