There are a few absolutely key components to any streaming or VOD recording setup that everyone should have – like a camera and a half-decent microphone. Those are obvious, and naturally the better each of them is the higher the quality of your content will be, but it doesn’t stop there. Looking specifically at video, you could have the fanciest webcam or hardcore DSLR setup and it’s all going to be for naught if your lighting situation isn’t good. For a professional-looking presentation a key light can be a transformative addition and the latest gaming peripheral maker to enter the field is none other than Razer with the Key Light Chroma.
There are more than a few ways to light your streaming setup, whether you’re simply rolling with your room’s regular lighting, using a lamp or two or even just running your monitor at full brightness with a blank document open (please don’t do that). To really take it to the next level though, a dedicated solution is always going to be better. You’ve likely seen plenty of people use ring lights which are great for lighting your face evenly especially when shooting with a phone, but to light your entire space like a proper home studio a key light (or two or three) is a compelling option.
Razer’s Key Light Chroma comes packed in a rather unassuming brown box, a far cry from the usual striking black-and-green of its other products. Inside is an equally modest assortment of pieces that includes the light panel itself, an AC adapter, clamp mount and adjustable pole. It’s all solid and durable-feeling stuff, but you’d be forgiven for not believing the AUD $519 / NZD $569 price tag it carries at first glance. Yep, this thing isn’t cheap.
It is ridiculously easy to set up, though. It’s as simple as screwing the panel onto the end of the pole with the swivel adapter head and then screwing that into the desk clamp and you’re good to go. It can be a bit unwieldy to pop it all together with a 2kg square panel weighing down one end but if you’ve got the room to put the clamp on your desk first and then screw the rest in, that’s just as good. The clamp itself is also nice and deep with a maximum range of 75mm which is a nice chunk more than most and should suit anyone with a particularly thicc desk.
The single most-important component of the Key Light Chroma, the sizable LED panel, is a decent performer too. With 2800 lumens of brightness and a white light range of 3000K – 7000K it’s squarely in the same spec as competing products like Elgato Key Light. It’s ever so slightly bigger than Elgato’s light as well with the light measuring 360mm x 260mm. That peak brightness is pretty significant, and way more than I’d ever need to fill my tiny desk space, but it does come in handy if you’re the sort to experiment with diffusing the light off of a wall as opposed to shining it directly ahead.
Of course one key difference here is Razer’s version is also capable of Chroma RGB with 16.8 million colours – something few other key lights offer. Most probably wouldn’t fork out for one of these just to flood their space with coloured lighting, there are plenty of other ways to achieve that, but it’s a nice bonus that factors well into the Key Light Chroma’s excellent software integration. Perhaps Razer hopes that RGB justifies a solid $200 jump over the asking price of Elgato’s close equivalent, but it’s certainly not the thing that would sway me towards the Key Light Chroma.
One major advantage that this key light does have if you’re also invested in other Razer products like the Razer Audio Mixer (which we’ve also reviewed here), Kiyo cameras or Seiren microphones is easy control through the Razer Synapse suite. There’s not much to it beyond adjusting the warmth and brightness of the white light or setting up Chroma-powered colours and patterns, but it keeps it all in one place as well as supporting Twitch integration. That’s where the RGB feature makes the most sense, allowing for effects powered by things like subs and emotes.
There’s also some very handy mobile connectivity which allows users to control the light from the Razer Streaming app. Not only does this save switching screens in the middle of a game or stream but it makes the Key Light Chroma useful away from the desk. Because it’s so low profile and clamps to tables easily that gives it a ton of extra purpose for all kinds of content creation and might better justify the price for anyone looking for a fill light they can use across multiple disciplines.
My only real gripe with the Razer Key Light Chroma after using it for a little while, aside from desperately wanting a second one but still enjoying both kidneys, is that the only way to have proper control over the light is connecting it to WiFi. While it makes sense for the most part I have had it randomly disconnect on me a few times because the room it’s in is a touch spotty, which meant giving it a reset and reconnecting to Synapse each time. I really would’ve liked the option to connect it via USB in a pinch and I’m genuinely surprised that I can’t.
The price will make your eyes water, but if you’re serious about taking your streaming or VOD setup to the next level and you’re already in the Razer ecosystem the Key Light Chroma ticks the right boxes. A solid build with smooth setup and good integration is a huge plus, as is the option of RGB, but if those things aren’t of concern there are far more affordable ways to spruce up your lighting.
Review unit supplied by manufacturer