Best Webcams of 2019 - HD Webcam Reviews and Comparison
We’ve researched and tested 10 webcams to discover the best for all needs and budgets. Our overall winner is the Logitech HD Pro C920. It shoots 1080p video at 30 frames per second, the highest video quality of any other device in our comparison. You can snap still photos with 15 megapixel resolution and digitally zoom in on an image achieving up to four times size. Autofocus, motion detection and face tracking keep you as the center of attention, and built-in noise reduction technology keeps pesky background noise out of your videos.
Logitech HD Pro C920
You can shoot 1080p video at 30fps with Logitech’s HD Pro C920 webcam. Motion detection and face tracking technology, along with autofocus, work simultaneously to keep you in focus.
Logitech HD C615
The Logitech HD C615 gives you some premium features without emptying your wallet. You can shoot 1080p video, capture 720p video at 30fps, take 8MP stills and enjoy other features.
Genius WideCam F100
The Genius WideCam F100 shoots 1080p video at 30fps and takes 12MP photos. Tilt and pan functionality and a 120-degree field of view mean your shot is set up perfectly.
When we say the Logitech HD Pro C920 is the best overall webcam, we mean it. It gives you the best audio and video playback and capture, the most features, the highest-quality design, and the widest array of warranty and support options.
It easily captures fully high-definition 1080p video at 30 frames per second, while still providing pristine video without your footage looking sluggish or jerky. It even offers the highest-quality still image resolution of any other webcam in our comparison, at 15 megapixels.
The autofocus system keeps you in focus, even if you’re moving around. Paired with face -tracking technology and motion detection, it knows to keep you in focus, and not your cat that’s sitting somewhere in the background (unless that’s what you want to focus on). The C920 also has adjustable exposure and white -balance settings. The HD Pro C920’s universal base allows it to be set up in a myriad of ways, from on a tripod to being set on top of your desk or monitor.
With an impressively high-quality and versatile design, unbeatable video and audio quality, and is full of standard and premium features. Although its price point is a bit higher than other available models, it provides extra performance and top-notch image quality.
Despite costing much less than its C920 counterpart, the Logitech HD C615 offers comparable performance and design without the premium price point.
. However, it lacks some of the premium features, which may make it a deal breaker for more intense users, which is why we made it our value choice.
It can record video up to 1080p, but if you are wanting a higher framerate, like 30 frames per second, you’ll need to reduce the resolution to 720p, if not lower. So iIf you know that you’ll be using the C615 for more intensive purposes, like vlogging or livestreaming Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds gameplay, you may want to go with the C920 model, but if you’re using it for more standing activities, like video chatting or running a conference call, this is a great option. You can also use the C615 to take decent-quality still images, up to 8 megapixels.
Its mount is tripod compatible, and the webcam itself has tilt and pan abilities, so you can tweak your video field of view to best suit your needs. The autofocus system keeps you as the center of attention, and makes sure that you’re always looking sharp . It also has built-in face tracking, motion detection, and adjustable exposure and white balance, so you can create the best images. It lacks a digital zoom option, however, and has an unusually short USB cable – just 3 three feet long.
The Genius WideCam F100 has specifications that compete with the best webcams in our comparison.
It can capture high-definition video and stills, and has a solid and aesthetically -pleasing design. The F100 is easy to set up, and offers versatile setup and mounting options. Additionally, it boasts an unparalleled 120-degree field of view, so you can easily move about freely in your room without worrying about leaving the frame. Although it may not be the most feature-rich webcam on the market, its impressive capture resolution and wide field of view make it a webcam worth considering.
As with the Logitech HD Pro C920, the WideCam F100 can also shoot 1080p video at 30 frames per secondfps. Unlike the C920, however, the higher we pushed the framerate, the more the F100’s video became grainy and less detailed. Audio quality on the F100 never struggled, though. Voices sounded natural and clear, and background noise was a non-issue. Manual focus gives you full control over what is in focus, by simply twisting the ring around the lens. However, it doesn’t have many other features beyond this, like motion detection or face tracking.
The F100’s design lets it sit on top of your computer monitor, or a flat surface, like a desk. The stand also allows the F100 to swivel up, down, right or left, giving you a bit more freedom over where you can aim at it,. Aand its lengthy 5five-foot cord gives you plenty of room to set up the F100 exactly where you want it.
The Creative Live Cam Chat HD doesn't have impressive video specifications or features, but the audio recording quality is exceptional, especially for the price. The microphone on this chat cam doesn't pick up ambient noises like most other web cams. This allows the voice to come through clearly. The quality isn't as good as having a dedicated microphone, but it's the best microphone in webcams at this price point.
The video specifications and quality are about average. It records in 720p at 30 frames per second. In other words, it doesn’t provide the same HD quality of a 1080p webcam, but it's good for a webcam under $30. This was illustrated in our tests, where the video was much grainier than the best webcams, especially in good lighting. Another issue is the lack of maneuverability, as you can't tilt, pan or attach it to a tripod.
Maneuverability is often the most marketed feature in high-end webcams. For some, it matters little, as the webcam isn't likely to face anywhere but straight ahead. However, the Hue HD provides exceptional maneuverability. The flexible arm allows you to adjust the vertical and horizontal angles as much as you want. You can aim this camera at any angle without worrying about the chord getting tangled. If you need a webcam under $50 capable of recording every angle, the Hue HD is your best option.
The camera on the Hue HD is good, but not great. It shots at only 720p rather than 1080p like the best webcams. This results in grainy footage, especially in well-lit areas. That said, it films at 30 frames per second and does a great job maintaining this, which is important for smooth video. Unfortunately, this webcam lacks digital zoom and face tracking capabilities.
Why Trust Us?
Our in-house webcam evaluations took over 40 hours in Purch Labs and are something we’ve tested rigorously for over seven years. The webcams were thoroughly researched and tested, with all the specs logged, and features and functionality studied and compared. We considered each device’s overall design, video and audio quality, features, and ease of use, all while examining how effective each would be for users of all requirements and experience levels. We also investigated each company’s technical support and various informational resources available from the manufacturer, as well as looked over the accompanying warranty.
We found that, when it comes to webcams, you get what you pay for. However, the most useful features for any budget and experience level included automatic focus, glass lenses, long cords, high-quality audio and picture, along with the ability to shoot 1080p video at 30 frames per second, are the best webcams.
How Much Do Webcams Cost?
When you buy a webcam, consider the quality of the camera, the microphone and the build. Webcams are as low as $5 on Amazon and other electronics sites, but these cams have either poor cameras or poor construction. The most popular and highly rated webcams fall between $30 and $100. However, if you use your webcam often and you need the highest quality video, audio and maneuverability, choose a webcam between $500 and $950. These webcams have the best cameras and have robotic frames and bases with remotes to adjust the camera from a distance.
Key Features to Look for When Buying a Webcam
When you buy a webcam, consider the quality of the camera, the microphone and the build. Webcams costs as little as $5 on Amazon, but these models have either poor cameras or poor construction. The most popular and highly rated webcams fall between $30 and $100. However, if you use your webcam often and need the highest quality video, audio and maneuverability, choose one that costs between $500 and $950. These webcams have the best cameras as well as robotic frames and bases with remotes to adjust the camera from a distance.
Video resolution and frame rate are some of the most important specifications to consider when looking at webcams. You should also look at still image resolution if you frequently take pictures. The webcams we compared top out at 1080p, which is high enough to create clear, detailed pictures. However, because of how much it costs to build webcams with that kind of quality, most less expensive models have lower resolutions. Webcams at lower price points more commonly shoot 720p video.
Similarly, lower price models shoot at slower frame rates. The webcams we tested max out at 30 frames per second (fps) at their highest resolutions, which works for most applications. More expensive webcams can handle up to 60 fps, which is useful for layering player video over a 60 fps video game stream, for example. Recently, webcams capable of 4K video quality have become less prohibitively expensive as well.
Another facet of video quality is the webcam’s software features, including light adjustment, color correction and face tracking. These features make up for bad or weird lighting and prioritize your face as the visual focus, as opposed to anything in the background. You shouldn't have to fiddle too much with a high quality webcam's settings for these features to work.
Though you probably won’t get fantastic audio from a webcam, your device should have at least decent sound quality so you can video chat. To that end, choose a webcam with at least one microphone and noise reduction, which is programmed to isolate the human vocal range and reduce the volume of ambient noise. However, for higher sound quality, you may need to invest in separate equipment like a standalone mic or a headset with an integrated mic.
More on Computer Peripherals
There are three types of focusing systems available to choose from: autofocus, manual and fixed. Each system has its pros and cons. Auto and manual focusing lets the camera’s focal point be adjusted. Fixed focus lenses only focus on a single spot and can’t be adjusted.
Autofocus is the best, most powerful option as it automatically keeps you in focus, even if you’re fidgeting or moving around. Because it does all the heavy lifting for you, an autofocus system is great for beginners and advanced users alike, but it generally costs more. This is a critical feature to have if you’re streaming or doing video-intensive recording, as it works automatically to get the best picture. You can keep concentrating on your conversation or game without needing to worry about constantly adjusting the focus.
Manual focus also allows the camera to be adjusted to the optimal focal point. It gives you full control over where to focus, but you’ll have to adjust it every time you move or want to change the focal point. Having total control lets you create the perfect shot. Manual focus is found on pricey and budget-friendly options alike. Fixed focus, on the other hand, has a predetermined focal range that you can’t adjust. This option requires less technology to be built into the webcam, so it’s typically what’s found in lower-priced devices. It’s also a great option for novice users or those who know they’ll be sitting still while using the webcam.
Whether your webcam’s lens is made of glass or plastic also has an impact on the overall image quality. Glass, obviously, is the higher-quality material, but it contributes to a higher price. The top webcams use high-end glass to create resilient, crystal-clear video and photos. Plastic lenses are less expensive but are easily scratched and make for lower image quality.
How the webcam can be mounted is another factor to consider. Most devices can be mounted atop your monitor using an included clip or placed on a desk. One downside to this mounting style is lack of mobility, but many allow minor tilt and pan adjustments. These options work for most users. Some webcams also have universal mounts that give them compatibility for being mounted on a tripod. Typically, these units can still be mounted on a desk or on top of a monitor, but it gives you more flexibility, depending on your needs.
Should You Buy a Webcam?
Many computers have webcams built in. However, they usually aren’t as powerful and feature-rich as standalone units, nor do you have control over what kind of focus system or video capture speed it has; however, few people choose a computer based on the integrated webcam. If you just need a simple webcam and could use the camera built into your computer (or smartphone), you don’t need an external webcam, but if you’re live streaming your video game channel, vlogging or having a conference call, having a high-quality standalone webcam that you have control over can really make a difference in your video and audio quality.