With a high-quality HD image, clear microphones and facial-tracking smarts, the Obsbot Tiny takes video calls to the next level
- Innovative tracking
- Good image quality
- Decent microphones
- No native exposure controls
- Limited to 30fps at 1080p
The Obsbot Tiny 1080p PTZ is a premium webcam designed to free you from the static confines of your desk or at least allow you to move about a bit. While hybrid workers and online streamers have their pick of high-quality webcams for work and play, the Obsbot Tiny has a neat function that helps set it apart from the rest: motorised facial tracking.
Once locked in, the Obsbot Tiny can keep you centred in the frame as you move side to side, up and down and even around the room. Hand gestures can start and stop the 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 1080p Tiny is still far from a budget buy and comparable image quality can be had for less. However, for managers, teachers and streamers that can benefit from the camera’s versatile tracking smarts, the Obsbot Tiny could 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 retails for £200 and comes bundled with a magnetic monitor clamp, a USB-C cable and a USB-C to type-A adapter. Design-wise the camera closely mirrors the Obsbot Tiny 4K PTZ, with a stout build and a chunky 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 while tracking. The camera unit can also be pointed straight down to ensure your privacy while not in use.
The camera’s fixed base features a translucent window that houses a set of indicator LEDs, and this is flanked by a pair of omnidirectional microphones. A pair of ports are situated around the back: one USB-C and a 5V DC power input. Paired with a USB 3.0 device, the single USB-C port is capable of handling both the camera’s data and power needs, but you may need to hook up to an auxiliary 5V power supply if your computer uses the older USB 2.0 standard.
The base of the camera has a rubber ring for stable footing on flat surfaces along with a standard 1/4in tripod thread. The base is also metallic, allowing for quick pairing with the included magnetic monitor stand.
The Obsbot Tiny 1080p PTZ offers a fairly wide-angle 90-degree field of view, a 2x digital zoom and supports 1080p streaming at up to 30fps and 720p streaming at up to 60fps. The camera is plug-and-play for both Windows and Mac systems and it can even track without any supplementary software. Obsbot’s TinyCam app is, however, required to adjust the tracking behaviour and manually reposition the camera.
Obsbot Tiny 1080p PTZ review: What do we like?
The Obsbot Tiny produces a clean, natural-looking image. Colours 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 colour temperature (more on that later) but, in my testing, I found the face-priority autoexposure to be 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, given that most videoconferencing platforms only support up to Full HD streaming, there’s still plenty of clarity on offer here.
The Obsbot Tiny’s headline feature is its facial tracking functionality. Tracking can be initiated either through the TinyCam app or by raising an open palm in front of the camera. Once locked in, the tracking is very effective, with gentle gliding movements that reliably keep you positioned within the frame. Using the TinyCam app you can also preset camera positions and quickly toggle between them, which could be particularly 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 noticed a touch of background in quieter environments – they should offer a noticeable upgrade over most built-in laptop mics.
Obsbot Tiny 1080p PTZ review: How could it be better?
Obsbot’s TinyCam app offers control over the camera’s tracking behaviour and noise but it lacks any sort of image control. If you want to tweak the brightness, adjust the colour temperature or change the camera’s resolution or frame rate, you’ll need to pair it with a third-party app such as OBS Studio. While I found the camera’s automatic 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 rather pricey 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. In addition to missing out on the 4K sensor, the standard Tiny lacks autofocus and HDR, and doesn’t come with a carry case or the DC power cable necessary 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 nails the basics when it comes to image and audio quality, if you can live without the tracking functionality, cameras with comparable audiovisual performance 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, bar Obsbot’s Tiny 4K, can match the Tiny’s flexibility.