As someone who has frequently gone out to purchase the latest RGB Chroma lit Razer accessories for my PC and Xbox in recent years, the Razer Ripsaw HD was always going to be something that would perk up some interest. This isn’t the latest keyboard, mouse, speaker or headset stand however, and instead it’s something that can sit nice and snug in between all of those. Yep, it’s Razer’s second attempt at a capture card and so I took a look to see what improvements had been made this time around, over that of the original that launched three years ago.
Improving on something that has already done exceptionally well is never easy in the gaming industry, be it games, software or hardware. Of course, with hardware, you can always add in the latest components and parts to really bolster what you’ve already got, but then naturally if something goes wrong you’ve got to face the ‘if it ain’t broke…’ scenario.
The main changes to the Razer Ripsaw HD over the original Razer Ripsaw are quite clearly intended to fix the early issues seen by the original on its rocky launch.
For example, this time the USB Type-B has been been ditched in favour of a more capable USB 3.0 Type-A connection, and after several hours of streaming Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice on my Xbox One X, it’s fair to say that the ‘lag heavy’ playback that saw many consistently refreshing their streams every minute or so last time around has proven to be non-returning, thanks in main to the much stronger and faster connection of the 3.0.
One change that doesn’t sit well though is the lack of backward compatibility, or, if you prefer, the lack of support for legacy consoles. When the original Ripsaw hit the stores back in 2016, the focus was very much on the Razer Ripsaw being able to capture console footage including some of even the most retro consoles, with the component adapter shipping alongside the unit. Now though, that has been stripped away and the only things you’ll find included with this dinky little box are those of a USB 3.0 Type-C to Type-A cable that connects your recording PC to the Razer Ripsaw HD device, an HDMI cable to connect your gaming PC or console to the device and a 3.5mm audio cable.
As you can tell from the limited number of cables, the Razer Ripsaw HD is relatively hassle-free with only a few wires ensuring it sits neatly alongside your gaming set-up. Sadly, there is no Chroma lighting or any of that fanciness that makes the rest of Razer’s wide catalogue of items stand out so well, and when sat beside other Razer Chroma lit items like the BlackWidow Chroma V2 keyboard, Mamba Tournament Edition mouse, Firefly mouse mat and the Chroma headset stand, you can’t help but feel it’s severely overshadowed. That may also be down to its minuscule size and lack of stand-out appearance based features though. In fact, if it wasn’t for the Razer logo sat on the top, you’d be hard pushed to notice you’re looking at a Razer product at all.
A positive for the Ripsaw HD is found in the two separate headphone jacks built into the device for headphone and microphone input, ensuring audio can be included without the hassle of extra software. Of course, that is a blessing for any aspiring streamers.
As for the video and you’ll find that the Razer Ripsaw HD is still only capable of recording gameplay in 1080p – you won’t find any native 4K output here – however there is a silver-lining as the device is capable of 4K passthrough with 60fps; in my time with the device this was never something that it appeared to struggle with.
What makes this so good is that with the Razer Ripsaw HD you’ll no longer need to lower the resolution of your PC or console just to play games over 1080p resolutions, meaning you can enjoy fantastic 4K gameplay on the Xbox One X or PS4 Pro. Yes, you won’t be able to send that perfect 4K content on to your viewers, but at least you’ll see no drop in stream quality.
One further little niggle is the lack of any included software for the Razer Ripsaw HD. With Razer Synapse already proving they are a company more than capable of producing some quality software for their devices, it makes no sense as to why anyone wishing to use the Razer Ripsaw HD still needs to be reliant on XSplit or OBS streaming software to broadcast their games. Of course, the additional cost to set up a unique platform for this may require a hefty initial outlay for Razer, but with their products now dominating the market, it’s surprising to see that they are still reliant on software coming from elsewhere, especially when their biggest rivals Elgato have already sorted this with their last release, benefiting console gamers in the process.
Overall though, if you can pick one up, you’ll certainly find the Razer Ripsaw HD a perfectly capable and quality bit of kit. For me the lack of continued focus on embracing legacy consoles, the failure to include Chroma lighting and the lack of included streaming software is something that lets it down a little – especially when compared to the Elgato HD60 S – but in terms of being a Razer product, the Ripsaw HD does what it intends to do, and it does it very well indeed.
Whether it’s for you will depend on personal preference – but for those who enjoyed the original Ripsaw, this is definitely an improvement on those fantastic foundations and is more than capable of meeting your streaming needs.
Massive thanks go out to Razer for providing the Razer Ripsaw HD for review purposes. If you wish to pick one up, pay Razer a visit direct.