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The OBSBOT Tiny 4K certainly ranks among the best webcams you can buy, 4K or not, period. It offers so much: 4K video, a 60fps option (albeit at 1080p), and the real magic: an automated gimbal that physically rotates and dips the webcam to center your face.
It gets better. The OBSBOT Tiny 4K (sometimes sold as the OBSBOT Tiny PTZ 4K) will soon be supplemented by the Tiny 2, with a larger sensor for improved video. That should help solve one of the Tiny 4K’s only shortcomings: video quality is good, just not outstanding. On the other hand, OBSBOT is discounting the Tiny PTZ 4K in anticipation of the Tiny 2’s launch, so you can save a large chunk off of its regular $269.99 MSRP.
The Tiny 4K ships in two pieces: a magnetic mount, and the camera assembly itself, packaged together inside a zipped carrying case that OBSBOT provides. OBSBOT also provides the choice between a 4.92ft/1.5m USB-C to USB-C cable, or a USB-C to USB-A cable inside the same box. Just be sure to connect the latter to a USB 3.1 port (as opposed to USB 2.0) to ensure that the webcam has enough power.
The OSBBOT Tiny 4K feels exceptionally well-designed, with touches that you might not need yet are provided anyway. The magnetic mount holds the camera assembly fast, with the folding “jaws” being long and pronounced enough to handle even thicker displays. The mount assembly even comes with a small, sticky surface that can be peeled off to affix the mount, though you probably won’t need it.
Mark Hachman / IDG
All told, the webcam and its mount measures 5.59 inches tall, and 2.28 inches wide and deep. The gimbal and separate mount weigh 0.37lbs together.
The Tiny 4K has incredible, simple configurability
This is one of the few cameras whose utility software, downloadable from the OBSBOT website, feels truly necessary. OBSBOT supplies the traditional image controls: brightness, exposure, white balance, and anti-flicker controls, but also auto-focus and exposure controls (metered globally, or else specifically on your face).
The premium features the OBSBOT Tiny 4K includes are also controllable. The real magic of the Tiny 4K is how it locks on and tracks your face, and this can be triggered via the OBSBOT Webcam utility. OBSBOT, however, goes further: Not only can you set the auto-focusing camera to automatically orient itself on your face, you can manually configure how you appear on camera, too.
A “headroom” setting tilts the camera up a bit to create “space” above your head, if you so prefer. You can even manually adjust the automatic gimbal so that the camera positions your face to one side or the other, for captioning or graphics. (While the camera will track you around a room, for a full 360 degrees, you can manually configure the gimbal 150 degrees with 45 degrees of tilt.) You can also set the field of view (86, 78, or 65 degrees) and optically zoom between 1X and 4X. The Tiny 4K’s level of configurability is simply above and beyond most competing webcams on the market today.
Mark Hachman / IDG
OBSBOT even allows you to lock the camera on your face through gestures: holding your hand out, palm up, identifies you as the “target”. Holding your fingers in the shape of an “L” zooms in and out. All of these gestures worked perfectly out of the box, though I found that I needed to re-identify myself on one occasion.
There is no privacy shutter, though the device will enter sleep mode if not actively being used. You can also manually push the camera down; when it’s pointed down it enters sleep mode, turning off the mic and camera. (Windows’ Sound Recorder and Camera apps confirmed this.) The camera tends to forget your preferences if you unplug it or shut your PC down, though you can save them as a preset, too.
How does the OBSBOT Tiny 4K perform?
The Tiny PTZ 4K’s face tracking is pretty amazing. The Tiny 4K is slow, but dogged; you can literally walk around your display and the camera will follow you, albeit slowly. That’s one of the only knocks against this webcam, as you’ll grow used to it tracking you as you shift about in your seat and even pace the room. (Just beware if you lean away to blow your nose!) It’s a little gimmicky in the fact that most of us don’t pace the room while on a video call—and if you do, your viewers may see some odd angles as the camera tracks you.
Mark Hachman / IDG
If it loses sight of you, the Tiny 4K will seek out the last known location of your face, then swivel left and right and up and down until it re-acquires you. A small array of LEDs on the front signal if everything’s okay (green) and whether it’s recognized any gesture commands you’ve made.
The OBSBOT Tiny 4K’s video quality is pretty good, on par if slightly inferior to the Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra, which looks about as good as any webcam delivers. About the only complaints I have is that the video resolution is only adjustable in the preview mode, and the HDR adjustment can’t work wonders in a backlit room. Keep in mind, too, that 4K resolution is only achievable in 30Hz. If you want to capture or broadcast in 60Hz, you’ll need to step down to 1080p.
As you can see in the screenshot below, the autofocusing could stand to improve, too. The dual noise-cancelling mics, however, filtered out background sounds pretty effectively, though they did a better job paired with the noise-cancelling algorithms in Zoom, for exampe.
Mark Hachman / IDG
OBSBOT has just released the Tiny 2, which adds a few new features: voice control, faster focusing, and a larger image sensor, for $329. We’ll likely be reviewing it soon. Still, the effortless configurability of the OBSBOT Tiny 4K elevates it to one of the best webcams we’ve ever seen, and a terrific product in its own right. We strongly recommend the Tiny PTZ 4K.