The best webcams offer an optimal balance of features, design and image quality. Getting a webcam that offers the best in all of these categories is possible, but it can be expensive. However, the Papalook PA150 is an inexpensive webcam, and although it does make some sacrifices in quality, we think it’s a solid option for the price.
In terms of video specifications, the PA150 is on par with most mid-range web cameras. It offers a max resolution of 720p and can shoot at that resolution at up to 30 frames per second. Its price point starts to show, however, when you compare the footage side by side with more expensive 720p cameras. Although the resolution and color accuracy were fine, the camera tends to drop frames, producing jerky footage even when set to shoot at 30 fps.
If you’re looking to capture stills with your PC camera, it might be best to look elsewhere. The images this one produces are low resolution at just 1.5 megapixels. It’s not the lowest on our lineup, but it’s close. Cameras with higher-resolution sensors will produce images that are much more detailed.
We also found the PA150’s audio quality to be a little subpar. The audio is usable; however, it just doesn’t sound as natural as the audio from the other webcams we tested. We thought it sounded tinny and thin.
The PA150 features a manual focusing system as opposed to fixed focus or autofocus. Manual focus may be less convenient than auto or fixed focus, but we like that it’s at least more precise than fixed focus. The only issue is that you’ll have the adjust the PA150’s focus whenever you move out of its focus area.
We were surprised to find that the PA150 features a 4x digital zoom. Although using digital zoom degrades your image quality and isn’t likely to be used often, it can be useful at times. The Papalook is the cheapest option in our review to include it.
The design of the Papalook is nice and modern, especially considering its price. It’s mostly made of aluminum, though it does have some plastic and rubber components. It can be mounted or simply placed on a desk. The head of its stand tilts and rotates, which makes it easy to point wherever you want.
The Papalook PA150 is an inexpensive camera that offers decent image quality and a great design. it’s not going to blow anyone away with its picture or audio quality, but it does well for the price. If you’re looking for something under $20, this is a good choice, although there are better options if you’re willing to spend a little more.