Despite the and all-in-one computers sporting built-in HD webcams these days, most traditional desktop towers don’t bear the same luxury. As such, it’s here that we’ll determine the answer to a question as old as time itself: what is the best webcam for you?
The answer depends largely on whether your sights are set on getting famous on YouTube or simply chatting it up with friends. From those with classical designs focused on AV quality to webcams with colorful and quirky designs, we’ve found the best webcam for every occasion.
So, if you want to buy the best webcam for video calling using Skype or Google Hangouts, look no further – the top 10 are on this very list. Read on to find out which one has the best set of features in terms of sound or image quality or even a perfect combination of both.
Logitech's newest webcam, the Logitech G922 Pro Stream features the same classy design as the C920 before it, but it’s especially interesting for gamers this time around. The C922 still boasts excellent 1080p video quality when it comes to hosting video calls, and its automatic low-light correction makes it a great cam for streaming with the lights off. It also supports background removal, making it ideal for budding YouTubers.
The C920 isn't the most expensive webcam that Logitech makes, but it covers the essentials so well you probably won't need to check out anything more powerful. There's automatic low light compensation for poor lighting conditions, full 1080p HD resolution, stereo audio and an adjustable mount. It's PC and Mac compatible, has a smooth autofocus and is built to the high standard you'd expect from Logitech kit.
If you need something cheap and cheerful for Skype, Messenger, Facebook or AOL, Microsoft's LifeCam range offers decent performance for a low price. You don't get 1080p video at this price point, but you do get automatic color correction, a noise-cancelling unidirectional microphone and a stand to fit laptops and desktops alike. It's a cheap way to solve the problem of a PC without a camera or even with a camera that isn't up to snuff.
The C615 is a full HD webcam that's particularly well suited to travellers and mobile workers, thanks to its clever "fold and go" design. It offers 1080p recording and 720p for video calls, and the autofocus system can handle anything from brightly lit offices to extreme webcam close-ups. It swivels in 360 degrees, offers 8 megapixel static shooting and you can pop it on a tripod to keep it steady while you're recording. This is the one we'd pack if we were traveling for work.
Aimed at pro users with big monitors, the LifeCam studio offers the familiar combination of 1080p recording and 720p live video calling. It rotates 360 degrees, can be mounted on a tripod and even autofocus with a range from four inches to infinity. The wideband mic delivers crystal clear sound and Microsoft's TrueColor system automatically adjusts the exposure to keep you from the darkness. It's a good choice for business conferencing and presentations.
Read the full review: Microsoft LifeCam Studio
For the cost of the TeckNet C016, you get a webcam with noise cancelling and the ability to rotate 360 degrees horizontally and 180 degrees vertically. You don't get full HD or fancy-dan autofocus, but the camera does offer automatic face tracking and automatic adjustment of exposure and white balance for clearer video in poor light. It's not a camera you'd buy for a business boardroom but it's perfectly fine for everyday use.
Fancy a webcam that shoots in 3D? That's the Minoru's USP, and while the specification isn't stunning – it's 800 x 600 with manual focus and a fixed aperture, so it's only suitable for indoor shooting unless you've got a bunch of filters handy – it looks like a cute robot and enables you to take 3D video. Don't expect amazingly lifelike, photorealistic 3D avatars; this is a camera for messing around with, and if you approach it on that basis it's good fun.
The C930e claims to be Logitech's most advanced HD webcam and it's also one of the most expensive ones on the market. But, unlike traditional webcams, which rely on the PC to do the heavy lifting, this unit does the video encoding itself, which should in turn result in better video quality. The wide, 90-degree field of view means it’s well-suited to business videoconferencing and presentations, and of course it’s Skype-certified for PC and Mac.
Normal webcams don't work with Samsung smart TVs, and by an interesting coincidence Samsung just happens to have its own proprietary camera for its H, HU, JS and JU models. We wouldn't recommend buying one for Skype as the smart TV version of Skype is no longer being supported, but if you want to use Samsung's own gesture control features and its virtual mirror for fitness apps then it's really your only option.
The Hue HD is a little bit different to other webcams: it's also been designed as a document capture/projection camera and a stop-motion camera. Pair those features with a bendy neck, flexible approach and tough construction and there’s no wonder it’s a hit in classrooms. It works on PCs and Macs, includes a microphone and can double up as a microscope. If you're looking for a good all-rounder for kids, the Hue is well worth your consideration.
If you want a full HD webcam without the full HD webcam price, this little beauty is currently going for cheap. Bolstering resolutions up to 1080p HD while supporting 12MP stills, a noise cancelling microphone and low light compensation, this camera is feature-packed yet frugal. There’s no autofocus and you don’t get a big bundle of software, but the low, low price more than makes up for any shortcomings.
- You can't stream without the best wireless router
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article