A Professional Workhorse Webcam – Review Geek

Evaluation:
9/10
?
  • 1 – Absolute hot waste
  • 2 – A kind of lukewarm waste
  • 3 – Severely flawed design
  • 4 – Some advantages, many disadvantages
  • 5 – Acceptably imperfect
  • 6 – Good enough to buy on sale
  • 7 – Great, but not best in class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with some footnotes
  • 9 – Shut up and take my money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $129

Andrew Heinzman/Review Geek

The era of remote work is here to stay. And as we hoped, Logitech is adapting to this new world with a next-generation professional webcam, the excellent Brio 500. Packed to the brim with specialized features and image correction software, the Brio 500 is an incredibly easy-to-recommend modern workhorse. .

Here’s what we like

  • Exceptional built-in microphone
  • Works well in poor lighting
  • Modern design with privacy shutter
  • RightSight and Show Mode add something special to video calls

And what we don’t do

  • Max at 1080p 30FPS
  • Image correction can be a little aggressive
  • Non-detachable USB cable

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Modern design and mounting system

  • privacy shutter: Yes
  • mounting system: Magnetic attachment clip with optional adhesive
  • Tripod mountable: Yes
  • lester: 4.27 oz (0.26 lb) with mounting clip
  • Connectivity: Wired USB-C

There is nothing better than a product with an attractive design. And while I wouldn’t call the Brio 500 a “nice” webcam, it’s far better than most webcams I’ve tested. Instead of throwing together the same old horror, Logitech has created a webcam that actually looks quite modern – it’s an interesting cylindrical shape with a speckled paint job, which I appreciate.

This design is also very functional. The Brio 500’s privacy shutter is controlled by a dial on the right side of the webcam, as opposed to a big, ugly slider. Two microphones surround the webcam lens and an LED indicates when the Brio 500 is active.

I’m also a big fan of the Brio 500’s mounting system. An adjustable clip attaches to the bottom of the webcam with a magnet – it’s very secure, but it lets you quickly adjust the camera to any angle . Notably, the clip can fit any monitor or laptop, and it has an optional adhesive pad for semi-permanent installation.

Here is a quick description of the Brio 500’s three actuation points:

  1. This is where the Brio 500 magnetically attaches to its mount. You can use this actuation point to tilt the webcam down, either to focus on the image or to capture video of something on your desk.
  2. The Brio 500’s second actuation point allows it to adapt to a range of monitor sizes. I extended it all the way to show that it can fit on very thick monitors or laptops.
  3. An adjustable foot at the bottom of the webcam stand helps keep everything stable. A small piece of 3M tape comes pre-installed on the webcam stand, but no one is forcing you to use it.

I should note that at first this Brio 500 webcam seemed very loose. This is because the little magnet at the bottom of the webcam hasn’t been tightened all the way – you have to screw it in. And unscrewing that magnet reveals a tripod mount, which is a nice surprise.

My only complaint is with the Brio 500’s USB cable, which is not detachable. I would prefer a cable that I can remove and replace once it wears out. But hey, at least you don’t have to worry about losing track of that USB cable.

Image quality suitable for meetings

The Brio 500 above a computer screen.
Andrew Heinzman/Review Geek
  • Resolution: 1080p/30FPS, 720p/60FPS
  • Camera sensor: 4MP
  • Focus Type: Autofocus
  • Field of view: 90 degrees (adjustable to 65 or 78 degrees in Logi Tune)
  • HDR support: Yes
  • Auto Image Adjustment: Yes
  • Manual Image Adjustment: Yes (with Logi Tune)
  • Additional Features: RightSight (automatic pan and zoom), Show Mode (toggles camera orientation when pointed at desktop)

When you just look at its specs, the Brio 500 doesn’t look very exciting. I mean, it only records at 30FPS in its maximum resolution of 1080p! But specs never tell the whole story, especially when cameras are involved.

Remember, this product is for remote workers, not live streamers or YouTubers. You don’t need an extremely high resolution camera with an insane frame rate when taking Zoom calls. But you need people to see and hear you clearly – that’s where the Brio 500 excels.

Logitech’s video processing technology is quite impressive. The Brio 500 uses a combination of face tracking technology, auto white balance and auto contrast to ensure your face is clear and evenly lit during video calls. Bright objects in your background can get blown out in the process, especially if you turn off HDR mode, but this is a wonderful webcam for taking video meetings even in the worst lighting.

Honestly, the image quality of the Brio 500 seems a bit soft in still photos. I imagine it has something to do with the webcam’s relatively low frame rate (and the fact that I can’t sit still). The Brio 500 is specifically designed for video meetings, so I don’t see that as a problem.

The Brio 500’s wide 90-degree field of view is quite nice, and luckily you can crop it to a smaller field of view (65 degrees or 78 degrees) to better focus on your face or hide your surroundings. Cropping seems to reduce image quality a bit, but not to an extreme degree.

Additionally, the Brio 500 sports a cool feature called Show Mode. When you point the webcam at your desk, it automatically flips the image (and removes visual distortion) so you can view documents or drawings during your meetings. The result is quite impressive, as documents are clear and easy to read when captured in View mode.

But my favorite feature is Logitech’s experimental “RightSight” tool, which automatically pans and zooms the webcam feed to track your face. This is similar to the technology implemented in Apple’s Studio Display, and it makes video calls that much more personal (especially if you’re standing up and giving a presentation). This feature launched in beta at the end of September, and while it’s still a bit buggy, I think it’s a defining part of the Brio 500.

I’m just disappointed that the Brio 500 doesn’t have a built-in background blur effect. Services like Zoom and Google Meet offer this effect, but it would be nice to implement it on the webcam so I can jump into any video conferencing app and know people won’t see my messy room.

Its microphones are incredibly good

The Brio 500 with its shutter closed.
Andrew Heinzman/Review Geek
  • Microphones: Two beamforming microphones
  • noise reduction: Yes
  • Microphone effective range: Up to four feet

My first experience with the Brio 500 webcam happened during a Zoom demo with representatives from Logitech. Several members of the press were invited to join this Zoom call, where Logitech showcased the Brio 500 and its companion headset, the Vibe 100 area.

At some point during the demo, I realized that one of the Logitech reps wasn’t wearing the Zone Vibe 100 headset. Instead, they were talking through the Brio 500 microphones. And I was shocked – the webcam sounded better than headphones!

I’m blown away by the Brio 500’s built-in microphones. They sound great, with a clear, open quality that I didn’t expect from a webcam. Additionally, the Brio 500 uses beamforming technology, which creates a sort of “pocket” around the user and does a decent job of blocking out background noise.

Now, if you’re in a noisy environment or have a screaming toddler at home, you should probably use dedicated headphones. A product like the Zone Vibe 100 will do a better job of reducing background noise than the Brio 500. But if you’re working somewhere fairly quiet, the Brio 500’s microphones are all you need.

Logi Tune software is correct

  • Windows compatibility: Yes
  • macOS Compatibility: Yes
  • Linux compatibility: Nope

It looks like the Brio 500 is Logitech’s first attempt at really tap the Logi Tune control center. This software, now a few years old, lets you customize Logitech webcams and work headsets. It can even integrate with your calendar and various video chat apps, although I’m not sure how this integration is better than using a calendar app’s interface.

Honestly, I like the design and approach of Logi Tune. It is a simple and unobtrusive application. On my Mac, I can open Logi Tune from the menu bar to quickly change the Brio 500’s white balance, contrast, or field of view. I can also enable features like RightSight.

But compared to Logitech’s old webcam software, Logi Tune is quite weak. It doesn’t provide detailed controls for the Brio 500, or any webcams, for that matter. Maybe people are better off with a simple interface – it’s just a shame that Logi Tune lacks advanced settings.

Bottom line: It’s a workhorse

For remote work, the Logitech Brio 500 is hard to beat. It captures a bright, clear image of your face, even in poorly lit rooms, and its microphones are excellent. Plus, features like RightSight or Show Mode can streamline business-style presentations where you might need to stand up or show viewers documents.

The Brio 500 is $130, which is a fair price, in my opinion. But it’s certainly not the cheapest option – Logitech’s previous generation webcams, including the C920S, costs about half as much money. And the Brio 4K is regularly on sale for around $150. (Presumably the Brio 500 will get the occasional discount once it’s a few months old.)

By the way, if you are a YouTuber or Twitch streamer, the Brio 500 miiiiight be a good choice. The RightSight (pan and zoom) feature can add something special to vlogs or live streams. That said, image correction software from RightSight and Logitech isn’t always predictable or consistent.

If you plan to check in several times a week for YouTube, Twitch, or whatever, you probably want a permanent setup that produces consistent, high-quality results. This means using a camera that captures video at 1080p/60FPS (the Logitech Streamcama DSLR, etc.) and setting up good lighting.

Here’s what we like

  • Exceptional built-in microphone
  • Works well in poor lighting
  • Modern design with privacy shutter
  • RightSight and Show Mode add something special to video calls

And what we don’t do

  • Max at 1080p 30FPS
  • Image correction can be a little aggressive
  • Non-detachable USB cable

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