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Jabra Panacast 20 webcam heads for home

The popular Bluetooth headset-maker expands its room-size videoconferencing line to include a webcam for the rest of us.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography | PCs and laptops | Gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
2 min read

It's been over a year since we retreated to our homes for a pandemic-driven steady diet of video meetings, and only a little less time since we realized how bad some of the webcams in our laptops really are. So it's a little surprising that it's taken so long for some accessory-makers to jump into the fray. Anker's PowerConf C300 didn't launch until early April 2021, and on Tuesday Bluetooth-headset veteran Jabra announced its new $299 PanaCast 20, a 4K model with some more business-focused features to compete with the market leading (but significantly cheaper) Logitech Brio. The Jabra won't be shipping until the beginning of August, though, which is relatively far out.

Jabra's ostensible extra value for the money is better security, which the company seems to imply means in-camera processing without extra software or hitting cloud AI servers. The lack of need for a software utility is nice, since they can be a pain to work with (mostly because of Windows 10's camera-handling limitations) or can prevent them from working properly with Macs. It also offers picture-in-picture, the novel ability to incorporate a second video stream, which sounds like a possible boon for presenters.


Otherwise, it offers the set of features that differentiates 2021 models from 2020's, such as smart autoexposure (Jabra dubs it "Intelligent Light Optimization") and automatic self-framing ("Personalized Intelligent Zoom"), similar to the PowerConf C300's. There's also 4K HDR video a la the Razer Kiyo Pro and somewhat deeper integrations and optimizations with conferencing software like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Though it's not stated explicitly, the 4K resolution likely means you'll have a selection of viewing angles to choose from.

The mount doesn't look as flexible as I'd expect for the money, though, such as supporting tilt and swivel in addition to the omnipresent tripod mount. Given that Jabra touts it as a webcam to tote everywhere, that may be a drawback.