BenQ IdeaCam S1 Pro – Bring Your Online Meetings to a PRO-Video Level

benq-ideacam-S1-Pro-lens

Are you looking for a webcamera that stands out? BenQ IdeaCam S1 Pro has impressed with its features and performance and I’m delighted to share with you my personal experience with it.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a standstill, and people have had to adapt to a new way of life. Remote working and video conferencing have become the new norm, making web cameras an essential tool for business and personal use. The BenQ IdeaCam S1 Pro Web Camera is one of the latest web cameras to hit the market, promising high-quality video and audio performance. It has unique mounting mechanism providing deskview, portrait and hand-held modes, turning it into a bridge between a regular web camera, action camera and mirrorless camera. Furthermore – there are a few handy accessories, allowing you to remotely control it and achieve quality and functions that are unthinkable for regular webcams. 

Summary

Pros

  • High-quality video with 3264 x 2448 resolution
  • Low-light noise reduction
  • Auto-focusing technology
  • Built-in microphone 
  • Compatible with popular video conferencing software
  • Magnetic camera mount
  • Some unique software features
  • Functional control puck

Cons

  • Requires the Enspire software to use most functions
  • No gesture controls
  • No AI features
  • Narrow field of view

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Design & Build Quality

The BenQ IdeaCam S1 Pro Web Camera has a sleek and compact design. It is made of durable plastic and feels sturdy in hand. The camera is dark grey and has a matte finish, which gives it a professional look. The camera is designed to sit on top of a monitor or laptop, and it has a sturdy stand that can attach to screens of varying thickness, although in some situations I found it to be a little loose. Despite this – it is not prone to vibrations or jello effect.
The other essential element is the “Enspire Control Puck”, which is a creative way to control the camera remotely – and this is what IdeaCam S1 Pro may attract many creative presenters with. It is rather heavy and the rubberized bottom area makes it stuck to your desk.

Placing the camera is quite easy – as already mentioned you can put it on top of your monitor, or you may take advantage of the ¼-inch thread which is the standard thread for a tripod mount.

The camera can tilt, allowing users to adjust the camera angle as needed.

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Installation

IdeaCam S1 Pro is yet another USB-based peripheral. Plug it to your computer and it will appear immediately and get its drivers automatically installed (on Windows 10, 11 or MacOS). I strongly recommend downloading the Enspire Web App – it is a must-have should you want to use the Enspire Control Puck.

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Usage and Features:

There are a few buttons you can use and control the camera. I particularly enjoyed the “freeze” option – it requires the Enspire Web App and is a function which stops at a specific frame, so that you can project something that you want the other participants to focus on.
If at some point you need some privacy – BenQ has you covered – the front face is magnetic and this is where you can mount the privacy shade or the 15x macro lens.

There are a few use cases which I believe are worth noting:

Hand Held Mode – Since the mount is magnetic-based, you can at any point lift the camera up and then snap it back when you are done. Note that since there is no image stabilization involved – I’d recommend gently moving and pointing the camera towards the objects you want to film/show. 

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Desk Top View Mode – IdeaCam S1 Pro has a tilt sensor so when the tilted position is active the image is inverted – everybody will see the image at the angle that you see it (while with most other webcams it will be reversed).

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Macro Lens Mode – it is perfect for closeups and a very unique feature.  You may film small objects such as screws, chipsets and similar – just imagine how cool it would be to teach someone how to repair a … smartphone! Or get instructions by the person you are talking to.
Note that here the in-built ring light could be extremely helpful – it is designed to be used with the macro lens as well.

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Image Quality

The BenQ IdeaCam S1 Pro Web Camera has a resolution close to 4K (3264 x 2448 at 30fps to be precise), which provides high-quality video.  The camera has a 72.9-degree wide lens, which is rather narrow, but perfect for single-person mode. The camera also has a low-light correction feature, which helps to improve the image quality in dimly lit environments.
Dynamic range is surprisingly good, the auto-focus works like charm, and colors are quite nice and natural. Some of these parameters may be further tuned by the desktop software too. Via the Enspire app you can activate the noise reduction feature – although not perfect it significantly enhances the image quality if the light is not sufficient and there’s too much grain/noise.

A frame captured with IdeaCam S1 Pro

A frame captured with IdeaCam S1 Pro

Audio quality:

Just as it is with most webcam microphones – the closer you are to the unit, the better the audio is going to sound. BenQ has added some additional compression which well levels the audio, as well as an option for background noise reduction.

 

The Control Puck

It is by far my favorite part of the setup! BenQ are famous for adding remote control options for many of their devices and I feel that it should become a golden standard for modern web cameras.
Here are the available control buttons:

  • Autofocus/Manual Focus Toggle
  • Mute Toggle
  • Freeze Image Button
  • Autofocus at Center Button
  • Capture Image Button
  • Outer ring to zoom in/out

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Software and Compatibility

The BenQ IdeaCam S1 Pro Web Camera is compatible with Windows and macOS operating systems. The camera does not require any additional drivers, making it easy to set up and use. The camera is also compatible with popular video conferencing software, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype.

The camera comes with its own software called Enspire, which allows users to adjust camera settings, including brightness, contrast, and saturation. Among the features that are rather unusual are the keystone correction, the QR code reader mode, filter options, PIP & a document scanner. It is a brilliant piece of software and enhances the user experience a lot! Plus – it is available online and requires no installation on the OS level. 

Verdict, Price and Value for Money

The BenQ IdeaCam S1 Pro Web Camera Full Combo is priced at around $200, making it an affordable option for users who need a high-quality web camera. The camera has many features that are found in more expensive web cameras, making it a good value for money. The camera’s image quality and wide-angle lens make it an ideal option for video conferencing and live streaming.

 

BenQ IdeaCam S1 Pro