Anker’s Getting Into Affordable Home Office Gadgets

Illustration for article titled Anker’s Getting Into Affordable Home Office Gadgets
Photo: Sam Rutherford

Anker makes a huge range of affordable household gadgets, including battery packs, security cams, wireless charging stands, and more, but now the company is stepping into the home office with the launch of a new AnkerWork line.

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Many people have shifted to working from home during the pandemic, and a lot of jobs are expected to remain remote even when returning to the office is possible post-pandemic, so Anker’s pivot into home office and business gear seems will-timed. And like other Anker gadgets, its new AnkerWork devices still embody the same simple, no-frills approach with affordable pricing you see from Anker’s other devices.

Illustration for article titled Anker’s Getting Into Affordable Home Office Gadgets
Photo: Sam Rutherford

AnkerWork’s first new device is a key part of any modern home office: the PowerConf C300 webcam. At $130, the C300 seems poised to undercut Logitech’s $170 Streamcam, offering similar specs, including 1080p/60fps video recording, dual mics, and AI-powered tracking technology to help you keep your face centered in the frame.

The C300 even supports HDR and has an adjustable field of view, with three different settings for close (78 degrees), normal (90 degrees), and ultra-wide (115 degrees) to best suit your video-calling needs. Along with support for Zoom, Teams, and all the other major video-conferencing apps, Anker said the C300 will also support livestreaming software like XSplit, OBS, and others.

Sadly, Anker doesn’t have a release date for the PowerConf S500 yet, so I haven’t been able to test it out.
Sadly, Anker doesn’t have a release date for the PowerConf S500 yet, so I haven’t been able to test it out.
Image: Anker

If your home office meetings revolve more around big conference calls, AnkerWork also has the PowerConf S500 portable speaker. (FYI, the reasoning behind AnkerWork’s naming scheme is that “S” stands for speaker and “C” stands for camera.) Building off of Anker’s previous PowerConf Bluetooth Speakerphone, the S500 has four mics to help capture 360-degree audio, along with a 10-watt speaker and a built-in battery that delivers up to 16 hours of unplugged call time. The S500 is designed for people who often need to take group calls while traveling and supports meetings of up to 12 people at a time, though you can daisy chain a pair of S500s together to increase the number of participants to 16 or more.

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Illustration for article titled Anker’s Getting Into Affordable Home Office Gadgets
Photo: Sam Rutherford

Unfortunately, Anker hasn’t released a price or release date for the S500 just yet. However, I have had a chance to play around with the C300 and based on my initial testing, I like what I see so far, including good image quality for the price. Out of the box, the C300 doesn’t need any additional software to appear as a generic webcam for Zoom, Google Meet, and the like. However, you will need to install Anker’s app if you want support for the AI-powered auto framing or the AI-enhanced color tuning. Anker’s app was still in beta during my testing, so I didn’t get a chance to check out more advanced features like HDR and video recording.

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The C300's design is straightforward while still including all the basics like an adjustable stand with built-in tripod trading and a USB-C port and cable that comes with a USB-A adapter for use with older computers.

All webcams should have privacy shutters that are this simple and easy to use.
All webcams should have privacy shutters that are this simple and easy to use.
Photo: Sam Rutherford
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I’m also a big fan of the adhesive privacy shield that comes with the C300, which has a simple shutter you can slide over the webcam’s lens whenever you want to make extra sure your feed is blocked. It might not sound like much, but compared to the huge lens cap that comes with Razer’s Kiyo Pro (which doesn’t have a place to store the lens cap when not in use), Anker’s slider shutter is a more useful and elegant solution for making sure you’re not being spied on.

Anker said it expects to release more Anker Work devices throughout the year. The PowerConf S500's release date is still up in the air, but the PowerConf C300 is available today for $130.

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Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

DISCUSSION

misterchief81
misterchief81

$130 still feels like a bit more than Anker should be charging for that camera. Especially this far into the pandemic when most people have probably already purchased a camera if they needed one. I get that it’s still undercutting Logitech’s price by a nice amount, but when you look at the price of their Eufy security cameras (I understand they are two completely different products), it still seems high. $99 would have been the sweet spot, but knowing Anker, they’ll have a sale within the next month anyway.