AverMedia has launched one of the most compact gaming capture cards that promises to deliver great value despite its small size. Generally, gamers tend to think of internal capture cards and PCIe compliant solutions, but the Live Gamer Mini takes a different approach that is bound to trigger your intrigue if you are in the market for a capture card.
Size matters, or does it?
The Live Gamer Mini from the outset tries to defy the notion that size matters. It is only slightly bigger than a standard 3.5 x 2-inch business card but packs a lot of punch that makes it a highly capable device. In fact, the Live Gamer Mini is so compact you can carry it in your pocket without any issues.
Coming to the specifics of the Live Gamer Mini, you get the capture card and a USB 2.0 Type-A to MicroUSB cable bundled in the box. There is a handy quick guide to get you started, in addition to the warranty card.
In terms of capabilities, the Live Gamer Mini supports a max resolution of 1080p at 60fps. You can go all the way down to 480p if you need to, and the recording is done in MPEG-4 format.
While getting started, I had my concerns with the fact that the Live Gamer Mini only supported USB 2.0 and not USB 3.0, which would have been ideal for gaming captures. In practice, though, this wasn’t much of a concern as the card was able to capture the entire content with decent speeds.
On Windows devices, the Live Gamer Mini lets you capture footage using AverMedia’s RECentral software. In theory, the setup should be simple and the capture process straightforward.
While the Live Gamer Mini itself is a nice, compact card, there are a few issues with RECentral when you initially set it up. For one, the default profile might not be the best – at least it wasn’t in my experience. The first couple of videos that I captured had some strange artefacts in a couple of places, although the rest of the footage was just fine.
Deleting the default profile and setting up a new one seems to have ironed out that problem. Although it is a pretty minor issue once you sort it out, it can be easily addressed with an updated version of RECentral.
Once sorted, the entire capture process is a breeze. The Live Gamer Mini also ships with an onboard encoder, so if your system is not beefy enough, it can pick up some of the slack.
When you launch the RECentral software for the first time, you are asked if you want to record or stream content. The record option has two capture modes – single and multi-mode.
While the single mode is straightforward capture, the multi-mode allows you to manipulate the screen frame that needs to be captured. It also allows you to import and superimpose an image on to the capture. This is useful for when you want to watermark or brand a recording.
The Stream mode allows you to stream live on Twitch, YouTube, Smashcast, Mixer, Douyu and Niconico.
The AverMedia Live Gamer Mini is a compact, no-nonsense capture card that works as advertised. Once you set up the RECentral software to your liking, the entire process is a breeze and you can get going with a couple of taps.
The presence of an onboard decoder is also a welcome addition. The compact size and the decent build quality of the card leaves nothing to complain about, either.
There are a couple of limitations, though, that might put off some of you. The first one is the 1080p at 60fps recording – if you play at a higher resolution, the Live Gamer Mini won’t be useful. The other limitation is USB 2.0 transfer speeds, which can be a bottleneck.
However, at a price of Rs 14,999, the Live Gamer Mini is a good option, especially when you consider the competition.