For decades, my desktop never had a webcam, and somehow I did not feel that I needed one. Unlike compact cameras, webcams are built for only one purpose, that is to exist next to the monitor.
Then as mobile phones became mainstream and camera quality improved in leaps and bounds, the desire for a dedicated webcam diminished further. After all, most webcams are not quite mount-friendly, and the price does not justify the mediocre quality.
But when the new Logitech BRIO 4K Ultra HD Webcam announced its retail launch in Singapore, I became interested to review it. What is so interesting about this S$339 webcam?
4K Ultra HD Resolution
The Logitech BRIO is the first consumer webcam that shoots in 4K resolution. Having more pixels is always better for digital zoom and post-production crop. To record in 4K, the webcam must be connected to a USB 3.0 port.
With Logitech BRIO, I can replace the background with any photo (the install link is hidden under the BRIO support page “Camera Settings” detail listing). It didn’t work that perfect: my hair was removed and so is my hand when I raise them up. Otherwise, it detects my face and body quite well. I guess the software only works with people with non-black hair (non-Asians). Also, I could not get it to work with my existing camera app.
Supports HDR Recording
The Logitech BRIO supports HDR recording, though I was not sure if it is enabled by default or only works with specific apps. From the review footage, it does not appear to exhibit the HDR quality that I am familiar with, but I do find the camera adapts rather well to various lighting conditions.
Supports Facial Recognition Software Like Windows Hello
After experiencing the speed of unlocking the computer with Windows Hello on the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro, I was delighted that the Logitech BRIO also supports Windows Hello, which fires infrared light to recognise the face to unlock the Windows instantly. It is such a convenient feature that I might just buy a webcam for that. Install the software from the support page in order for Windows 10 to detect and enable Windows Hello.
Wide Angle, Zoom and Crop
The Logitech BRIO can shoot up to 90-degrees wide, and using the camera settings app, I can adjust the angle (65 degrees, 78 degrees, 90 degrees), zoom-in (up to 5 times), or move the frame, offering great flexibility in framing the video instead of adjusting the camera position. Other image adjustments like contrast, brightness, white balance can also be done via the Logitech Camera Settings app.
The camera supports auto focus instead of fixed focus, which improves sharpness of video. The Windows camera app detects the camera AF capability and allows manual focus for additional control.
Photo and Video Quality
I’ll be honest: the quality is nowhere compared to the flagship smartphones of today. When zoomed in, the images are blotchy and lacks details. The Logitech BRIO does not replace larger sensor photographic equipment. But if you ask me the advantage of 4K resolution over other FHD webcams, my answer is that the additional resolution ensures good images even when zooming and reframing the shots. Indeed, I see no degradation of quality when I selected smaller angle of view.
Looking at the still image capture below, you can see that it’s really not that bad. White balance is accurate, exposure and chroma details are decent. For certain, this is way better than any built-in laptop webcams I have reviewed.
2 Omnidirectional Mic Recording
The Logitech BRIO records audio with 2 mics, and from the playback it sounded like mono.
Flexible Mount Arm and Privacy Flap
Another likeable feature is the mount arm that is malleable to get a good fit on monitors of various sizes or on flat surfaces. The mount is removable to reveal the tripod screw mount to support other ways of mounting the camera. The package also comes with a privacy flap that is removable. I shifted it off-centre so that the flap does not block the infrared sensor when I cover the main camera lens.
Also included in the package is a carry case, allowing me to bring the BRIO out to use with laptops on-the-go.
The Logitech BRIO is an attractive product for consumers like me who are sitting on the fence on getting a webcam. While other webcams might not be appealing due to its lacklustre capture quality and limited use cases, the BRIO shoots in 4K, supports HDR, includes infrared sensor for facial recognition, comes with wide-angle 90-degree auto-focus lens, allows zooming and framing, and can even replace background. Plenty of reasons to get a webcam like Logitech BRIO.
Logitech BRIO comes with 3-year local warranty, offering ease of mind and quality assurance. Retails at S$339 in Singapore.