Anker recently announced a new sub-brand specifically for home and small office environments. AnkerWork is set to help users who now may be working from home get the right tools for the job. We’ve been testing the first AnkerWork product for the last two weeks. Let’s take a deep dive into the new Anker PowerConf C300 webcam.
Have you seen any other webcam? Yes… then you should feel right at home with the Anker PowerConf C300. Anker hasn’t broken any new ground here, but that’s a good thing in my opinion. If you are targeting the small business or home office consumer, then you want something dead simple.
In the new age of work from home, IT departments are no longer just down the hallway. Anker has a familiar rectangular design with an adjustable mount system. As mentioned, if you have ever set up a webcam from Microsoft or Logitech, then the PowerConf C300 will be a breeze.
On the from is a wide-angle lens capable of 1080p flanked by two microphones on each end. There’s also a status LED light that illuminates when the camera is in use.
Around the rear is the armed-mounting system and a single USB-C cable for power and data. Anker includes an adhesive-backed privacy shield for the lens, but I’ve chosen not to install it just yet. Oh, and just for good measure, there’s a tripod screw mount on the very bottom.
Plug and Play
I’ve yet to encounter a device in our home that doesn’t recognize the PowerConf C300 straight out of the box. Windows, Chrome OS, Mac OS, and even Linux had zero issues. The included USB-C has around three feet of caple but any that you have laying around should work.
The default from Anker is a USB-C to USB-C connection, but there’s also a USB-A adapter included in the packaging. This should give you the correct connection to be up and running on any device you have lying around in your household.
Smarter than the average webcam
So what set the Anker PowerConf C300 camera apart from the competition. Well, it’s artificial intelligence. Anker has programmed this webcam to offer multiple viewing angles and depth of field depending on the subject in the frame.
This allows the PowerConf C300 to follow you from left to right as you move in a solo conference call and always make sure you are in focus. It also allows the camera to zoom in and out if multiple people are in the frame.
Similar to the Facebook Portal, this leads to a great experience for the end-user. From 78-degrees all the way to 115-degrees, the camera automatically adjusts to capture all the participating members. If you move or add callers, the PowerConf C300 will move and re-center to the field of view to make sure everyone is accounted for.
And it works really well in practice. While on a solo call, the PowerConf C300 would zoom into 78-degrees of FOV to make sure I was the centerpiece of the video. But if I moved to the left or right it would follow me and reposition.
If I added another member of the family to a video call it would adjust again. For two people it tends to land on 90-degrees and then increases again at an additional third person to the full 115-degrees. It’s a small mechanical and software change that truly changes how you interact on a video call.
Finally, Anker is working with some more software engineers to make sure the lighting is top-notch as well. The PowerConf C300 has a dedicated sensor to filter low-light and provide a much brighter video result. While this one is less noticeable in certain conditions, I can say that it’s much better than the older Microsoft webcam I’ve been using.
Handy desktop app
You even use the AnkerWork companion desktop app to make settings more permanent. If you find that a wider field of view works better for your environment then you can change that up in the app.
Or maybe you know you have a bad connection and want to lower to 30fps streaming. That’s there too. Locking in the video resolution is there as well. You can easily select between three modes from 1080p, 720p, and 360p.
The PowerConf C300 desktop app handles the camera firmware updates too. On setting mine up I received an update a few days into this review. I was greeted with a pop-up from the Windows system tray and took about three minutes to install.
Sadly, this is Windows and Mac only. Linux and Chrome OS users will have questionable firmware support without it. I’d love to see Anker implement either an Electron app that is more universal or a true web-based option.
Anker is no stranger to making solid products for consumers. The new PowerConf C300 webcam is no exception. This first generation of streaming devices for the home office will not disappoint buyers. With a full 1080p resolution and some functional AI elements like the following focus and zoom, the PowerConf C300 should be on your list.