Logitech Brio 500 Webcam assessment: Setting a brand new customary

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Logitech is the most important identify in shopper webcams and has been for a very long time. The corporate has managed to retain this standing all through the COVID-inspired work-from-home revolution, even with out updating a lot of its hottest webcams. For years, the Logitech c920 collection has set the usual for devoted webcams by way of picture high quality, options, and configuration software program—till this month, that’s, when Logitech launched a brand new 1080p webcam, the Logitech Brio 500.

Constructing out the “Brio” identify that was initially reserved for its specialty 4K webcam, the Brio 500 is a smooth, feature-rich evolution of the Logitech c922 Professional. It presents the identical core resolutions and body charges: 1080p at 30 frames per second or 720p at 60fps. It additionally provides a number of enhancements, together with a brand new ultra-wide lens that permits for a extra adjustable field-of-view with deeper zoom, auto-framing, and HDR help. The slick new cylindrical chassis facilitates some technical enhancements, together with a removable mount that lets the digital camera spin 360 levels. With the older webcams nonetheless round and getting a worth drop, the dearer Brio 500 will possible look like a luxurious at a look. In my thoughts, although, it units a brand new gold customary for staff who care about how they give the impression of being on digital camera and need a webcam that makes it straightforward to get the right view for Zoom, Groups, or Hangouts.

What’s the Logitech Brio 500?

The Logitech Brio 500 adjustments up the look of Logitech’s long-standing c920 webcam, which appears like an enormous departure after 10 years with that design. The Brio 500 takes on a extra aesthetically inclined type: It’s a skinny cylinder product of speckled matte plastic, out there in three colours–off-white, a darkish graphite, and really gentle rose. 

At 4.25 x 1.25 x 1.125 inches indifferent, or 4.25 x 2 x 2 inches with its mounting bracket, its footprint is barely bigger than the c920 collection, as a result of it’s a lot wider and a bit taller however the rounded form and smaller bracket really feel much less intrusive. The digital camera sits contained in the chassis, so a rotating privateness shutter inside can cowl the digital camera if you flip a dial on the aspect. The stereo microphones are actually small slits within the housing, slightly than a pair of speaker-like dotted panels on both finish. All in all, it doesn’t stick out as a lot, which is saying one thing for a bit of substances that sits perched on prime of a monitor in most setups.

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Logitech Brio 500 Webcam Review
The Logitech Brio 500 (left) presents the identical decision and body charge as its predecessor, the Logitech c922 Professional (proper). Mike Epstein

The Logitech Brio 500’s key options

The Brio 500 follows the top-level specs of earlier mid-to-high-tier webcams. It could report video or livestream in 1080p at 30fps, or 720p at twice the frames. These core specs are an identical to the webcam’s predecessor, the Logitech c922 Professional, however that’s OK. Whereas a bump 1080p/60 would have been appreciated for Twitch streaming and different video tasks, these settings supply what most video conferencing platforms can deal with—Zoom and Microsoft Groups help as much as 1080p/30fps, whereas Google Meet faucets out at 720p/30fps.

The Brio 500 technically does supply a few straight-up high quality “upgrades” over the c920 collection. It’s a 4-megapixel digital camera, up from 3MP on the c922 Professional, which theoretically improves picture high quality in photographs, although I doubt you’ll discover a distinction in most conditions. The stereo microphones now characteristic beamforming expertise, which may particularly goal the individual in entrance of the digital camera and scale back the quantity of ambient noise coming by. In a self-administered trial, I discovered that the mic did sound barely extra clear than my c922 Professional.

Widening the sector (of view)

Logitech Brio 500 Webcam Review
The Logitech Brio 500 is a better high quality, ultra-wide digital camera. Mike Epstein

The redesigned Brio 500 digital camera options an ultra-wide lens with a 90-degree field-of-view, so you possibly can seize a really massive space, do you have to wish to seize a gaggle of individuals, or get a whiteboard within the shot. Utilizing Logitech’s webcam configuration software program, Logi Tune, you possibly can mechanically regulate the lens to shoot in a 65-, 78-, or 90-degree FOV, and regulate the framing utilizing the digital camera’s 4x digital zoom. It provides you much more flexibility to set precisely what’s and isn’t within the body. 

That flexibility additionally permits an AI-based auto-framing characteristic known as RightSight, which digitally pans and zooms inside its ultra-wide view to maintain your face within the middle of the body, much like what Apple, Samsung, and Google have added to their respective telephones in recent times. (On the time of this assessment, RightSight continues to be in “beta” and gained’t be out there till round “the top of September.”) RightSight’s adjustability is similar to these options, in that it really works properly when framing up a static face, however might not have the ability to sustain with a shifting goal. If nothing else, it creates a single-button resolution for framing up your webcam earlier than a gathering, slightly than dialing in it your self.

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The Brio 500 additionally helps an enhanced model of “LightSight,” an identical characteristic that mechanically optimizes and enhances the lighting of your webcam shot. This characteristic is obtainable in earlier Logitech webcams (and lots of others), so it could not look like an enormous change. The Brio 500’s model of the characteristic is a lot better than prior fashions, nevertheless, because of high-dynamic vary (HDR) help.

HDR, a expertise you might have heard of if you happen to’ve checked out any of our TV protection, permits your digital camera to choose up and present a wider vary of sunshine and shadow than it usually may. In a webcam, slightly than a high-end digital camera or show, HDR is a digital expertise that takes the sting off exhausting lighting situations. Daylight coming by a window seems to be much less oversaturated and blown out. It’s simpler to see particulars in dimly lit rooms. HDR help continues to be no substitute for correct lighting however it could do wonders if you happen to’re in a room that would use one other lamp.

A mount-ain of potentialities

Logitech Brio 500 Webcam Review
The Brio 500 can detach from its mounting bracket, amongst different upgrades. Mike Epstein

Along with all of the upgrades occurring beneath the hood, the redesigned digital camera housing presents a number of useful upgrades, along with its new business-casual look. At first, the digital camera and mounting bracket are literally two separate elements now. The digital camera’s connected to the mount through a magnetic panel in its base, permitting you to take it off and put it immediately on a tripod sans bracket, or simply detach it and transfer it round by hand. That magnetic base panel is spherical, permitting the digital camera to show 360 levels on the bracket so you may have actual shot composition choices when establishing. These choices are hampered considerably by a skimpy 5-foot USB-C cable, however you continue to have much more freedom to mess around with the place of your webcam than previously.

The mounting bracket is smaller than variations on the assorted Logitech c920 webcams and is particularly designed to carry onto screens with thinner bezels. I’ve been capable of comfortably connect it to screens that I might not have thought of webcam pleasant with my older mannequin.

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Logitech Brio 500 Webcam Review
With “Present Mode,” you possibly can level the Brio 500 down at your desk. Mike Epstein

The bracket additionally encompasses a rotating panel immediately beneath the digital camera, which lets you level the digital camera straight down on the desk or desk in entrance of the webcam. Because of a Logi Tune characteristic known as “Present Mode,” which mechanically flips the digital camera’s perspective when it’s pointed down, you possibly can in a short time and simply pivot from speaking to digital camera to displaying a bit of paper or pill with handwritten notes on it, and again once more. Once more, this offers you a lot extra simply achievable pictures that may turn out to be useful in video calls. On the very least, you’ll by no means have to carry a be aware or a factor you wish to individuals in entrance of the digital camera anymore.

So, who should purchase the Logitech Brio 500?

Logitech Brio 500 Webcam Review
The Brio 500 can flip 360 levels. Mike Epstein

The Logitech Brio 500 presents a considerable set of digital camera upgrades to the usual set by the Logitech c920 collection. You won’t use and even discover them each day, however you possibly can count on that they’ll enhance the video and audio high quality of video calls and open the door for a extra versatile expertise. Even at a better, $129.99 beginning worth, that is the most effective steadiness of high quality and options to cost for a webcam you’ll use primarily for video calls at work or with associates.

There’s a wrinkle, after all. In the meanwhile, Logitech’s last-generation webcams, the c920 collection, are nonetheless out there with a considerable worth reduce. The C922 Professional prices $79.99 (down from $99.99) and the C920s prices $59.99 (down from $69.99). It’s unclear how lengthy Logitech will maintain producing and/or promoting these cameras however that’s an enormous distinction in worth for the digital camera I might’ve advisable to most individuals as not too long ago as a couple of weeks in the past. For those who don’t care about present mode, HDR help, or how the digital camera seems to be, you’re actually higher off sticking with the older fashions. Not everybody wants the most effective webcam, and the older Logitech webcams nonetheless get you very shut for round half the value. Within the quick time period, the Logitech Brio 500 could possibly be thought of a luxurious however in time, because the older fashions fade away, it would possible change into the king of webcams.