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Review: Logitech Reach

One of the best camera arm mounts I’ve ever used is hampered by its middling camera.
Front and closeup views of a small black camera mounted to an Lshaped stand
Photograph: Eric Ravenscraft; Getty Images

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Arm base is heavy and stable. Easy to adjust the height, angle, and extension of the camera. Rotating ring and pivoting ball joint lets you easily put the camera where it needs to go.
Only supports Logitech Streamcam, a middling 1080p webcam. Finnicky orientation detection. Struggles to focus at short distances.

If you went to school before the 2010s, you might’ve been taught with the help of an overhead projector. These gigantic light cannons blasted photons upward through typically transparent worksheets, through a lens and a mirror, projecting the image onto a screen so everyone could see. I can only imagine my teachers back then wishing they had something like Logitech’s Reach to make that process so much easier. Well, mostly.

The Reach is a unique product in Logitech’s lineup. First announced in September 2023 as an Indiegogo project and successfully funded within five minutes, it’s shipping to backers in July for a retail price of $350. The Reach is an articulated camera arm designed to make it easier to get overhead views of objects sitting on a table while keeping your hands free. It’s handy for showing off books and worksheets in a classroom, demonstrating how to do crafts for a YouTube channel, or giving a bird’s-eye view of a board game.

The arm itself is excellent. It’s easy to tilt the camera arm up or down, extend it farther from the base, and even slide it higher or lower off the table. It’s an ideal way to get overhead footage of almost anything, except for one pretty substantial problem: It’s designed to work only with Logitech's Streamcam, a webcam that’s not great.

A Thoughtful Camera Arm

First things first. The arm is the star of the Logitech Reach and it’s an absolute delight to use and dead simple to install. There are two mounting options: a sturdy clamp that attaches to the side of a desk or a heavy base plate you can set on top of a table.

The Logitech Reach with the base.Photograph: Eric Ravenscraft

And when I say heavy, I mean heavy, which is a good thing. The base plate is so hefty that it counterbalances the weight of the entire arm and camera, even when fully extended. This keeps it from falling over or even tilting. It’s so effective that the only reason I can think of to use the clamp is if you don’t have space on your table for the base.

The arm slides into the base with a metal peg that rotates freely and can spin 360 degrees. The USB-C cable that runs to the camera fits into a ridge along the length of the camera arm so neatly that it’s almost invisible. Since the camera and its cable are already set up, it takes only a couple of seconds to place the base plate on a table, slide the arm into the base, and plug the cable into a laptop, and you’re ready to go.

The arm itself is so smooth it almost feels unreal. You can rotate the top section of the arm forward to a 90-degree angle from the lower section without fiddling with any controls or locks. It just moves easily into place. Likewise, the top section of the arm can slide forward and back, extending up to around 18 inches away from the base, and it stays in place. Again, no extra buttons, knobs, or clamps involved.

Photograph: Eric Ravenscraft

The only button on the entire device is on the lower section of the arm, near the base. Hold this in and slide the upper section up or down, raising it from around 5.5 to 19 inches off the table. Release the button and it locks in place. This flexibility makes it easy to reposition the camera on the fly—even in the middle of recording—without touching anything but the camera itself. Crucially, Logitech also has a ring around the camera that rotates 360 degrees as you move the camera on its horizontal plane, which helps the camera keep its orientation.

A ball joint on the tip of the arm gives you an extra range of motion. You can tilt the camera up to point it at your face or adjust it to get a different angle on the project you’re showing off on the table.

Use this to adjust the height of the Reach.Photograph: Eric Ravenscraft

With all these features combined, this is the least hassle I’ve ever had repositioning a camera in my life. While using it to record a crafting project, I moved the camera to show off exactly what I wanted to focus on without interrupting my flow. The camera goes where I want. It’s the closest I’ve gotten to having a camera operator on set without having to involve another person.

The only problem is, well, I can’t ignore the only problem any longer.

A Subpar Camera

If the Streamcam is unambiguously positioned in either landscape or portrait mode, the Logi Capture software doesn’t seem to have too much trouble figuring out which mode to use. The problem is an overhead camera is, by necessity, ambiguous on that front. If the camera is tilted ever so slightly in one direction, the software interprets it as portrait mode. Tilt it the other way a bit and it snaps back to landscape.

Photograph: Eric Ravenscraft

That’s a major problem for a camera arm whose primary selling point is how easily you can reposition it. On top of this, the 1080p sensor—yes, 1080p—is somewhat grainy, even with adequate lighting, and it struggles to focus if the subject gets too close. The focus issue isn't much of an issue if you’re using it as a webcam for conference calls, but it becomes a bigger problem if you’re trying to mount a camera a few inches above a table, trying to focus on a book.

Unfortunately, the Logitech Reach is only compatible with the Streamcam. If I could substitute this camera for literally any other—even another Logitech webcam!—this would be my new favorite camera accessory. But I can’t. So it’s not.

That said, I think the Logitech Reach has its place for some people. The orientation issue can be solved via a software update. (Why can’t I lock the orientation in Logi Capture?) If you can get past that, the camera’s quality is perfectly serviceable for classrooms or as a secondary camera for YouTube productions.

At $350, it’s not the cheapest way to mount a webcam. There are less-expensive options you can use with most webcams (or phones), and while they may not have the smooth motion of the Reach, you can also pick a camera that best suits your needs.