Webcams rose to prominence again over the course of the pandemic, but the issue with the market remained; after a point, the majority of webcams are pretty similar.
Enter Obsbot, a new name in the industry that’s offering a decidedly unique line of webcams, combining the power of new technologies such as AI with videography. Filling the gap in the market between general consumer webcams and professional conferencing gear, the Obsbot Tiny 4K is the smaller, 4K edition of the company’s flagship product, the Obsbot Tail, and crams much of the same technology of the latter into a smaller package.
Tiny is in the name, and it’s certainly the game – although this model isn’t quite as diminutive as some of the best webcams on the market. Standing at 3.5-inches / 89.4mm tall (5.5-inches / 142mm with mount), the Obsbot has a 2-axis PTZ gimbal that allows for motorized tracking and 150-degree range of rotation, 45 degrees horizontal adjustment at 120 degrees per second.
In terms of quality, the Obsbot Tiny 4K has a lot to offer. Its dynamic range is great, and its face-prioritizing auto-exposure adds a lot of finesse to the resulting video. However, you’ll be best-served in a well-lit environment, as we’ve come to expect from most webcams, because the Tiny 4K didn’t perform so well in dimmer settings.
Nevertheless, the tracking technology on this neatly designed webcam is truly impressive, delivering smooth yet speedy focus on its subject, while also allowing the use of gestures to zoom and refocus the camera. The ability to use hand signals in this way is a neat idea, but in real-world use it proved rather clunky, especially if the camera was already battling a low-light setting.
The Obsbot isn’t the most affordable webcam on the market, but if you’re a creator wanting a no-fuss experience with your camera, a student needing something that will level up your work (and play), or you need a webcam that enables you to smoothly sail through presentations in business settings, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better smart webcam than the Obsbot.
Obsbot Tiny 4K price and availability
Here are the specifications for the Obsbot Tiny 4K:
Connection type: USB-C
Image resolution: up to 8 megapixels
Video Resolution: 4K @ 30FPS /1080p @ 60FPS
Microphone: Omni-directional with noise reduction
Image Quality Settings Customization: Yes
Diagonal Field of View (FOV): 86°
Focus Type: Auto or manual
Mounting Options: Foldable clip or tripod
Cable Length: 1.5m cable
The Obsbot Tiny 4K is available for $269.00 (£229.00, AU$449.00) on the Obsbot.com (opens in new tab) store, and is also available on Amazon. All prices mentioned here are without tax included, so you’ll want to check the adjusted price for your region.
This makes the Obsbot a very expensive option for most – more, even, than some the best webcams we’ve tested, but that’s largely down to its 4K capabilities as well as its other value-adding features. It’s not a totally unreasonable price for its quality, but it’s certainly not budget friendly. The non-4K Obsbot Tiny model retails for $199.00 (£169.00, AU$329.00).
If you want to go all-out, there’s also a combo package that comes with the Obsbot Tiny remote control, a USB-A to USB-C data power cable with an on-off switch and an extendable tripod, which will set you back $259.00 (£309.00, AU$564.00). In our experience with the Obsbot Tiny 4K, we didn’t feel like we missed much without these accessories, barring the tripod – but you can easily find a compatible alternative online.
All Obsbot Tiny 4K packages come with a neat carry case for your mount, webcam and cables, which is great if you want the freedom to travel and stream.
Obsbot Tiny 4K design
It’s the Obsbot Tiny 4K webcam’s looks that will initially grab your attention. It’s stylish, simple and svelte, comprising a matte black casing and rounded design. Standing at a neat 3.5-inches / 89.4mm tall, the webcam is lightweight and sufficiently petite to be portable.
For thinner screens and laptops, the rounded base will be a little too clunky, but the foldable clip, which comes with adhesive pre-attached, should keep it securely affixed to a thicker monitor – still, it isn’t quite as sturdy as other webcam clips we’ve seen. If you’d prefer to use a different mount for the Tiny 4K, you can easily switch it out; the clip snaps on magnetically to the underside of the base, where there’s also a UNC ¼-20 interface. The Tiny 4K can also be mounted upside down and natively flip its output.
Above the base, there’s a small screen through which coloured lights display the status of the webcam: green when active; blue when initialising or registering a gesture.
Then we get to the fun part of the Tiny 4K – the 2-axis PTZ gimbal and the rounded lens. Obsbot has done well to straddle the line between a stylish, futuristic design and simplicity, and the gimbal and lens is the perfect example of this. There’s no built-in lens cover, but that’s because the webcam can be forced into privacy mode by holding the lens to face the base for a few seconds.
The webcam comes with two cables: one 1.5m USB-C to USB-C cable, and one USB-A to DC power cable, plus one USB-C female to USB-A male adapter.
Obsbot Tiny 4K features
Object tracking is one of the key selling points of the Tiny 4K, and we were pleased with how well it works. You can choose between Full Body and Headroom mode in the companion app; the former offers faster motor movement, while the latter delivers a greater field of view around the face specifically.
In either mode, you can’t dart around the room and expect to be followed perfectly. However, for its intended use in presentations or while streaming, it works very well, with the motors offering smooth and relatively swift movement that really impressed us during testing.
This all brings us to one of the Obsbot Tiny 4K’s more notable inclusions: gesture control. We have pretty mixed feelings about this tech, since it seems to work really well until it just… doesn’t. If there’s any background interference, the camera appears to struggle to identify your hand – which is somewhat of an issue if, as was the case in our testing, your home office is in a room with a busy background.
Generally speaking, the Tiny 4K’s face-priority auto-exposure performed fine, ensuring our image was well balanced with our surrounding light levels. The face priority feature is OK, but in a similar vein to gesture control, sometimes the camera just appears to drift off and blur, especially in low light.
One of our favorite features was arguably the simplest: privacy mode. Just turn the lens face-down on its gimbal and after a few seconds, it will cut off all audio and video feeds. The webcam will also enter a sleep zone following a period of inactivity, with three options available: 3 seconds, 2 minutes, or 10 minutes.
Obsbot Tiny 4K performance
The Obsbot Tiny 4K has a 1.2/8-inch sensor with a beautiful 3840 x 2160 picture resolution, and is capable of shooting 4K video at 30fps or 1080p at 6fps, both of which deliver clear and smooth footage.
One of the key benefits of 4K is zoom clarity, and it’s well utilized in the Obsbot – the device’s 4K digital zoom offers a strong and clear image, which is great for getting up close and personal with your audience.
The webcam delivers a great plug-and-play experience, but also comes with a companion application for those wanting to make some tweaks; on the whole, though, the webcam pretty much does it all for you. It’s compatible with Windows 7, 8 10 or later, macOS 10.13 or later, and with 7th-gen Intel Core i5 or later.
The Obsbot Tiny 4K firmware application is simple enough to use, and while it isn’t the prettiest UI out there, it offers a good amount of control. This covers manual gimbal control, toggling HDR, face-priority autofocus and white balance, as well as the standard brightness, saturation, sharpness and contrast settings.
For such a sophisticated camera, we’d have liked to have seen a little more from the firmware – specific frame rate or resolution adjustments, for example – but there are, of course, third-party options out there.
That being said, if you’re working in low-light environments or have pale skin, you might want to switch off the white balance and play with the colors. The Tiny 4K, like many webcams, leans on the cool side, which is great for brightening up your environment, but not so much for representing true-to-life hues.
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With its 86-degree field of view, the Tiny 4K offers superb framing in tandem with its object tracking, keeping you comfortably front and center, with plenty of space around you. This, like the gesture control, also means that you might not want to use the Tiny 4K in a busier or more in-situ home office as we did during testing.
We weren’t wowed by the microphones, but that’s par for the course with webcams. They do a reasonably good job with mostly clear audio, bar the occasional pickup of background noise and a faint hissing sound. For the best audio quality, we’d always recommend using either a headset mic, a dedicated XLR, or one of the best USB microphones over built-in microphones.
Obsbot Tiny 4K scorecard
|Design||The standout aspect of the Tiny 4K is its beautiful design, which we can’t really fault.||5/5|
|Performance||Generally, the performance of the Tiny 4K is great, but it’s a little let down by firmware.||4.5/5|
|Features||The features sound great, but in practice need a fairly exacting to work well.||4/5|
|Vaue||For what it offers, the Tiny 4K is fairly well priced, but for the general consumer it’s just too much.||4/5|