Cisco’s Desk Camera 4K camera is small, powerful and full of AI features (if you use Cisco Webex) and is also now officially certified for Microsoft Teams.
Cisco is no stranger to making high quality audio and video devices for video conferencing on their Webex platform – but with their partnership with Microsoft around building devices “made” or “certified” for Microsoft Teams a bunch of premium devices now have another route to market.
I’m lucky to have both the new Cisco Desk Camera 4K and Cisco WS-720 series headset which has recently been certified for Teams and even has the Microsoft Teams “button” on the earcup. The Cisco Webex variant has a Webex button.
This is a review of the Cisco Desk Camera 4K.
Cisco Desk Camera 4K
The Cisco Desk Camera 4K, is a premium USB web camera for video conferencing, video streaming, and video recording. The camera provides up to 4K Ultra HD at 60 FFS video and features high-definition audio along with dual microphone for great audio pick-up on all your video meetings or streaming and is certified for Cisco Webex and also Microsoft Teams.
The HD camera comes with a range of features to make meetings from anywhere feel more professional and well-managed, including autofocus, low light management, and a custom field of view to suit your office demands. The system also works seamlessly with the Cisco Webex collaboration environment as well as now Microsoft Teams though there isn’t really anything it does in Teams that any high-quality webcam can’t do.
This is a high quality, premium device – features include:
- 4K Ultra HD camera quality (Windows Hello®️ Certified)
- Two built-in microphones
- Support for 30FFS and 60 FPS
- 13MP image sensor
- Automatic focus adjustment
- Adjustable field of view
- Multiple pre-sets (controlled via Cisco Desk Camera App)
- Built-in background noise reduction
- Physical Privacy shutter
- Digital zoom and correction controls
- USB plug-and-play functionality
- Clip mounting for easy setup
- Cisco Webex Certified
- Microsoft Teams Certified
Whilst certified for Webex and Microsoft Teams, the Desk Camera can of course be used with any video conferencing aps or streaming services and works nicely as on Xbox! The fast autofocus, face detection (where supported by the apps) and 10x digital zoom really help to enhance the video experience for your remote attendees.
Getting set up
To get started on Windows devices, set-up is as simple as plugging it via USB-C or USB-A with the supplied cables (Cisco provide both in the box for good measure).
The camera itself has an adjustable clip with a tripod screw thread offers mounting flexibility on a laptop, an external display, a tripod, or a desk stand in various open office spaces, huddle rooms, and home offices.
It is a shame there is no carry pouch for the camera though to stop it getting dirty or scratch when travelling.
To customise and configure the device beyond the factory standards, you need to install the Cisco Desk Camera app.
Install the Webex Desk Camera App
The Cisco Webex Desk Camera App provides a host of controls to change all aspects of the device as well as manage firmware updates, which mine was eager to update once connecting to the software. You don’t need to install it to use the camera, but it if you want to change the settings and manage the hardware then you need to!
Within the app it is possible to camera, image and microphone settings such as camera zoom levels (and pre-sets), field of view, auto focus settings and even framerate and resolution.
The Cisco Desk Camera app works with the camera and allows you to record videos, take snapshots, customise the camera settings, and upgrade the firmware.
Using Desk Camera 4K within Teams meetings
As expected, the quality and sharpness of both audio and video within Teams was good. to evaluate this of course I had to seek feedback from remote colleagues which was positive. By that, my video image was clear and sharp – even when sat across the other side of the room with the camera zoomed in. Even 3m away from the camera (which I wouldn’t do when working at home), video and audio pick up was good. It is nice to have such high-quality mics in a webcam – great if you have a more “budget” laptop without premium mics.
Despite the camera supporting 4K, most video meetings services (including Microsoft Teams) only support 1080p. To test the video quality, I move to the back of my office and zoomed the camera in (around 3m). The image quality was pretty good (seeing as this isn’t a room camera. Unfortunately, Microsoft Teams itself doesn’t currently have people tracking or auto-zoom so I had to manually zoom the camera using the Desk Camera app.
You can see the video quality at both close and zoomed in the images below from a Microsoft Teams call.
Using Desk Camera 4K within Webex
The Desk Camera 4K really comes to life in Cisco Webex. Webex provides full access to device controls and settings directly via the app (as well of course within the Camera app). Within Webex, you get access to various settings from within the app.
Cisco have ensured that managing an army of Cisco desk cameras is simple, with integrations with the Webex Control Hub which allows for easier remote management. Today, no such controls exist within the Microsoft Teams Admin console for managing Teams webcams – though I have not tried adding the camera to a Teams MTR to see what I can do here.
The Microsoft Teams client offers limited controls over camera features and settings other than the ability to change basic controls – for everything else, you need to use the Webex Desk Pro camera app.
Webex on the other hand, provides more controls for their intelligent hardware. It will be interesting to see if some of this makes its way into Microsoft Teams since a large part of the partnership between Cisco and Microsoft is also around sharing best practice across the leading eco systems. Cisco also allow you to access advanced camera controls directly from the Webex app meetings app – which is really useful.
Verdict: Why buy the Cisco Webex Desk Camera?
With the many different options available out there for professional webcams then the Cisco Desk Camera 4K is definitely one to consider. This is no is a state-of-the-art webcam solution created for business users (or serious vloggers) who want to ensure they have the best possible video quality in meetings or when streaming video. The Desk Camera 4K is really small and compact too so easy to mount on your home monitor or perch over your laptop lid if you need to. It also supports up to 60 frames per second.
As a USB powered device, this camera is ideal for hybrid work (if you have a cheaper laptop with poor webcam). Whilst certified for Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams, it can of course be used with video conferencing or streaming tool (as long as it’s supported by the OS).
The camera also supports Windows Hello®️ for business for passwordless and secure sign-on for Windows 10 and Windows 11.
When used with Cisco Webex, you also get access to smart AI enhancements such as facial recognition, tracking, auto adjustment, and more – so if you are a serious Webex user, this is definitely a webcam you want to test out.
This isn’t your everyday webcam.