- Low-light correction
- Professional quality
- HD webcam
- Very high end
- Incredibly fast
- Full HD 1080p
- Excellent video quality
A webcam is an essential product for working from home. When in-person meetings get replaced with Zoom, Google Hangouts, WebEx, or whatever video platform you use, a webcam adds the missing face to face element of an in person meeting. We reviewed dozens of webcams for your next virtual meeting, here are our top picks:
What To Consider When Buying A Webcam
If you are working from home and taking virtual meetings, calls, or participating in online discussions frequently you might want a webcam. It is true that many laptops have built in webcams and perhaps you are leveraging this webcam already. So why buy another one?
High quality webcams will provide better image quality, video quality, and resolution on screen. Do you want to look good to people who you are speaking with? Do you present a lot?
If appearance matters, a high quality webcam that corrects for sound and lighting can make a huge difference in how you appear to the other stakeholders you are speaking with online. The lower the resolution of a webcam (and many laptops and monitors don’t have spectacular built-in cameras) the grainer and lower quality you will appear on screen.
Defining What You Need From a Webcam When Working From Home
There are a few different use-cases for a webcam in the home office: still images, video, and audio. For still images you will want the camera to take photographs that are at least two megapixels. For video and audio you will want to make sure that a microphone is built-in.
This will mean you have less hardware to manage and can call or present without always needing headphones. The next variable you will want to define is the quality of noise and light in your home office. Is your office dark? Is it quiet?
The reason you want to define these attributes is because that will help drive your purchasing decision. For example, some webcams have auto-light adjusters which will make you look better automatically if you are presenting or speaking from a room without great light coverage. This form of auto-blemish fixing is popular with most mid range and high-end products.
How Webcams Are Priced
As with all technology products there is a correlation between price and quality. This is particularly true with webcams because the higher end products pack in a host of high definition, 1080p technology. Not all of these features might benefit you which is why you can get a good webcam at the $50 price point.
However, if you want a device that auto-focuses on your (and blurs the background), has built in motion sense, or can create special effects, you will want to purchase a higher end device. There is also a difference between high-definition webcams and ultra high-definition resolution. The latter is more expensive and is usually more popular with home office workers who also use their webcams for streaming or gaming.
Additional Technical Requirements You Must Know
Not all webcams are built for all computers or operating systems. In particular you need to know if you are running Microsoft Windows or a Mac. Many of the firms that make webcams work closely with Microsoft and their webcams will work by default with Windows PCs, desktops, and computers. For users using Apple’s MacOS you need to take special care to confirm that the webcam is compatible with your machine.
Additionally, it is a good best practice to check the age of your computer and its compatibility with newer webcams. For example, if you have a very old computer it might not have the memory, speed, or hard drive requirements that the webcam needs to operate. If your computer is newer, this will almost certainly not be an issue.
When buying a webcam it is useful to understand the general environment you are working in. Specifically, you should consider how you look (and what you want to look like during calls), and the ease of having a great camera, video processor, and microphone built-in to one unit.
It is common to place a webcam above your computer so you will need to factor in space above your monitor or laptop. Most webcams come with built-in video compression technology which will make your video conferencing calls easier and better resolution.