Why You Should Use Webcams
Although we’re not yet living in the far-off future where all calls are made via some high-tech holographic screens, facecam calls have been possible for a while with the help of Skype and apps similar to it or even using a smartphone. Calling your relatives with high quality video available to them just feels more personal as it’s the easiest way to show grandma her grandkids or give your parents a virtual tour of your new apartment. Of course, personal calls to relatives aren’t the only thing a webcam is good for. Even job interviews can be done on your laptop since you can’t always be in the same city as your potential employer. And, even once you’re working, there’s no getting around a conference call or two, especially if the business is international. While your computer might have a built-in budget webcam that’s going to offer passable video quality, you shouldn’t settle for the basics. Especially since the recent years have brought out yet another use for the webcam and a quite lucrative one at that. We’re talking, of course, about the advent of streaming. Nowadays, you can turn on your webcam, get on Youtube or Twitch and start making money or, at least, get a small audience to watch you gaming all day long. This obviously requires high definition as the whole point of a facecam on streams is to clearly show the streamer’s emotions. So whether you’re a fan of playing games live on cam or looking for a webcam for Skype calls, we’re going to help you find the best webcam possible. Let’s take a deeper look.
The Main Features to Look for in Webcams
There are a few characteristics that make all the difference when it comes to choosing the optimal webcam. Your demands will obviously vary depending on the reason why you need the product in the first place but today we’ll assume that you’re looking to get the best on the market. In that case, you should be checking the frame rate, the high resolution specs, the extra functions like zoom and autofocus, the presence of a built-in microphone, the design (a fixing part that keeps the webcam steady on your desktop certainly wouldn’t hurt), and the lens material. While there’s a bit more, these are the key features so let’s quickly see what exactly you should be on the lookout for based on each of them.
Firstly, the issue of frame rate. We’d recommend never going below 30 fps, even if you only need the product for calling relatives. The best webcam models, though, go to 60 fps and above, which is a good fit for streamers and those want their conference calls to look more professional. Frame rate decides how smooth your movements are and is one of the few things separating clear video from a shaky mess. This characteristic will be particularly vital if you want a webcam for vlogging on Youtube or recording video of any kind, really.
Next up, the question of high resolution. You’re obviously not going to get anything more than 720p or 1080p but that’s more than enough and, we’ll be frank, this does add onto the price. But if you want the image quality to be good, going for high def is pretty much essential.
Now, the extra functions are a bit harder to pin down as they differ greatly from model to model and you can’t always know which on you’ll need ahead of the time. We recommend finding a model with an autofocus at the very least. That way the picture quality will be improved automatically and you won’t have to fiddle with the cam before you make a video call. Also, a zoom wouldn’t hurt as some cams have a wide angle of view and that’s not always practical.
Pretty much any budget webcam has a microphone but that’s yet another feature where you have to pay close attention. Don’t hesitate to read up on the techy part of things so you can see whether the microphone will have any interference or pick up your voice clearly. That’s especially vital to streamers and for work-related calls. You could, of course, go for an external microphone but that’s an additional purchase and those working on a budget should try to keep those to a minimum. Besides, great microphones aren’t such a rarity in webcams these days.
We can’t speak with 100% certainty about design features as they’re often a matter of personal preference. What we can say, though, is that the best webcam will be lightweight enough to be easily portable and yet have either a stand to keep it on your desk or a clamp to attach it to your PC monitor. Plus, while it’s not exactly a question of design but rather convenience, make sure the webcam software that’s sure to come with the product is compatible with your computer. Not all drivers will work on Mac or Windows 10 so you might have to download updates, wasting time.
Last but not least, check the lens material if you can. It’s not always specified but budget models use plastic while the best webcam manufacturers opt for glass. This guarantees better picture quality, more durability, and easier upkeep.
With all of the above in mind, let’s head on to our picks for the 9 top models of webcams.
Logitech C922 Pro Stream
- Quite affordable despite high-quality materials.
- The video here is quite high quality, up to 1080p.
- Comes with a handy tripod that’s useful if you want to set up the camera away from the PC.
- The USB cable is quite weak and tends to get twisted or snap over a few months of use.
- You’ll notice major FPS drops when the camera records in low light.
- The recording software that comes with the camera is pretty basic.
Right away, when you look at the Logitech C922’s name, you can see that it’s intended for streamers first and foremost. For one, this model has the handy background removal function so you can clip off part of the image and only transmit your face. Admittedly, there are still some issues to work out as the software does tend to cut off parts of the forehead and any hairdo more intricate than a close shave will leave it puzzled.
Luckily, the video quality here gets no complaints from us. The Logitech C922 records in 720p and 1080p, the highest definition possible. Although there is some loss of FPS when streaming video in low light, the overall quality is pretty good with a steady 60 FPS.
Although the XSplit software trial that comes with the webcam is not the best, it’s still a viable choice for streamers. And if we were to praise any of the extras you get, it’d be the tripod, which gives more freedom of placement and also makes it easier to set the cam up to point straight at your face.
Overall, this is one of the more budget-friendly options that’s still as good as what the professional streamers use for PC gaming. It’s the best webcam in terms of price vs quality correlation, offering 1080p quality, high FPS, and a clear glass lens that’s not prone to glares.
- Has a built-in ring light so you can always have a good light source for recording.
- The video resolution is quite good, especially thanks to advanced autofocus.
- Readily compatible with all popular streaming software, including OBS.
- The highest available frame rate is 30 fps, obviously not the best.
- Pretty pricey compared to similar models from the competitors.
- The cable is built-in so if it breaks you’ll have to just buy a new cam altogether.
Gamers all over the world know the Razer company and while opinions tend to vary regarding their products’ fancy features and prices, there’s no denying that they make high-quality goods. And if you’re willing to pay a bit more to get a model from a renowned brand with impressive specs, the RAZER KIYO is a very good choice.
As you’d expect, the KIYO records video in 1080p definition with razor-sharp image quality. Even though it’s pretty small, the camera’s about as capable as a camera in your iPhone. Well, that is except for one facet. Sadly, the fps here never goes above 30, which can be a problem as it makes the movement on camera a bit jerky. While 30 isn’t all that bad, we would have expected a camera as expensive as the KIYO to match its resolution to fps, reaching at least 60 fps.
But the RAZER company has, yet again, knocked it out of the park with their design choices. For one, this model has an LED light ring, perfect for beauty vloggers and streamers who like to go live at night, when keeping the overhead lights on may be a bit impractical. And, speaking of streaming, the KIYO is fully compatible with all popular streaming programs including XSplit and OBS. Our only design gripe is the fact that the connecting cable here is built into the cam so you’ll just have to buy a new model if the cord itself stops functioning.
In the end, while the higher-than-average price is a bit of a bummer, the RAZER KIYO is a quality choice for those willing to invest money into their tech. The LED light ring, the 1080p quality, and the small size make this a pretty great desktop cam.
- Quite affordable, especially when compared to models from famous brands.
- The microphone here has noise reduction so your calls or streams won’t be disrupted by a doorbell or cars passing by your window.
- The 12 megapixel camera with its glass lens picks up the image quite clearly with no distortion or blurring and records it in 1080p.
- No zoom or face tracking, which makes this less practical for vloggers and streamers.
- The 30 fps limit is a bit of a disappointment.
- The adjustable stand isn’t the most convenient and can be easily tipped over.
While we’ve mentioned that a budget webcam is usually far behind a more expensive one in terms of quality, exceptions do exist and the AUSDOM webcam is one of them. Even though it costs nearly half of what the competitors ask for their models, this cam stacks up pretty well against them.
Starting off, we’ve got to praise the fact that this tiny camera works with 12 megapixels and records video in 1080p for the highest quality possible. There’s no blurring or distortions or any kind of visual glitches, really. Now, admittedly, it does cut off at 30 fps tops, which is probably the very reason why it’s so affordable compared to other models. The 30 fps maximum isn’t that big of a deal but streamers and vloggers will likely want the 60 fps models as the number of frames matters when recording professional-looking videos.
What this model does perfectly, though, is the sound. The microphone here is quite sensitive yet its noise reduction feature blocks off any unwanted audio sources. Whether it’s a car passing by your house or annoying lawnmowers in your neighborhood, this feature will dampen the external sounds and keep the microphone picking up your voice only.
And though the AUSDOM webcam does lack fancy features such as a zoom, which are also a big bonus for Youtubers, it’s a perfectly good choice for home and office use. We do recommend hanging it on your PC monitor as the stand here is a bit too lightweight and you risk tipping the camera over otherwise.
All in all, while the AUSDOM cam isn’t perfect, it’s certainly pretty great for its price, both in video and audio quality. A mid-range camera that doesn’t disappoint with its tech specs is hard to find so don’t hesitate to pounce on this bargain.
- The USB 3.0 cable here is detachable and transmits data pretty fast.
- The 4K video quality is absolutely pristine and perfect for shooting videos that look professional without any extra steps.
- The sound is very clear even if you move a bit away from the cam itself.
- The autofocus works quite poorly, especially in low light.
- The stand is wobbly and hard to affix on particularly thin monitors.
- The privacy cover is flimsy and likely to get torn off by accident if you leave it open.
- The price is pretty steep even for a cam of this quality.
We want to address the biggest problem the Logitech BRIO has right away, namely its price. Yes, paying that much for a webcam isn’t practical for your average home user. But when you look at the fact that it records video in 4K, transmits data via a detachable USB 3.0 cable, and has a mic that’s equal in quality to a stand-alone model used by professionals, things become a bit more clear. This model is clearly aimed at those who need the best image quality possible, such as streamers and those using the cam for business calls or recording vlogs.
We can’t stress enough how high def the video here is and how clear the sound turns out. If this model had a more reasonable price and better build quality (both the stand and the privacy cover are kind of disappointing), it would have been the unquestionable best choice. As is, it’s still technically superior to most competitors but loses ground when it comes to material choice and a few of the minor features.
The Logitech company has been one of the leaders in the computer accessories market for a while but technology changes fast so we were a bit sceptical about the BRIO cam. However, this model won us over and we can safely say it’s one of the best on the market. As long as money’s not an issue and you feel like you need the best quality possible – this is the facecam for you.
Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
- Pretty much as affordable as it gets, this model will fit into anyone’s budget.
- Automatic light compensation, which means the video will look reasonably good even when you’re filming in a dark room.
- The Microsoft LifeCam software is pretty good if you want to have some effects and filters added onto your video.
- The image gets blurry, especially if there’s any movement.
- The stand can be tough to pin on a monitor.
- Can’t record above 720p, limiting quality options.
While we prefer our tech to be of the highest quality possible, we fully acknowledge that not everyone is looking to spend a hundred bucks on something as basic as a webcam. If you’re not planning to use it for vlogging or streaming, even a budget model will do just fine. With that in mind, we recommend the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000, a good example of a budget webcam that can still stack up reasonably well to its high-end competitors.
Sure, the low price demands some concessions like, for example, the max recording quality of 720p. It’s nothing too bad but this leaves the image a bit blurry, especially when trying to capture movement. We do want to praise the light compensation though as it helps keep the video looking fine even when you’re filming in the dark. And you can then use the LifeCam software to add a few filters or masks to improve quality even further.
Although the microphone on this model is nothing to write home about, it has noise reduction and picks up sound just fine. If you often find yourself repeating sentences while trying to talk to relatives on Skype, the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 will help solve that issue.
So even though there are a few minor flaws, this LifeCam HD-3000 from Microsoft is good for what it is. It’s not the best for streamers or vloggers but home users will love the low price and solid mic quality.
- Very convenient design with a reliable stand that you can clip on any monitor.
- The microphone is very good with flawless noise cancellation.
- Extra-wide field of view with 1080p quality, perfect for recording vlogs.
- Pretty pricey, though that’s to be expected from Logitech.
- The color saturation is a bit off though the quality is good.
- Lacks settings and effects such as a zoom.
Yet another high-quality model from Logitech that definitely costs above average but has the benefits to match, the C930e is thankfully not too expensive so, even though it’s clearly slated for those willing to spend hundreds on a cam, it can still be a good choice for home use.
So, let’s skip past the cost part because that’s something you have to decide for yourself. There are some objective pros here, though, such as the excellent mic quality. This model records audio with noise reduction so your videos won’t ever have external sounds that might disrupt the call or a vlog that you’ve been recording for a while.
Admittedly, we would have liked for the cam to have some more effects options. The lack of a zoom can be a problem for streamers as well as vloggers, for example. Luckily, the quality itself is excellent with 1080p video and, though the colors can be a bit off, the wide field of view lets you capture more for a more cinematic video. Filming is also made easy thanks to good design with a sturdy stand. You can both place the cam on your desk and clip it onto the monitor of your laptop or PC, depending on which angle you want to end up with.
So even though the price might scare some people off initially, we believe that the quality that the Logitech C930e brings to the table is pretty much indisputable. If you want an excellent cam that’s not in the highest tier of prices yet offers perfect audio, high def recording, and smart design, this is a very smart choice.
Genius WideCam F100
- The extra-wide field of view is a cool feature for video calls and vlogging.
- The cam records video at 1080p with minimal lag even during sharp movements.
- The microphone on this model dampens all unwanted external sounds.
- The price is pretty good for a cam of this level of quality.
- The image quality dips considerably in low light.
- The FPS is locked at 30 frames max.
- The USB cable is a bit flimsy though it’s thankfully detachable.
If you’re on a tight budget but still want to get a high-quality webcam, there are always a few options. We’d recommend the affordable WideCam F100 model from the Genius company. Although it’s not perfect, it’s a viable choice for home use as well as some basic vlogging.
For example, most budget models film in 720p at most but this one guarantees 1080p quality. While there is a bit of lag involved whenever you move too swiftly, there’s no blurring at all. The only problems we’ve seen happened when recording in low light as the image got a bit grainy.
Even though the Genius WideCam F100 has this feature in its name, we were still surprised by the wide field of view on this one. You could reasonably film the whole room, wall to wall, by mounting this little cam on your monitor. And don’t worry about sounds from outside disrupting your calls or recordings as the mic here dampens all unwanted audio.
You might be wondering how the cam can be so cheap if the video quality is up there and the answer is: the USB cable. It’s pretty poor and, thankfully, it’s detachable so you can swap it for a better one if it breaks on you. Plus, the FPS is locked at 30, though that’s a problem largely for streamers or Youtubers.
So although the Genius WideCam F100 is, admittedly, flawed, it’s one of the best budget-friendly options out there. With 1080p video quality, good sounds, and wide field of view, this is a bargain that should please any thrifty shopper.
- Quite affordable and well-designed, a sleek little cam.
- The device’s drivers are readily compatible with both Windows and Mac.
- The build is quite sturdy with a reliable clip to help keep the camera steady while you chat with friends or record video.
- The FPS caps out at 30 frames.
- The audio quality is a bit poor with too much treble.
- The image is a bit washed out with faded colors.
On first look you might think that the PAPALOOK PA452 is yet another example of a pretty middling budget webcam model. However, we feel that this cam stands out thanks to a very good build quality with a reliable clip and sturdy materials chosen for the body. That way you can clip it onto the monitor for maximum stability and, even if it’s knocked over and falls off of the table, it’s not going to be damaged.
Now, admittedly, the video quality here is good but nothing extraordinary. The 1080p 30 FPS recording ends up blur-free and seems completely fine, though we have to say that, when compared to high-end cams, the colors on this one feel a bit washed out.
The one setback this model does have is the poor audio quality, in particular voice treble. It’s not too much of an issue for Skype calls but it’s a bit off and won’t sound as good in recordings.
But with all that in mind, we still felt like the PAPALOOK PA452 sets itself apart from other budget models via the quality build and good clip.
Creative Blasterx Senz3D
- Very precise motion sensors, this model is viable for security use.
- Plenty of features such as background removal, zoom, autofocus, and more.
- Can scan faces to recognize the rightful owner of the PC, syncs with Windows Hello.
- Quite expensive, definitely in the highest tier of prices.
- The wide design won’t be to everyone’s liking.
- The software is Windows only.
Now, the Creative Blasterx Senz3D is a bit of an unusual case. This model, while completely viable as a webcam, is used best for security purposes. For one, it’s about as expensive as the most high-tech facecam you could find and, instead of focusing on 60fps recording or special effects, it aims at facial recognition capabilities and very delicate motion sensors. The Blasterx Senz3D recognizes its user and can thus be synced with Windows Hello or used for granting security clearance to employees. Besides, it also uses voice commands so you can use it with Cortana or, if you’re techn-adept, even connect it to your Alexa devices. Now, admittedly, that would require a lot of fiddling as the cam’s drivers and software are only compatible with Windows (though both Windows 10 and the older OS versions).
Now, don’t get us wrong, the picture quality is great here and there are a few handy features such as background removal, zoom, and others. Still, it’s clearly not the kind of cam designed for vlogging or chats with your family and it shows in the price.
If, however, you stumble upon it while looking for some security-friendly devices, it’s certainly not a bad pick. The facial recognition technology here is extremely advanced and can reasonably be used even by businesses that want to survey the office in the off-hours, for example. So while it’s not the likeliest choice for home use, we still see a few viable reasons to get it.
Hopefully our 9 picks for the best webcams out there will help you out, whether you’re looking for a cam fit for streaming, vlogging, or simple calls via Skype. There’s something out there for everyone and we’re sure you’ll see the right cam for you in our line-up.