AVerMedia just released a follow-up to their Live Gamer Portable 2 capture card and while it has a few minor issues, overall this is a great card for anyone looking to record or stream their console games.
AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus
MonsterVine was supplied with an LGP2+ for review
The package markets itself as “ready to work right out the box” so I decided to put that to the test. After plugging everything in correctly I was greeted with a black screen and after consulting the manual I realized I was going to have to google the solution. I’m still fairly new to capture cards so I’m sure someone more familiar with these devices would’ve known the solution right away, but this should have been something included in the manual. My issue ended up being that the HDCP setting on my PS4 was turned on. This setting prevents you from using capture devices to record a movie on Netflix and needs to be turned off if you want to use a capture card. I even had to go as far as plugging my PS4 back into my TV and then back into the capture device to get it to finally work. This is more of a knock towards the PS4 since the Xbox One has this setting turned off when playing games, but AVerMedia should have really mentioned this somewhere in the manual. I’d also like to mention I’m dedicating so much time to this mainly so if anyone purchases this device and experiences the same issue they can easily find the solution here.
Now the device also has a small audio bug, but the gravity of the bug can increase significantly if you’re not watching out for it. When plugged into your PC and using their RECentral 4 program when you’re recording a game and then stop the recording, the audio levels being output will drastically drop. If you then hit the record button again without realizing what’s happened, then any future recordings you do in that sitting will be ruined. To fix this, you simply have to (while in RECentral 4) move the volume slider on the speaker icon which will return the audio back to its normal levels. I’ve included a video showing this glitch in action. I’m not sure if it’s an issue with the device itself or the software (the latter is the more likely culprit) but I hope it’s easily fixable with an update. Like I said, it’s a small bug that only grows worse if you’re recording back to back videos and fail to remember to fix the audio.
So now that we got through the bad, let’s move onto what’s great about this capture card. First off, my favorite feature is its PC-Free mode. There’s a small slider that lets you change which mode the device is on and the PC-free mode is handy when you’re not near a computer to plug into. You simply insert a micro-SD card into the device, flip the switch, and hit record when you’re ready to go. Another setting on the device, Storage mode, allows you to then view all the files you just recorded on that micro-SD card when you plug it into a computer. For any industry person who’s gone to an event and had to leave without any recorded footage this is a godsend. This is also great for people who have their consoles in a separate room from their PC. If a wall outlet isn’t readily available you can even plug in a power bank, assuming it has a strong enough voltage to power on the capture card.
Of course, you’re going to have to go out and get yourself a micro-SD card since one isn’t included. The device supports all the major brands but be ready to at least get a 16GB card because it doesn’t support anything smaller than that; you can get yourself a 64GB card for around $20 though so it’s not a big investment, and is honestly something you should already have by now. Before you buy one though, I would go to the FAQ page for the capture device and make sure you’re not about to buy an unsupported card.
I tested a few games on this device, from things like Yooka-Laylee and Shadow of War to Persona 5 (don’t tell Atlus) and all of the recordings looked fantastic. The video always came out crisp and I was impressed with the how good the frame-rate of the videos were. Since this is a follow-up to AVerMedia’s previous capture device you’d expect there to be some changes and you’d be right but don’t expect anything significant. The only difference between this one and last year’s model is that the Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus supports 4k pass-through. Normally a capture card would require you to play your game in the resolution that you’re capturing at, but with 4k pass-through you’re able to continue playing your games in 4k while the device captures in 1080p at 60fps. It’s a useful addition for this new era of 4k consoles.
On the software side, you control a lot of the device’s settings through its RECentral 4 program. Here you can mess around with various audio settings, browse the recordings you’ve captured, and most importantly control aspects of your stream. Setting yourself up to stream is surprisingly effortless with it simply requiring you to log into your preferred streaming service and hit start. Obviously your streaming quality is heavily determined by various aspects, but where I’ve had mixed results with other streaming programs this has been pretty damn good. The video and audio both came out looking pretty great and there are settings to alter various things like your bitrate or refresh rate. You can even add your custom banners or a chat window to your stream pretty easily, but I did wish those settings were explained a bit better since it’s not exactly clear what each window type is.
The Final Word
Despite a few nitpicks, and a somewhat major audio bug, the Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus is a great piece of hardware for those interested in capturing or streaming their gaming adventures if they’re ready to drop a hefty $200 on it.
– MonsterVine Review Score: 4 out of 5 – Good