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If your job or school program require you to be in video conferences several times a week, you’re going to need a webcam. A good webcam will allow the other participants in your meeting to see you clearly, which can help you look more professional while you make your point.
Many modern laptops have built-in webcams, which are convenient to use in a pinch, but not as good as standalone hardware. The reason why is because the cameras are built into the computer’s lid, which is extremely thin. Camera hardware needs space to work — this is the reason modern smartphones have a camera bump — so a “real” webcam will produce more satisfying results.
Working from home has become a lot more common recently, and using a dedicated webcam is one way to make sure your home office setup a little more sophisticated.
What Are the Best Webcams?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best webcams for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Video resolution: Webcams are designed to help you look your best, which is why all of our picks can stream video in HD (or higher) resolution.
Microphones: All of our webcam recommendations have built-in microphones, which will be an improvement over the ones built into your computer or headphones.
Compatibility: Every webcam in this guide can connect to your computer via USB-A, and works with both Windows and MacOS machines without any proprietary software. They’re also compatible with any video conferencing or streaming service, so you don’t have to worry if your company uses more than one.
Security: It’s unlikely that your webcam will be hacked, but we made sure the ones we chose had a couple of precautions. First, all three have an LED light that turns on when the camera is in active use. Second, our picks come from trusted companies who have been in the consumer electronics space for a long time.
1. BEST OVERALL: AUKEY Webcam
AUKEY’s Webcam has earned the top spot in this guide by having the most well-rounded set of features.
Its maximum resolution is 1080P (Full HD), so you’ll look very clear during video calls. The webcam’s lens supports auto focusing, so it can make subtle adjustments if you move around, or in and out of frame. AUKEY’s webcam has a pair of noise-cancelling microphones to block unwanted background noise from interrupting your calls or streams.
This camera has a clip-on design, so you can place it over your laptop’s lid and center it for the best results. The clip can also be bent to create a little stand, so you can set the camera on a surface like a table if you’d prefer. You can even attach it to a tripod to help you get the correct angle.
The mix of a very high video resolution, solid microphone, and pretty goodflexibility makes AUKEY’s Webcam a good pick for just about everybody.
2. Highest Video Quality: Logitech BRIO Ultra HD Pro
If you need a webcam to help you look your absolute best, Logitech’s Brio Ultra HD Pro is the appropriate choice.
It can stream video in 4K, which makes it the best option in this guide in terms of overall video quality. Its lens supports auto focusing and light correction (high dynamic range), so you’ll look sharp and well lit regardless of where you’re streaming or what time of day it is. As a general rule, having more light in the room will produce better results. Finally, this camera supports HDR (high dynamic range), so the colors from your stream will look more accurate to the people you’re conferencing with.
The Brio Ultra HD Pro has a pair of microphones that record stereo sound, but Logitech doesn’t say they block out background noise, so this may not be the best webcam to use in noisy environments. Streaming video in 4K will require a very fast internet connection, but if you have the bandwidth, Logitech’s Brio Ultra HD Pro is the best pick on this list.
3. Most Flexible: Microsoft LifeCam Cinema
Microsoft’s LifeCam is an excellent webcam if you regularly video conference with a larger group of people.
The webcam can stream video in 720P (HD), so you’ll look pretty good to the people you’re on a conference call with. The LifeCam supports “face tracking,” which will keep your head in focus if you move around, and a Microsoft technology called TrueColor, so the image you’re streaming will look more accurate. Microsoft says its lens can adjust based on the lighting conditions in your room, so your don’t look to dim or bright. The camera has a single mic with noise-cancellation features, so the people who you’re speaking with won’t have to strain to hear you.
The LifeCam’s standout feature is its extreme flexibility. The camera can be rotated a full 360-degrees, so you can swivel it to get the appropriate angle. If you’re conferencing with multiple people, the ability to change positions quickly is a major asset. This is especially true if you’d like to provide commentary on something going on behind you. Instead of turning your entire computer around, or setting up a tripod, you can swivel the LifeCam while still looking at your laptop’s screen to see your audience’s reaction or read notes.
Microsoft’s LifeCam has the lowest video resolution of any camera in this guide, but the technology built into its lens more than makes up for this shortcoming.