Obsbot Tiny 1080p PTZ review: An innovative tracking webcam
The Obsbot Tiny 1080p PTZ is a high-end webcam designed to free you from the static confines of your desk or at least allow you to move around a bit. While hybrid workers and online streamers have their pick of high-quality webcams for work and play, the Obsbot Tiny has one cool feature that helps it stand out from the rest: motorized face tracking.
Once locked, the Obsbot Tiny can keep you centered in frame as you move side to side, up and down, and even around the room. Hand gestures can start and stop tracking and presets can be used to quickly move the camera from one position to another.
Although cheaper than Obsbot’s Tiny 4K webcam, the Tiny 1080p is still far from a budget purchase and comparable image quality can be had for less. However, for managers, teachers, and streamers who can benefit from the camera’s versatile tracking intelligence, the Obsbot Tiny might be a bit of a game-changer.
Obsbot Tiny 1080p PTZ review: What do you get for the money?
The Obsbot Tiny 1080p PTZ (pan, tilt and zoom) webcam sells for £200 and comes with a magnetic monitor clamp, USB-C cable and USB-C to Type-A adaptor. Design-wise, the camera closely mirrors the Obsbot Tiny 4K PTZ with a sturdy build and thick rounded base.
The Tiny’s camera sits atop the device and rotates around a raised tilting pivot. This pivot is in turn attached to a rotating base and between these two points of articulation the camera offers 150 degrees of rotational movement and 45 degrees of tilt during tracking. The camera unit can also be pointed downwards to ensure your privacy when not in use.
The fixed camera base features a translucent window that houses an array of LED lights and this is flanked by a pair of omnidirectional microphones. A pair of ports are located on the back: a USB-C and a 5V DC power input. When paired with a USB 3.0 device, the single USB-C port is capable of handling both data and camera power needs, but you may need to connect to a 5V auxiliary power supply if your computer uses the older USB 2.0 standard.
The camera base has a rubber ring for stable footing on flat surfaces as well as a standard 1/4″ tripod thread. The base is also metallic, allowing for quick coupling with the magnetic monitor mount included.
The Obsbot Tiny 1080p PTZ offers a fairly wide 90 degree field of view, 2x digital zoom, and supports 1080p streaming up to 30 fps and 720p streaming up to 60 fps. The camera is plug-and-play for both Windows and Mac systems and it can even track without any additional software. Obsbot’s TinyCam app is however required to adjust tracking behavior and manually reposition the camera.
Obsbot Tiny 1080p PTZ review: What do we like?
The Obsbot Tiny produces a crisp, natural image. Colors are true to life and there’s a decent amount of dynamic range on offer for a non-HDR webcam. Obsbot’s TinyCam app doesn’t allow you to adjust the camera’s brightness or color temperature (more on that later) but, in my testing, I’ve found auto exposure to face priority was very consistent, even when presented with tricky backlit scenes.
Given the Tiny’s 1080p resolution, it can’t resolve the same level of detail as the more expensive Tiny 4K. However, since most video conferencing platforms only support Full HD streaming, there’s still plenty of clarity to offer here.
The main feature of the Obsbot Tiny is its face tracking feature. Tracking can be initiated either through the TinyCam app or by raising an open palm in front of the camera. Once locked, tracking is very effective with smooth gliding motions that reliably keep you in frame. Using the TinyCam app, you can also preset camera positions and quickly switch between them, which could be especially useful for switching between multiple presenters.
The Tiny’s pair of omnidirectional microphones also work well. While they won’t rival a decent standalone USB microphone – I’ve noticed just a touch of the bottom in quieter environments – they should offer a noticeable upgrade over most built-in laptop mics.
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Obsbot Tiny 1080p PTZ review: How could it be better?
Obsbot’s TinyCam app offers control over tracking behavior and camera noise, but it doesn’t have any sort of image control. If you want to adjust the brightness, adjust the color temperature, or change the camera’s resolution or frame rate, you’ll need to pair it with a third-party app like OBS Studio. While I found the camera’s auto settings to be reliable, sometimes the white balance seemed just a little off, so it would be nice to have some override.
With a list price of £200, it’s also quite expensive for a Full HD camera, especially one that tops out at 30fps. And, while it’s cheaper than the Obsbot Tiny 4K, there’s more than just a resolution difference between the two models. As well as missing the 4K sensor, the standard Tiny lacks autofocus and HDR, and doesn’t come with a carrying case or the DC power cable needed for pairing with older USB 2.0 devices.
Obsbot Tiny 1080p PTZ review: Should you buy it?
At £200 the Obsbot Tiny 1080p PTZ is a premium product and while it has the basics covered in image and audio quality, if you can live without the tracking functionality, cameras with performance comparable audiovisuals can be picked up for less.
That being said, for team leaders, teachers, and online streamers, the versatility that the Obsbot Tiny can offer may very well be worth the asking price. Indeed, few other webcams, with the exception of Obsbot’s Tiny 4K, can match the Tiny’s flexibility.