If you, like most of us, work from home a lot these days, a decent webcam is a must. And to really up your game in this regard, Insta360 has just released a pretty cool webcam with a twist: Meet the brand new Insta360 Link, a UHD 4K AI-controlled webcam.
A webcam isn’t particularly interesting, you might think. It sits on top of your computer’s screen (or is built right into it) and its sole purpose is to enable halfway decent video calls, right?
Well, the new Insta360 Link webcam has a few extra tricks up its sleeve.
Basically, it looks like a tiny gimbal, like a miniaturized DJI Osmo Pocket for example. It clips to the screen, like all external webcams, but it’s more than just a dumb camera. Check out the video below to get an idea of what it does:
First and foremost, the image quality of the Insta360 Link seems to be superior to most conventional webcams, recording in UHD 4k (3840 x 2160) at up to 30 fps in h.264 format. The sensor is a 1/2″-type CMOS sensor, which is significantly larger than the usual cameras in this class.
The camera uses a 26mm lens (35mm equivalent) with a bright f/1.8 aperture, but that’s not all: since the camera head itself sits on a tiny gimbal, the Insta360 Link can follow you around as you move. Using its AI capabilities, it can track you and keep you centered on the screen (think Center Stage made by Apple, but mechanical).
The camera head can also be tilted down to capture the desk in front of you. The distorted image will be automatically straightened by the underlying software using AI. This is very useful when you are scribbling or drawing something that you want your colleagues to see on the screen.
The Insta360 Link can also be controlled with some predefined gestures that allow you to operate the camera without touching it. Another nice feature, especially for conference calls, is the so-called whiteboard mode, where the camera captures a whiteboard placed somewhere in the room and detects its surface with the help of a couple of markers in the corners.
The 4x digital zoom helps you get closer to the whiteboard in question, which is straightened with the help of AI and clever algorithms in the Insta360 software. The webcam also supports HDR, but only for [email protected]/25/30fps and [email protected]/25/30fps.
Using the software, you also can fine tune the resulting image with a vast array of controls such as white balance, exposure, saturation and so on. You can also configure which gesture should trigger certain actions and how the AI zoom should work.
If you’re more of a content creator, the 9×16 mode, which actually rotates the camera 90º, so it’s not cropped, might be worth a try.
Audio and autofocus
The Insta360 Link webcam also has two noise-canceling microphones that should provide good sound regardless of ambient noise. Also, since the camera uses a relatively large sensor, you might get some background separation in your webcam shots, especially when filming something close-up. Of course, the camera supports autofocus with tracking and AI, so you (or something you hold in front of the camera) will always stay in focus. The minimum focusing distance is 10 cm.
In the box you’ll find the Insta360 Link itself, a USB-C cable along with a USB-C to USB-A adapter, and 4 whiteboard mode recognition markers. The tripod kit, as the name suggests, also includes a mini tripod, so you can place the Link directly on your desk.
What’s pretty cool is that the Insta360 Link also has built-in privacy protection. Within 10 seconds of inactivity, the Link’s 3-axis gimbal lens automatically points down to protect your privacy.
Pricing and availability
Insta360 Link is available for preorder now, and it sells for $299.99 (camera plus accessories). For an extra $29, you’ll get the tripod kit ($328.99).
Link: Insta360 website
What do you think? Would such an AI-powered webcam improve your conference calls? Share your experiences in the comments below!