Webcams by 2021


Having a decent webcam was only important to business travelers, long-distance partners, and other geographically challenged communicators. But these days, many of us are working from home, studying remotely, and socializing from afar that this once-second-line product class has become the center of attention. For most of 2020, you just couldn’t get a decent one due to tight supply and increased demand due to the pandemic. Now the crisis has eased, so this is a good time to move on to a better model that you couldn’t find before.

Choosing a suitable webcam is not that difficult – the market leader, Logitech, makes most of the best models on the market, and you probably won’t go wrong choosing one that fits your budget. However, once you venture beyond the well-known brands, you can get lost in a sea of ​​entry-level models.


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But you don’t need to worry about getting lost in the specs. The frame rate (30 fps or 60 fps), the resolution (720p, 1080p or 4K) and the microphone (mono or stereo) are. That doesn’t mean they don’t really differ. Some are better than others in less tangible ways, like how well automatic exposure, white balance, or focus work. Those tend to be the ones that differentiate the fair cheap models from the better and more expensive ones.

How do you know what you need? Well, if you don’t have anything now, then anything is a step up. Most laptops even expensive like MacBooks – tend to offer 720p webcams, while most standalone models on the market are 1080p. The latter tend to look much better than the former, as the higher number of pixels makes your image look sharper. And because you can mount a webcam on a tabletop tripod or place it higher than a laptop’s built-in webcam, you can bring it closer to eye level, which is much more flattering than the bottom view offered by the most laptop webcams.

However, keep in mind that even the best camera won’t necessarily deliver great video and sound at the other end; that may depend on the quality and consistency of your network connection.

Read more: Best vlogging camera for 2021: Sony, GoPro, Panasonic, others compared to YouTube

You may not need to buy one either. There are ways to use your phone or, if you have one, your camera as a makeshift webcam with an app or utility from the camera manufacturer. Keep in mind that no matter how good your video normally looks, software can lower the quality to reduce the burden of information you have to send through your computer.

It’s more, improving your environment With good lighting or a better angle you can often improve the video quality of your webcam rather than upgrade your camera.

This short list is our first round of selections; We’ll update it regularly with more tips and more selections as we test more webcams, so stay tuned.

Lori Grunin / CNET

This wasn’t among my favorites until the price dropped, but for under $ 90 you get good video and sound quality of 1,080 pixels and 30 frames per second, as long as the lighting doesn’t vary too much. It has a built-in ring of light, but unless you’re close to the camera it doesn’t seem to have as much of an impact.

Logitech

This little webcam is designed for streaming (in case the name doesn’t reveal it), but it does have a few advantages that make it attractive for general use. You can mount it horizontally or vertically, which makes it nice for chatting with people on the phone or for recording quick TikTok or Instagram videos. Records in 1080p at 60fps, which can often give you better looking video than 30fps. In addition, it is small, so it can fit in smaller spaces.

Learn more about Logitech StreamCam.

Lori Grunin / CNET

Razer’s unconventional-looking webcam supports 1080p at 60fps, and because it doesn’t compress the stream, it can produce an attractive video. It also has a sensor and automatic exposure capabilities optimized to compensate for dim and harsh lighting, plus an automatic white balance that preserves the most natural-looking skin tones. And it comes with a cover; It is not as convenient as a lens shutter, but it is better for keeping dust off the front of the camera. The mount is also one of the most flexible we’ve seen.

Read the Razer Kiyo Pro Labs.

Logitech

The Brio is one of the most popular webcams on the market thanks to its impressive 4K resolution and the intelligence of Logitech’s webcam. If you have the network bandwidth to stream 4K, you can deliver a crisp picture and even use it on your handheld to show viewers physical objects rather than simply sharing your screen. You probably don’t need 4K, so you can also stream in 1080p 60fps if you want good video that’s less stressful on your network.

Read our preview of the Logitech Brio 4K Pro Webcam.

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