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Logitech is the biggest name in consumer webcams and has been for a long time. The company has managed to maintain that status throughout the COVID-inspired work-from-home revolution, even without updating many of its most popular webcams. For years, the Logitech c920 series has set the standard for dedicated webcams in terms of image quality, features, and configuration software, until this month when Logitech launched a new 1080p webcam, the Logitech Brio 500.
Building on the “Brio” name that was originally reserved for its specialized 4K webcam, the Brio 500 is a sleek and feature-rich evolution of the Logitech c922 Pro. It offers the same base resolutions and frame rates: 1080p at 30 frames per second or 720p at 60 fps. It also adds a host of improvements, including a new ultra-wide lens that allows for a more adjustable field of view with deeper zoom, auto-framing and HDR support. The sleek new cylindrical chassis facilitates some technical upgrades, including a removable mount that allows the camera to rotate 360 degrees. With the older webcams still around and prices dropping, the more expensive Brio 500 will likely seem like a luxury at a glance. In my mind, however, it sets a new gold standard for workers who care about their appearance on camera and want a webcam that makes it easy to get the perfect view for Zoom, Teams, or Hangouts.
What is the Logitech Brio 500?
The Logitech Brio 500 changes the look of Logitech’s long-running c920 webcam, which looks like a huge departure after 10 years with this design. The Brio 500 adopts a more aesthetic form: it is a thin speckled matte plastic cylinder, available in three colors: off-white, dark graphite and very light pink.
At 4.25 x 1.25 x 1.125 inches detached, or 4.25 x 2 x 2 inches with its mounting bracket, its footprint is slightly larger than the c920 series, as it is much wider and a bit taller. , but the rounded shape and smaller stand feel less intrusive. The camera sits inside the chassis, so a rotating privacy shutter inside can cover the camera when you turn a dial on the side. The stereo microphones are now small slits in the housing, rather than a pair of speaker-like dotted panels at each end. Overall it doesn’t stand out as much, which says a lot about a piece of equipment that sits perched on top of a monitor in most setups.
The main features of the Logitech Brio 500
The Brio 500 follows the top specs of previous mid to high tier webcams. It can record video or live streams in 1080p at 30 fps or 720p at twice the frames. These base specs are the same as the webcam’s predecessor, the Logitech c922 Pro, but that’s okay. While a boost of 1080p/60 would have been appreciated for Twitch streaming and other video projects, these settings offer what most video conferencing platforms can handle: Zoom and Microsoft Teams support up to 1080p /30fps, while Google Meet operates at 720p/30fps.
The Brio 500 technically offers some quality “upgrades” over the c920 series. It’s a 4MP camera, up from 3MP on the c922 Pro, which theoretically improves the image quality of photos, although I doubt you’ll notice a difference in most situations. Stereo microphones now feature beamforming technology, which can specifically target the person in front of the camera and reduce the amount of ambient noise that comes through. In a self-administered test, I found the mic to sound slightly brighter than my c922 Pro.
Widen the field (of view)
The redesigned Brio 500 camera features an ultra-wide lens with a 90-degree field of view, allowing you to capture a very large area, whether you want to capture a group of people or get a whiteboard in the shot of sight. Using Logitech’s webcam setup software, Logi Tune, you can automatically adjust the lens to shoot in a 65, 78, or 90 degree field of view and adjust framing using digital zoom 4x camera. This gives you a lot more flexibility to define exactly what is and isn’t in the frame.
This flexibility also enables an AI-powered auto-framing feature called RightSight, which digitally pans and zooms in its ultra-wide view to keep your face in the center of the frame, similar to what Apple, Samsung, and Google do. have added to their respective phones in recent years. (At the time of this review, RightSight is still in “beta” and won’t be available until “late September,” but may not be able to track a moving target. If nothing else, it creates a one-button solution for framing your webcam before a meeting, rather than dialing it in yourself.
The Brio 500 also supports an enhanced version of “LightSight”, a corresponding feature that automatically optimizes and improves the lighting for your webcam shot. This feature is available in previous Logitech webcams (and many more), so it might not seem like a big change. The Brio 500’s version of the feature is much better than previous models though, thanks to support for high dynamic range (HDR).
HDR, a technology you may have heard of if you’ve checked out any of our TV coverage, allows your camera to pick up and display a wider range of light and shadow than it can. could normally. In a webcam, rather than a high-end camera or display, HDR is a digital technology that mitigates difficult lighting conditions. Daylight streaming through a window looks less oversaturated and blown out. It’s easier to see details in dimly lit rooms. HDR support is still no substitute for proper lighting, but it can do wonders if you’re in a room that could use another lamp.
A mountain of possibilities
Along with all the ongoing upgrades under the hood, the redesigned camera housing offers a host of functional upgrades, in addition to its new casual look. First of all, the camera and the mounting bracket are actually two separate parts now. The camera is attached to the mount via a magnetic panel in its base, allowing you to remove it and put it directly on a tripod without a mount, or simply detach it and move it around by hand. This magnetic base panel is round, allowing the camera to rotate 360 degrees on the mount so you have real shot composition options when setting it up. Those options are hampered somewhat by a measly 5ft USB-C cable, but you still have a lot more freedom to play around with your webcam position than in the past.
The mounting bracket is smaller than versions of the various Logitech c920 webcams and is specifically designed to fit on monitors with thinner bezels. I was able to comfortably attach it to monitors that I would not have considered webcam compatible with my older model.
The stand also features a rotating panel directly below the camera, allowing you to point the camera directly at the desk or table in front of the webcam. Thanks to a Logi Tune feature called “Show Mode”, which automatically reverses the perspective of the camera when pointed down, you can very quickly and easily switch from conversation to camera to display a piece of paper or a tablet with handwritten notes on it, and vice versa. Again, this gives you a lot more easily achievable shots that can be useful in video calls. At the very least, you’ll never have to hold a note or thing you want people on camera again.
So who should buy the Logitech Brio 500?
The Logitech Brio 500 offers a substantial set of camera upgrades over the standard set by the Logitech c920 series. You might not use them or even notice them every day, but you can expect them to improve the video and audio quality of video calls and open the door to a more flexible experience. Even at a higher starting price of $129.99, this is the best balance of quality and features for a webcam you’ll use primarily for video calls at work or with friends.
There is a wrinkle, of course. For now, Logitech’s latest generation webcams, the c920 series, are still available with a substantial price drop. The C922 Pro is $79.99 (was $99.99) and the C920 is $59.99 (was $69.99). It’s unclear how long Logitech will continue to produce and/or sell these cameras, but that’s a big price difference for the camera that I would have recommended to most people just a few weeks ago. If you don’t care about display mode, HDR support, or camera looks, you’re better off sticking with the older models. Not everyone needs the best webcam, and older Logitech webcams still get you a lot closer for about half the price. In the short term, the Logitech Brio 500 might be considered a luxury but over time, as older models fade away, it will likely become the queen of webcams.