Obsbot has quickly established itself in the AI camera market with the Obsbot Tiny 4K gimbal-mounted camera. Its goal has been to provide software which can take charge of the direction to allow creators to produce content. The Tiny (and sibling the Tail) can serve this purpose, but for some a static camera is easier to handle, not to mention a little cheaper.
The Meet 4K, then, brings together the AI the 4K camera seen with the motorized device in a compact package that can travel more reliably. As such it feels ideally suited for those needing better webcams for meetings, and it can sit comfortably atop a monitor or laptop display.
Obsbot Meet 4K: Specification
Resolution: 4K 30fps or 1080P 60fps
Weight: 72g (2.54oz) alone / 133g (4.7oz) with mount
Dimensions: 56 x 44 x 32mm (2.2 x 1.7 x 1.3 in)
Build and handling
The Meet 4K looks like tiny GoPro save for the fact the camera has been placed on a curved cone which rises from the front. It’s an eyecatching design and we rather like that the manual lens cap is a separate part which will easily clip on or off, allowing you to go for the most simplistic appearance if privacy isn’t a concern. It is built of black-painted moulded metal, save for the back which is plugged with a plastic panel with cutout for the USB-C socket. From the front it looks and feels good. At the base is a screw-hole for a tripod mount which is painted black too.
However, most will mount it using the hinge, which has a flat rubber-coated top and enough magnetic pull to keep the camera into potion, while still allowing it to be turned since nothing but magnetism is keeping it in place. The top of the hinge can also rise and fall to angle the camera (and thus its pitch) which is great as the main hinge can comfortably sit on any design of monitor from a laptop panel to to one about 40mm (1.5in) thick. It’s a very elegant solution as it can be moved from device to device without any screwing needed.
The device is recognised by MacOS / Windows, but Obsbot also provide a Webcam app to control the more advanced features. This has three panels; a ‘Console’ for framing & choosing virtual backgrounds, and ‘Image’ settings page and ‘More’ for less used options. The app also has a Video Preview window from which you can record to-camera pieces.
The 1/2.8-inch Sony sensor and f/2.2 aperture camera copes reasonably well with imperfect lighting, and at least away from the edges of the frame the image is sharp. To our eyes, the default settings seemed to opt for slightly more contrast than we might choose, but the fact choices are readily available negates this. We did spot that, when using LED lights in a dark space, some cyan/magenta fringing was in evidence near the edges of the wide-angle view, but you had to be looking closely.
Admittedly the signature AI wasn’t infallible; there didn’t seem as much distinction between ‘Close up’ and ‘Upper body’ when the camera’s auto-framing was active, and the reaction time when playing with options like HDR wasn’t instant (as you can see in the test video). The beta virtual background also clearly has some way to go to cope with stray hairs (of which, sadly, your reviewer has one or two).
The clip gives a good idea of the options and how the camera handles average room lighting, compared to a 13-inch MacBook Pro M1’s FaceTime camera.
Obsbot Meet 4K: Verdict
The world has more than its share of dubious quality webcams built into computers, some very small, so there will always be a need for alternatives. The Obsbot Meet 4K is a really rational and balanced choice for those less likely to prowl around than Obsbot’s other customers but still looking for a good quality camera and the option of 4K.
Content creators will struggle to find a better device for streaming, especially at this price. The settings afford the ability to work with different kinds of lighting, including pretty gloomy rooms. Our test was created using the ‘Record’ function of OBS – a popular streaming platform – and the fact Obsbot’s control software cause no issues is not to be sniffed at.
The microphone was a little quiet, but most apps allow this to be adjusters or streamers may well be using another anyway. Our only really issue was the slight sluggishness of some settings adjustments, but these are rarely an issue in day-to-day use. It’s also a shame it doesn’t include a nice case like its sibling, but it is a good bit cheaper. That said with no exposed moving parts it can travel safely, and we’d definitely want it in our kit bag.