I got sent the new OBSBOT Tail Air webcam to test out; well, I got sent two. This is not a sponsored post—I just happened to have some fantastic PR contacts who kindly supplied me with this gear. I can’t just provide feedback in an email, so I thought what better way than to do a blog post on it and have actual structure to my review. So, let’s dive in!
What’s OBSBOT Tail Air?
Take a webcam and combine it with a gimbal and AI. There you go, that’s OBSBOT’s Tail Air. But, if we use OBSBOT’s official product information, it’s an AI-powered pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ) streaming camera that can be used in a variety of different scenarios. It’s designed for content creators, live recordings, including multi-cam setups, interviews, and more.
It’s currently on Kickstarter with various pledges available in the $400-$500 range, depending on what’s included. I’m not fully sure when it goes live on sale on OBSBOT’s website. But, the company has several webcam products in its store.
The Build: First Impressions
I always have to start with the unpacking, and this one’s not an exception. The cameras came in a solid, high-quality case, and the external packaging felt just as luxurious—especially for a webcam. I think this is the nicest case I’ve had for any equipment. Beyond that, the inside of the case is just as well thought out to hold the webcam nine and snug, with some netting on the opposite side for holding accessories, like cables.
The camera is sturdy thanks to its heavier base. This means you can put it on any level surface without needing a mini tripod. For example, if you want to quickly record a video at home by propping the camera up on a bookcase or shelf. But for more serious creators, the bottom of the base allows attaching to a tripod. The camera base also holds all the ports, like the audio jack, USB-C, and SD memory card slot.
The camera communicates its battery and general equipment status using lights and sounds (though you can disable sound). There are so many different statuses depending on the light colour combination it’s impossible for a new user to remember them. But, the more you use it, you’ll likely remember the most essential ones for your type of recording activities.
Setting Up: Initial Thoughts
First things first, you need to download the mobile app. But there’s a catch: the manual says to either use the QR code in the manual or to search for ‘Obsbot Start’ in Google Play. But it doesn’t exist. (I’m not annoyed by that because the camera is not fully live on sale yet, so that’s understandable). Also, the iOS version of the app is not available yet—so I’m lucky I had my good ol’ Android.
I had to visit the link using the QR code to download the app. Because the app is downloaded directly from the brand’s website, it looks unsafe even if it’s not. Hopefully, by the time the product launches to the public, that’s no longer the case and it’s accessible to both Android and iOS
- The virtual remote controls are pretty good, responsive, and the movement is super smooth
- App is not on google play store yet
- Manual doesn’t say you need SD card for firmware upgrade
- Manuals aren’t very well laid out on the website
- There should be a clearer user guide for a multi cam setup
- The app could do with better tooltips for understanding the different options
- The battery goes down fairly quick via wireless connection so you’ll likely need to plug it in
- Memory card was a nightmare to get in without breaking
- for some reason, zooming onto a scene without a subject locked you can’t zoom in slow whereas on a subject you can
- Can’t rename files
- The UI is not too intuitive, you end up going back and forth several times before you realise where to find what you’re looking for. Also, some of the functions don’t have any title so you don’t actually know what you’re changing
- A few niggles after updating the firmware but once I reconnected the cameras to my phone it was all good
- I wish you could easily zoom in using your fingertips on the phone screen — I was able to once after selecting one of the features, but afterwards I could no longer find it. That’s why it can be frustrating if you don’t know where these specific features are located and you end up switching from one feature section to another. It would be good if zoom by default was enabled on the screen regardless of where you are in the menu
- The overall user guides on the page are trash
- The gimbal and its controls are super smooth
- The AI tracking is actually really good, including when there are several subjects in the scene
- Low-light video quality is one of the best I’ve seen for webcams
- The capture of RGB lights isn’t bad either, some of the webcams I’ve tested really struggle to render lights, but this one was quite good, maybe with the exception of reds
- You have a lot of control for manually adjusting white balance, exposure, ISO, shutter speed if you want or you can use one of the premade ones
- The gestures are super responsive - to track a subject (or to stop tracking). Though on the first day (prior to firmware update) I couldn’t get the camera to stop tracking me simply using a gesture, but after the update it worked just fine.
- The overall video quality is good, definitely good enough for streaming and more professional setups.