Opal, a camera startup that aims to bring DSLR quality to the webcam, has a new offering designed specifically for laptops. The company announced the Opal Tadpole yesterday via a press release, and it looks to solve some of the major problems with Opal’s first webcam. That model, the Opal C1, was large and wasn’t even compatible with PCs. Now, the Opal Tadpole is an impressively-small webcam that has a built-in clip for mounting on a laptop. Despite the small form factor, the Opal Tadpole still packs a 4K sensor that should bring stunning picture quality. There are also a few other neat features, like a mute/unmute button right on the USB-C plug.
Webcams designed for laptops are gaining popularity these days. That’s because even the best laptop webcams underwhelm in terms of quality, even compared to a smartphone or tablet. As more people work from home or take video calls on-the-go, there’s a greater need for high-quality mobile webcams. Some smartphone manufacturers have made software that takes advantage of your phone’s great cameras, like Apple’s Continuity Camera and Motorola’s Ready For. However, Opal is taking a different approach. Its new Opal Tadpole webcam simplifies the process, with a tiny footprint and an easy way to connect.
How is the Opal Tadpole unique?
Opal says that the Tadpole is the smallest webcam ever, and also claims that it’s the first to be made for laptops and tablets specifically. As far as the dimensions go, that seems to be about right. It measures to be 1.2 inches square, and it only weighs 35 grams. The built-in camera clip attaches right to your laptop’s display without the need for an additional mount. Due to the small form factor and light build, it’s hard to imagine a smaller way to get better quality. Opal is using a 4K, 48MP Sony IMX582 sensor that is sure to dwarf the quality of any inbuilt laptop webcam.
Perhaps the coolest feature of the Opal Tadpole is the mute sensor, which is built into the USB-C cable. Just a single cable is required to connect the Tadpole to your laptop or tablet, but it does more than just that. The mute/unmute button on the USB-C plug gives you quick access to this function right near your keyboard, making it easy to change your microphone’s setting. It uses a capacitive touch sensor, so the mute button isn’t overtly visible until you start to use it.
The Opal Tadpole is available for purchase now, with a retail price of $175. It works with Mac and PC, and includes access to the Opal Composer app on Mac.
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