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 PA150S 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 PA150S is on par with most mid-range web cameras. It offers a max resolution of 1080p 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 Full HD 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, which isn't ideal.
If you’re looking to capture stills with your PC camera, it might be best to look elsewhere. Cameras with higher-resolution sensors will produce images that are much more detailed, and this one is merely average.
We also found the PA150’s audio quality to be a little sub-par. 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 PA150S 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. It has a low aperture rating too, so you can really make your face stand out among busy backgrounds. It also lets a little more light in too.
We were surprised to find that the PA150 features a 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 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.
You actually get 360 degree movement from the neck, and the actual camera will tilt through 180 degrees too, so it is very flexible - useful if you have small or unusually-shaped desk space.
Should you buy the Papalook PA150S webcam?
The Papalook PA150S is a good option if you're looking for something inexpensive, but you can do better in terms of image and video quality if you're willing to spend a little more. We recommend something like the Logitech C922 Pro, if you can find it in stock, as it's very popular right now.