The best webcams for streamers and zoom calls, tested

Date:

Anet Lusina

Webcams are having a moment. With video chatting and teleconferencing becoming a normal facet of life in a pandemic-ravaged world, having a device that presents you at your best can be invaluable.

The best webcams will greatly improve your online presence compared to the mediocre cameras built into most laptops, whether you’re working from home, video chatting with family, teaching online classes, or streaming on Twitch. The best part is that most webcams are plug-and-play, allowing you to improve your video quality instantly.

There are countless webcams on the market today, ranging from affordable options designed for the basics to feature-packed models that can cost hundreds. Some perform better in daylight. Others more accurately display colorful LED backgrounds or produce flattering skin tones. A few shoot at ultra-sharp resolutions like 4K, which can be nice, but it’s not essential. The video quality you get will always depend a lot on the lighting and general makeup of your environment, but some webcams will still make it easier for you to look.

To make it easier for you to find the right model, we’ve put some highly rated webcams to the test. Following are our top picks, ranging from a low-budget option to a more professional all-in-one setup, all of which we’ve evaluated in a variety of lighting scenarios.

An affordable option

Creative Live Cam Sync 1080p V2: $30 at Amazon

Specifications at a glance: Creative Live Cam Sync 1080p V2
Dimensions 3.3 x 2.3 x 2.4 in (83 x 58 x 60mm)
Weight 0.2 lb (96 g)
Link USB 2.0
Sensor CMOS
Field of view 77 degrees
Opening f/2.4
focus range 19.7 in (50 cm) to infinity
Supported resolutions 1080p 30fps, 720p 30fps
Microphone Double built-in
app Creative app (Windows only)

The compact and ultra-lightweight Creative Live Cam Sync V2 probably won’t be your go-to solution for high-quality streaming or recording, but it’s a good all-in-one buy for $30. You still get a camera for that low price which shoots at a perfectly competent 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second (fps) and with a 77-degree field of view.

In natural light, it picks up details finely and autofocuses smoothly. We found the image quality looks best when using natural light coming in from the side. Under these conditions, the camera added dimension to faces and avoided a washed-out look. That said, it would be useful to have, say, image controls in the Creative app to fine-tune white balance and hue, as skin tones tend towards green.

You can mount the Live Cam Sync V2 directly to your monitor or attach it to a stand or tripod if you have one, and connect with the included USB 2.0 cable. As with most of our picks, you don’t need to download any software, so you can start using it right away.

If you’re a Windows user, Creative’s companion app lets you change a few additional settings, though these all apply to audio, not video quality. For example, you can enable VoiceDetect, which automatically mutes and unmutes your microphone during a call. You can also change your voice and ambient sound level manually or let the camera adjust them automatically.

The camera has a subtle white light to show when it’s in use and a simple privacy cover that won’t come off. The webcam has a built-in microphone; the recording quality is acceptable for conversation, although the audio sounded a little hollow even in a small carpeted room. Still, it’s good enough if you need an all-in-one webcam for work or personal calls.

The good

  • Includes audio configuration app
  • Decent microphone
  • Acceptable video quality in most lighting scenarios
  • Low price

The bad

  • The app has no image settings
  • Low quality construction

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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