Although video conferencing has taken off in the last few years for obvious reasons, we have not seen all that many innovative webcams appear on the market. Recently we reviewed the new AnkerWork B600 All-in-One Video bar and while great, it is by no means portable, if you work in various locations.
The EPOS EXPAND Vision 1 is the perfect solution for the professional on the go. You don’t need to rely on your substandard 720P or 1080P laptop cam but instead can have an exceptionally portable 4K webcam in your pocket. The EPOS EXPAND Vision 1 is this and more – read on to hear my thoughts about the Vision 1.
The EPOS EXPAND Vision 1 arrives with a small compact hard case, USB-C cable and the webcam itself. Nothing super fancy in the box but the fanciness is all in the development and software.
The EXPAND Vision 1 webcam is just 5.8cm wide, 29cm high and only 4cm deep and weighs just 126 grams – yes, it is a compact webcam. Although the EXPAND Vision 1 is incredibly light it still feels solid and well-built – it’d want to be for a RRP of $379.
Underneath the webcam is a flap that folds out to allow it to be clipped to the top of your monitor easily. The back of the webcam houses the single USB-C port to power and carry data to and from the webcam.
The top of the webcam houses a dial to open or close the physical shutter which you can see as it moves over to block the view out of the webcam for guaranteed privacy – this is a great idea, with most manufacturers including shutter such as these in their cameras these days.
Inside the EXPAND Vision 1 are two omni-directional, noise cancelling microphones designed to pick up the voice and not the background noise – well, of course.
Easy to use
Simply plug the EPOS EXPAND Vision 1 webcam into your PC and a floating menu/settings will pop up allowing you to quickly change the view of the video. There are only three different fields of view to choose from but that is enough – unfortunately there isn’t one that follows you should you move out of the centre of the FOV so you’ll need to stay put.
The settings on the front page a very basic as you can see below but you can get finer granular control of the webcam using the Advanced settings. I was happy enough with the basic settings with the Vision 1 producing a decent quality image – in 4K – using the default settings.
As you can see in the videos below it worked well using Zoom and also just recording in the basic Microsoft camera app and with Camtasia 2021 (Zoom meetings – and many others – do not support 4K at this stage, only 1080P at best).
Unlike some webcams, the floating settings can remain open while recording the webcam and settings can be adjusted on the fly as required.
The audio is a big deal
EPOS has completed extensive psychoacoustic research on the effect of audio on sections of the brain that causes listeners to zone out and become fatigued — the cognitive load. Using AI along with filters and algorithms they filter out sections of the sound wave so that the resultant wave is less “harsh” and doesn’t provide as much cognitive load on the user. BrainAdapt adjusts the sound profile on the fly based on who is in the room at the time, with the sound waves individualised — at this stage it is unclear just how that works on a meeting room of people and given it is proprietary technology I doubt we’ll ever know.
Obviously this is something that is extremely difficult to actually test but EPOS has the research and if you are on the fence over the purchase of this then the sheer decent chance that BrainAdapt may well improve your experience will likely tip you into the purchase camp.
Is 4K overkill?
As mentioned above, most video conferencing online solutions such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, GoToMeeting and more do NOT support 4K but that does not mean they never will. When they do in fact decide to bump up their bandwidth you know you will be covered if you have a 4K webcam. There are some smaller players already supporting 4K video conferencing so it is a matter of time before the big names do as well.
The EPOS EXPAND Vision 1, although it can do 4K video conferencing, you will most likely not have much call for it. The advantage here though is you can also use the 4K webcam for recording instructional videos and more. I record a lot of online lectures for the University lecturing I do and in the past I have had to record them with a 720P webcam as that was all I had access to. The 4K Vision 1 changes all that.
I have been able to re-record a lot of my lectures (only limited due to time at this stage) using the 4K EPOS Vision 1 and upload them in 4K to YouTube. The students love them in greater detail, especially if I am pointing out small structures and images. Not only that but the videos look a lot more professional as well – although I could do with a green-screen behind me.
Should you buy it?
There are not many decent 4K webcams on the market, with the EPOS EXPAND Vision 1 being one of only a few. It offers simple and easy to use software which is a big advantage. The picture is crystal clear and although I’d prefer a camera that kept me in the centre of the FOV at all times, it is not that much of a hassle to keep relatively still.
The EPOS EXPAND Vision 1 is super compact with a carry case that keeps the camera well secured and safe on your travels. This is where the Vision 1 excels – in your travels. The sheer size of it allows for easy portability with a simple plug and play at any time and any place a big plus.
For those doing a lot of video conferencing, the new AI-based BrainAdapt software will help you avoid brain fog from those long hours on tedious video calls.
While the 4K nature of it is not exploited as much as it should with most video conferencing solutions not supporting 4K (yet), the 4K does make it somewhat future-proof.
I can highly recommend the EPOS EXPAND Vision 1 for those who need a 4K webcam that is easy to use, produces a great quality video with decent sound quality and most of all has an extremely small footprint so is easy to transport or is incredibly unobtrusive in your office.
The EPOS EXPAND Vision 1 can be purchased online from EPOS for $379.