The Live Gamer Mini is a decent pick for your first capture card due to how easy it makes streaming and recording. Its simplicity makes it a hard sell for anyone looking for more features, as does its requirements for a decent dedicated laptop/computer for streaming or recording.
AverMedia Live Gamer Mini
Price: $130 (Avermedia)
MonsterVine was supplied with a capture card for review
As someone who dabbles in making video content based on video games and gaming in general, the Live Gamer Mini caught my attention because of its promised simplicity and impressively small size. Though it isn’t the best card for more affluent creators who want variety in their features, the Live Gamer Mini is a decent first capture card for those who want to get started on their content-creating careers on a bit of a budget.
The card itself is incredibly sleek and surprisingly small. Other than its HDMI In and Out ports and the USB power supply slot, the card has no extraneous ports or switches. It looks smooth and can fit in the palm of your hand (or maybe my hands are just kind of big, it’s small nonetheless). Having all the ports on one side instead of all around (like with the Live Gamer Pro) is a vast improvement, as it helps to keep the wires untangled and organized.
Captured footage through REcentral looks fantastic, but needs a strong computer to take advantage of the higher quality recording options. Recording with a weaker computer can make your footage stuttery and fragmented, even on lower settings. With the proper hardware though, footage taken by the Live Gamer Mini looks remarkable, and is incredibly easy to set-up.
- Interface:USB 2.0 (USB Micro)
- Video Input:HDMI
- Video Output (Pass-Through):HDMIAudio Input:HDMI
- Audio Output (Pass-Through):HDMI
- Max Pass-Through Resolution :1080p60
- Max Record Resolutions:1080p60
- Supported Resolutions (Video input):1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576p, 480p, 480i
- Record Format:MPEG 4 (H.264+AAC) / Supports hardware encoding
- Dimension (W x D x H):100 x 57 x 18.8 mm (3.93 x 2.24 x 0.74in)
- Weight:74.5 g (2.63oz)
If you choose to use REcentral 4 (Avermedia’s recording/streaming software), you won’t have much difficulty in getting things up and running. I found previous versions of REcentral to be fairly buggy and difficult to navigate, but version 4 is a vast improvement on the program all around. It’s easy to boot the program up and get straight to recording or streaming, and just as easy to customize how you want to record your footage. People with weaker computers can record anywhere at anything from 60 to 29.97 fps, as well as different bitrates and resolutions.
The Live Gamer Mini also has a “CPU-free” recording mode that doesn’t use REcentral, but instead runs straight through your streaming/recording program of choice. I found the video quality to be quite a bit lower than it was when run through REcentral, even when trying a number of different settings. It’s still an easy way for budding content creators to start recording footage if they don’t have a great computer, though the quality does indeed reflect upon this.
Recorded footage looks great, and the quality of your recordings is incredibly customizable.
“CPU-free” mode is an easy way to stream or record gameplay with practically no set-up required.
The card looks sleek, takes up very little space, and is designed to be as convenient to use as possible.
Recording with a weaker computer can make your footage stuttery and fragmented, even on lower settings.
Though “CPU-free” mode is a simple and handy feature, the recorded footage is of noticeably lower quality.
The Final Word
The Live Gamer Mini is a decent first capture card for anyone with a budget and content-creating aspirations. It’s well-designed and easy to use, though anyone with a weaker computer will have to settle for lower video quality. Overall, the Live Gamer Mini is a good first step for fledgling streamers or video producers.