Jabra PanaCast 20 – 4K web camera for superior video conferences  (review)

The Jabra PanaCast 20 is a 4K capable webcam. It is for personal video conferencing as well as small group use. It is also one of the smartest web cameras you will find with onboard AI image enhancement for intelligent zoom, lighting control and face frame centring.

As John Laws used to say, ‘Oil ain’t oils,’ and our webcam testing reinforces that truism. Some may offer 2K or 4K resolution, but few offer the suite of onboard AI processing that the PanaCast 20 does.

If I had to select the best feature, it is the superior 4K HDR image under almost any lighting condition. But then I would be remiss not to mention that the three MEMS mics are really good for clear voice and that it works on USB-C 3.1/2 Gen 1/2 or USB-A 2.0.

Jabra PanaCast 20 Model VSU 030

WebsiteProduct Page
Price$559 but shop around for a bargain
FromJabra online, Unified comms specialists and major IT stores like Mwave
Warranty2-year ACL
JabraJabra is a Danish brand specialising in audio equipment and video conference systems. GN Audio (over 150 years old) own it. It laid the first intercontinental telegraph connections in the 19th century, developed 2.4 GHz technology in hearing aids for direct connectivity and produced the world’s first made-for-iPhone hearing aid with direct stereo sound streaming.
MoreCyberShack Jabra news and reviews

First impression – very solid and very well made

The Jabra PanaCast 20 is made from cast alloy and has a black matte anodised finish. It comes in a hard-sided fabric carry case with a 1.5m USB-A 3.0 to USB-C cable.

Our initial impression ‘out of the box’ is that the image is brighter, clearer, more consistent, and perhaps more flattering than others we have tested. However, we will use the Jabra Direct Windows or macOS App for the review tests.

Jabra Direct App

You don’t need the App to use the device – Windows and macOS natively support it. The App is for all Jabra UC products and is also to update the firmware. It sits in the taskbar to be called for camera motion control – electronic zoom, pan, tilt etc.

It also has a specific segment for the Jabra device in use. In this case, it controls intelligent zoom (centres your face and zoom in – you can select the field of view from 45/60/75/90°); Picture in Picture (if your meeting software does not do this already); and full image quality adjustments.

But because it stores all settings on the device and all AI is built-in, you don’t need to use the App after setup.

Tests

We test at <40 (night), 200 (reading), 400 (office) and 1000+ lumens. The f/2.25 aperture camera displayed a clear, bright picture in all cases. Auto HDR worked well, ensuring good detail in shadows and highlights. Sorry, Windows screengrab deactivates the camera preview – so no pics.

Resolution

It is a 13MP sensor, but it takes video at 16:9, 3840 x 2160@30fps at 8.3MP. The remainder of the sensor MP is for digital ‘lossless’ zoom and electronic pan and tilt functions. It can also work in FHD 1080p@30fps or SD 720p@30fps should the video stream size become an issue.

Voice

The three MEMS quality (100Hz to 8kHz) mics cover the clear voice frequency. Two are forward-firing (stereo), and the top mic is for noise reduction.

UC use

Jabra is well known to be compatible with most UC apps like Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

Mounting

It has an integrated monitor stand and a ¼” tripod hole mount.

Webcam usage tips

  • Placing it slightly above head/eye height is more flattering than placing it below, where it can show double chins and more
  • Soft light Logitech Litra Glow – it is a video light with benefits (review) from the front and slightly above will even out skin blemishes and wrinkles, although the AI light control is exceptional
  • Use a digital background – the best is simply a bokeh blur. Busy backgrounds and those purporting to have windows outside are distracting and can cause the image to stutter and tear
  • The camera supports USB-C, so use that port on your PC/dock if you can
  • 4K is terrific, but for most video conferences, 1080p is all you need to reduce bandwidth or work with slower internet upload speeds. 4K@30fps requires an upload speed of about 20-25Mbps. If you use mobile data or don’t have an unlimited data allowance, remember that a 30-minute teleconference can chew up to a gigabyte of bandwidth.
  • Wi-Fi can be the weak link. If the PC uses Wi-Fi to connect to the router, you can easily overtax the connection. It is best to use either a Wi-Fi 6 AX router (full-duplex) and PC or an Ethernet 1gigabit cable to connect the PC to the router

CyberShack view – the PanaCast 20 is a terrific 4K webcam for work from home or pro use

I do a lot of video conferencing and have progressively gone from the basic 720p webcam to 1080p, 2K and 4K. I don’t use 4K for vanity. It enables video conference participants to have the best possible image, and well, body language says a lot more.

So, when you see me in a video conference, my face is front and centre with just the right amount of zoom to cut out the annoying background. Compared to my compatriots that usually show the whole room, their visage takes up a small portion of that.

The mics also work well enough that you don’t need a headset, although a pair of buds will help you hear others better. Its low light capabilities, AI zoom, and focus are class-leading.

Jabra PanaCast 20

$559 but shop around
9

Features

9.0/10

Value

8.0/10

Performance

9.5/10

Ease of use

9.5/10

Design

9.0/10

Pros

  • Superb built and warranty
  • Plug and go - no app needed
  • Manual privacy cover
  • Intelligent zoom and picture adjustment
  • Best image in all light coditions

Cons

  • If you need to ask the price – don't.


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