Well, this is awkward. Just as we hear EPOS is in the process of 'winding down' its gaming business, we get hold of a surprisingly great webcam from the soon-to-be-defunct company. The EPOS S6 will still be available in retail for a while, as the company will still support its products into 2024, so is still worth a look. Though long-term concerns over support and after-sales care are certainly valid in light of this news.
Still, in the wake of the pandemic-induced lockdowns, a remarkable surge in streaming and content creation has reshaped our way of life. Almost everyone, it seems, has dabbled in creating some form of content or spent more time than ever on video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Teams.
However, this also means that many of us are sharing this creative space with individuals armed with expensive Sony mirrorless cameras capable of capturing Hollywood-level unboxings and culinary demonstrations. This is where the new EPOS S6 4K USB webcam steps in.
Priced at $200, (£200/ AU$350) the EPOS S6 aims to bridge the gap, making us look as slick as those big-time streamers. EPOS markets the S6 as a content creator's dream, boasting crystal-clear 4K video at 30fps and impressive 1080p at 60fps. Plus, it packs built-in noise-cancelling microphones, ensuring your voice matches the top-notch visuals.
Compatibility: PC, Mac OSX
Certifications: Microsoft Teams, Zoom
Connectivity: Wired, USB Type-A, USB Type-C
Recording: 4K 30 fps, 1080p 30/ 60 fps, 720p 30/60 fps
Microphone Frequency Response: 110 - 10000Hz
Dimensions:1.67 x 2.30 x 1.16 inches
Price: $200 | £200 | AU$350
For those who guard their privacy, the S6 has got you covered with a manual privacy shutter. No more accidental peeping. Oh, and they even toss in a rugged carry case, a nod to those who travel with their gear.
The S6's design strikes a chord with my appreciation for Bauhaus principles. Unlike other bulky 4K webcams on the market, it boasts a notably compact form. With dimensions of just 40 x 58 x 29mm, the S6 presents itself as a small cuboid with rounded edges. Crafted from aluminium, it's both lightweight and robust, tipping the scales at a mere 80g. This ensures it won't strain your slim laptop screen or burden your elegant messenger bag.
Front and centre is a petite glass lens, encircled by grilles housing dual noise-cancelling microphones on either side. Positioned atop the S6 is a tactile dial to manipulate the privacy shutter, providing peace of mind against prying eyes. The sole USB Type-C port is situated at the rear, and the box includes both USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables, so no worries about compatibility. Plus, the S6 plays nice with Windows PCs and Macs, and each OS gets its own version of the EPOS Connect software.
Flip it over, and you’ve got a retractable mount that not only provides solid support but also offers a bit of tilt. It’s not the most flexible out there, but it’s stable—no annoying wobbles while you’re typing. And guess what? The mount even fits tripods with a 1/4 thread, so content creators, rejoice! There's just one bummer: Unlike Logitech’s StreamCam, the S6's mount won't let you do vertical videos—a bit of a miss for TikTok and Reels enthusiasts.
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On a brighter note, the S6 is accompanied by a high-quality hard carry case, making transportation a breeze. The snug foam mould inside keeps the S6 safe, and there's a pocket in the lid for your cables. If you're the road warrior type, this case is gives additional peace of mind when on the go.
Let's talk about how the S6 performs. It rocks a 4K glass lens with a wide angle, low distortion, capable of recording up to 2160p at 30 fps, 1080p at 30/60 fps, and 720p at 30/60 fps. You can pick from three field-of-view options: 90°, 78°, and 65°. Oh, and there's an 8x digital zoom too. It's all set for Microsoft Teams and Zoom, but it also plays nice with OBS and Nvidia Studio. Tweak zoom, white balance, contrast, and saturation using the EPOS Connect software. The software interface is user-friendly, and devoid of unnecessary complexities.
Under favourable lighting conditions, the picture quality is exceptional, featuring sharp details, accurate colours, and a broad field of view. The 4K resolution at 30 fps is particularly well-suited for YouTube content creation, while the 1080p at 60 fps excels for streaming purposes. However, like many webcams, the S6's sensor remains susceptible to fluctuations in lighting.
In low-light scenarios, the S6 performs respectably, maintaining colour fidelity and clarity, especially at 4K resolution. Though some noise is evident in darker areas, it's not overly distracting—particularly in 4K, though more noticeable in 1080p. I did observe some ghosting in OBS recordings under low-light conditions at 4K 30 fps, which did diminish when I scaled down to 1080p 60 fps.
One thing to watch out for is the broad field of view. It's honestly a bit too much for my taste—too wide, revealing too much of the environment behind me. Now, if you're using the S6 on a laptop up close, that isn't as much of an issue but on a desktop setup, it's a lot. The digital zoom doesn't help, and there's no cropping feature either. So, if you're gunning for privacy on Zoom, you'll need to play around with positioning.
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✅ You want 4K streaming and content creation without breaking the bank: It works seamless across Windows PC and Mac and plays nicely with OBS Studio, Zoom and Teams.
Don't buy if...
❌ If you want to produce professional content: As good as the S6 is, there’s some issues that stop it from being a main camera for anyone who wants to produce quality video for editing and grading.
❌ You fear going without future support: With EPOS winding down as a business into 2024 the likelihood of future driver support is pretty low.
And those dual noise-cancelling microphones flanking the lens? They're good, picking up sound in a 180° arc in front of the camera. They capture my voice without needing me to speak unnaturally loudly—unlike with the Logitech StreamCam. However, the noise-cancellation can struggle to keep up with any sound coming from behind you so noisy spots like a bustling café come through. This will also lead to a bit of compression fuzz when the mics try to cancel it out. They’re a step up from laptop mics, but there’s still room for improvement.
The EPOS S6 checks a lot of boxes for me—I love its minimalist style, plug-and-play simplicity, and superb picture quality stand out. Setup and usage are a breeze, and even novices can achieve an appealing OBS stream without hassle. The S6's versatile design caters to both desktop and mobile scenarios, and the inclusion of a sturdy carry case is a thoughtful touch for mobile users. While I may not be a streamer, the S6 certainly holds potential for enhancing my personal YouTube content creation endeavours.
The dual microphones, while not perfect, are capable within appropriate conditions. Low-light performance remains a challenge, but it's far from a dealbreaker. But all in all, the S6 takes the crown as my favorite 4K webcam for now. It strikes the perfect balance between style and performance. If you're venturing into streaming or content creation, the EPOS S6 is a no-brainer. Just remember, future support could well be an issue, and you'll need to invest in some decent lighting if you're burning the midnight oil.