If, like many of us, you have found yourself stuck at home in recent times, you will no doubt started to discover how much of a lifeline video conferencing can be. Using Google Hangouts, Zoom, Facetime, Messenger has become even more crucial in this time of crises.. But you may in this process discovered that your camera phone or laptop is not the best webcam that you can buy for the job. This is particularly so if you now need a web cam to communicate with colleagues every day, or to keep in touch with family and loved ones.
Laptops will already have a webcam built in, no doubt, but there are reasons why you might want a camera that offers a better position, better audio, better video resolution, or other features. And if you are now using a monitor for your work and communication with the world, then getting the best webcam you can find may now be a necessity.
There are some things to consider when choosing a webcam:
• Resolution is a key specification. 720p is basic high definition (and will be a huge step-up from the VGA cameras built-in to some older laptops. But 1080p is better, and 4K the best. Not maximum resolution may be lower for live video than when recording
• Audio is probably more important than video with video conferencing. Most webcams have helping to improve the sound - and some will offer stereo.
• Controlling your background is key to setting a good impression at home - so being able to angle the camera is really useful, as is the option to zoom in and out.
• Look out for extra features too... our top choice here offers built-in ringlighting, to help you look at your best on screen.
Webcams, fortunately, don't need to cost a fortune - and are very much plug and play add-ons nowadays that are easy to get up and running.
Here are six of the best webcams for home working around right now…
The best webcams for home working
1. Razer Kiyo
Our favorite webcam for homeworking, and best for dingy rooms
Resolution: 1080p or 720p | Frame rate: 30fps at 1080p, 60fps at 720p | Field of view: 90 degrees | Size: 69 x 69 x 48mm | Weight: 200g
A poorly lit room is not the best place in which to show yourself to the world. So if you want to look good as you VC colleagues or family, then lighting is key. The Razer Kiyo takes care of this with you by having its built-in ringlight. Made up of twelve LEDs set in a circle, this is designed to give illumination that flatters the face – with adjustable intensity, and a daylight-balanced color temperature. As for the camera itself, the Razer Kiyo captures video at an impressive 1080p Full HD resolution at 30 frames per second, and a 60fps at 720p option is also available.
2. Microsoft LifeCam Studio
A professional looking choice for business use
Resolution: Up to 1080p | Frame rate: 30fps at 720p | Field of view: 75 degrees | Size: 60 x 45 x 114mm | Weight: 128g
Looking like a mini CCTV camera, you will either love or hate the Microsoft LifeCam Studio's industrial design. As a top model in the Microsoft range, however, it meant for business and offers 1080p recording or 720p live video calls. There is a built-in microphone to improve thee sound quality of your calls too. It boasts the MS TrueColor system which is designed to expand the dynamic range to ensure you look your best onscreen... and the camera can rotate through a full 360° so that you can set it up to show exactly the home scene you want to show the outside world.
3. Logitech C922 Pro
A brilliant all-round webcam, and great for streaming
Resolution: 1080p recording, 720p live streaming | Frame rate: 30fps at 1080p, 60fps at 720p | Field of view: 78 degrees | Size: 44 x 95 x 71mm
We reckon this is one of the best webcams right now. We think the best camera for streaming right now is the Logitech C922 is also our favorite camera for streaming – so a perfect choice if you also fancy broadcasting live to YouTube, or sharing your gaming exploits via Twitch.
The camera simply clips onto the top of your computer screen, or can be attached to a tripod if you want to get more creative with your angles and framing. The Logitech shoots and streams live in Full HD (1080p) resolution at 30 frames per second, and there's also a ‘hyperfast’ mode for streaming 720p at 60fps.
Twin microphones provide stereo audio, and the camera comes with an 18.5cm tall tabletop tripod.
4. Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
The best budget webcam for home working
Resolution: 720p | Frame rate: 30fps | Field of view: 60 degrees | Size: 44 x 39 x 109mm | Weight: 90.7g
A fantastic cheap webcam for those on a strict budget, the HD-3000 proves you don't need to spend a fortune. Resolution is restricted to 720p HD resolution at 30 frames per second, but that’s still high definition and will be perfectly acceptable when viewed on a mobile device – or as an inset on someone else's screen. The camera provides face tracking, and low-light adjustment, has a built-in microphone, and will attach to your screen. There is a manual focus option for making sure the image that you avoid those ugly autofocus hunting moments as you reach for something out of shot.
5. Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro
Best webcam for quality with 4K and a noise cancelling
Resolution: 4K Ultra HD, 1080p or 720p | Frame rate: Up to 30fps at 4K, 60fps at 1080p, 90fps at 720p | Field of view: 90 degrees | Size: 63 x 36 x 19mm | Weight: 44g
Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro is one the highest-quality webcams around. This camera can record in Ultra HD 4K. The lens has different angles of view of 65, 78 and 90 degrees, ensuring everything stays in frame – and can be tweaked to suit your office layout. The unit can stream in 1080p Full HD at 60 frames per second, and offers a 5X digital zoom that crops a 4K image to 1080p. There is also a 90fps option at 720p resolution if you want super-smooth video, and the camera offers HDR (High Dynamic Range) , for improved contrast. Two omni-directional microphones and a PC monitor clip complete this brilliant webcam package.
6. Aukey 2K Webcam
This webcam offers up 2K HD video and a wide field of view for a low price
Resolution: Up to 2K (2048 x 1536) | Frame rate: Up to 15fps at 2K, 30fps at 1080p or 720p | Field of view: 80 degrees | Size: 90 x 54 x 62mm | Weight: Not stated
Another budget option, this webcam offers a higher video resolution than most, and a wider angle of view. As its model name suggest this offers 2K video – 2048 x 1536 pixels, but does this at a frame rate of 15fps. For shooting video conversations, switch to 1080P, which will give a less jerky footage as it will not shoot a 30fps. There’s just one microphone, but it includes background noise cancelling technology to help improve the clarity of your voice, while removing unwanted noise background. A neat trick is that the camera can be rotated through 360° and tilted to help you control how you look onscreen (and control what others see of your home!).
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