The Meeting Owl 3 is a 360-degree meeting camera that images the entire meeting room at once and highlights participants who are speaking. This gives those who call in from a different location a better overview of all colleagues in the normal meeting room. The ideal product for your meeting room?
Owl Labs Meeting Owl 3
Price € 1149,-
cpu Qualcomm Snapdragon 605
Camera 360 degree image 1080p
Microphones 8 omnidirectional microphones
Speaker Three speakers
Connections USB-C, micro HDMI (microphone connection)
Dimensions 11.1 x 11.1 (circle) x 27.2 cm
Weight 1.2 kilograms
8 Score 80
- Easy in use
- Flexible to place
- funny look
- Works as promised
- Bit of a cable gang
- Always need a PC
- Sufficient image quality
The Meeting Owl 3 is the successor to the Meeting Owl Pro and is a 360-degree meeting camera. The device has the size of a large bluetooth speaker and, apart from the camera on the top, also resembles the typical smart speaker. This is because the cylinder is largely covered with fabric. There is a cut in the fabric on two sides with the Owl Labs logo underneath.
When the camera is active, two luminous eyes appear next to both notches and the notch acts as a nose. The device is then, as the name suggests, an owl and that is funny. This also gives the camera a bit more personality, making it perhaps less uncomfortable to talk to.
An important criticism of the previous Meeting Owl Pro has been improved: the Meeting Owl 3 is connected via USB-C. A usb-c to usb-c cable is included, an adapter to usb-a is missing. The USB cable is two meters long and the cable to the power supply is one and a half meters, after which the power cord is also about one and a half meters long. That separate power supply is of the size of a laptop power supply and does not quite match the beautiful appearance of the device itself.
All in all, you have enough cable length not to get into a mess quickly. Both the USB-c port and power port are concealed on the bottom. Beautiful once it is in place, but it does take some fiddling to get the plugs into the gates. There is also a screw thread on the bottom to install the Owl on a tripod or upside down on the ceiling.
Easy in use
It is not very difficult to use the meeting Owl. The device is used by your computer as a standard webcam, speaker and microphone are recognized and can be selected as the camera and sound source in the video conferencing software you use. The computer itself does not have to do anything for the image processing, all intelligence happens on the Owl itself.
However, you must always connect the Meeting Owl to a computer to use it, it cannot function independently as a client for example Microsoft Teams. That would have been useful in certain situations.
Manage via app
You do need a smartphone for the installation with which you can activate the Owl. You can also use the app (for iOS or Android) to adjust the settings. The app connects to the Meeting Owl via bluetooth and therefore only works if you are relatively close.
In addition, you can download a simple application for Windows or macOS that works as soon as you connect the camera via USB. With this application you can adjust the same settings as with the smartphone app. Unfortunately, there is no web interface running on the device itself. Too bad, because that would be useful if users don’t have that app installed on their smartphone or laptop.
The Windows application is in the Microsoft Store, so users of boarded up business laptops can usually install it.
Because the Meeting Owl is not very big and is easy to install, you can use it in different rooms without too much effort. It is a bit difficult to put the USB cable and power supply into the connection at the bottom. Of course you can also leave the cables connected while you move the Owl.
Picking up the Meeting Owl doesn’t feel very solid because practically the entire device is covered with fabric and that covering gives a little bit. It is difficult to pick up the device without gripping the fabric cover.
If you have a slightly longer table, the microphone may not pick up all participants equally well. If that is the case, you can connect an extra microphone. You can buy these separately for 349 euros. The Expansion Mic is, like the Owl itself, equipped with a mute button so that participants sitting near the microphone can also mute the sound.
The Meeting Owl has a connection on the front for this, which is normally hidden under a rubber block. The connection is of the micro-HDMI format, but has nothing to do with video. The supplied cable is about two and a half meters long. Unfortunately, when using the Expansion Mic, you still have a cable running across your table.
The Meeting Owl 3 uses a Full HD image sensor and broadcasts a 1080p video signal. The image itself has good quality, although the camera does suffer from lighter parts such as windows. They are displayed a bit. The image of the featured people is perhaps less sharp than you might think. This is probably because the Full HD image is used for the entire panoramic image and the people in the picture are a crop from that image.
The Meeting Owl tries to visualize the people who are actively participating in the conversation at that moment. A maximum of three people can be featured at the same time. Participants are allowed to sit no more than two and a half meters from the Owl in order to be picked up properly. In practice, you will be able to meet with a maximum of twelve people. Optionally, a second Meeting Owl can be linked for larger rooms or groups.
Normally, in a strip at the top of the screen, the entire 360-degree image is visible and one to three crops are shown below. You can disable that 360 degree overview via the app, but in our opinion you will lose one of the most useful options.
You can also set up via the app that part of the room should be ignored. Handy to cover a door, for example, so that the Owl does not unintentionally focus on it. You can adjust the size of the zone to be ignored yourself. Note that it is not the intention to move the Owl. You can also use the Owl to give a presentation. By moving it a little further away from you, the camera will automatically follow you as you walk and that works surprisingly well.
The great strength of the Meeting Owl 3 is that this video conferencing system is very easy to use: you connect it via USB to a PC or laptop and can then select it as a normal camera. All functionality then works automatically, in daily use you do not actually need the app.
This simple operation may be a disadvantage for some users, you always need a PC to connect and use the Owl. In many cases, this will be a laptop belonging to someone who participates in the meeting, so that you can never really neatly hide the cables in your room and it always looks a bit messy.
On the other hand, you can use it in any room. It is of course a real business product, few consumers will spend 1149 euros on a camera to make video calls.