In my time testing capture cards, I've seen a host of devices with many pros and cons. When I want to record footage myself, however, I nearly always turn to the Elgato Game Capture HD 60 for its ease of use and portability. While there are many alternatives out there, none have replaced it – but the AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable came close, thanks to its PC-less capturing options.
It’s no surprise then that AVerMedia's latest model has managed to take the crown from Elgato, cementing itself as my go-to device for all my capturing and streaming needs.
The AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme combines many of its predecessors' best qualities into a single, sleek box of wonders that makes the capturing process an breeze. It offers an array of extra features – and, most importantly, an experience that's completely latency free.
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The AVerMedia Live Gamer Exteme has a sleek design, shaped like a wedge of cheese, with an exterior made from smooth black plastic. It may not be the lightest of all the capture devices around – weighing in at 186g – but the Live Gamer Extreme is certainly easy to carry, unlike many of its rivals.
Adorning the top of this little box of wonders is a glass shield protecting the "LGX" logo. That glass shield can be removed should you wish to customise the top of your Live Gamer Extreme. Want your logo or YouTube channel name emblazoned on the front? Then the Live Gamer Extreme gives you that option.
Underneath the cover housing sits an LED light, which indicates whether or not you're recording. Around the side of the Live Gamer Extreme you'll find a 3.5mm audio jack for connecting a microphone or another audio-capture device. On the opposite side, there's a USB 3 socket for hooking the unit up to a PC, along with a component socket for both the PlayStation 3 cable and the component cable adapter. Also included are both an HDMI in and out.
You’ll find everything you'll need to get started in the box. A USB 3 cable, HDMI cable and a component cable adapter enable you to hook up your PS3, and you also have the option to capture footage from retro consoles should you have their correct component adapters. There's also a 3.5mm jack cable and a PS3-specific cable that connects directly to the console itself.
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All footage captured sits at a buttery smooth 1080p and a frame rate of 60fps – pretty much standard today, but overlooked by many of the Live Gamer Extreme's competitors.
The main feature here, however, is the ultra-low latency offered on uncompressed video, giving you the option to play and capture footage straight from your console to your PC, without needing to first pass through a TV or external monitor. This is offered by the AVerMedia U3, but with the Live Gamer Extreme you have options. If you want to make use of your 42in LED TV while recording then you can, but you can also use your brand-new 5K monitor if you simply want to use the one screen.
AVerMedia's capturing software is available as a free download, but you’ll also find a token inside the box giving you a free six-month subscription to XSplit. A popular streaming suite, XSplit is simple to use and offers some great features including picture-in-picture, so people can see your beautiful face while gaming, as well as 3D fonts and more.
The 3.5mm inputs allow you to connect to a mic to record commentary through the unit itself. You don't need to worry about the commentary merging into your game audio, however, since it creates a separate audio file. That allows you to have complete control of the mixing post gaming session. It’s also possible to attach an external audio source – your iPod, for example – so you can mix this into your stream or recording session. This level of control is superb, essentially allowing you to produce a final product straight from the Live Gamer Extreme itself.
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AVerMedia have done some great things with the Live Gamer Extreme, creating a capture card that works amazingly well, while offering a host of options that will cater for all kinds of users. The ability to capture footage both with and without pass through is an absolute winner in my book. Capturing to SD card would have been a nice addition, but the Live Gamer Extreme really has become the capture device to beat. It certainly won’t be leaving my side for quite some time.