July 16, 2024


Unlimited Technology

The Obsbot Tiny 4K Is A Portable Webcam That Can Track Your Face In Hi-Res

If you follow consumer tech news, there’s a chance you may have heard of Apple putting a notch into its new laptops—all so Apple can slim bezels around the screen while still offering your a proper 1080p webcam.

Huawei, too, recently bit the bullet and increased the bezel size of its new laptop to accommodate a better webcam.

The reason for all this bezel maneuvering is clear: the pandemic has made video calls a much more prominent part of the white collar working adult’s life than before, so laptop makers can’t get by with low quality 720p cameras (like in previous MacBooks) or awkwardly-located upward-pointing cameras (like in previous Huawei laptops).

But what if you don’t want to (or cannot afford to) buy a new laptop yet? The next best solution is to pick up a portable webcam, and Shenzhen start-up Obsbot has a really good one out.

I’ve been testing it for the past week, and it’s great not just because it captures higher quality footage (4k resolution) than virtually all built-in laptop webcams, but because the webcam can automatically track my face, so if I want to film myself giving a presentation, I can move around my room and the camera automatically follows my movements.

If you’ve been reading my work and this sounds familiar, that’s because I reviewed a larger version of this camera years ago.


The Obsbot Tiny 4K features a a large 1/1.28” Sony CMOS camera sensor built on top of a motor that can pan left and right and tilt up and down. The large image sensor pulls in more light than most webcams, so even video calls in a dimly lit room will look the noticeably better than most webcams.

Setting it up is dead simple—just plug the camera into your computer and it’s ready to go. There’s no installation process, no set-up. Once it’s plugged in, just open your computer’s camera app and it should already be using Obsbot’s superior sensor instead of the built-in one. At most, you may have to jump into the computer webcam app’s settings and confirm the change in camera.

The Obsbot Tiny draws power from the laptop so as soon as it’s plugged in, it turns on automatically. To begin face tracking, simply show an open palm—the SoC chip inside will use machine learning to recognize your face, and once locked on, you can move around and the camera will keep up as best as it can. You can see the video below to see how seamless the entire process is.

The Obsbot Tiny 4K weighs just 147g and comes with a carrying case. The case not only provides protection for the camera, but also includes a mounting magnetic clip that allows it to be clipped onto the top of your laptop screen. The weight is light enough that it won’t damage your laptop’s hinge—though I wouldn’t move the laptop screen position too much if the Obsbot Tiny 4K is mounted on it.

There’s also a quarter-inch mount screw at the base of the camera so you can mount it on a tripod, too. Essentially, this is like having your own camera person that can track your movements if you want to demonstrate something (maybe a dance, maybe a presentation) on camera. The Obsbot Tiny 4K can, of course, take photos, too.

The Obsbot Tiny 4K will retail for around $240, but right now there’s an early bird deal that sells the camera at $215. If this price is too high, Obsbot has a 1080p version of the same camera for $199. While I personally think 1080p is more than good enough for Zoom calls, it’s probably worth the extra $20-40 to get the 4k version if you do feel the need to have a camera that can track your movement. Of course, a s0-called “dumb” webcam that can’t move around costs much less.

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