The last couple of years of the pandemic has completely transformed how we interact with each other. Virtual communication especially video conferencing & collaboration has taken center stage and has become the new normal. This is true not only for connecting with family but also for enterprise users connecting with colleagues or clients, content creators and live streamers, knowledge workers – both students and teachers, healthcare professionals or patients among others. Video conferencing has thus become extremely popular and an important part of our communication and collaboration in our daily lives, irrespective of whether we are in a remote or hybrid, or even physical environment.
The Need for a Good Video Conferencing Camera is Growing
The major gripe, however, for professionals and creators, is that a good personal video camera for PCs has remained elusive. The average resolution for the camera in laptops is 720p HD or lower, lacking – clarity, resolution, proper framing, focusing, zoom, and decent performance in different lighting conditions. This warrants for every individual to invest in a quality web camera that can solve all of the above pain points and offer an optimized video conferencing and content creating experience.
We have been testing various cameras for personal and professional use, and, Jabra PanaCast 20 has proved to be a very capable and one of the best solutions available. After using the PanaCast 20 for almost eight weeks attached to a desktop PC and interchangeably with a laptop, it has left us impressed.
Jabra PanaCast 20 Design & Features
Impeccable Unibody Metal Design
- The PanaCast 20 is a beautifully built and engineered video conferencing camera. It is housed in an all-metal casing which itself acts as a heat-sink for the under-the-hood powerful AI processor.
- PanaCast 20 weighs a mere 136gms.
- The striped, unibody design gives it a premium look and stands out compared to other plastic body cameras.
- The camera features a clip that helps fix the camera nicely on a monitor or a laptop even with thinner bezels.
- The in-built minimalistic privacy cover is a nice touch.
- The PanaCast connects to the PC via a USB 3.0 (Type C to A 1.8m) cable enabling higher speed video experience.
- The camera comes in a premium carry case making it ultra-portable to use in a hybrid environment.
Premium & Intelligent Video Conferencing Experience
- The PanaCast 20 sports a 13MP, 1/3.2” camera sensor capable of delivering multiple resolutions from 4K Ultra-HD @30fps to 720p HD @30fps in different scenarios.
- PanaCast 20 camera’s Filed of View (FoV) is Horizontal: 90°, Vertical: 75°, Diagonal: 117°.
- The advanced camera sensor capabilities are further enhanced with an advanced “on-device” AI chip. The AI chip is fast, secure, and accurate unlocking the following features:
- Intelligent 4K video: This offers a sharp, crystal clear stable streaming video at ultra-HD resolutions also includes Vivid HDR to enhance colors and contrasts.
- Intelligent Zoom & Focusing: This is the flagship feature making the camera smarter and intuitive as it follows the users’ movements to perfectly zoom, frame, adjust pictures in real-time. PanaCast features up to 3x lossless digital zoom at 720p. This is super useful when we try to adjust the chair or move slightly, the camera auto-adjusts the frame as per the user’s face in the frame automatically. This helps reduce the cognitive load and effort by auto-adjusting helping maintain a high-quality video conferencing experience. There are also a couple of preset options available along with manual PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) controls for personalized custom focusing and framing.
- Intelligent Lighting Optimization: This is another feature where the on-device AI does its magic coupled with a larger sensor to analyze the environment and automatically adjust the image in real-time to produce well-lit, sharper, and noiseless quality. Even if the rooms have poorly distributed light or a minimum amount of light.
- Picture-in-Picture Mode: The edge-AI processor combines two real-time video streams in the same video, displaying the second stream in a PIP window and the feature works across all the UC platforms. This is a very cool and meaningful use case where you want the camera to focus on a particular object (e.g., a whiteboard) which takes up the mainstream and the speaker’s face as a second stream shown in the PIP window.
- Audio: The PanaCast 20 features three MEMS microphones to provide enterprise-grade Noise cancellation. It also offers high sensitivity at -37dBFS to accurately capture sound pickup experience in 1-2m distance and offer a decent output. We have been using a microphone from the camera instead of the headphones and found decent performance. This is a great feature for users who don’t own good ANC/ENC headphones.
- Security & Privacy: Jabra has put security and privacy at the center of the design of its PanaCast series of products. The “on-device” AI chip offer edge-based security to process the data at the edge securely and no data leaves the camera. At the same time, the privacy cover helps protect privacy when the camera is not in use. We would love to have software-based control to slide the cover via the software or automatically cover the lens when the webcam is not in operation vs manually sliding the privacy cover which we may often forget.
- Software: Jabra has also made available a couple of software solutions – Jabra Direct (installed on PC) and Jabra Express (Web-based interface) to manage these products securely in terms of features, control, settings, and getting regular firmware updates to keep the device in the optimal conditions. The PanaCast 20 is certified for the leading UC platforms including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, and more.
- Webcam has become our window to the world, hence, having the best representation of us on the video call has become very important.
- Finding really good high-resolution webcams has been elusive and investing in a good one is the need of the hour.
- Jabra PanaCast 20 is reinventing this segment by offering high-quality 4K video conferencing with AI-powered meaningful smart features such as Intelligent Zoom, Lighting, PiP in a premium and portable form factor.
- Having used it for more than two months, this is a great investment even though it commands a premium price, the Return on Investment is pretty high.