ROCWARE RC08 mini video soundbar review: a webcam with surprising sound

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From $79.00

While some PC manufacturers have been quicker than others to resolve the dreaded built-in webcam situations on their own devices, there are still a large number of virtual conference attendees looking for better and more immediate solutions to their video presentation issues.

Enter the ROCWARE-RC08 Mini Video Soundbar, a Kickstarter attempt from a small company in Shenzhen, China. ROCWARE brings its over 6 years of experience working in the professional video conferencing and AV integration industry to pack a three-in-one solution into the ROCWARE-RC08 and we received a unit to try.

While the ROCWARE-RCO8 is not expected to ship until February 2022, we were given a unit to review and put through its paces.

As someone who hosts the dedicated weekly OnMSFT OnPodcast podcast, the ROCWARE-RC08 seemed like the right opportunity to replace my combined use of the modern webcam and Microsoft’s modern wireless headset or a Nexigo 1080p webcam and a FIFINE K670 microphone.

With its 1080p resolution combo camera, ToF Autofocus technology, 90-degree wide-angle FoV and microphone with built-in Harman audio technology, the ROCWARE could help declutter and simplify any modern workspace.

main Features ● All-in-one bionic design, much simpler and easier
The three-in-one design of 1080P Full HD camera, high-sensitivity omnidirectional microphone and full-frequency speaker reduces wiring and makes video communication much simpler and easier. The unique bionic design, very eye-catching, allows you to get an excellent audio-visual experience during video calls.
● 1080P full HD, ultra Wide FoV, no distortion
1080P full HD, can provide maximum [email protected]/ 25fps high resolution clear image. At the same time, backward compatible with 720p and other resolutions. Wide field of vision, the maximum horizontal field of vision can reach 90°.
● Full-range speaker tuned by Harman
Adopt Harman tuning speaker with ducted sound cavity, with clear and penetrating treble and strong bass, can bring you extraordinary sound experience.
● 3A audio algorithm
Built-in 3A audio algorithm (AEC/AGC/ANS), full-duplex dialogue, can automatically adjust and balance the volume level while picking up voice, also with noise cancellation, can give you a comfortable call experience.
● Electronic PTZ
No need for mechanical rotary devices, ePTZ achieves more precise rotation, less noise, more reliable and durable pan-tilt function. Meanwhile, supports 4X digital zoom.
● Built-in physical privacy shield
Equipped with an integrated sliding privacy cover to ensure privacy.
● Low lighting
The star-level ultra-high noise ratio of the new CMOS image sensor can effectively reduce low noise when there is image noise, while the application of 2D and 3D noise reduction algorithm, greatly reduces the image noise, even in low light conditions, Always keep the image clean and clear, the image signal-to-noise ratio up to 55dB or more.
● Easy installation
Standard support with shock absorber, compatible with the majority of screens on the market, easy to install, stable and reliable.
Camera
Sensor 1/2.8 inch, CMOS, 2.07 million pixels
Scan method progressive
Lens frame M12
Lens Focus: f=2.8mm, HFOV: 90°
A F Support
Minimum lighting 0.5 Lux @ (F2.0, AGC on)
Shutter 1/30s~1/10000s
White balance Automatic, Manual, VAR
camera mount Support with shock absorber
Privacy Masking Support
Digital noise reduction 2D and 3D digital noise reduction
Backlight compensation Support
digital zoom 3X, 4X
audio
Audio algorithm AEC/AGC/ANS support
Full frequency speaker 82dB SPL in the case of 0.5 meters
Microphone set Omnidirectional microphone, sensitivity: -30 ± 2 dB
USB Features
SE Windows 7 (only 1080p and lower), Windows 8.1, Windows 10 or higher
macOS® 10.10 or higher
Google ChromebookTM version 29.0.1547.70 or higher
Linux (requires UVC support)
Hardware platform 2.4GHz or better Intel® Core 2TM Duo processor
2 GB of memory or more
USB2.0 interface
Color system /
Compression
YUY2/H.264/MJPEG
Video system [email protected]/25fps, [email protected]/25fps, [email protected]/25fps, [email protected]/25fps
USB video communication protocol UVC 1.1
UAC Support
UVC-PTZ Control ePTZ support
Input/output interface
USB interface 1 * USB2.0, Type-A;
Generic specification
Input voltage 5V (USB power supply)
Current input 200mA
Operating
Temperature
0°C ~ 40°C (32°F ~ 104°F)
Storage temperature -40°C ~ 60°C (-40°F ~ 140°F)
Energy consumption 1W
Cut 103mm*27mm*30mm
Net weight 153g
MTBF 30000h

Look and feel

It’s a webcam. Not much else to say about the look and feel of the ROCWARE compared to any other webcam, as it looks a lot like the assortment of detachable webcams you’ll come across on a quick search on Amazon.

The ROCWARE takes on the rectangular shape that many wide-angle webcams take, but its visual distinction comes from its dual-socket punch-hole appearance.

One socket contains the TOF module, 1080p HD camera and 3A algorithmic microphone while the other socket contains a status indicator and the Harman Tuned speaker.

The entire mirrorless camera is wrapped in matte black with a secondary dark gray adorning the accents on the front of the device.

Perhaps the most impressive feature of ROCWARE hardware itself is its weight. The ROCWARE weighs in at a surprisingly light 153kg, yet still feels very premium and solid.

Performance

The ROCWARE RC08 works seamlessly with Windows and Mac, and that’s important to say for many people. For some strange reason, some webcam manufacturers offer OS-specific working solutions

While I appreciate the effort behind the concept of combining a microphone and speaker into a webcam to help consolidate the number of devices I need to conduct a podcast or virtual conference, the ROCWARE-ROC8 was not the solution that best suited my needs, however, I will share my experience as it may be the device that works for you.

As advertised, setting up the ROCWARE webcam was as easy as plugging in the USB-C cable and positioning the camera. There were no visual OS interfaces to navigate through for setup and there seem to be ways for the OEM to push OTA updates as one came out later in my review.

My problem with the ROCWARE is mainly related to the video clarity and color desaturation that occurs with the webcam in most video conferencing software.

This is a personal preference but the colors on the ROCWARE are dry and muted and the 1080p clarity seems less bright than my current webcams, corn for others, you might appreciate the 4X digital zoom, fast autofocus lens, or wide 90-degree angel views offered by the webcam.

Rocware rc08 mini video soundbar review: a webcam with surprising sound - onmsft.  Com – January 19, 2022

Other built-in conveniences included a dedicated mute button and a sliding privacy guard. Neither are placed discreetly when on a call, with the mute button placed behind the camera and the slider at the top, but if you can manage to be subtle you might be able to pull off some perception of a cut or accidental hand-free camera.

Rocware rc08 mini video soundbar review: a webcam with amazing sound - onmsft.  Com – January 19, 2022

I was able to adjust the video output a bit with NVIDIA Broadcast software which touched up the clarity and digitally added some contrast and center focus to my videos.

While the webcam part of ROCWARE is perhaps the most important thing for many users, there’s also the other half of the conferencing experience that involves audio. The ROCWARE delivers an excellent audio experience between its 2D and 3D noise reduction algorithms for microphone pickup and surprisingly heavy audio feedback.

The ROCWARE soundbar experience will certainly be clearer and louder than most laptop speakers and more convenient to use than many desktop setups. Thanks to its omnidirectional microphone echo cancellation and gain processing, you never have to ask “can you hear me?” from anywhere in your home office or conference room.

Honestly, there’s a lot of engineering to appreciate in the layout of the ROCWARE Soundbar which includes a 30±2dB sensitivity leveler that triggers automatic volume adjustment as well as noise-free output. The end result of all the sound engineering is a truly enjoyable and convenient audio experience right out of the box for the ROCWARE.

Summary

Although I was personally disappointed with the video quality of the ROCWARE RCO8, my standards may be a bit higher than others. I was, however, very impressed with the soundbar portion of the ROCWARE webcam, which for most people will be more than enough to handle most home and small office setups and even mid-sized conference rooms. if the meeting is voice-only.

At $79, the ROCWARE RCO8 matches the industry standard for 1080p webcams on Amazon, but with the added functionality of becoming a replacement speaker and microphone. Doing the math on all the products that add up to a modern conferencing setup, the ROCWARE RCO08 often offers the best price advantage.

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