Using Logitech BRIO 4K webcam with Windows Hello

I’ve recently started working more from home. Family is keeping me quite busy, so I try to optimize the little time I can by not traveling to the office each morning. This isn’t something new for me, as I’ve had a workstation at home for about 30 years, butI’ve spent more time and energy on having a pleasant setup at home for working.

The setup is something that works quite well for me: a dedicated, always-on server-grade workstation with 3 displays. I’ve tried everything from a single, very wide display all the way to 6 displays, and I’ve found that 3 displays work best for me.

When I’m on the go I use my Surface Laptop, which I wrote about in length last year. It has built-in Windows Hello support, which for non-IT people typically means you can automatically log in with your face.

My phone, a OnePlus 5, has a similar feature that allows unlocking with just a mean stare. I’ve gotten used to using Windows Hello when I’m visiting customers or traveling for conferences with the Surface Laptop, so I started searching for a solution to use a home with my workstation.

Windows Hello

Windows Hello supports PIN, fingerprint readers and webcams for providing strong (two-factor) authentication for Windows and selected apps. Once you have a supported device, setting it up is almost too easy: simply use <Win> + I to open Windows 10 Settings, and select Accounts > Sign-in options and there you have it.

In my experience, Windows Hello is all about eliminating repetitive typing of passwords, to avoid keyboard hijacking or someone looking over your shoulder to figure it out.

There’s also Windows Hello for Business, that adds support for certificate-based authentication. IT admins can centrally manage the settings via Group Policy and Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools such as Microsoft’s Intune. If you’re interested in understanding it more deeply, there’s a fine white paper published by Microsoft IT on the capabilities and specifics for Intune.

Finding a device for Windows Hello

I knew I needed a device to enable Windows Hello on my workstation. Preferrably a webcam, as fingerprint readers are slightly awkward when your PC is sitting on the floor and the closest USB port is about an arm’s length away. My old Surface Pro 4

Searching for “Windows Hello” through microsoft.com we can see what the recommended devices seem to be: a YubiKey USB key, the Logitech BRIO 4K webcam, and a few fingerprint readers.

Searching further, the modern keyboard from Microsoft also has a fingerprint reader embedded. I did try this keyboard at a local store but felt it was far too non-responsive for longer typing sessions. Also, having a Finnish/Swedish keyboard layout has its own small but sometimes frustrating challenges.

So, I set to look at the webcams. There’s a Razer Stargazer, which received a horrifying 2.5 stars (out of five). I’m also not in the gaming market, so I felt the Razer is a bit too gimmicky for me. I needed something robust, something that simply works, and I can forget about it.

The Logitech BRIO webcam eventually became my choice. It’s a bit on the expensive side, at $186.99 on Amazon today. A regular webcam runs for about $50 to $100, so the Windows Hello certification might explain some of the premium in price.

(Image by Logitech)

I’ve had a principle on not buying anything that costs less than a $100, if there are more expensive options around. Typically, the gadgets that sell for $40 or so are of lesser quality and eventually they break or simply stop working. I’m happy to spend a little more time saving up, and then purchasing something I use for years.

Setting up Logitech BRIO with Windows Hello

The device uses USB-C to USB 3.0, but it is compatible with USB 2.0 as you would expect. I plugged it in and positioned the camera on top of my my center display.

It comes equipped with a plastic lens cover, which I normally keep in place. You can place the cover so that it does not block the infrared sensor that Windows Hello uses as part of facial recognition.

When the cover is in place, it looks like pretty clean.

Setting up Windows Hello through Windows 10 Settings, was quick and simple as expected.

For some reason, during detection of your face the Logitech BRIO is not capable of actually showing a live video. It simply looks like this for about 5 seconds:

And then you’re done. It’s a little bit unenthusiastic, but then again, many things in life are and they still work as expected.

So, does it work then? Yes. Simple as that. I approach my desk in my study room, and before I have time to sit down I’m logged in. At first, I wasn’t sure if I locked my PC or not, but I have Windows 10 configured to automatically lock after a period of inactivity.

In my experience, Windows Hello using facial recognition with the Logitech BRIO webcam is as quick to identify the user as with the camera that Surface Laptop has built in.

I help organizations create secur ecloud and hybrid solutions using Microsoft Azure and Office 365. I’m a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional & Microsoft Regional Director. Based in Helsinki, Finland.