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Capture Cards Reviews

“Can’tLink” Review: The cheapest capture card money can buy.. is actually WORTH buying?

Today’s capture card review is pretty fascinating. This capture card is the cheapest capture card you can buy, and is actually a worthwhile Elgato Cam Link alternative. I’m really not sure where this came from, but I’m sure glad it did. Let’s review the “Can’t Link” (Thanks, Arsenio Dev!)

PRODUCT LINKS (Amazon Affiliate):

[NOTE: These are all links to different listings for the same core capture card using the same internals. This is one of those products that gets relabeled and rebadged (even by Atomos!) but are all the same with the same limitations and issues. These listings vanish and re-appear over time.]

Build Quality

This is (usually, depending on which one you get) a capture card that has a HDMI input on one end and a USB 2.0 type-A end plug on the other end. Many of these will color the USB plastic blue and claim to be USB 3.0, but they are still USB 2.0 through and through.

The chassis is usually aluminum. If you get a good one, there will be a heatsink inside on the main chip. If not, it may die pretty quickly from overheating.

Specs

  • 4K60 input (sometimes, otherwise 1080p60 input)
  • 1080p30 or 720p60 capture (it will present as 1080p60 in OBS but is definitely not 60FPS, the chip is incapable of it)
  • MJPEG encoding
  • Weird, phased stereo mixed down to mono audio
  • No HDR, no high refresh rates

While these specs generally apply to all models, you will find variances in that some will let you push 4K60 to them while others won’t, and oddball units like the Genki ShadowCast (which yes, is another clone of this device) lets you push 1440p120 to it somehow? Weird stuff.

This is a UVC capture card, meaning it works as a “webcam” in Windows and is usable in Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, etc. and shows up in video calling or chatting applications.

Latency

Capture CardPreview Latency (OBS)
Black 4K USB 3.0 HDMI Video Capture Card (Lattice)128
EasyCrap "USB 3" Dongle #1126
Genki Shadowcast115
Narvitech U2 HD60 Pro100
Bird Dog NDI Flex 4K IN85
AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini (GC311)82
KAPCHR (TC-UB570)82
ATEN CamLive+80
EVGA XR1 Lite78
AGPTek VG0061 EZCap U377
Black USB 3 4K HDMI Capture LT76
ClonerAlliance Flint 4KP Plus75
Silver "USB 3.0 HD Capture" w/ Power LT75
Magewell USB Capture HDMI 4K Plus73
ClonerAlliance Flint 4KP71
Elgato 4K60 Pro71
Riiai YK75269
EVGA XR168
Razer Ripsaw HD67
Razer Ripsaw65
Mokose U70S64
ASUS TUF CU4K3064
AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme 2 (GC551)63
Elgato Cam Link 4K63
AVerMedia ExtremeCap UVC61
Magewell XI100DUSB-HDMI61
Elgato HD60 S+61
Bird Dog Studio NDI60
Elgato 4K60 Pro MkII58
BlackMagic Decklink Mini Recorder 4k57
Elgato HD60 S57
AVerMedia Live Gamer Ultra (GC553)55
Elgato HD60 Pro51
Elgato Cam Link (Gen 1)51
EZCap GameLite RAW (ezcap321)50
Digitnow U60150
Pengo 4K HDMI Grabber49
Magewell 4K Pro Capture HDMI Plus LT48
BlueAVS/GOODAN/Generic HDMI to USB 2.048
AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo (1)43
AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo (2)42
AVerMedia Live Streamer CAP 4K40
AVerMedia Live Gamer 4k (GC573)36

The primary model I received had a stellar preview latency of 48ms in OBS Studio – quick enough for rock-solid audio sync, but not enough for enjoyable gameplay from the OBS preview (use a HDMI splitter). However, this is another thing that varies wildly across models, presenting as anywhere from 48 to 80 to 110ms, depending on which unit. (And they’re all no-name brands, I cannot verify consistencies in any of them.)

Retro Captures

Surprisingly, this capture card works great with the Open Source Scan Converter – accepting all modes, including 5X! Of course, the 720p60 or 1080p30 limitation on output and the messy MJPEG encoding will make this not ideal for that scenario, but it works!

Conclusion

This capture card was a wild ride. For those who have never used a capture card before, or just want a quick and easy option for using your camcorder or DSLR or Mirrorless Camera as a webcam for Zoom, Skype, teaching or streaming – it will do the job. For those wanting anything of quality, look elsewhere.

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