Monday, July 15, 2024
Gadgets

Rating the top cameras for working from home, streaming and more


The best webcams allow you to look your sharpest, whether you’re dealing with work video calls or getting into streaming.


Since the webcams that come built into laptops, all-in-one computers and other monitors rarely compete with a dedicated option, picking one up is the easiest way to improve the quality of your video.

To help you make the right choice for your needs, the Pocket-lint team has been testing some of the top webcams you can buy, with the options detailed below able to reach at least 720p HD, with some offering 1080p Full HD and even 4K Ultra HD, too.

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This is a very crowded market, though. Since the specs lists of different models can sometimes look identical at first glance, it makes it hard to choose the right webcam for you. That’s why, as well as giving our quick verdicts on each of the tested options below, we’ve also included some things to consider before you buy one.

We’ve whittled things down to give you only the very top webcams to consider, with something for every budget. Let’s explore them.


Top webcams we’d recommend

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Insta360 Link

1. Best overall webcam

Smart auto following features

9.0 /10

With a crisp 4K image and the ability to follow you around the room, the Insta360 Link offers more than any webcam on the market.

Pros

  • Lovely 4K image
  • 3-axis gimbal with AI tracking

The Insta360 Link is a webcam unlike any other, it has a built-in 3-axis gimbal which means it can follow you around the room. Think of it like a tiny robot camera operator, who’s always on hand to get the perfect shot.

You can also easily show a top-down view of your desk, or get a clear view of a whiteboard, which is handy for those teaching via Zoom.

The image clarity is pretty much unrivalled, and phase-detection autofocus helps to avoid any blurry shots. The only downside, really, is the cost – it’s a significant jump from any of the other webcams on our list. For the right person, though, it’ll be worth the expense.

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Elgato Facecam

2. Best for streamers

Picture perfect

Offering 1080p resolution and 60FPS, this camera delivers fantastic and easily tweakable results.

Pros

  • Great customisation
  • Outstanding picture
Cons

  • Costly option
  • No hardware follow features

Elgato’s Facecam is an enthusiast-level webcam with some serious specs that include a large Sony Starvis CMOS image sensor and an Elgato Prime Lens with an f/2.4 aperture and 24mm full-frame equivalent focal length.

It captures fantastic visuals and is highly tweakable too. Thanks to Elgato’s Camera Hub software which lets you adjust everything from exposure compensation to white balance, shutter speed, ISO and more.

The fixed-focus design also ensures you’re always in the picture.

If you’re a streamer or content creator and are already in Elgato’s ecosystem then this webcam is a logical purchase.

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Logitech StreamCam

3. High quality footage for streamers

Ideal for streamers

Logitech’s Streamcam shines with Full HD video capture, fantastic autofocus and brilliant looking footage too.

Pros

  • Perfect features for streamers
  • Full HD at 60FPS
Cons

  • Won’t connect via a USB hub

The Logitech StreamCam is one of the many fantastic webcams we’ve tested from Logitech.

This one is designed specifically for streamers, with a number of features that make it powerful and useful. It’s not only capable of 1080p video capture at 60FPS, but also has different mounting options that mean it can be used in both landscape and portrait modes.

You can use the StreamCam to capture square portrait-style videos that are perfect for Instagram and the like. It also comes with Logitech’s Capture software that allows you to do all sorts of things including adding filters, text overlays, other sources and more.

Highlights for us though are the superb autofocus capabilities and video capture quality that make the StreamCam well worth owning.

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AVerMedia PW310P

4. A fantastic budget webcam

Keep things private

The AVerMedia PW310P is affordable and capable, delivering great footage and convenience without a massive price tag.

Pros

  • Superb value
  • Privacy shutter

The AVerMedia PW310P is a nifty webcam with a pleasing feature set.

We found it’s not only good at capturing footage (1080p 30FPS) but also has other highlights including a dual microphone setup, hardware privacy shutter and a tripod mount too.

The auto-focus is decent and the 73-degree field of view also makes it nicely capable. Another thing we really like about this one is the way it’ll rotate 360-degrees on its stand should you need to spin it about for whatever reason. All told, this is a very appealing package that won’t break the bank.

Logitech Brio 300

Logitech Brio 300

5. A great alternative

Compact option

This great little webcam is super easy to use and set up, and has a great privacy shutter and nice colour accuracy.

Pros

  • Privacy shutter
  • Quite nice to look at
  • Great video
Cons

  • Still mid-range in price
  • Quite a tight default zoom

Logitech’s newest Brio webcam is a nicely-priced alternative to some of its more expensive choices like the StreamCam. It offers excellent 1080p video for you, with clear and colour-accurate footage that is nice and straightforward to set up.

USB-C connectivity means it’s future-proof and has wide compatibility, perfect for those who swap between a few devices between their work and personal lives.

How to choose a webcam

Cameras of any kind are a very complex area to delve into, with plenty of things to consider before buying. Naturally, webcams are no different. In the interest of brevity, we’ll stick to the basic things to know before you buy, but understand that – at least for those serious about their webcam’s performance – there’s plenty more to discover.

What resolution and frame rate do you need?

It’s easy to get carried away with the crystal-clear resolutions and high frame rates provided by expensive and modern webcams, so it’s important to know exactly what you’ll be using it for.

If it’s just for a few work video calls per week, you likely don’t need 4K resolutions – nor do you need something with a range of mounting options that are more suited to streamers. A resolution of 1080p with either 30FPS or 60FPS is more than enough for modest users.

For those who are going to use a webcam more often, though, the markup and more advanced specs are very much worth it. You’ll receive a better picture, better customisation options and design features like a privacy shutter, typically.

What field of view do you require?

While the range of your camera isn’t the most important factor, it is still something to consider when deciding between different webcams. Put simply, a 60-degree FOV is enough to capture one person sitting in front of a computer.

Anything slightly more than that will likely be able to capture two people sitting side-by-side if it’s mounted to a monitor, and anything above 90 degrees can show off multiple people or your wider space.

Also consider that some webcams – typically streamer-driven options – can also flip to 9:16 portrait, rather than being locked into a 16:9 landscape.

How are you mounting your webcam?

This is a super straightforward consideration, but you’d be surprised at how clunky this process can actually prove. We’d recommend checking out exactly how your webcam fits onto your laptop or monitor – or stands by itself – since our experience tells us that cheaper options usually aren’t the most adjustable or stable.

Also, as a side note, make sure to look into how your webcam will actually connect. Often, webcams won’t work through USB hubs or adapters, meaning you’ll have to have a direct connection to your computer.

Is webcam privacy important to you?

Some webcams offer better privacy features than others, whether this is a shutter that closes when the webcam is not in use, or a light to indicate if it is. Since you’ll likely keep your webcam fixed to your monitor even when it’s not in use, these features can reassure you that nobody is hacking into your stream without your knowledge.



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