Recording video game footage is becoming increasingly easier and that couldn't be truer with the release of Live Gamer Mini.
Time for an upgrade
Ever since 2014, I've been using a Hauppauge HD PVR 2 to take screenshots and gameplay footage of every game that's not on a console with adequate built-in share functionality. However, I've been getting fed up with using it for various reasons; the most annoying of which is when the audio goes out of sync halfway through a video for some unknown reason. Also, it's a fairly clunky device with an AC adapter and it sometimes just doesn't work until I restart the device and my computer multiple times. It can be quite irritating. So, when I saw that the Live Gamer Mini was available, I decided to try it out and I'm impressed with what it's capable of.
Right off the bat, I was delighted with how easy Live Gamer Mini is to set up. It simply has 3 sockets: HDMI out, HDMI in, and USB. That's right; there's no need for a separate power cord or AC adapter. I must admit, I did stumble with the software at first but soon realised that I was opening the incorrect shortcut. Oops! Upon starting RECentral 4 (the correct application), I liked what I saw: a giant in-your-face duration timer, simple record/stop and screenshot buttons, and comprehensive options including the ability to record picture-in-picture. However, I only record straight gameplay footage so I can't comment on the experience of using a webcam as well.
After using Live Gamer Mini over the past week or so, I'm surprised how high quality the recordings have been. As I mentioned, I'm used to frequently having the audio go out of sync and also, the Hauppauge HD PVR 2 basically requires me to close all running applications if I don't want any loss of video quality. However, with the Live Gamer Mini; everything records perfectly and I'm very confident in its ability to maintain its level of quality after performing various tests. A slight negative about this is that the video files are much larger than I'm used to so I have to wait quite a bit longer for the videos to process and save in my editing software.
Retro game compatibility
If you've visited Video Chums before, you know that we love covering retro games. Unfortunately, the Live Gamer Mini isn't directly compatible with old-school consoles due to the fact that it only has an HDMI input. So, I have to keep my Hauppauge HD PVR 2 since it has adapters that allow you to plug in composite and component cables. One of these days, I'll buy an upscaler such as a Framemeister XRGB Mini but until then, I guess I have to put up with using my unreliable and clunky Hauppauge HD PVR 2 for retro game screenshots and footage. Sure, I could use emulators or something like that but we're all about authenticity so screw that noise!
Considering I'm not as technical as the average hardware aficionado, I wouldn't feel right giving Live Gamer Mini a score. However, I do give it a wholehearted thumbs up and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who's looking for a simple high quality recording device.