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Computer Shopper - - CONTENTS - David Lud­low

Windows Hello and 4K record­ing make the Log­itech Brio sound like a stand­out we­b­cam, but you can’t do much with the footage

VERDICT

Ex­cel­lent im­age qual­ity and great Windows Hello per­for­mance, but a high price and iffy build qual­ity let this cam­era down

4K HAS BEEN a bit of a slow burner, but there are signs that it’s start­ing to grow in pop­u­lar­ity, with an in­creased num­ber of TVs and mon­i­tors run­ning at the res­o­lu­tion. Now, we have the world’s first 4K and High Dy­namic Range (HDR) we­b­cam, the Log­itech Brio.

With its rounded edges and slim de­sign, the Brio cer­tainly looks the part. It’s some­thing of a shame, then, that the ac­com­pa­ny­ing ac­ces­sories are rather cheap. Take the mon­i­tor stand: this bit of rub­ber is de­signed to bend over the top of a screen, let­ting the Brio sit on top. It’s rather cheap look­ing, and not up to the qual­ity of stands pro­vided with pre­vi­ous Log­itech cam­eras.

It’s also rather fid­dly to get into po­si­tion, par­tic­u­larly if you want to an­gle the Brio prop­erly, so that it records your en­tire face rather than just the top of your head. We man­aged to get there in the end, but we ex­pect bet­ter on a pre­mium we­b­cam.

Log­itech pro­vides a clip-on pri­vacy fil­ter for the cam­era. That sounds rather ex­cit­ing, but it’s just a bit of plas­tic that clips on top of the cam­era, giv­ing you a flap that you can fold down in front of the lens. If any­thing, it feels like a last-minute ad­di­tion, rather than some­thing pur­pose­fully de­signed. Still, if

you’re wor­ried who may be look­ing at you through your cam­era (you wouldn’t be alone: Face­book’s Mark Zucker­berg fa­mously cov­ers his we­b­cam), it’s a handy thing to have. It’s just a shame that it also spoils the looks of the cam­era.

It’s good to see that the Brio uses a USB Type-C con­nec­tion, with a cable that con­verts to reg­u­lar USB pro­vided in the box. That gives a cer­tain amount of flex­i­bil­ity and will make the Brio eas­ier to use with the next gen­er­a­tion of lap­tops.

HERE’S LOOK­ING AT YOU

Out of the box, the Brio works with Windows 10, but it’s lim­ited to record­ing at 20fps at 4K. Down­load and in­stall the Log­itech Cam­era Set­tings app, and you can get the full 30fps record­ing at Ul­tra HD res­o­lu­tions.

From here, you can tog­gle HDR, and zoom and pan (it’s dig­i­tal, rather than op­ti­cal). You can change the field of view, al­though the de­fault 90º an­gle works well, cap­tur­ing ev­ery­thing with ease.

Im­age qual­ity is ex­cel­lent, with HDR work­ing well to pick up all de­tails in the pic­ture. Colour re­pro­duc­tion is top notch, too, and it’s fair to say that what ap­pears on screen looks the same as in real life. In­deed, this is an im­pres­sive we­b­cam.

The down­side at the mo­ment is that there are few apps that can ac­tu­ally use 4K res­o­lu­tions. The most pop­u­lar video apps, Skype and Google Han­gouts, don’t sup­port Ul­tra HD at the mo­ment. That’s not to say that the qual­ity goes to waste: high-qual­ity 4K con­tent down­scaled to HD still looks great, and the colour re­pro­duc­tion still shines through. But if you want 4K con­tent, you’re lim­ited to record­ing it your­self and up­load­ing or live stream­ing to YouTube.

Log­itech also pro­vides its Back­ground Re­place­ment soft­ware for this cam­era, which can change your back­ground au­to­mat­i­cally. You have to down­load and in­stall Back­ground Re­place­ment from the web, but it doesn’t ac­tu­ally in­stall an app. In­stead, the only op­tion that ap­pears in the Start menu is the unin­stall op­tion, which we ran ac­ci­den­tally. In­stead, to run Back­ground Re­place­ment, you have to run Cam­era set­tings and click the Back­ground tab.

There’s a pre-set se­lec­tion of back­ground pho­tog­ra­phy, in­clud­ing ob­vi­ous life­style shots of liv­ing rooms, and pic­tures of cities. You can up­load your own back­ground photo, too. The qual­ity of the back­ground re­place­ment de­pends on what’s be­hind you. Sit in front of a plain wall, and it does a good job; sit in a room with lots go­ing on be­hind you, and you’ll lose part of your head and look a bit strange.

HELLO THERE

One of the best uses of the Brio is for Windows Hello. Thanks to the Brio’s IR cam­era, it can be used for face de­tec­tion to au­to­mat­i­cally log you into Windows, rather than hav­ing to type a pass­word. We’ve tried Windows Hello on a few de­vices in the past, and the Brio’s cam­era qual­ity makes it one of the best. Sit­ting in our of­fice, it iden­ti­fied us ev­ery sin­gle time with­out a prob­lem. We’re big fans of this tech­nol­ogy, as it’s much faster than typ­ing in a pass­word.

As good as the im­age qual­ity and Windows Hello de­tec­tion is from the Brio, £199 is a lot to ask for a cam­era that isn’t widely sup­ported at its max­i­mum res­o­lu­tion. With the slightly cheap feel­ing pe­riph­er­als, too, the price is just too high to jus­tify.

⬅ Im­age qual­ity from the Brio is im­pres­sive, with su­perb colour re­pro­duc­tion

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