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It is popular nowadays to capture your console or PC gameplay and share it with your friends or subscribers. The Live Gamer Portable is a video capture device from AVerMedia, which can capture up to Full HD (1080p) videos with or without a computer, from a video game console or a PC. It is clear from the name of the device that it is aimed at gamers who want to capture and save their gameplay, or even stream it on the web. Let’s see our thoughts about this product.
The small box of the Live Gamer Portable is shown in Figure 1.
Inside the box, you found the device itself, a pouch to carry it, a video component input cable, a USB cable, an HDMI extension, an audio cable with 3.5 mm connectors, a cable for PlayStation 3, and the product manual.
Figure 3 shows the top of the device. There is a big button at the center that starts and ends the video capture, and around it, a series of status LEDs.
At the front of the Live Gamer Portable, there is a sliding switch that selects between PC mode, when the device works as a regular video capture device, and the PC-free mode, where the device works saving the captured video in an SD card, with no need for a computer.
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At the rear side of the AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable you will find the connectors. You can see the video component input, HDMI input, HDMI output, audio input, and audio output.
At the left of the device, there is a USB connector, for connecting it to a computer, and for powering the device in the PC-free mode.
At the right is the slot for an SD card (SDHC Class 10 minimum speed).
The bottom of the device has a rubber layer.
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The physical installation of the Live Gamer Portable in PC mode is simple. Just connect the device to your computer using the provided USB cable, and connect the video input from your console using either the HDMI cable, video component cable, or the PS3 cable.
After connecting the AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 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 for your video folder).
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. First, choose which device you want to capture: a game console, a second PC, or the current PC you are using (you have to use an HDMI cable in this case).
You can choose the video format (TS or MP4, the video codec is always H.264), resolution, frame rate, video bitrate, and audio bitrate. 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.
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.
But what makes the Gamer Portable Live different from other products is the PC-Free mode. Inserting an SD card into the device, you can capture the audio and video from a game console (or PC) directly to the memory card, with absolutely no hassle. This is what turns the product really “portable.” In this mode, the device is powered up by the USB cable, which can be connected to the console you are recording from, or by a regular USB power adapter (not included).
Our only disappointment with the PC-Free mode is that it does not support mixing a local microphone audio with the captured video and audio. If you want to live comment your video, you will have to use the device connected to a PC.
The Gamer Portable Live comes with a very simple program that allows you to configure the PC-Free capture parameters (actually, only resolution and bitrate), shown in Figure 11. The file format in PC-Free mode is always .ts.
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The main specifications for the AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable include:
- Dimensions: 0.9” x 2.8” x 5.2” (22 x 70 x 131 mm) (H x D x W)
- Weight: 4.1 oz. (117 g)
- Video inputs: HDMI, video component
- Video format supported: MP4, TS
- 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 155.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day this review was published.
The AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable is amazing because of its flexibility. You can use it as a common USB video capture device, connected to a computer, saving the captured video in your hard disk drive, or you can use it in a stand-alone mode, with no need for a computer, saving the captured video in an SD card with extreme simplicity.
- Simple to use
- Simple to install
- Can capture video without a PC
- Capture video up to 1080p
- No composite video input
- No microphone recording in PC-Free mode