The AnkerWork B600 Video Bar is a powerful all-in-one conferencing gadget that is arguably better suited for a commercial conference room than a home office. AnkerWork attempts to thread the needle by weaving together elements that both user categories find appealing.
When I wanted to host video meetings in different conference rooms, I found this sophisticated conferencing capability to be more than enough for both single-participant sessions and larger group attendance.
The B600, priced at US$199.99, may be considered premium for home users without regular business demands, but it lacks the flare I expected at this price range.
I’m not claiming this device is inadequate for home office or large office work. It accomplishes the job effectively, but it is a little costly for casual users in either case. If you want to improve the video quality of your laptop’s built-in camera or add one to your cam-less desktop display, this product will cost you more for capabilities you will almost certainly never use.
However, if you want to improve your virtual conference activities and add some ease and flare to your videoconferencing routines, the B600 may be well worth the price.
Compelling All-in-One Design
Because of the big light bar that folds down over the lens and sensor housed in the massive speaker and component housing, this webcam is top-heavy. The top section revolves 360 degrees and tilts downward to 180 degrees. As a result, the lights, sensors, and lens can rotate to almost any angle to adapt to changing working circumstances.
The speaker casing is encased in a cloth sheath, making it both simple to handle and visually appealing.
The light bar is housed in a casing, which also holds the 4-microphone array and twin 2-watt low-distortion speakers. When not in use for recording, the light bar doubles as a privacy cover.
A metal bracket attached to the underside of the speaker enclosure fits over the top edge of the monitor and can be adjusted to any angle. A micro tripod (not provided) can be attached to the bottom of this mounting bracket to isolate the videocam assembly from the display.
A data connector, a USB port, and a power port for the accompanying transformer are located on the rear panel of the speaker base. The USB-A connector is intended for compatibility with other AnkerWork devices, such as a USB receiver for wireless headphones. If the PC can deliver 10W (5V @ 2A), a single USB-C cable can power and connect to the video bar.
In comparison to other less priced videocams, the B600’s 5MP 2K video quality, internal CPU, and underperforming 1440p sensor are weak.
However, the videocam’s lesser specifications benefit from the AI-powered features and Smart Auto Focus technology that power this item. The lens can shoot at up to 30 frames per second and has a field of view of 65, 78, and 95 degrees. Smart auto exposure and colour enhancement are two further technologies that help make video performance acceptable for the majority of users.
The four built-in microphones with noise-reducing circuitry offer “barely” acceptable sound quality. The microphones are too feeble for multi-user requirements in large commercial conference rooms. This is unlikely to be an issue for residential users.
In comparison to other alternatives, the built-in high-fidelity speakers provide relatively good-quality speech tones. However, the quality may suffer if the volume is turned up to accommodate a big group of participants.
The customizable light bar might be the B600’s standout feature. It has MagicSight and temperature control technologies. The light bar may be customised using software settings. One of its fascinating added features is that it shuts itself off after three seconds of inactivity.
The light bar can also automatically vary its brightness to match the lighting conditions in the space, and you may modify the colour temperature from chilly to warmer. The light is turned off by default and activates when positioned at an angle of 135 degrees or more. The programme allows you to enable or disable it.
Perhaps an even more impressive feature is the webcam’s capacity to recognise the brightness level of a human face and automatically alter its brightness accordingly. On the front right of the front panel that houses the lens in the speaker base, there is a touch brightness sliding control for the light bar.
Turning on/off the light is controlled by a little icon on a push button on the right exterior edge of the speaker enclosure. A similar button on the opposite outer end turns the microphone on and off.
Under the lens, color-coded LED symbols appear:
A constant blue light indicates that the camera or microphone is turned on.
A continuous red light indicates that the microphone is muted.
A flashing red light indicates that the power adapter is not properly inserted into the data.
Added Software, Optional but Useful
A separate software installation from the AnkerWork Download Centre caters to Windows and macOS users but excludes Linux purists from the more sophisticated settings possibilities. This limitation may not be an issue for home users.
The lack of access to extra software compromises AI-powered functionality like as auto-framing and lighting changes. Some of these features are already beyond the usual user’s requirements. The basic controls on the light bar allow the B600 to be adjusted on its own.
The B600 is compatible with Windows 7 and later, macOS 10.14 and later, and Ubuntu Linux. This gadget worked well on both Windows and Ubuntu Linux. However, supporting solely Ubuntu Linux without giving software support is a double-baked solution.
There is excellent news for ChromeOS users. It worked well on a number of my newer Chromebooks with mini-HDMI connections. For either of these operating systems, no additional drivers or codecs are required; the B600 works right out of the box.
Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, Cisco, and Slack are all supported by the videocam system. Bluetooth compatibility? Nope!
This video bar concept was initially introduced by AnkerWork last year. It provides an uncommon mix of hardware and conferencing functions. Despite the fact that it is primarily made of plastic, the device looks to be solid and heavy. When the big light bar is folded over the lens, the gadget seems less bulky.
When you close the light bar, the B600 appears more like a storage box and should resist any shaking if you carry it with you. When not in use, you may keep it open or closed atop a monitor or parked on a desk or shelf.
Despite the use of non-premium components by the manufacturer, the AnkerWork B600 all-in-one videoconferencing bar functioned admirably and did not disappoint. AnkerWork sells the B600 Video Bar online.