[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

It is popular nowadays to capture your console or PC gameplay and share it with your friends or subscribers. The ExtremeCap U3 is a video capture device from AVerMedia that uses the USB 3.0 interface, taking advantage of the high bandwidth to be able to capture even uncompressed Full HD (1080p) videos at 60 frames per second, from a video game console or a PC. See our thoughts on this product.

The small box of the ExtremeCap U3 is shown in Figure 1.

AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3Figure 1: box

Inside the box, you found the device itself, a video component input cable, a USB 3.0 cable, and the product manual.

AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3Figure 2: accessories

Figure 3 shows the top of the device. Here, there is nothing but a status LED.

AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3Figure 3: the AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3

There are no buttons, connectors or LEDs at the front of the ExtremeCap U3.

AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3Figure 4: front view

[nextpage title=”The AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3″]

At the rear side of the AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3 you will find the connectors. You can see the video component input, the HDMI input, and the USB 3.0 Micro-B connector.

AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3Figure 5: rear view

There are no connectors at the right and left of the device.

AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3Figure 6: left view

AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3Figure 7: right view

The bottom of the device has a rubber layer.

AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3Figure 8: bottom

[nextpage title=”Using the ExtremeCap U3″]

The physical installation of the ExtremeCap U3 in PC mode is simple. Just connect the device to your computer using the provided USB 3.0 cable, and connect the video input from your console using either the HDMI cable or the video component cable.

After connecting the AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3 to a computer and installing the driver and the capture software (you have to download it, since the device does not come with a CD), you can run the RECentral, which is very simple to use. There are four options at the main menu on the left: “bulletin” (for news about the product), “capture” (to capture video), “stream” (for streaming live video over the web), and “video folder” (simply opens an explorer window of your video folder).

AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3Figure 9: capture software main view

In the capture menu, you can choose between 1-click capture, use a wizard for simple settings, or an advanced settings menu, shown in Figure 10. Even at this menu, there are few options, which makes all the video capturing process very simple. The video file format is always MP4, but you can choose the video resolution (from 320 x 180 to 1920 x 1080), frame rate (from 15 to 60 fps), video bitrate (from 0,3 to 60 Mbps), and audio bitrate (from 32 to 256 kbps). You can also choose the video and audio sources. One of the great features of the product is that you can mix the audio of the source you are capturing with a local microphone.

According to the manufacturer, one of the highlights of this capture device is the ability to capture uncompressed video at 1080p and 60 fps. But you can only do that with a third-party capture software (such as Adobe Premiere or Sony Vegas), since the RECentral always use the H.264 codec.

AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3Figure 10: advanced settings

There is also a live stream mode, which is similar to the capture mode, but it needs you to configure your account at some online streaming service such as YouTube Live, Justin.TV, UStream, niconico, or a custom one.

The ExtremeCap U3 also comes with a simple program that tests the performance of the USB 3.0 interface between the computer and the device, in order to be sure it supports all possible resolutions and bitrates.

[nextpage title=”Main specifications”]

The main specifications for the AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3 include:

  • Dimensions: 0.75” x 3.3” x 5.4” (19 x 85 x 136 mm) (H x D x W)
  • Weight: 6.4 oz. (182 g)
  • Video inputs: HDMI, video component
  • Video format supported: MP4
  • Codec supported: H.264
  • Maximum resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Maximum frame rate: 60 fps
  • More information: https://avertv.avermedia.com/
  • Average price in the US*: USD 160.00

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day this review was published.

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

The AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3 is a powerful capture device that allows you to capture Full HD, high-quality video. However, it is not as flexible as the Live Gamer Portable that we reviewed recently, since it doesn’t have the PC-Free mode.

But what we missed the most was an HDMI output: without it, if you are capturing your console gameplay, you will have to play looking at the monitor of the computer you are using to save it, unless you have an HDMI multiplier hub in order to duplicate the video signal to your TV set.

Strong Points

  • Simple to use
  • Simple to install
  • Capture video up to 1080p and 60 fps
  • Capable of live streaming

Weak Points

  • No composite video input
  • No HDMI output