Today’s best webcams are some of the most important business tools. They are not only for video conferencing with clients and colleagues, but they are great for communicating with loved ones, streaming and creating content in 2020.
While laptops and ultrabooks are already equipped with wearable cameras, desktop users still need a quality webcam. With our help, you will find one of the best webcams to suit your needs, whether it be content creation, Youtube blogging or just remote work that requires keeping in touch with your team.
Since the offer is vast, it is easy to get confused when choosing. The ranking of the best webcams in 2020 will help you in your search. Whether you’re looking for something with 4K resolution, 360-degree viewing angles, or a quality microphone, you’ll find something that suits your needs.
The Best Webcam Consumer Reports 2020
1. Logitech C270 Desktop or Laptop Webcam
Webcams are in high demand these days as so many people temporarily work from home. But you hardly want to spend a lot of money on something that you will use occasionally. Of the inexpensive options, the Logitech C270 is not bad. Despite its 720p resolution, which is honestly good for video conferencing and chatting with friends and family via Zoom, this little webcam has become a bestseller and has received many positive reviews. It’s also easy to set up – just plug in and turn on, and most instant messaging and video chat apps will automatically detect it.
- Ease of use
- Low price
- 720p resolution
2. Microsoft LifeCam Studio
It’s not the most attractive webcam, but LifeCam Studio isn’t really meant to be attractive. Instead, it’s built for business conferences and presentations, with 1080p recording, 720p live video calling and wideband microphone for crystal clear sound. It’s a serious peripheral that needs a powerful PC for maximum settings – but that doesn’t mean it lacks the bells and whistles on its own. For example, it comes with 360-degree rotation and Microsoft’s TrueColor system, which will dynamically shift exposure for good lighting.
- Many useful settings
- High video quality
- Requires a powerful PC
3. Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
One of the best budget webcams, the Microsoft Lifecam HD-300 offers 720p video recording for daily video calls and group chats. The camera is enhanced by Microsoft’s LifeCam software, which offers many filters and effects to customize your appearance, as well as options to adjust the default resolution. You can also use the app to easily record photos and videos to your hard drive or share them on social media. The LifeCam HD-3000 is Skype Certified, which is worth keeping in mind if you’re primarily using Microsoft’s online chat app to stay connected.
- Affordable price
- The convenience of use
- Mediocre video
4. Razer Kiyo Streaming Webcam
The Razer Kiyo may look strange, a testament to Razer’s unique design, but it’s still one of the best streaming webcams that’s incredibly popular these days. With the Kiyo, Razer has ditched a lot of the bells and whistles that more premium webcams offer, focusing instead on what matters most to gaming streamers and YouTube bloggers – good image quality and light ring lighting. You don’t have to spend tons of time setting up a stream – just plug in your Razer Kiyo and get started.
- Built-in lighting
- High image quality
- More suitable for streaming and Youtube than work
5. Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam
The Logitech C922 Pro Stream has the same stylish design as its predecessor, the C920, but this time it is especially interesting for gamers. The C922 still boasts excellent 1080p video quality, great for making video calls, and its automatic low light correction makes it a fantastic camera for off-light streaming. It also supports background removal, making it ideal for beginner youtubers.
- High quality audio and video
- Background blur function
- High price
6. Logitech Brio Webcam
Have you ever looked at a webcam with disdain because it just can’t match the video level of your smartphone? Well then the Logitech Brio might be the webcam you’ve been looking for. With 4K UHD and HDR, the Logitech Brio brings precision to the webcam world. If that wasn’t enough, it also boasts Windows Hello functionality and an easy-to-use kickstand that lets you lock it in place to capture your best side.
- Very high quality shooting
- Windows Hello support
- High price
7. Logitech C930e Webcam
The C930e claims to be Logitech’s most advanced HD camera, so it’s no surprise it’s also one of Logitech’s most expensive offerings. However, unlike traditional webcams, which rely on a PC for all tough scenarios, this device encodes the video itself, which in turn should result in improved video quality. A 90-degree field of view means it is well suited for business video conferencing and presentations. But I would like to be wider. And of course it’s Skype Certified for PC and Mac.
- Self-encoding video
- High quality recording
- Angle limited to 90 degrees
8. Logitech C920S HD Pro Webcam with Privacy Shutter
Logitech’s C920 is a solid camera. It supports 1920 × 1080 (30fps) resolution during Skype conferences, as well as 1280 × 720 resolution during Apple’s FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, and more. If you are just recording video, you can take advantage of the higher Full HD resolution. Images, however, are captured using a “natural” resolution of 3MP or software enhanced to 15MP. These capabilities are provided by an excellent glass lens supported by 20-stop autofocus, automatic low-light correction, dual built-in auto-noise canceling microphones and a 78-degree field of view. If you’re worried about camera privacy, there is a physical shutter here.
- Good value for money
- Narrow viewing angle 78 degrees
9. Logitech Conference Cam BCC950 Video Conference Webcam
Some of the webcams on this list have 90-degree viewing angles, allowing for minimal group conferences. The Logitech Conference Cam BCC950 is committed to providing the best solution. Since it is difficult to control the webcam during a conference, the BCC950 comes with a remote control that allows you to tilt the camera to focus on individual speakers. This 1080p conference camera has an extended camera head that can tilt approximately 180 degrees, giving everyone a chance to be seen. In addition, it is equipped with a speakerphone function, making it easy to hold small group conferences by capturing voices without being in the immediate vicinity of the camera. The camera is optimized for Skype, Microsoft Lync and several other video streaming software products, making the BCC950 an alluring solution for businesses around the world.
- Maximum Possible Viewing Angle
- Remote control
- Quality microphones
- In normal use will be redundant
10. Logitech C615 HD Webcam
The Logitech C615 is a 360-degree articulating webcam that captures crisp, vivid 1080p Full HD video. This webcam offers flexibility and fluidity with great performance that only a few webcams can match. It has a 360-degree full-motion rotating camera with autofocus for sharp images and a built-in microphone that filters out background noise for the best possible voice recording in the foreground. Low light recording is also pretty good thanks to the automatic light correction technology.
- 360 degree viewing angle
- High definition recording
- Matrix only 2 Mp
Rating Of The Best Webcam 2020
Microsoft LifeCam Studio
Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
Razer Kiyo Streaming
Logitech C922 Pro Stream
Logitech C920S HD Pro
Logitech Conference Cam BCC950
Logitech C615 HD
How to choose a webcam
It can be tricky to choose the best webcam among the variety. First of all, you need to decide what you need a camera for.
For video calls
When looking for the best webcam, there are several key factors to consider, including resolution, frame rate, and price. If all you’re doing is a few daily video calls, a 720p camera that records at 30fps will do the job just fine. Entry-level cameras like the Logitech C270 and Microsoft Lifecam HD-3000 are good for this use case.
For content creation
If you are using a webcam to create content on platforms like YouTube, Twitch, and others, you should aim to get a webcam that shoots in 1080p. Many top webcams such as the Logitech C920 and Razer Kiyo shoot in 1080p at 30 frames per second. But if you want the best quality for streaming and video, you should choose a camera that can handle 1080p at 60fps, like the Logitech StreamCam.
It’s also worth considering the additional special features that a webcam has. The Razer Kiyo has a built-in ring light, making it ideal for people who record in low-light rooms and don’t have a separate light source on hand. Logitech cameras usually have handy software options to customize your shots, and the StreamCam can shoot in both landscape and portrait modes, which is worth considering if you’re shooting video for mobile consumption.
The principle of operation and the device of the webcam
The web-camera is required not only to capture the picture, but also to transfer it over the network as quickly as possible.
It happens like this:
- The lens captures light reflected from objects and transmits it to a sensitive matrix, where the image is converted into electrical signals.
- The received information is digitized on the video capture card, and then compressed in the compression unit.
- Further, the central processor processes the prepared frames according to the specified program and redirects them to the appropriate output (Ethernet or USB).
In addition to the blocks listed, fast and RAM chips can also be found inside the webcam. Flash is used to store the main programs, and RAM records only temporary data and a small reserve of captured frames.
Outside the camera, you can also connect alarm sensors that trigger video recording on a signal – they are used to create home security systems.
Webcam selection options
There are two types of matrices in webcams:
- CMOS – an inexpensive option with good performance, economical energy consumption and an average quality picture. For simple communication, it is quite enough.
- CCD – these sensors create less “noise” in the picture and have more accurate color reproduction. They are more often used in surveillance systems, for high-level online conferences and video broadcasts.
Having decided on the type of matrix, it is necessary to study its main characteristics, which directly affect the image quality.
There are webcams on sale with a matrix resolution from 352×288 px to 4096×2160, but these are all extremes. In most cases, you can get a good picture at 1280×720 (HD) and even make a photo out of it with sufficient detail.
There are other permission options:
- From 640×480 to 800×600 – optimal for video chat, although photographic detail cannot be obtained with such a number of pixels. On the other hand, low resolution is preferable with slow internet.
- From 1280×960 to 1920×1080 – these cameras are more expensive, but their video quality is excellent, and the pictures are slightly worse than those of digital cameras.
When choosing a video resolution, remember: the higher it is, the faster your Internet should be.
It is indicated in the characteristics of the matrix in Lux and determines in what light conditions the webcam can transmit a picture without interference. At low sensitivity, transmission from a semi-dark room will be full of electronic “noise”.
Usually the manufacturer specifies the minimum value for the light sensitivity, but you need to determine if the specified threshold corresponds to the specific lighting conditions at the shooting location:
- 500 lux – office with large windows during the day;
- 100 – a room with a weak light source.
The problem of insufficient sensitivity can be solved by the additional illumination built near the lens. Ideal if its brightness is adjustable. But keep in mind: the very presence of such an addition indirectly indicates that there is not the best matrix inside.
Number of video frames
The FPS indicator is important for comfortable communication in video chat, and for stream broadcasting it is completely decisive. The shooting speed is considered sufficient at 30 frames per second, however, for this, the Internet connection must be fast.
For unpretentious users who are ready to put up with the lag of the picture from the sound and twitching, 15 FPS is enough. If that’s not an option, go for a 25fps model.
Having a microphone in a webcam is a handy feature, but not all manufacturers have perfected it yet. Combined in one case, two devices often interfere with each other’s work (at least in inexpensive and mid-priced models). Because of this, the broadcast goes with “stuttering”.
Although the microphone level does not depend on the shooting resolution, it still has a certain relationship with it. We need to thank the manufacturers themselves for this, who are trying to maintain a balance of characteristics of video and audio devices in one case.
As a reference point, you can use a small cheat sheet:
- At HD resolution, a middle-hand microphone is installed in the webcam, which recognizes speech at a distance of 3-4 m.
- Full HD also implies a higher speaker quality. In addition, a separate track is already allocated for the audio signal, so the picture does not suffer during simultaneous data transmission.
If you want the perfect shooting and sound quality without compromise, the microphone is best purchased separately. Well, for those who nevertheless decide to take a hybrid, we advise you to check the presence of noise cancellation and the speaker sensitivity so that the voice “at the other end” is clearly audible and is not clogged with extraneous noise.
A classic of the genre – a wired connection to a computer via USB. As with any peripheral, port generation will be the determining factor here:
- USB 1.1 is the oldest and slowest connection type. It can hardly support 640×480 resolution and transmits no more than 15 frames per second.
- USB 2.0 is a popular and widespread port with enough bandwidth to stream video at 25-30 FPS.
- USB 3.0 is a modern connection option, the fastest of all on the market, but for webcam this is not yet relevant.
Wireless cameras with a built-in transmitter are also becoming popular. They usually come with a receiver, which is installed in the same USB port of the computer, and the signal is transmitted to it via Wi-Fi.
Such models are suitable for video surveillance systems, but can also be used for communication if the security station is located far away, or you plan to shoot on the move.
In most inexpensive webcams, focusing is manual. That is, you set up the camera, twist the ring on the lens to catch the sharpness, and try to sit quietly while recording.
Autofocus will allow you to completely get away from manual settings – the web-camera itself will adjust the clarity of the picture and control it. There are also webcams on sale with a tracking function – these “concentrate” on the face, constantly keeping it in focus