AnkerWork B600 Video Bar Webcam Review

The AnkerWork B600 video bar is the ultimate webcam, ideal for making a good impression during video conferences or live broadcasts. 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

The box includes power adapters for three regions, perhaps to save on packaging design, but also for travelers – power is sent via a USB-C connector (however, if you have a computer able to send 5V to 2A over USB-C, you don’t need it at all – we had no issues without the power cable on an iMac or MacBook Pro (laptop was happier when we were using a tripod to support the camera, however). (Image credit: Adam Juniper/Digital Camera World)

Sensor: CMOS (1/2.8 inch)

Maximum resolution: 2K/1440P

Frame rate: 30fps

Focus: Auto

Speakers: 2x2W

Codec: H.264, MJPEG YUV

Connections: USB-C, USB-C for power, USB-A

Dimensions: 180x38x46mm

Mass: 340g (plus clip 124g)

Main characteristics

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.

AnkerWork B600 Video Bar Review

The hinged clip can be rotated (shown here in the packing position, but must be rotated 90˚ to use). It can also be removed and the camera attached directly to a tripod if desired. (Image credit: Adam Juniper/Digital Camera World)

Build and manipulate

(Image credit: Adam Juniper/Digital Camera World)

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, the shutter opening and closing 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 “Solo-Frame” (tracking) AI option isn’t excessively close to the face, so it was easy to pick 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.

To the left is the iMac’s built-in camera, 1080P, while to the right is the view seen from the B600 mounted above. Note the richer facial details, visible despite the wider field of view. (Image credit: Adam Juniper/Digital Camera World)

Performance

The first question must, inevitably, be about video quality. What AnkerWork calls 2K is actually a humble 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.

Here, AnkerWork and the monitor are the only light sources on the desk. As far as possible given the subject, the lighting is flattering – and significantly better than the image from the computer’s built-in camera (Image credit: Adam Juniper/Digital Camera World)

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 FaceTime 1080P camera – and the image was clearer, richer and much closer to real life in color and tonal range.

AnkerWork B600 Video Bar Review

Some softness is, of course, visible using the digital zoom, but the video quality is still comfortably better than the average built-in camera and the framing can be chosen to best suit today’s level of office cleanliness! (Image credit: Adam Juniper/Digital Camera World)

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.

The weight of the device meant that while the MacBook managed to power it through the USB cable, as soon as the monitor was adjusted to a comfortable angle, the whole machine tipped backwards! (A mini tripod would solve this problem) (Image credit: Adam Juniper/Digital Camera World)

Verdict

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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