Live streaming and recorded streams are hot as heck right now, and many people are finding that they want a dedicated device to handle the task. Whether you’re a pro gamer, professional streamer, or just someone who wants to record their latest adventures the right capture card can make a huge difference in the quality and ease with which you can record.
One of the best cards currently on the market is the Elgato Game Capture Card 60 HD. We’re going to dive into it and show you the features which make it stand out.
Basically, if you want a capture device for your consoles and aren’t concerned with making sure you have the absolute best hardware for it on the market you’ll be in good hands with the Elgato 60 HD.
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Top Elgato Game Capture Cards
|4K60 PRO||Up to 140Mpbs||PCIe x4||Check Price|
|HD60 PRO||60 Mbps||PCIe x1||Check Price|
|HD60 S||40 Mbps||USB 3.0||Check Price|
|HD60||40 Mbps||USB 2.0||Check Price|
Who Needs An Elgato Game Capture HD60?
This is an inline capture device which works with consoles, including Playstation, X-Box, and Nintendo devices. You can use it with basically any device which has an HDMI attachment, in order to record your gaming experience.
There are better devices out there for those who make their living on Twitch streams or monetized Let’s Play style videos.
But for the casual recorder it makes an easy-to-use, stylish little entry into the world of getting your games recorded.
This one is pretty much ideal for console gamers who want to record. While some gaming consoles have built-in recording options they’re often quite limited, allowing you to only record a small amount of footage at a time and having limited control.
The first thing we noticed about this device is that right out of the box it’s a sleekly designed device.
Measuring 4.4” by 3” and only ¾” thick, you’re not going to have to worry about being able to find a place to keep this device. It’s also super lightweight, at only 3.7oz.
While the vast majority of the game capture devices currently on the market are fairly small we definitely appreciate it. In use it didn’t take up a whole lot of room and even in our reviewer’s relatively crowded living space it was easy to find a spot for it.
The overall device is extremely simple, with just two pass-through HDMI ports and a micro-USB port for powering the whole thing. There’s not a whole lot to juggle when you get it set up.
Even better, everything you need to get started was included right in the box which made things really easy to get going. It only took about five minutes to get everything plugged in after the box was open, and a few more minutes to download the software.
It’s about as close to plug-and-play as you’re going to get.
When you receive this capture card, you’re probably hoping that the hardware will be able to keep up with the excellent physical design of the capture device.
There’s some good and bad when it comes down to it.
The Good Stuff
The hardware included for the card is pretty impressive for the price of the device.
The “60” in the name refers to the frames per second that it captures. Ideally it’s supposed to capture things in HD, 1080p to be exact and compress things at the same time.
This naturally leads to some loss of quality while things are in motion. Anyone who’s familiar with game capture hardware knows that the type of game being played is going to have a huge effect on just how much detail you end up losing as well.
The simplicity of setup is pretty impressive at any rate, even the tech-inept aren’t going to have much trouble putting everything together and getting it going. Most stuff billed as “plug-and-play” is slightly misleading, but we didn’t have any trouble with the device at all once it was plugged in.
The whole thing is easily powered from a USB 2.0 port. While Elgato has released the HD60S which utilizes the USB 3.0 port, and thus achieves higher speeds, it’s still pretty respectable.
The Bad Stuff
While it’s not the hottest thing on the market, we found it was more than sufficient for recording “Let’s Play” type videos and even with detail-heavy graphics it recorded with enough detail to ensure that you’re able to make walkthroughs and other types of videos which rely on things being clear.
There are some definite limitations in the hardware, however, which you just won’t be able to work around.
The first thing is the speed of the connection. You’ll only be able to pull your video at 40 mbps, which works out to about 5 megabytes per second. This means that the 1080p, 60fps ratings are a bit misleading since games with a lot of motion are going to end up pixelated.
This hardware limitation means that it’s best suited for simpler games, especially if you’re a professional who needs super high-quality video for their stream or YouTube channel.
On the other hand, some of the games with simpler graphics we recorded came out pretty well so it’s not true for everything.
You also need to keep in mind that you’ll need some extra processing power on your PC in order to make the most of the capture device. All of the actual heavy lifting is done by the machine that you’re plugged into, since the Elgato only works to capture things.
One last thing of note: while we were able to play simpler games without any noticeable lag, twitchy shooters will probably still need to be primarily played on the main screen in order to keep peak performance going.
There’s one more glaring flaw: you’ll need a PC to take advantage of this card. There are some on the market which can be used without you needing a computer as an intermediary, but the Elgato Game Capture Card 60 HD definitely isn’t one of them.
Overall-Pretty Awesome for the Average Player
The hardware limitations are definitely there, but at this price point you know there are going to be some hiccups along the way.
We’re still pretty impressed overall and once we started getting into the negatives we were feeling a bit nitpicky.
It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s usable for those who are just starting with their streams it’s a pretty good investment. If you already have a capture device and are a professional it’s not likely to be an upgrade however.
The software is the main thing which most streamers and recorders are going to look at if they’re okay with the slight quality drop from the screen itself.
Of course, this being a modern device you’re not going to be able to get a CD with the software on it. That’s of minimal concern, especially considering many laptops don’t even come with a disc drive anymore.
The Good Stuff
The software is quick and easy to download if you follow the instructions that come with the card, super easy to install, and pretty much ready to go as soon as the process is completed. It’s not the kind of thing which requires a whole lot of messing with in order to get it up and running.
You can easily select the bit rate that you want to work with from the program itself and the pass-through HDMI means that you’re going to have it compressed by the time it’s on your computer. That’s a lot of convenience, since you won’t have to compress things yourself before uploading them.
You can also stream live through the Elgato interface with the press of a button. If you’re planning on using Twitch then you’ll be in good hands here.
The audio capabilities of the software are pretty cool as well. You can lower the volume of the in-game sound in order to make sure that you can be heard, as well as make live commentary during your recording with a single button press.
We really dug the fact that you can have the audio in the game automatically lower itself when you’re speaking as well. This can save the tech-inept from having to try to mix the sound after the fact in order to make sure their commentary is audible.
On top of that you’ll be able to capture audio from the game.
One of the big draws here is the “Flashback” feature, however. As long as things are plugged in you’ll be able to go back ten minutes or so in order to make sure that you get that perfect shot recorded even if you weren’t actively running the recorder at the time.
That’s great for those who are making compilation videos or even just if something super awesome happened while you were playing.
Adding to all of this, the interface is extremely simple with large buttons and easy to read, on-screen instructions.
Not bad for a single, simple device since it offers a complete package for those who want to share their gaming experiences.
The encoding process is remarkable as well. The Elgato software can output videos formatted specifically for YouTube and most social media platforms to give you the most bang for your buck.
The Bad Stuff
The limitations on the software are definitely there.
One of our biggest complaints: when you use the commentary feature you’ll be unable to edit it later so you’d better get it right the first time. Hopefully nothing loud happens in the room and you keep your brilliant lines spot on or you’re out of luck.
The editing abilities within the software itself are also extremely limited. You can cut out sections of play and do some zooming, but that’s about it at the end of the day. You’ll need to use Windows Move Maker or another program to fine tune your videos if that’s what you’re going for.
Other than those two relatively minor flaws, things are spot on.
Overall-Great Software, Limited Editing Capabilities
We actually do like the software bundled with the Elgato Game Capture Card 60 HD. It’s extremely simple to use and we were able to get things uploaded within a few minutes due to the speed.
It’s not going to make for a whole suite of tools for the professional who has their own stylistic flair but it performs well enough for those who aren’t concerned with major edits.
The extremely simple UI is especially appealing for beginners. Video editing, beyond super simple cuts, is going to need to be handled externally but that’s true of most devices out there.
Our Overall Thoughts
The Elgato Game Capture Card 60 HD definitely has its uses, but there are better devices out there for those who are deadest on capturing the best video possible.
If you’re new to making gameplay videos or streaming then it’s a great way to get your feet wet. We can’t recommend it enough for newbies, since the cost is just about right for those who aren’t trying to commercialize their gameplay just yet.
The fact that you can snag 1080p videos at 60fps is pretty awesome and it’s more than enough for the majority of people. The truth is that most gameplay videos have a bit of flaws from the compressing process anyways and this gives you a great shot at high-quality video.
It’s actually even suitable for professionals when you’re using games that don’t have a ton of detail in the background.
The fact that it’s ultra-simple to use is great as well. We all know that, contrary to popular perception, not every gamer is a hardware wizard and even the pros appreciate things which simply work once they’ve been plugged in.
Basically, we feel this is one of the best ways to spend your money on a game capture device for the majority of people. Whether you’re recording speed runs or making let’s play videos it performs admirably.
On the other hand, if you absolutely insist on perfect quality for your videos then you may have to look into something a little bit higher end.
- Recording at 1080p and 60fps is definitely no small feat and it’s a great way to get high-quality video for your streams or other video needs.
- The Flashback feature is the biggest standout in our eyes. Being able to retroactively snag footage thanks to the capture card recording at all times is more than a gimmick: it’s extremely useful.
- The simplified user interface in the software makes this a readily-accessible device.
- Quality of life features, like the automatic lowering of a game’s volume when your mic is activated for commentary, are plentiful and make this a great choice for newbies.
- Commentary can’t be edited post-recording.
- The device is a little bit expensive compared to the competition. Whether or not the ease of use makes up for it is up to the buyer.
- Requires a PC to record, many comparable options will allow you to record directly to a USB drive or on your console itself.
Comparisons to Other Game Capture Cards
If you’re looking to buy a game capture card, you’ll also want to make sure that you compare it to others on the market.
We dug up some of the other comparable products on the market in order to bring you a fair comparison to other pieces of hardware that you might want to take a closer look at.
Elgato Game Capture Card 60 HDS
This is the next upgrade for the Elgato, but whether or not it’s worth the extra money is really debatable.
The primary upgrade here is the USB 3.0 as opposed to the 2.0 input. It still only streams at 40mbps however, the main difference here is that the latency is even lower than with the standard Elgato Game Capture Card 60 HDS.
AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme
If we were to recommend any other card, this would be it. This is one of the best cards on the market and it’s also capable of 1080p and 60fps. Its super low latency, has TimeShift, and most of the features which make the Elgato Game Capture Card 60 HD.
The only reason this isn’t our favored card is the fact that the software is kind of iffy. If you can get over that, however, it’s a great capture card and the USB 3.0 connection gives it a bit lower latency.
Razer produces some pretty good capture cards, and this one is definitely the equal of the Elgato 60 HD when it comes to being 1080p and 60fps, but it doesn’t come with proprietary software. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you feel about hunting down something optimal for your usage.
This one is also on a USB 3.0 cord, meaning less latency, but it lacks the user friendliness of the Elgato options. It’s a bit cheaper, however, which is nice for those who have tech skills but a smaller budget.
Other Things to Consider
Regardless of the capture device that you decide on, you’ve got a bit more on your plate before you can get things up and going, particularly if you don’t just want simple videos.
Video editing software is pretty much a must for professionals. While you can definitely get away with using Windows Move Maker for some simple stuff, it’s pretty dated when it comes down to it and this shows in the final production quality of your videos.
Quicktime is the equivalent for those who prefer Macs, of course.
We recommend investing in good software if you’re looking to make your channel big, however, since your input will definitely show at the end of the day.
You may want to make sure that you have a good mic if you’re planning on recording commentary.
Kind of like you may want to have a console before you purchase a game capture device.
A gaming headset is the obvious solution here, since you’re playing anyways. We recommend focusing on the quality of the microphone when you pick one out, since a clear voice is an important part of keeping your footage watchable.
Even if you don’t have a gaming laptop, you want to make sure that you’ve got something with enough power to handle the video as it comes in. Any lag which results with this card is most likely coming from your hardware if that’s the case.
We recommend a laptop since you’ll need to be hardwired through the HDMI and longer HDMI cables get expensive in a hurry.
If you are working with a desktop you’ll probably want to move things closer together, which can be a bit problematic depending on the layout of the room you’re using.
You may want to upgrade your stock webcam, since the Elgato software automatically supports the ability to place your webcam’s field of view in your videos.
Upgrading your webcam can give your viewers a great view of your reactions, which is pretty awesome for certain types of videos.
Streaming is pretty specialized, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a ton of different stuff out there to enhance your experience.
There’s one accessory which is the big reason we recommend Elgato’s products, the Elgato Stream Deck which allows you to quickly and easily modify your live stream in a wide variety of ways.
If you look around though you’re sure to be able to find something which makes your experience easier.
The Elgato Game Capture Card 60 HD is one of the best cards around when it comes to user-friendly software and setup, as well as streaming with respectable quality. There are more advanced cards out there but you’ll be spending a lot more for a relatively minor upgrade in quality and most of them won’t have nearly the ease-of-use.
Whether you’re a newbie or planning on getting into professional streaming, you’ll quickly find this capture device to be one of the best investments you’ve ever made. If you’re even halfway serious about it, pick one up today and get to it.