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In a time when virtual meetings are common, everyone needs a webcam. Unfortunately, the ones I’ve used for ages aren’t the greatest quality, nor do they work with a Macbook, so I’ve been forced to make do with my iPhone propped up against a monitor. When the opportunity to test the Insta360 Link webcam came in, I got camera-ready.
Insta360 sent SPY this camera to try out, and I’ve used it for several weeks on a nearly daily basis. The wealth of features is truly impressive, and though I’ve encountered a few weird bugs, it’s still by far the best webcam I’ve ever used.
Setting Up the Insta360 Link Webcam
Some webcams make the setup process a complicated nightmare, but the Insta360 Link is pretty much plug-and-play. I downloaded the Insta360 Link Controller software and followed the instructions to set up the webcam. After only a few minutes, I was up and running.
The amount of granular control is quite impressive. The Insta360 Link software gives finer control over the webcam and allows users to fine-tune settings like brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness. There are also settings for either auto or manual adjustments of exposure and white balance.
To put this to the test, I hastily installed the webcam and set it up. Why so urgently? I had a meeting to attend, and I wanted to measure how quickly I could get it up and running. If you haven’t inferred already, I made the meeting on time.
InstaLink 360 Webcam Features
In addition to the granular control of specific settings, the InstaLink 360 webcam comes equipped with a list of convenient features. The best one lies in the camera’s hardware — it’s on a swivel and can rotate 360 degrees and pan 180 degrees. You could set it up in the center of a table and walk around the table, remaining in frame the entire time.
It also utilizes gesture controls. You can wave at the webcam, and it will enable auto-tracking (where the camera focuses on keeping a face in frame), flash an “L” sign with your hand to zoom in or give it a peace sign to swap it to Whiteboard Mode.
The different modes are also tremendously useful. Tracking, as mentioned, lets you stay in frame even if I move around the room. For a professor giving a lecture, this would make it easy to pace back and forth without stepping out of view.
The Whiteboard Mode places a whiteboard (or chalkboard, display, etc.) as the main focus. That said, if there’s no Whiteboard available, the camera will lag briefly as it tries to locate it before swapping back to whatever mode it was previously in.
There’s also Privacy Mode, which causes the camera to look directly below its position after 10 seconds of inactivity. If you have it mounted on top of a monitor, you’ll see nothing except the monitor itself. This might be convenient if you’re somebody who forgets to shut off your camera when you’re finished using it.
The final mode is a variant of Overhead Mode called Desk View Mode. It will show an area slightly in front of the camera. In my tests, it showed the mouse and keyboard. This is great for someone like a visual artist who wants to show the process of their drawing.
There are three different resolutions to choose from, too: 1280×720, 1920×1080, and 3840×2160.
And, of course, the Insta360 Link allows you to take screenshots or record videos. The built-in microphone isn’t studio-grade, but it’s pretty solid for what it is.
You can also enable other settings, like Anti-Flicker, Streamer Mode, for use in OBS, other streaming software, and HDR. One thing to note is that HDR doesn’t support 4K or 60fps. You can also mirror the image, choose to auto or manually focus the camera and more.
Finally, an AI Zoom feature will keep your head, the upper half of your body, or your whole body in the frame.
Insta360 Link Webcam Performance
I have daily Zoom meetings for work, and this has become my go-to camera for everything. It’s by far the clearest webcam I’ve ever used, and its ability to keep me in focus can’t be understated. For someone who is used to using 720p webcams at best, the crisp nature of the Insta360 Link webcam can’t be overstated.
The only bugs I’ve encountered are when auto-tracking doesn’t enable. I haven’t figured out why, though a recent firmware update (released as I was midway through writing this review) might hold the solution. You can adjust the camera manually, although it can sometimes be hard to get it perfectly level. I’ve done that a couple of times, and it worked fine.
The only other issue I’ve run into is that sometimes, my Macbook Pro refuses to recognize the camera. It’s an easy fix; I just unplug the camera and plug it back in, and everything is back on track.
Should You Buy the Insta360 Link Webcam?
This webcam isn’t cheap. At $300 for the webcam itself and $329 with the tripod, it’s quite an investment. But is it worth it?
I’d have to say yes, especially if you’re someone who creates a lot of video content. This is an ideal option for streamers who want to remain crystal-clear while on screen, but it’s also great for anyone creating an online course or video conferencing all week. If you want to keep the focus on your content and not on the grainy nature of your camera, the Insta360 Link webcam delivers.
It fits on the back of a monitor easily, but you can set it up on a tripod for better use. It’s also simple to set the camera as the video input while using audio from a microphone.
You can snag it straight from Amazon, and it’s Prime eligible, too. I don’t see myself back-sliding to any other webcam except this one for a long time.