Hey friends, Andrew here – hope you’re well.
Most webcams are relatively big and chunky, it’s not something you can put in your pocket.
But this is possibly the tinniest portable webcam that has pretty great video and audio for its tiny size.
I’ve heard a lot of great things about this webcam.
The webcam is appropriately named the Opal Tadpole.
It’s a follow-up to the Opal C1 – you might’ve seen me use it in my videos and that webcam is genuinely the best webcam I’ve personally used yet. It’s still the main webcam I use to take video calls in the office.
But, the Tadpole is the more affordable, more portable version of the C1 and it’s finally compatible with both Macs and Windows laptops.
Let’s see if this webcam is worth adding to an everyday work bag and travel setup.
Design / Size Compared to Other Webcams
Firstly, when I say this thing is small, it’s properly small, weighs less than 50 grams, and is about 1.5 inches long.
To give you some real-life perspective, it is next to my iPhone 15 Pro and is still slightly smaller than the camera notch!
Next to desktop webcams and the previous Opal C1, you can see how portable the Tadpole is in comparison.
Also, the USB cable conveniently doubles as a wrist strap and the case is a great way to carry the webcam to the next remote meeting.
The Tadpole’s slim form factor and unique design means it’s made specifically for laptops only – it clips onto a laptop shell rather than sit on top of it like most webcams do, so there’s no chance of it falling off.
Image Quality & Comparison
Because it’s uniquely designed for laptops, the whole point of the Opal Tadpole is to replace a laptop’s in-built webcam, not a desktop webcam.
So let’s compare the image quality of a MacBook to that of a Windows laptop.
In comparison to the MacBook M2 Air’s 1080P webcam, there’s a noticeable improvement in vibrance and clarity.
On my Windows laptop with a 720P webcam, there’s a night and day difference in resolution and detail with fewer artifacts.
The adjustable bokeh on the Tadpole is also a big factor in that nice-professional looking touch. I have mine set to about an aperture of 3.2 and I find it gives a nice depth of field look without being over the top of unnatural.
It is a plug-and-play webcam for both Macs and Windows and I’ve found it does a great job in producing realistic colors right out of the box.
But it’s worth mentioning the optional companion app, Opal Composer, is a great way to tweak image settings to get the most out of the Tadpole.
Even if you stack it up against its bigger and older brother, the C1: image quality is honestly quite similar, so that’s really impressive considering the price and size difference.
The tests aren’t surprising: it’s a small webcam with a big sensor – there aren’t many laptops on the market that can natively compete with the Sony F1.8 lens and 48MP sensor on the Tadpole, although it’s binned to 1080P so there’s no 4K capability.
You could say Apple’s Continuity Cam is the same solution, which does produce an insanely good image, but the Tadpole is far more convenient, portable and it’s a dedicated webcam, so my iPhone is still there and available to use instead of being locked up as a webcam.
Audio & Extra Features
Now, let’s move on to its on-board microphone.
It’s made for busy environments like cafes and co-working spaces because it uses a single-directional mic that points directly at you and works well to pick up my voice only.
I turned some music on my Sonos speaker and it didn’t pick it up. I tried to record a voice behind the webcam, and it didn’t pick anything up, so it works really well.
Also, the genius tap-to-mute feature turns the USB cable itself into a tappable instant mute button.
It’s convenient when your partner accidentally walks in on you during a meeting, and by using the built-in mute button, you’ll still appear unmuted to others on the Zoom call.
After weeks of using the Tadpole in the studio and also out in the real world, this is a webcam I’ll be keeping and using as part of my travel and remote work setup.
The only two gripes I’ve found were the fact that it gets quite hot to the touch when using the webcam for long periods and 4K capability would be nice to have, considering how big the sensor is on the Tadpole.
Otherwise, everything’s optimized for the best portable webcam experience: it’s tiny and light, the noise-cancellation on the microphone is as good as it gets, and most importantly, it’s a genuine step up from just about all in-built laptop webcams.
It builds upon the Opal C1 being half the price at $175, it’s also significantly smaller, and yet its image quality is comparable to the C1.
If you’re someone who not only takes a lot of video calls but also remote work is a big part of your work week, this is a portable webcam that is made for you. And Opal’s extending a pretty generous 25% discount code for our readers using the code AEZ through this link!