Interface: USB 2.0
Entry: Xbox 360 (HDMI uncompressed), PlayStation 3 (A / V In)
Output: HDMI (pass)
Supported resolutions: 480ip, 576p, 720p, 1080i
System Requirements: Mac: Mac OS X 10.7, 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
PC: Windows 7, 2 GHz Dual Core processor, sound card
4 GB RAM, USB 2.0 port
Internet connection required for downloading the software Elgato Game Capture HD
The Elgato Game Capture HD enables you to record gameplay from the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 to a PC or MAC and then upload to YouTube, Twitter or Facebook and other applications. You can capture or stream gameplay in resolution up to 1080P [1080i native] while keeping the file size low on your PC.
The software allows you to choose what you would like to record and edit before uploading. The Flashback Recording feature allows you to go to previously streamed material and record the portions that you want.
Effortless HD Recording
I am by no means tech savvy when it comes to anything that revolves around the PC. So the thought of reviewing the Elgato was as exciting as it was daunting. Would I figure out how to use it? Fortunately the Elgato is a pretty simple piece of kit – easy to install, edit and upload.
The YouTube phenomenon has exploded on the gaming scene, and while I have seen the local competitive scene upload gameplay video after video, I haven’t even dared to try my hand before the Elgato. Enter this wonderful HD capturing device and even a noob like me can make videos and share them to the social media avenues.
Installation is an absolute breeze [the part that I usually find daunting], and the Elgato ships with all the necessary cables. There’s an HDMI cable to run from the Elgato to your screen, as the one that runs from your console now runs into the Elgato; then there’s a composite cable if you are not using HDMI and a USB cable that connects to your laptop/pc runs power from your console to the device to power it up – so there is no need to find an extra power connection on your already busy power plug. So everything is set up easily and all you need to do now is download the driver for the software off the net.
I basically just hit the record button and recorded everything I was doing in the game. The software that the Elgato uses mimics some of the software using in professional editing suites, but is very much simplified for commercial use. The editing suite is easy to use and you have the two basic options of either setting it to recording or editing modes. When editing, even I was able to effortlessly cut away frames that I was not happy with from the timeline and keep what I wanted. You can then up the resolution and either file or upload videos. Then (for noobs like me) there are tabs clearly labelled with the social media options and the software and hardware options you can export your clips to. You simply click on them to upload the videos. For extensive editing, you can upload it to your Windows MovieMaker, MAC or iPhone.
‘Effortless’ is the word with the Elgato, but after some reading up on how this magic little harddrive-looking thingy works, I was surprised to learn how clever the Elgato is. The Elgato compresses the files of your recordings without dropping the resolution. Brilliant. So it does not quickly fill up my “work” Netbook’s memory banks with footage of me getting shot at for a few hours. I was also happy to find that while my Netbook would take a bit of strain while live streaming, the actual recording’s in-game visuals weren’t affected. I also love the fact that the recording is always live providing the software is running. So you don’t need to sit and nurse your pc/laptop to ensure everything is being recorded while you are busy with a game. That’s when the Flashback feature comes in to play – to go back and cut it apart.
How does it compare?
While I have not tested the Elgato against any other HD recorder, I have read up on other products as well as competitive reviews. We can import anything we want nowadays, but Gaming Cartel has simply imported the highest rated product in its category.
From what I have read, the resounding conclusion amongst the reviews is that the Elgato is simply and conclusively the best product in its price category. More specifically, the Elgato delivers the highest quality in its price bracket. The 30Mbps 1080P recording quality is essentially the biggest bang for buck you are going to find in its category, making it really peerless at this point.
Like I said, when I learnt that it would be this Zombiegamer reviewing the Elgato, I was both excited and intimidated. I was thrilled to learn that I could effortlessly use an HD capturing device and show off with my best matches. The only problem remaining is that my highlight-reels would be rated PG79, because anyone one who has not already gone senile could appreciate my game stlye. Also, sane people might by disturbed by visualizing the constant punishment I endure. I die. A lot. That and the fact that I cannot stand anyone pitying me, means I will keep my videos to myself for now.
My personal issues aside, if you are looking for an HD recorder then the Elgato will be my first recommendation this year. It is also one of the easiest products to recommend too thanks to its inviting interface and effortless ability to record high quality videos.
The Elgato Game Capture HD is available from Gaming Cartel.
Read about our ratings here.