A neat webcam with a 4K sensor, the Jabra Panacast 20 is designed to be small and portable. It has smart features and excellent image quality, although I didn’t find its auto-tracking to be as smooth as the competition. The main issue here is the price, and this is one of the most expensive webcams you can buy.
- 4K image sensor
- Built-in privacy sensor
- Automatic tracking a little jerky
TypeThis is a USB-C webcam that requires a USB port capable of delivering 500mA of current.
ResolutionThis camera has a 4K image sensor, although the streaming quality is maximum in Full HD.
FollowedThis camera can automatically zoom in and follow you.
Most high-res webcams are pretty bulky devices, but the 4K Jabra Panacast 20 is smaller, designed to be portable.
It has smart built-in microphones and decent image quality, but the price is steep and the auto-zoom isn’t as smooth as competing products.
Design and features
- Comes with travel bag
- Can automatically track and zoom
- Built-in microphones
Compatible with Mac and Windows PCs, the Jabra Panacast 20 is designed to be portable. The retail package comes with a case that can hold the camera and its USB-C cable. I had a review sample that was shipped in non-standard packaging, so I don’t have pictures of this prop.
What’s particularly notable about the Jabra Panacast 20 is its small size (44 x 25 x 80mm, 136g). This is one of the smallest webcams I have reviewed.
Connecting to a computer is simple using the USB-C port on the back. The Jabra Panacast 20 can be connected to USB3 and USB2 ports, provided they deliver at least 500mA of current.
As with most webcams, the Jabra Panacast 20 is designed to sit on top of a monitor, with its flip-up stand securing it in place. If you prefer, the Jabra Panacast 20 can be attached to a tripod, thanks to its standard screw mount underneath.
Privacy is always a big concern with webcams, so it’s good to see the built-in shutter on this model, controlled by the slider under the lens. It’s a much sleeker solution than the adhesive cover that comes with the Anker PowerConf C300.
This webcam incorporates three MEMS microphones, designed to limit echoes and eliminate background noise, wherever you are.
Although the camera is plug-and-play, it works best if you install the Jabra Direct software, which gives you a control panel to configure the camera’s video output. Although the sensor is 4K, you won’t actually get a 4K image on a video call because the video services are Full HD.
Having more resolution than necessary always makes sense. First, 4K video scaled down to Full HD is better. Second, more video means the Jabra Panacast 20 can use its extra resolution for digital zoom without losing image quality.
There are two ways to use the digital zoom. First, you can manually zoom and pan the video using the onscreen controls. This lets you set the field of view you want, from zooming out (default viewing angle of 90 degrees) to zooming in and focused on you. There are two preset locations where you can save your favourites, which can be handy if you want to use the Jabra Panacast 20 in a room, say have a preset for a wide shot if there is a group of people and a second preset to zoom into.
Second, you can use the Smart Zoom option, where the camera will follow you and zoom in automatically.
This makes the video stream from the Anker B600 video bar less shocking and more natural than the stream from the Panacast 20.
There’s one feature the Jabra Panacast 20 has that its rivals don’t: a picture-in-picture video mode. With this, the camera overlays a full view of you on the magnified image. This can be useful if you are presenting and want to show a physical object up close, but still let everyone on the call see your face. As the picture-in-picture mode is injected into a single video stream, it will work with all video services.
Finally, there are controls over the camera feed, so you can adjust your look, checking out the preview window. This is handy for making sure you’re looking your best before joining a call.
- Crisp video
- great sound
I found the auto-tracking worked well for the Jabra Panacast 20 to find me and zoom in, but the action was quite frantic and jerky. The similar tool on the Anker B600 video bar is much smoother and less aggressive.
Image quality is good from the Jabra Panacast 20. Downsampled to Full HD, the image has extra sharpness and clarity compared to a regular Full HD camera, although the B600 videobar is slightly ahead , especially in terms of exposure thanks to its video light.
In slightly more difficult circumstances with sunlight coming from the side, the camera did a great job of retaining detail in my face and not letting the image become overdone.
The quality of the microphone is very good. All three mics work well together to muffle background noise, and I found the Jabra Panacast 20 picked me up well no matter how close I was sitting in relation to the camera.
Should I buy it?
If you want the power of 4K, including zoom and tracking, in a portable format, then this is a great webcam.
This model is expensive compared to the competition, and you can get more features in a larger package for around the same price.
Excellent microphones and high-quality video powered by a 4K sensor, the Jabra Panacast 20 is also easily portable, so you can carry it and use it wherever you want. I found its auto-tracking a little choppy and distracting, and the price is steep: the Anker B600 video bar costs a similar amount, but has smoother tracking and a built-in light at the expense of portability. If I wanted a camera I could carry around, I’d go for the slightly cheaper PowerConf C300 1080p camera.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every webcam we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use standard tests to properly compare features. We will always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product.
Learn more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Used as the main webcam for the duration of the exam.
Tested in various lighting conditions to see how well it compares to the competition.
Used with popular video conferencing software to test compatibility.
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No, video services cap out at Full HD. The extra resolution is useful for providing higher quality video and zoom functions.
Yes, it works with USB3 and USB2 ports, as long as they support a minimum current of 500mA.
Date of first examination
Jabra Panacast 20
Jabra Panacast 20
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