The AnkerWork B600 video bar is the ultimate webcam, ideal for making a good impression during video conferences or live streaming. To that end, it hasn’t made 4K a priority, but instead is built with extras to improve video quality at typical streaming resolutions.
To get a good, flattering video, lighting has always been key, so the B600 stands out from the crowd with a great built-in light. Indeed, restoring creative choices is a key aspect of the B600, which includes the ability to choose the field of view, as well as enabling subject tracking to let you automatically fill in the frame, even as you move. The AI features also address a growing irritation many have with background noise in meetings (not everyone likes headphones) by including AI noise cancellation.
AnkerWork B600 Video Bar Specifications
Sensor: CMOS (1/2.8 inch)
Maximum resolution: 2K/1440P
Frame rate: 30fps
Codec: H.264, MJPEG YUV
Connections: USB-C, USB-C for power, USB-A
Mass: 340g (plus clip 124g)
The built-in light is undoubtedly the standout feature of the B600, although it doubles as a privacy shutter. That it can be adjusted via touch buttons or in software is even better.
In many other ways, the camera is designed to be extremely practical, with automated exposure, white balance and focus.
Imaging framing is done from a choice of three perspectives, from 65˚ to 95˚, or the AI ”Solo-Frame” which does a great job of keeping a face in frame.
Build and manipulate
Once you’ve gotten over the initial surprise of the device’s physical size (it’s just over 18cm long), the next thing you notice is how reassuringly built and quality the cover is. Fabric. The connection is a bit odd as there are two USB-C connectors on the back (one for power, one for data, clearly marked). There’s also a USB-A port for compatibility with some Anker accessories that we haven’t tested).
Inevitably, if the camera is placed on a monitor, opening and closing the shutter reminds you of this with a wobble, but the hinge itself is perfectly balanced.
In terms of on-camera operation, all controls are touch sensitive; mute on the far left, light on/off on the right, and you can even slide your finger along the front to change the brightness.
Other controls are left to the elegant AnkerWork tool (Mac or PC). The AI ”Solo-Frame” (tracking) option isn’t excessively close to the face, so it was easy to choose with confidence. We particularly liked that the image settings sliders couldn’t be pushed so far that no image was visible, while still maintaining a range of adjustment.
The first question must, inevitably, be about video quality. What AnkerWork calls 2K is actually a modest way of describing 2560 x 1440 pixels, which sounds pretty crisp (some marketing mathematicians seem happy to call 1080P ‘2K’ on the grounds that the horizontal pixel measurement is close to 2000 – the B600 is better than that!)
However, the zoom isn’t optical, so a 2K image at 95˚ crops to 1080P at 78˚ and by the time you go down to 65˚, 720P looks noticeably smoother on a large screen – that means, indeed , auto-tracking, while good, can also make the image softer.
When called for – when the mood drops below 30 lux – the light does its job very well, being large enough to offer diffused light that doesn’t appear like a blinding pinprick in the dark.
Autofocus takes around half a second – a snap in terms of video calls (although that does feel a little slow for DSLR owners). In our test, detailed objects behind the subject sometimes distracted him, but more sensibly arranged furniture could mitigate this.
Tested against a 2020 iMac’s 1080P FaceTime camera – and the image was clearer, richer and much closer to real life in color and tonal range.
The 4-microphone array also did better than the iMac’s already not too bad noise cancellation routines when it came to eliminating background noise. At the same time the calm voice was clean and clear, even if it was to be blamed, perhaps a little less rich.
The built-in speaker is solid where it needs to be for meetings – normal vocal range – but definitely lacks bass, so we doubt it’ll replace the main computer speakers for many. There’s more punch than some laptops, but that’s not saying much.
We found the B600 to be a great product, a joy from the moment we opened the beautiful packaging. The B600 may be targeting a niche – those willing to pay a bit more to look better in video calls – but it’s no small niche. What shrinks it further is the weight, which will push the average laptop hinge to its limits, but there are solutions for that too.
Touch sensitive buttons and elegant software make it easy to use the B600. Auto white balance and other features blend into the background so easily that this is an easy camera to love, but the fact that you can warm up the light – not just a digital filter – gives a feeling of sophistication that we appreciated.
If you’re looking for higher resolution and can provide your own lighting, the Logitech Brio Stream might be a better bet, but not cheaper, while mobile vloggers more interested in the tracking aspect should also take a look at Obsbot Tiny 4K.
If your primary use will be live calls and you don’t mind the price or size, this is a great device that will give your video stream a professional look without adding stress to the workflow.
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