Capturing high quality video footage and streaming from a PC or console has become much easier in recent years. That said, there aren’t many options for getting higher quality 4K footage at 60 FPS. Enter the Elgato 4K60 S +, the company’s latest entry into the consumer video game market.
This product has been provided by Corsair for the purposes of this review.
4K footage was particularly difficult for most game capture and streaming setups. Rendering 4K alone is difficult enough for most modern machines, so capturing images locally with something like Nvidia ShadowPlay or OBS can be problematic. The 4K60 S + aims to solve the problem for those who don’t want to invest in a dual PC capture setup. Its small form factor and built-in encoder let you capture images on the go or plug them directly into your PC for direct capture via USB 3.0.
Here are the technical details:
- Grab: HDMI (unencrypted) 3.5mm stereo line input
- To go out: HDMI (passthrough without lag)
- Supported resolutions: up to 2160p60
- 10-bit HDR: passthrough and recording
- Coding: HEVC / H.265 HDR, AVC / H.264
- Dimensions: 142 x 111 x 32mm / 5.59 x 4.37 x 1.26inch
- Weight: 345 g / 12.35 ounces
Rough and tumble
Let’s start by looking at the design itself. The Elgato 4K60 S + is solidly built with a lightweight metal frame. The front panel houses your SD card and line-in audio inputs as well as a capacitive button to start and stop recordings in stand-alone mode. There is also a small LED indicator that shows you the current status of the device.
On the back you’ll find two HDMI ports, one for video input and one for video output, as well as two USB-C ports. These USB ports lead to power and a USB-A connector for direct interface with a computer.
The rest of the design is minimalist. A logo with the unit’s name is etched in white on opposite corners on either side of the black case with a furtively placed Elgato logo etched along the top. The only other distinguishing feature on the case is two parallel rubber foot rails along the bottom which ensure that the unit will not slip when placed.
The main attraction of the 4K60 S + is mobility. With just the unit and a Class 3 SD card, you are essentially a mobile recording studio. Installation is quick and elegant; it’s all light and small enough not to slow you down when you’re on the go. The line-in audio port even lets you capture live commentary in addition to your footage. If you are about to run out of space on your SD card, the device will automatically end your current recording so that nothing you previously captured is lost. Test the device with Red Dead Redemption 2 produces crisp, clear 4K footage.
Once your SD card is inserted, recording is as easy as touching the capacitive recording button located on the front center of the device. After your first use, a settings folder is created on your SD card. Inside, you can change the recording format to MP4 or MKV for more file safety, your bit rate per resolution, audio inputs, video encoders (AVC / H.264 for SDR or HVEC streams / H.265 for HDR) and audio volume levels.
Elgato’s claims about lag-free HDR passthrough are pretty specific. During my time with the camera, I never noticed a lag in the controls when recording. It’s an easy process to set it up and forget about it so you can focus on getting some nice clips for your edit or whatever.
So what about people who just want a desktop solution that doesn’t involve a second PC? It is also a solid choice for them. An additional USB-C-to-USB-A cable is included to connect the 4K60 S + to your PC. However, this requires some additional software. Elgato’s 4K Capture utility and its Sound Capture app (which is only available as part of its HD Game Capture) are going to be needed. The 4K capture utility has the basic features you would need, but if you want to use anything other than your HDMI display as a sound source, the Sound Capture app is needed to split your audio streams.
In the 4K capture utility, you will have a window previewing your stream along with your audio levels, how much time you recorded and how much space you have left on your target drive. Moreover, this software provides a quick screenshot button and a customizable flashback system to capture video that you might have missed otherwise. However, there doesn’t appear to be any keyboard shortcut support, which seems like a major oversight. With a program like OBS or XSplit, you can assign a key to start or stop your recordings. The lack of this feature here makes starting recordings a bit of a hassle.
Slow down the stream
Additionally, the Library tab allows you to set up custom folders based on gameplay, recording time, resolution, etc. It’s a little touch, but for those of you who are serious about managing files, it’s a plus. Finally, the device also supports Stream Link, which allows you to pair your capture with streaming software like OBS or XSplit. This feature is limited to 1080p60, but honestly, who watches Twitch 4K streams?
One downside to this unit is the lack of 1440p support and high refresh rate. Considering 1080p60 and 4K60 are the current standards for most videos, however, that’s only a niche audience that will be missing. The only real flaw I can think of is the lack of a physical record button instead of a capacitive button, but it just depends on preference.
The black box
The Elgato 4K60 S + is pretty much everything you could ask for in a capture kit. It’s light, strong, and gets the job done. Its robust feature set should keep it going for quite a while. It’s great, because it’s expensive at $ 399 USD. If you are looking for a high quality portable recording solution, this product is for you.
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