A good external webcam will have all the features you need and provide a crisp, well-exposed image that will stand out during your next video conference with all your colleagues.
EPOS is well known for making an excellent range of office headsets and speakers. Now the Danish company has launched a high-end consumer webcam with excellent specs that can deliver pristine video and sound wherever you connect.
The EPOS Expand Vision 1 is beautifully compact and well-made with an integrated privacy shutter that can be activated by turning a knurled ring on the top of the webcam. It has a white LED on the front to indicate when the webcam is hot and there is a stereo microphone to pick up the user’s voice.
At just 43mm x 58mm x 29mm and weighing 83.5g, Expand Vision 1 is compact enough to perch on top of the smallest laptop screen or largest desktop monitor. Its smart built-in mount includes a tripod thread so the Vision 1 can be mounted on a tripod or camera grip. The foldable adjustable stand is flexible and sturdy enough to place the webcam almost anywhere.
With an image resolution of 3840 x 2160, Vision 1 offers 4K images and a refresh rate of 50 or 60 Hz for low-flicker output. To test the webcam, I called my brother on Skype and, without any prompting from me, he immediately commented on the clarity of my video image. It speaks to me a lot.
Most web conferencing apps like Zoom or Skype don’t support 4K yet, so the image from the Vision 1 will be transmitted in HD. However, having a 4K image sensor in the webcam is useful as the EPOS Connect software used to fine-tune the Vision 1 offers a choice of wide, default or close-up views. This means you can zoom in without losing resolution, which you can’t do with a 1080p or 720p webcam. And when the video conferencing software supports 4K resolution, the Vision 1 will be ready to take advantage of that extra clarity.
The EPOS Connect software offers plenty of customization options for the Vision 1, including an easy way to adjust brightness and color temperature. An advanced settings tab offers a range of fine adjustments and a choice of 50 and 60Hz anti-flicker settings. the automatic settings work perfectly.
The image quality of the Vision 1 is impeccable. Even at lower light levels, it’s relatively grain-free. However, to get the most out of this high-end webcam, it’s worth using proper lighting, such as a ring light or LED panel.
The sound quality of the Vision 1’s built-in microphones is excellent. These are omnidirectional mics, so they can pick up a bit more ambient noise than a cardioid model, but if you want a closer sound you can always select a different microphone to use for your audio source.
One thing I noticed with the Vision 1 is that it runs quite hot. The webcam gets hot in use or when idling with the privacy shutter open. This doesn’t seem to affect image quality, but it’s unusual for a webcam to generate heat even when in use and may have something to do with the 4K sensor.
Verdict: The EPOS Expand Vision 1 is a high-end webcam with a superbly sharp image and good software to customize its settings. It is worth using good lighting with the webcam as results at lower light levels can be slightly disappointing, especially if there is strong backlighting such as a window behind the user. That said, with the 4K sensor, the Vision 1 produces wonderfully sharp images that stand out on conference calls. I particularly like the physical privacy shutter and the white LED that indicates when the camera is live. If you want to upgrade your laptop’s webcam or add one to a desktop, the Expand Vision 1 is about as good as it gets. It’s a compact and portable webcam and EPOS even includes a handy zippered case and a thick 1.2m cable to connect the Vision 1 to its host computer. Recommended.
Price and availability: The EPOS Expand Vision 1 4K webcam is available now and costs $239 / £179 / €209.
More information: www.eposaudio.com
- Weight: 83.5g.
- Dimensions (L x H x W): 58.4 x 29.4 x 42.5 mm.
- Microphone: 2 omnidirectional with noise cancellation.
- Mic coverage: 180°.
- Microphone effective range: 3m.
- Microphone frequency response: 150 – 7500 Hz.
- UC certified for Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Chromebook and Google Meet.
- Operating System: Windows 10 or later and macOS.
- Processor: Sigmaster.
- Supply voltage: 5V.
- Power Consumption: 2.5W
- Camera: 4K wide angle.
- Lens type: 7-element low-distortion lens.
- Video resolution: up to 2160p (UHD) at 60 fps
- Zoom: 8x digital.
- Pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ): ePTZ.
- Field of View (FOV): up to 90˚.
- Video standards: MJPEG, H.264, YUV.
- Focus: Fixed up to 3.5m.
- Mounting: Integrated clip with ¼ inch thread.