Obsbot’s Tiny 2 Webcam With 4K Is The Best Way To Upgrade Your Image

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Webcams have come a long way since the pandemic first saw so many of us working from home and communicating with our colleagues using Zoom and Microsoft Teams. One small crumb of comfort from the pandemic is how it accelerated video conferencing software development and better-quality webcams as companies sought to make remote working more inclusive.

Unfortunately, so many of us use laptops and they often have poor-quality webcams built in. There are some notable exceptions, such as the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface, but many webcams in cheaper laptops have low resolution, poor color reproduction and flaky exposure levels.

One reason for poor-quality images from cheaper webcams is the tiny image sensors they use. These little chips are tightly packed with light receptors that can quickly overheat and often produce fuzzy pictures. A lot of webcams have cheap plastic lenses and sluggish autofocus systems. Some premium webcams now have larger image sensors that offer the quality you can expect from an excellent digital camera or smartphone. One of these new breeds of premium webcams is the new Tiny 2 from OBSBOT.

OBSBOT was founded in 2016, long before the pandemic and the company has built up some excellent expertise in webcam design. The Tiny 2 is an AI-powered PTZ 4K webcam that can track a subject and adjust exposure and color balance, offering stability and accuracy, even in tricky situations with a strong backlight or a mixed-temperature light source. The Tiny 2 can discern human faces and track and expose them correctly.

The Tiny 2 uses a 1/1.5″ CMOS image sensor which is larger than the sensors used on most webcams. I noticed that the Tiny 2 became quite hot in use and that could have been because the unit I was testing wasn’t a final production unit. Despite the heat, the OBSBOT produced brilliant image quality with dynamic motion capture and good color performance. OBSBOT has developed and patented its own Deep Neural Learning Network algorithm that can instantly react to changes in the subject’s position by auto-tracking and zooming. The AI system can also swiftly refocus and respond to changes in the lighting conditions on the fly.

Additionally, Tiny 2’s AI technology is called Magical Gesture Control 2.0. Instead of pressing buttons or adjusting the camera repeatedly, the user can put their hands up and the camera will follow them wherever they go. It’s even possible to zoom in and out with a simple L-shape hand gesture moving slowly to the side.

The Tiny 2 can also respond to voice commands. Saying “Track Me” will make the Tiny 2 begin tracking the subject. Other controls include “Zoom Out” and “Zoom In.” At the end of a video call, I particularly liked saying “Sleep, Tiny” and how the little webcam puts itself to sleep and points its lens downwards, ensuring my privacy.

The Tiny 2 is mounted on a clever twin-axis gimbal, enabling the webcam to track any subject intelligently. That makes the Tiny 2 ideal for streaming lectures, sales presentations and all manner of live performances where the person presenting needs to be center stage. There’s also the option of using the optional OBSBOT remote control, which can be programmed with preset camera positions. One button press can have the Tiny 2 instantly zoom in on the detail. Finally, global hotkeys can give the user access to instant commands using the keyboard.

One bugbear for many of us in video meetings is how often a webcam can lose focus. The Tiny 2 has an All-Pixel Auto Focus technology. Every pixel on the surface of the webcam’s 50-megapixel sensor is used to provide more accurate and quicker autofocus, up to four times faster than the average webcam.

The Tiny 2’s larger CMOS image sensor also offers higher image resolution. Although few video conferencing platforms currently support native 4K streaming, the higher resolution sensor means the Tiny 2 can produce crisper HD images when zooming in on a subject. The result is a much sharper image that resembles a professional video camera.

Like all good webcams, the Tiny 2 has built-in microphones that pick up the user’s voice and listen out for voice commands. The audio quality is good and the omnidirectional stereo mics have an excellent noise reduction function that effectively reduces continuous and unwanted background sounds like air-conditioning, low-level chatter and even keyboard sounds. You don’t have to use the Tiny 2’s built-in mics if you don’t want to, but they will still recognize voice commands even if you’re using a different audio input.

Another innovative feature built into the OBSBOT Tiny 2 is its dual ISO CMOS sensor. The image sensor has two native sensitivity levels and the Tiny 2 can automatically switch between high and low sensitivity settings depending on the light levels. This produces images with lower noise levels in dim and bright lighting conditions. The Tiny 2 also has a PixGain HDR feature that makes a wide dynamic range without introducing motion blur. The result is a smoother video stream, with 60fps and 30fps at 1080p resolution or 30fps when in 4K mode.

For those who care about looking their best on camera, the Tiny 2 has a built-in Beauty Mode. This function can apply digital Botox to smoothen the skin while brightening the eyes. A background blur setting also works well, even with Apple Silicon. The OBSBOT webcam software is packed with loads of features and almost endless options for customization. Initially, the software took a while to launch on my Mac mini M2 Pro, but it seemed very stable once it was up and running.

All the OBSBOT webcams support the OSC and SDK protocol, which offers enhanced control of the Tiny 2 and more flexibility for broadcast, education and medical uses. Another feature I like is how a preset video or still image can be streamed when the Tiny 2 enters sleep mode as a test pattern or corporate branding.

Verdict: The OBSBOT Tiny 2 4K is an excellent little webcam that produces amazingly high-resolution video and has sophisticated software which can be used to control almost every aspect of the webcam. I compared the images from the Tiny 2 with the video produced from my iPhone SE. With macOS Ventura, you now get the option to use your iPhone as a webcam. The OBSBOT is every bit as good as the front camera on the iPhone and with face tracking, voice commands and hotkey control, the OBSBOT Tiny 2 is a mini-TV studio and it hardly takes up any space when placed on top of a monitor or screwed onto a tripod. The OBSBOT Tiny 2 4K is probably the best little webcam on the market and an ideal choice to improve your image.

Pricing & Availability: The OBSBOT Tiny 2 4K webcam is available now from Amazon and costs $329.

More info: www.obsbot.com

Tech Specs:

  • Max resolution: 4K@30fps, MJPEG, H264.
  • Supported resolutions: 3,840 x 2,160, 1,920 x 1,080, 1,280 x 720, 640 x 360.
  • Zoom 1 – 4x.
  • Aperture: f1.9.
  • Focus: AF/MF.
  • Field of view: 85.5 degrees.
  • HDR: Yes.
  • Audio: Built-in dual omnidirectional mics with noise reduction.
  • Power interface: USB-Type C 3.0.
  • Data port: USB-Type C 3.0.
  • Dimensions: 47 x 44 x 62.02mm.
  • Weight: 95.6g (without mount) / 143.3g (with mount).
  • Connectivity: USB 3.0.
  • System requirements: Windows 7, 8 10 or macOS 10.13 or later.
  • Hardware requirements: For 1080p 60 fps and 4K MacBook Pro/Air (2018, 8th Gen Intel Core i5 processors or later) iMac Retina (2019, 8th Gen Intel Core i5 processors or later). Recommended PC configuration: CPU: 7th Gen Intel Core i5 processors or later.

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