Elgato Game Capture HD60 Review
When it comes to gameplay sharing, no one can touch Elgato. Ever since the company’s Game Capture HD released in 2012, I haven’t used anything else. Its streamlined recording process, high portability factor and superior video quality positioned it as the capture hardware to beat, and so far nothing in its price range has been able to surpass it. Now Elgato has released the Game Capture HD60 — built from the ground up for the next generation of consoles, with an even smaller design and beautiful 1080p 60fps capturing capability.
The Elgato Game Capture HD60’s built-in hardware h.264 encoder does a fantastic job at paring down the file size from a console’s raw, uncompressed HDMI output to something much more manageable for video editing and uploading. Except in video captured from very fast-moving games, the compression algorithms utilized by the HD60 are practically unnoticeable, which is quite a feat. The original Game Capture HD was powered by a USB 2.0 connection — with no additional power supply needed — and the HD60 is no different, despite the increased power demands. When paired with my relatively high-end laptop, the HD60 functioned as a very convenient, portable capturing solution.
Elgato has reduced the weight and size of the device, which also features an improved matte black finish, as opposed to the fingerprint-magnet gloss of its predecessor. One of the only main drawbacks to the HD60 over its predecessor is the fact that it cannot capture PlayStation 3 gameplay, at least without the purchase of an additional HDCP decryption device.
The software for the Elgato HD60 has also seen some big improvements. The all new Stream Command feature allows the simultaneous capture of full HD60 video while sending a lower-res stream to services such as Twitch. You can add your webcam and overlays, as well as your voice with the Live Commentary feature. You can even add multiple audio tracks to a video.
The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have gameplay recording/sharing features built into their hardware, but you’re limited to 720p at 30fps, with compressed, unsightly video quality. To put things in perspective, the PlayStation 4’s internal hardware captures video at 5mbps, while the Game Capture HD60, when maxed out at 1080p60, records at 40mbps. Videos recorded in this format look incredible, but since YouTube doesn’t even support 60fps yet (though it will soon), one could say that the Game Capture HD60 is a bit ahead of its time. Especially when you consider the fact that more and more next-gen console games are sacrificing either full HD resolution or a 60fps frame rate, and most current mid-range PCs will likely struggle to capture fully maxed-out video. Not to mention, 40mbps videos will eat up hard drive space very quickly. The HD60’s predecessor, the classic Game Capture HD, maxed out at a perfectly acceptable 1080p 30fps, so this new device is really meant for those who want to be on the cutting edge of things.
The built-in streaming functionality will definitely appeal to some, and the HD60 still supports flashback recording — a very handy feature which ensures that a gaming moment is never lost because you failed to press the record button. The HD60 has LED lights along its midsection that light up in different colors when the device is plugged in and recording.
At just $179.99, the Elgato Game Capture HD60 really is a remarkable piece of technology – no other device in its price range can boast such incredible capabilities. While some could argue that 60fps recording isn’t all that necessary at the moment — at least for game commentators on YouTube — those who invest in the HD60 will be prepared for the foreseeable future. If you already own the classic Game Capture HD, you’ll need to consider how likely it is that you’ll take advantage of the higher framerate offered by the HD60 before purchasing it. If you’re in the market for your first game capture device, there is no better option than the Game Capture HD60, plain and simple.