The Pro Webcam from Dell sits below the company’s flagship Ultrasharp Webcam (opens in new tab), which we reviewed in 2022 and gave a score of 4.5/5 stars. At around $110/£110, the new model is around half the price of the Ultrasharp, but for that price the Pro still delivers a premium design and 2K video quality.
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It also includes some features missing from the more expensive model, such as an integrated tripod screw fixing and a built-in microphone. Despite it lacking the 4K resolution of the Ultrasharp, the Dell Pro Webcam still promises to deliver a serious upgrade over the webcam built into your laptop.
In a world where daily video calls have become a normal part of life for millions of us, Dell hopes the Pro Webcam’s 2K resolution, HDR capabilities and AI-powered automatic framing system will be enough to tempt you into upgrading the quality of your Zoom calls.
Dell Pro Webcam specifications
Dell model number: WB5023
Resolution: 2K QHD at 24 or 30fps / Full HD at 24, 30 or 60 fps
Field of view: 65 or 78 degrees
Digital zoom: Up to 4x
Inbuilt microphone: Yes, with a range of three metres
Privacy cover: Yes, magnetic
Connection: USB-A, fixed cable
Among this webcam’s key features are its 2K resolution, also somewhat confusingly known as Quad HD and which can also be expressed as 2560 x 1440. This resolution can be used at 24 or 30 frames per second, while Full HD (1920 x 1080) also works at the quicker 60 fps, making for smoother but less detailed footage.
We shouldn’t need to highlight a noise-reduction microphone as a key feature, but since the pricier Dell Ultrasharp Webcam misses out, it’s worth a mention. You could still use your own external mic if you truly value audio quality, but for most users the Pro Webcam’s audio quality is perfectly decent while not outstanding.
Annoyingly, you need to enable the mic in the Dell Peripheral Manager application before it’ll work in any app. We were accused of being muted in a Zoom call before realising this.
Lastly, the Dell has AI-powered automatic framing. When enabled (again via the DPM app), this zooms in slightly then pans to keep you in the centre of the frame. It isn’t a patch on the gimbal-equipped Insta360 Link, and is fairly slow but gets the job done.
Build and handling
This is where the Dell Pro Webcam shines brightest. It has an attractive cylindrical design that looks and feels high quality, with a universal monitor mount that grips onto the top of your screen and a white status light at the three o’clock position to show when the camera is active.
There’s also a magnetic lens cover that snaps to the front for privacy, then to the rear for easy storage while the camera is in use. I quite like this approach, but can see why some users would prefer an integrated lens cover that can’t be detached and lost.
The monitor mount has an integrated tripod screw hole, which is a good thing, while the USB-A power cable is also integrated, which is less good. We’d prefer USB-C, for a start, and the option to swap the cable for a longer or shorter one.
Now to what really matters, and we’re mostly struck by indifference. The Dell’s video quality is…fine. The HDR function does a decent job of balancing highlights and shadows (when enabled, again via the app), but there just isn’t the amount of detail buyers would expect when using “2K” on the spec sheet.
Colors are mostly good, albeit with a white balance that edges slightly towards the green end of the spectrum. But there’s a fair bit of noise unless you’re sitting in a particularly bright room. This is fine for a professional office space, but today’s webcams need to make you look good in the darkest corners of your home office on a grey winter’s day.
Even with decent lighting, there’s a softness and graininess to its video capabilities that undermines the ‘Pro’ bit of the Dell’s name.
Dell Pro Webcam: Verdict
The Dell Pro Webcam gives with one hand and takes away with the other. The design and built quality are great, so long as you don’t mind a webcam that’s a bit bigger than most others, and the free software makes it easy for novice users to adjust basic settings. It’s also a nice plug-and-play option with minimal setup requirements.
However, those expecting professional video quality from this so-called Pro Webcam may well be left disappointed. It is baffling as to why manufacturers insist in using such names when this is clearly aimed at casual consumers and not video professionals. Footage captured by the Dell is mostly fine, with decent HDR capabilities and acceptable white balance. But those expecting an experience beyond Full HD may be disappointed.
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