ReviewsPeripheralsObsbot Tail Air Review: 4k Streaming Camera With AI-Powered Features

Obsbot Tail Air Review: 4k Streaming Camera With AI-Powered Features

Today, I'll be testing the Obsbot Tail Air to bring you its review featuring design, build quality, gimble, features, image and video performance along with software usage.

Exceptional Image Quality!

Review Summary

The Obsbot Tail Air emerges as a top-tier webcam, ideal for professionals and enthusiasts seeking cutting-edge features and superior imaging quality. Boasting 4K streaming, AI-powered tracking, and a unique AI Director Grid, it caters to content creators and dedicated streamers. For those prioritizing exceptional performance and willing to invest, the Obsbot Tail Air stands as a premium choice, delivering innovative capabilities for a transformative streaming and recording experience.

Hours Tested: 3 weeks

Tech4Gamers Recommended Award

Overall
9.2/10
9.2/10
  • Image Quality - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • AI Features - 9/10
    9/10
  • Portability - 9/10
    9/10
  • Video Quality - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Tracking - 9/10
    9/10

Pros

  • High-Quality Imaging
  • AI-Driven Tracking
  • Portability
  • Versatile Connectivity

Cons

  • High Price Tag

No one should be surprised that brand-new webcams have been storming the market in recent years, given the exponential rise in popularity of streaming and remote meetings. Obsbot has a track record of making top-notch webcams. As a hardware reviewer myself, I really like their prior offering, the Obsbot Tiny 2. The manufacturer made an impressive comeback last year with the Obsbot Tail Air, a product that was even more remarkable than before.

It gathers all my favourite aspects of the Tiny 2 into a single, wirelessly portable device. With its latest streaming camera, Obsbot includes a lot of features, such as 4k streaming/recording, AI tracking, larger sensing pixels, a gesture control scheme, and many more. Success in raising over $1 million led to the official release of the Obsbot Tail Air on November 21, 2023, after its September debut as a Kickstarter project.

At this time, it costs $499 when bought directly from Obsbot’s website. To enable Network Device Integration (NDI), an extra $99 license key is required. Last but not least, Obsbot has discounts on webcam bundles; the most costly one is the Multicam Combo, which retails for $2,215. Is it excellent, though? Perhaps we can try to figure it out.


Key Takeaways

  • The Obsbot Tail Air is a cutting-edge streaming camera designed for professionals and content creators, offering 4K streaming and recording capabilities. With a large 1/1.8” CMOS sensor, ƚ/1.8 aperture, and 4x digital zoom, it delivers exceptional image and video quality.
  • What I liked about the Obsbot Tail Air is its large 1/1.8” CMOS sensor and ƚ/1.8 aperture, which contribute to exceptional video quality that can go up to 4K up to 30FPS and 1080P video at 60FPS.
  • What I didn’t like about the Obsbot Tail Air is its high price tag, which is $499, which may be considered expensive for the average consumer.
  • The Obsbot Tail Air is a perfect fit for professional content creators who require top-tier imaging quality, 4K streaming, and AI-driven features for their creative productions.

Let’s start with the specifications.

Size 69.65 x 73.25 x 132.5 mm
Weight 344.5g
AI Chip Integrated AI chip, Trillions of calculations per second
Camera
  • 1/1.8” CMOS Sensor, 2.0μm Macro pixel
  • 8.4 million effective pixels, 3856×2176 resolution
  • 8 Optical Lenses, ƒ/1.8 aperture, 23mm equiv. focal length
  • 4X digital zoom, ISO 100-6400, EV ±3
  • Shutter speed 1/8000 s, Auto/Manual Focus
  • White balance 2000K-10000K
  • 6-axis Gyroscope
Shooting
  • Photo: 4K, 1080P
  • Video: 4K@30/25/24 fps, 1080@60/50/48/30/25/24 fps
  • Max video storage bit rate: H264: 100Mbps, H265: 80Mbps
  • Formats: MJPEG, H264, H265
2-axis Gimbal
  • Non-removable, Pan: ±150°, Tilt: -65°~32°
  • Mechanical range: Pan: ±160°, Tilt: ±90°
  • Max speed: 120°/s, Angle jitter: ±0.02°
Audio
  • Two MEMS Microphones, 3.5mm TRS Connector
  • Supports MIC IN/LINE IN
  • Modes: Noise Reduction/Stereo Sound
  • Formats: AAC/PCM
Wi-Fi
  • Frequencies: 2.4 G/5.8 GHz
  • Range: 2.4G 140m, 5.8G 80m
  • Transmission power: 2.4 GHz <18 dBm, 5.1 GHz <15 dBm, 5.8 GHz <15 dBm
Bluetooth BLE 5.0, Frequency 2.400 GHz to 2.4835 GHz
USB 2.0
Charger & Battery
  • Input: 5V/2A, Charging time: 90 mins
  • Operating time: 154 mins
  • Battery: Lithium Polymer, 1500mAh, 11.4Wh, 7.6V
Auxiliary Functions Gesture Control
Auxiliary App Obsbot Start
Memory Card Type Micro SD (Up to 512 GB)

Packaging & Contents

The Obsbot Tail Air comes with a durable carrying bag that will keep your camera safe on the go, much like its predecessors. In addition to the main device, it comes with a few extras, including a USB Type-C to Type-A converter, a USB Type-C cable, and a splitter that can convert between two USB Type-C ports. Along with the remote control, I also got an adapter that is great for NDI setups: a USB Type-C for Ethernet and a Type-C connection.

Design

11.8 Inch CMOS Sensor (Image by Tech4Gamers)
11.8 Inch CMOS Sensor (Image by Tech4Gamers)

When manufacturing its priciest webcam to date, Obsbot went all out. When compared to other webcams, the Tail Air’s metal construction and matte finish give it a more premium and solid feel. To give an illustration, the OBSBOT Tail Air is a combination of a small, remotely controlled 4K UHD camera with a non-detachable, 2-axis gimbal. Although it isn’t the smallest gimbal-mounted camera available, the gadget is nonetheless small, lightweight, and comes with a convenient carrying bag. The entirety of the camera system is around 7×7.3×13.3 cm in size and weighs 350g; it also has a foldable top half that contains the sensor, making it ideal for travel.

Portability

2-Axis Gimbal (Image by Tech4Gamers)
2-Axis Gimbal (Image by Tech4Gamers)

It fits into a little case that you can take along and stream from any location. You can simply put the Tail Air back in its case after using it, toss it into your bag, and go. The most basic configuration of the setup that you require to stream would be a phone and an OBSBOT Tail Air. Using the app, Tail Air can record video and stream it instantaneously. It provides access to many streaming platforms, such as Twitch, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, OBS, and many more. For those who are often on the go, this is an extremely streamlined setup. 

PRO TIP: For extended streaming sessions or on-the-go recording, consider investing in an external battery pack. The Obsbot Tail Air’s wireless portability is a game-changer, but having an extra power source ensures you never miss a moment.

Control scheme

Despite its minimalistic design, the Obsbot Tail Air packs a respectable number of ports. It includes a micro-HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio port, an SD card slot, and a USB Type-C connection. Depending on your preference, you can use the USB Type-C port to connect the camera to your PC while charging it or connect it simply to a router. The camera’s bottom has a 1/4-inch 20-screw thread that is compatible with most tripods and the magnetic interface for a standard 360-degree charging station. Furthermore, you can find the power button situated above the USB Type-C port.

Battery Indicator (Image by Tech4Gamers)
Battery Indicator (Image by Tech4Gamers)

On the front, an LED bar that changes colors to indicate problems or shifts in the camera modes and a few little LEDs that show the battery percentage finish up the camera. The ability to utilize it wirelessly is one of my favorite aspects of the Obsbot Tail Air. Not only does it save up space on my desk, but moving the camera around is a breeze because of the absence of cables.

Image and Video Quality

Image Sample (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Image Sample (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Thanks to its enormous 1/1.8′-inch CMOS sensor and ƚ//1.8 aperture, the Obsbot Tail Air produces video quality that much exceeds that of a regular webcam. The camera has been absolutely fantastic for all of my video chats and meetings over the last few weeks. The decision to use a large pixel sensor by Obsbot was a huge success. In low light, it produces almost little noise, is crisp and clear, has beautiful colors, and generally outshines other smaller sensors.

The tracking’s continued excellent performance in low light is likely partly due to the big pixel sensor. This camera not only supports high dynamic range but it also features 4x digital zoom without sacrificing picture quality. In addition, the camera performs well in dimly lit environments. The webcam is capable of recording 4K video at a maximum frame rate of 30FPS. Bringing the resolution down to 1080p will make the 60FPS video run smoother.

Aside from selecting between 4K30 and 1080P60, you also have a bit of control regarding the bitrate, which can be set to low, medium, or high. Keep in mind that while 4k streaming and recording are both possible, you can only make use of one of those features at a time; the other must be 1080p. It has two built-in microphones that can reduce background noise as well. Nonetheless, if you want to stand farther away, a wireless microphone can be easily connected.

It should be noted that OBSBOT’s optional ND filters are required for outdoor usage of the camera if you want to maintain a rapid shutter speed. A pan of 160 degrees and a tilt of 90 degrees are both facilitated by the Tail Air’s two-axis gimbal. Having said that, if you are just concerned with picture quality, you could get by with a far less expensive webcam. What really sets Tail Air apart from its competition are its AI features. 

It’s not just a webcam; it’s your backstage pass to a world of professional-grade content creation

Tracking and AI features

YouTube video

Obsbot has a successful track record for effective AI integrations, and Tail Air is no exception. Along with the Tiny 2’s reliable AI-powered tracking capabilities, the new camera brings a number of other upgrades to the user experience. Though they may come out as extravagant, the AI features genuinely serve a practical purpose and justify the premium pricing. Firstly, you have the option to switch the OBSBOT Tail Air to AI-tracking instead of manually panning, which would continue to follow you even if you go outside the frame, thanks to its gimbal.

It provides very consistent tracking in this mode, whether it’s humans, animals, or objects. It does not have difficulty keeping up with quick human movement. In most cases, the AI tracking is accurate. Additionally, I should mention that the tracking is functional even in dimly lit environments; hence, the camera should have no problem focusing on your exact location unless you happen to be in a completely dark room. As for the additional tracking modes that Obsbot introduced, I’ve just had the chance to try out the object mode so far.

However, it’s great for keeping focus on slow-moving objects. One of the greatest things about Tail Air, however, is the AI Director Grid. It uses its powerful processor to simultaneously divide the webcam’s visual output into many camera perspectives. As you move closer or farther away from the webcam, it will record more than five distinct camera perspectives, which you can then switch between using the grids in the accompanying smartphone app.

Gestures

The OBSBOT Tail Air has two direct control methods in addition to the mobile and PC software. For starters, the camera responds to gestures for the majority of its functions. Holding up your palm enables AI tracking; the OK sign starts or pauses a recording, and the L sign zooms in and out. One hand zooms all the way, while two hands zoom dynamically. While the sensor is normally quite accurate, it might get confused if there are many people in the camera making the same gesture.

Obsbot Tail Air remote

Remote Main Inferface (Image by Tech4Gamers)
Remote Main Interface (Image by Tech4Gamers)

Another option is to use a separate remote control device. Basically, it can zoom, pan, tilt, record, and do pretty much anything else the app can. If you don’t have access to your phone, this will come in handy. In addition, it comes with a laser pointer and gyro controls, so you can set your zoom-ins precisely.

Software

YouTube video

Thanks to its dual-app support, you can control the Tail Air with either a smartphone or a PC. In a matter of minutes after downloading and installing the Obsbot Start application, I had the Tail Air connected to my mobile device. You can change the webcam’s video options to your preference using the smartphone app. Anything from the exposure and saturation levels to the recording modes and the motions you choose to enable is part of this. As I said before, the ability to use AI Director Grids is also available in the mobile app.

Obsbot Start is another option for upgrading firmware and activating NDI. The option of streaming will be at your fingertips the moment you finish updating the firmware and connect the Tail Air to your PC. Here, you can adjust the gimbal settings, tracking speed, and modes using the Obsbot Centre software, in addition to accessing the image settings on the mobile app. Also, under the Beauty option, you can change your look, blur the background, and use filters.

The Tail Air is compatible with the revolutionary NDI protocol. To put it in another way, NDI (Network Device Interface) allows you to transmit low-latency, high-resolution video from several cameras through an Ethernet network. Connecting the Tail Air with an NDI network will allow you to achieve a more sophisticated streaming configuration. To provide simultaneous power and data connections, you’ll need a USB-C to ethernet converter, which can be purchased from Obstbot for $99, and an NDI license for your desktop or laptop computer for an additional $99. 

WARNING: Be mindful of the premium price tag and additional costs for NDI integration. While the Obsbot Tail Air is a powerhouse for professionals, ensure that its advanced features align with your specific needs to justify the investment.

Should You Buy It?

Buy It If

✅Professional Streaming Power: Packed with advanced features, including 4K streaming/recording, AI-powered tracking, and gesture controls, the Obsbot Tail Air stands as a powerhouse for professional content producers and dedicated streamers.

✅Exceptional Imaging Quality: With a large 1/1.8” CMOS sensor, ƚ/1.8 aperture, and 4x digital zoom, the Tail Air delivers superior image and video quality, making it an excellent choice for those who prioritize visual excellence in their recordings.

✅Dual-App Support and Wireless Flexibility: The ability to control the Tail Air via both smartphone (Obsbot Start app) and PC (Obsbot Centre software) offers versatility, and its wireless operation adds convenience by eliminating cables.

Don’t Buy It If

❌Budget-Conscious Consumer: With a price tag of $499 and additional costs for NDI integration, the Obsbot Tail Air may be considered a premium investment, making it less suitable for those on a tight budget.

❌Casual Webcam Users: For individuals who primarily use webcams for casual video calls or basic recording needs, the advanced features of the Obsbot Tail Air may be excessive, and a more affordable option could provide sufficient functionality.

Final Verdict

To sum up, OBSBOT genuinely hit the mark with the Tail Air. The AI-driven Obsbot Tail Air webcam obviously has many great features. A portable studio is yours to keep with you wherever you go. The term “steaming camera” hardly begins to describe it. If you’re a dedicated streamer, you won’t find a better streaming camera than this one, thanks to its high-quality images, AI tracking capabilities, and gesture control features. Not to mention its many other features, such as a great sensor, automated pan and tilt, speech recognition, and wireless compatibility.

Besides the staggering $499 price tag, I didn’t notice any deal-breaking concerns with the camera after having it for a few weeks. For anyone in the market for a new camera, that means it’s not exactly cheap. If you’re a content producer or live streamer and are willing to pay the hefty price tag, it’s hands down the greatest camera money can buy.

However, the typical buyer will have a hard time justifying the $499 price tag. Although the camera offers great value for the money, the majority of customers won’t benefit from its highly advanced features and might be better off with a less expensive option. On the other hand, the Obsbot Tail Air is, without a doubt, the greatest webcam available if you’re a professional content producer in need of high-quality video recording.

 
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