Webcams these days are asked to do lots of things beyond simple video conferencing. Windows Hello turns a compatible camera into a biometric login device. Several competing technologies allow streamers to strip out backgrounds, sparing viewers the sight of a backdrop of empty Mountain Dew bottles, dirty socks, and depleted packets of Soylent. Logitech's 4K Pro Webcam and Brio Webcam go one step further, and are the first webcams to add 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution to their spec sheets.
Both models offer infra-red facial recognition and are compatible with Windows Hello. Logitech uses Personify's background replacement technology to let streamers be safe in the knowledge that their background will not distract viewers from their message. Logitech says the cameras' RealLight 3 HDR technology should result in clear images in all kinds of lighting conditions, from low light to direct sunlight. Dual omnidirectional microphones help users make themselves heard. Logitech also touts the cameras' 90° field-of-view, which can be software-limited to 65° or 78°.
The cameras will work with Windows 7 or newer, Mac OS X 10.10, or Chrome OS 29 or higher. Logitech calls for a minimum of 2GB of memory and a lowly Core 2 Duo processor. We have a feeling a more powerful CPU might be required to effectively stream at 4K and use the background replacement features, though. For reference, Intel's RealSense F200 lists a minimum of a 4th-generation Core CPU. The notes say effective resolution under Windows 7 is limited to 1080p, too.
Logitech says the Brio is made for corporate buyers and that the 4K Pro Webcam is for home users, though the difference between the two models is unclear. The Brio is available now from Logitech's online store for $200. The company is accepting pre-orders for the 4K Pro Webcam at the same price, though there's no firm release date yet.