Clear video with autofocus feature to improve visibility. Can zoom, pan, and tilt to capture more dynamic videos. The built-in mic provides solid sound quality. Has plenty of additional features such as auto light correction and an adjustable field of view.
Produces banding problems and requires additional software to work in high resolution for Mac users.
Its lightweight build makes it easy to mount on thin devices, yet still strong enough to mount onto tripods or desks. Simple, plug-and-play setup. Decent video quality along with 30 FPS makes it a solid streaming webcam and ideal for video calls.
The built-in microphone leaves a bit to be desired. Needs natural or ring light for best performance.
Built specifically to work alongside streaming cards. Has 720p/60 FPS for smooth video and 1080p/30 FPS for a clearer picture. Built-in light with adjustable brightness keeps the user in focus. Also shoots clear video in dark spaces without grain.
Some users report compatibility issues on their PC brands.
Autofocus works well. Provides 4K UHD video and has 2 microphones for better audio capture. Includes security features such as a privacy cover. Works with USB 2.0 to improve compatibility.
Provided tripod is not the best. It’s big, so it might be too large for some laptops.
Customize the direction of your audio and range of vision based on personal preferences. Users can manually pull up the privacy cover for peace of mind. Automatically adjusts the camera to suit various light conditions, making sure you're visible even in dim areas. Specialized dual mics reduce background noise.
Some users are not a big fan of the color balance, which often leans towards red.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Webcams first became popular several years ago when laptops with built-in webcams didn’t exist. You needed to buy a free-standing webcam and hook it up to your computer to record or stream video. Although they’re not as popular as they once were, an external webcam remains a much better option for recording or streaming high-quality video than a built-in webcam on a laptop.
External webcams typically have a higher-quality lens to record or stream video in high-definition at a fast frame rate. Getting a webcam is a good idea if you often video collaborate with school peers or co-workers or give online presentations. It’s also apt for content creators such as vloggers, podcasters and gaming streamers.
There are many things to consider before buying a webcam, which also affects its price. For example, high-end webcams can often record in at least a 1080p full high-definition resolution at a frame rate of at least 60 frames per second. Some webcams can stream or record video in 4K and have image-enhancing features for adjusting contrast and brightness based on the lighting in your environment.
The good thing about webcams is they’re relatively easy to set up and use; all you need to do is connect one to a computer, and it’s ready to go. Sometimes there’s software you can download to manage image and audio settings.
We tested the Logitech Brio 4K Webcam and found it to be a terrific all-around camera for any user. It can record and stream video in 4K and features built-in dual noise-canceling microphones so your conversation is clear and unaffected by external background noise. We also put the Logitech C920x HD Pro Webcam to the test and found it to be a reliable choice for less than half the price of the Brio.
The Logitech Brio 4K Webcam is a high-end webcam that’s suitable for video collaboration at home or in the office. In our testing, we were especially blown away by the HDR technology for auto-adjusting picture quality — no matter how bad the lighting was, the picture was still sharp and clear.
The Brio has two built-in microphones with noise-canceling technology, so those on the other side can hear you clearly without any external noise interrupting the call. It offers a 5x HD zoom, and you can record 4K video at 90 frames per second.
There are three pre-set field of view positions: 90, 78 and 65 degrees, and you can use the Logi Tune desktop app to adjust the focus, whether you want it directly on you or with more emphasis on the background environment.
This webcam delivers quality video streaming and is a solid option for most users. It records and streams in full HD resolution at 30 frames per second if you use Skype and at a standard HD resolution with other popular video calling apps. The built-in microphones are positioned on either side of the webcam, allowing them to capture natural sound for crystal-clear conversations.
During testing, we loved that the premium autofocus adjusts to provide a consistent high-definition image, and it has a sensor that automatically adjusts picture quality based on lighting, meaning you’ll still be visible even in a dim or poorly lit room. It’s compatible with operating systems as old as Windows 7, and it works with macOS 10.6 or later, Chrome OS and Android v 5.0 or later.
If you don’t mind the bulkier build of this webcam over some of the more compact webcams we recommend, you’ll be impressed with its flexibility and video quality. It records and streams in 720p HD resolution and uses TrueColor technology to automatically sharpen images and adjust the exposure for a brighter picture in dark environments.
It’s compatible with Windows operating systems as old as Windows 7 and Mac computers running OSX v10.7 or later. Plus, although it only has a 5-megapixel lens, it takes good still shots, and the 73-degree field of view allows you to capture more of your background. Other premium features include digital panning, tilt, 4x digital zoom, auto-focus, and a built-in noise-cancelation microphone.
This webcam surprised us with its superb functionality and features and is a terrific bargain pick. It can record in a full HD resolution at 30 frames per second or a standard HD resolution at 60 frames per second. It has an accurate auto-focus function, so you don’t need to worry about staying dead center in front of the camera at all times.
One of the best features of this webcam not found on many others is its daylight-balanced ring light, which is helpful for recording or streaming in poorly lit rooms and an excellent tool for content creators such as vloggers and video podcasters. The brightness can be adjusted by rotating the ring, and the camera automatically reduces graininess for superior performance in dark environments.
Although it’s not made by a top computer electronics brand such as Logitech or Microsoft, you’d be hard-pressed to find a webcam that can stream and record in 4K at such a low price. It has an 8-megapixel sensor and boasts automatic light correction and WDR technology, enhancing the color depth and brightness if you’re using it in a dark room.
It has an auto-focus feature and a wide-angle field of view that spans 80 degrees to get more of your environment and background in a single frame. The dual-microphone setup helps it pick up your voice and reduce background sounds, making the conversation crystal-clear even in noisy environments. Plus, it comes with a privacy cover to protect the lens and an adjustable tripod.
The name says it all: this camera is perfect for content creators who need to record or stream high-quality video. Whether you video record your podcasts, make YouTube videos or are a vlogger, this webcam won’t disappoint thanks to its ability to stream in a 1080p full HD resolution at 60 frames per second with an auto-focus function that works from 10 centimeters away and beyond.
The intelligent exposure feature enhances the picture quality, so it looks sharp no matter how poor the lighting conditions are when recording or streaming. It can be mounted to achieve a portrait or landscape frame orientation and it’s optimized for popular live streaming software such as Open Broadcaster Software, XSplit and Streamlabs OBS.
This webcam is the most affordable on our list, selling for about $50, but it’s a bargain with many fine features. There are more expensive webcams that don’t record in full HD, which this one does. Not only that, but the range of this webcam is impressive as images retain their sharpness for up to 13 feet away. It also captures high-quality video at a wide angle of up to 110 degrees.
It has built-in noise-canceling microphones, so you needn’t worry about background noise obscuring your conversation. Also, setup is simple, as all you need to do is plug it into your computer’s USB port, and you can position it on a monitor, laptop or tripod effortlessly thanks to its convenient mounting clip.
We researched the top webcams and checked out two webcams in our Testing Lab to determine if they were high-quality products. We tested the Logitech Brio 4K Webcam and the Logitech C920X HD Pro Webcam.
If you purchase a single webcam that you intend to connect via cable to a computer or tablet, you’ll use a standalone webcam. You can expect a higher resolution video from a standalone webcam versus a webcam built into a laptop.
Security webcams are designed to work in tandem, covering an entire room or building. Modern security webcams use a Wi-Fi connection to record directly to the cloud, and they may connect to a hard drive on the network, which stores the video for some time.
Many external webcams record at what is known as standard HD, or 720p. More expensive webcams can render video in full HD, which is a 1080p resolution, and advanced webcams can do so in 4K, which offers a resolution almost four times that of full HD. The higher the resolution, the more detailed and clear the video, but frame rate and lighting conditions also play an essential role in the quality of a video.
The frame rate essentially determines how smooth a video looks. A video recorded with a low frame rate, typically less than 30 frames per second, can look choppy and may make it challenging to make out specific details. The best webcams can stream and record video at a high frame rate of at least 60 frames per second.
Some lenses are plastic and yield a lower-quality video than a glass lens. A webcam with a glass lens will cost more, but the quality improvement will be worth it.
Some webcams have a microphone built right into the camera. If you opt for a webcam with built-in mics, consider one with a dual-microphone setup that offers noise cancellation for crystal-clear sound in stereo. Some webcams will accommodate an external microphone that can be placed closer to the speaker for increased clarity.
Some webcam software includes the ability to use motion-sensing technology, meaning the camera will turn on and start recording video as soon as movement is detected in the camera’s range.
Getting the proper focus can be challenging, but most webcams have an auto-focus feature that automatically gets the subject in focus even while moving. For example, if you move slightly from the center of the field of view to the left or right, most webcams will automatically self-adjust to get you back into focus.
If you’re in a video call, but your room isn’t well-lit, you might experience poor video quality and be hard to see. The best webcams have an auto-adjustment feature that filters light based on the background lighting so that you’re easy to see even if your environment is relatively dark.
Field of view refers to how wide the viewing angle is of a webcam lens, and most have a field of view between 30 and 60 degrees. A wider field of view means your webcam can capture more of your environment without having to adjust its position and without any distortion.
You may not always have a quiet environment when you’re on a video call or video conferencing, so using a webcam with noise-canceling technology is a big plus. The best webcams have dual-microphone setups that deliver crystal-clear audio quality by drowning out unwanted background noise.
A. A basic webcam can cost as little as $25, while a more sophisticated model might run you over $100. If you want a model with something beyond the basics, expect to spend anywhere from $75-$200.
A. The camera embedded in your laptop or tablet should work fine for most casual users. Those who need a few more features or a higher resolution will want to consider a standalone webcam.
A. Some webcams are specifically designed to be used as a security camera, and you can often access these cameras from just about anywhere. A webcam at your front door lets you see who’s ringing your doorbell, and some webcams have built-in microphones and speakers that allow you to talk to visitors at your door even if you aren’t home.
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