The Short Version
This is the Creative LIVE! Sync 4K webcam, that’s perfect for livestreaming, taking business meetings on Zoom or Teams and even for content creation. It produces a 4K resolution image at 25 frames per second, though this can be dropped down to 1080p at 40 frames per second if your PC or internet connection cannot handle a full 4K image. It has a built-in backlight compensator, which brightens that subject compared to the background so you’re always kept at a perfect exposure, and has built-in dual microphones that sound pretty good for a meeting, but not great if you’re wanting to use it for livestreaming. You can use Creative’s SmartComms kit to knock out background noise and turn on an auto-detect voice setting which mutes the microphone until you start talking. At £70, this smart little webcam is a little bit pricey admittedly, but it can produce a decent image quality for all uses and can definitely hold its own against other top-tier webcams on the market.
The Full Review
I’ve been using Creative webcams for a long while now. I’ve been a massive fan of their LIVE! Cam Sync 2K, the previous version to this year’s 4K variant, and it’s worked extremely well for my content creation, and taking calls with colleagues and friends over Teams and Zoom and Discord and the like. But now it’s time to upgrade, and Creative has been kind enough to let us check out their new LIVE! Sync Cam 4K. So, let’s dive in.
The new Creative LIVE Cam Sync 4K is a small sizes webcam that can sit above a screen, being a monitor, laptop screen or television thanks to its rear flap, and is rather a lot wider than previous versions. This is mainly due to the light effects that appear on either side of the lens when the camera detects a recording software opening on your PC, but it’s definitely still small enough not to look too intrusive on your desk. There’s also a thread so you can connect the webcam to tripods too if you wanted to use it for your livestreams in a different position rather than the top of your monitor. On top you can find one button for your backlight compensation settings which you can press to cycle through seven stages and there’s a toggle switch to mute the microphone.
The Creative LIVE! Cam is capable of producing a 4K image quality thanks to its Sony IMX series’ 8 MP imaging sensor which is a big step up from the last LIVE! Cam V3 we took a look at.
There is a manual focus ring so you can ensure you are kept in perfect focus when talking to the camera, and I will say this does cut down on that very frustrating focus hunting that can happen at times with webcams. Saying this though I’m not quite sure why an autofocus setting has been missed as people who do use their webcams as a camera for content creation, now have to stand on the spot, or manually adjust focus every time they want to move around the frame. The focus is controlled by rotating the lens hood on the front of the webcam, and focusing can be a challenge as the majority of your hand covers the lens when focusing on yourself.
A nice feature here that I do quite like with my footage is the backlight compensation that the LIVE! Sync Cam 4K offers. If you’re someone who sits by a window while working, or like to use some kind of key light or ring light, it does a nice job of keeping you, the subject at the correct exposure, while minimising, or maximising if needed the brightness of your background, offering a decent level of separation. However, if your background is too dark, I have noticed that there can be quite a bit of noise introduced into your footage.
In terms of resolutions, you do have a choice of a few, depending on what your computer can handle broadcasting. Of course, as the name says, the max resolution this camera can hit is 4K at 25fps, though if you needed, you can drop this down to 1080p at 40fps. This will give you a slightly smoother image, but the difference is minimal. I would have liked to have seen a 60fps capture here.
Though if your PC or even internet speed isn’t capable of broadcasting a 4K image smoothly, you can drop this down to 1080p if need be. The webcam has a 95-degree field of view which is pretty wide for a webcam and features dual microphones on the front which sound okay. They’ll get you through a call on Teams or Zoom, but shouldn’t really be counted on if you’re going to be using this camera to live stream. You do gain access to Creative’s Smart Comms Kit, which is inside of the Creative App so if you’ve got some background noise going on, you can cut this out, and also a voice detect feature that will auto mute you if it doesn’t detect that you’re talking.
I’m pretty impressed at the Creative LIVE! Cam Sync 4K. It has a very nice feature set, and is a decent entry into the webcam market, especially if you’re someone who uses the camera for multiple purposes, like content creation and taking meetings. Though the microphone is alright, if you’re creating content you’re going to want something a little better, but for calls, there’s nothing wrong with it at all and definitely sounds better than built-in microphones on laptops. The cost? Creative are currently selling them for around £75 here in the UK, so a little pricey if you ask me, but certainly worth it for the image quality it can produce. For more information, head over to the Creative website.