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Tech Accessories

Best Webcam

Webcams cover a wide range of devices designed to capture video images and send them to a computer or network. These cameras are usually pretty small, often designed to hook onto a monitor or sit next to a computer on your desktop. There are also webcams designed as part of other hardware, usually integrated into a computer monitor, tablet, or laptop.

As internet streaming has become faster and more widely available, webcams have advanced to include high-definition video and other convenience features. With so many different models available (and a number of accompanying technical specifications) to consider, you should check out our webcam buyer’s guide below to determine which one is best for you.

Nest Indoor 1080p HD Webcam

This stylish offering from Nest features a sleek, small enclosure so it won't look out of place in your home. It uses a one quarter megapixel sensor and is able to capture images in full 180p (1920x1080) resolution. This webcam features motion/sound sensors and you can view what it’s monitoring at any time using software to connect to either your Android or IOS devices. It also features an IR sensor for night viewing with an impressive field of view of 130 degrees; however, this camera is designed with security as a secondary priority with its main function intended remote web-cam. If surveillance is your utmost concern, there are more suitable options available. Still, for a high quality camera with premium technical specifications, you need not look further.

Tenvis TZ100 P2P Webcam

This excellent webcam has some very attractive features which begin with a remote control which allows you to tilt, zoom, and pan your way across an exceptional 340 degree field of view. It also features a two-way microphone so you can hear as well as speak to the individuals in the viewing area. This webcam uses a one quarter megapixel CMOS sensor and is equipped with both night vision and motion sensors so no bit of movement goes undetected. It capture video at full 720p (1280x720) resolution and  images can be viewed remotely on your PC and Android/IOS devices. Additionally, this webcam is equipped with both WiFi and P2P connectivity for versatile hardware connectivity options. The only downside to this fine offering is it isn’t designed with a waterproof enclosure, so you can only use this webcam indoors.

Netgear VMC3030-100NAS Arlo Webcam

This is a great offering from Netgear, a top tier manufacturer who has designed this webcam with home security in mind. It uses a one quarter megapixel sensor that captures video at full HD resolution of 1280x720 pixels (730p) as well as equipped with infrared viewing capable of capturing images up to 25 feet away. It has an outstanding field of view that comes in at 110 degrees and it uses a waterproof enclosure which makes this pick suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The cameras design is completely wireless and uses lithium batteries to keep it operating. Additionally, it offers remote 802.11n connectivity and a magnetic mounting system for discreet placement. If security is your main concern, this camera brings a lot to the table.

Logitech HD C310 Webcam

This offering from Logitech gives you a software enhanced, five megapixel camera that can capture HD video at 1280x720 pixels resolution. This webcam comes equipped with automatic color correction for more vivid imaging and has a built-in microphone with noise reduction for clearer audio. It's also compatible with popular communication applications such as Skype, Google Hangouts and Yahoo Messenger as well as USB 2.0 outputs for compatibility with most PC's. With great bang for the buck, this camera deserves your serious consideration.

Genius WideCam F100 Webcam

While Genius is a smaller PC peripheral maker, they’ve made a name for themselves as a provider of quality hardware. This budget offering from them represents a great value in keeping with their reputation. It features a lens with twelve megapixel, software enhanced resolution of 1920x1080 pixels (1080p) at full motion thirty frames per second. The cameras lens is also capable of capturing video at up to 120 degrees for the best in ultra-wide angle video capture. Like our other picks, it utilizes USB 2.0 connectivity for compatibility with most modern computer hardware.

Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 Webcam

This fine offering from Microsoft is a very good value for the money. It features a fixed-focus lens capable of sharp imagery from between less than a millimeter to one and a half meters. This web cam can capture full motion video at thirty frames per second at a resolution of 1280x720 pixels. It also uses Microsoft TrueColor technology for bright, vivid colors under most lighting conditions. The camera has been designed with a built-in microphone which includes noise reduction for clear audio reproduction. Certified for use with Skype, it can be used to easily share images and video on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Creative Live! Cam Chat HD Webcam

This is a fine offering from Creative offering a suite of great features at a wallet-friendly price. First of all, it features a five point seven megapixel lens and can capture full motion video at thirty frames per second (FPS) at full HD resolution of 1280x720 pixels. It’s also equipped with auto-focus for sharper images. It's also bundled with Creative Live! Central 3.0 software which includes a surveillance module so this camera can double as a valuable home security device when you’re away. With a USB 2.0 connector for compatibility with most laptops and computers, this web-cam is great option for the budget-minded consumer.

Macally MegaCam 2.0 Megapixel Video Web Cam with Built-in Microphone

Although Macally isn’t as well-known as some of the other manufacturer’s on our list, this web-cam offers a lot of quality features. The two megapixel camera can take full motion, 30 frame per second (FPS) video at a resolution of 640x480 pixels. While this pixel count isn’t as high as some of the other cameras on our list, it should be adequate for most users. Additional features include an auto-focus lens, a built-in microphone, as well as a mounting bracket that rotates one hundred eighty degrees for ease of use. Like our other picks, this web cam conveniently features USB 2.0 connectivity to easily link to your desktop computer or laptop.

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920

This outstanding web cam from Logitech finds its place on our list for good reason given its number of exceptional features. First of all, it uses a sixteen megapixel, software-enhanced lens with auto-focus and automatic light correction for better imaging in dim or excessively lit conditions. It can do full 1080P (1920x1080) video calling and full HD video capture at the same resolution. It also offers built-in H.264 video compression which is used for loss-less encoding by popular websites such a YouTube and the ITunes Store. Finally, it utilizes built-in stereo mics with automatic noise reduction. The only downside to this outstanding camera is a price that is higher than many other web-cams. However, if you’re someone who wants the best of the best, look no further than this pick.

Microsoft LifeCam Studio 1080p HD Webcam

This is a great offering from Microsoft with a number of outstanding features which land it a place on our list. It features an auto-focus, glass element lens along with Microsoft TrueColor and ClearFrame technologies to generate truer color images in virtually all lighting conditions and smoother video as well. It has a full HD camera sensor which executes still capture at 2560x2048 resolution,  full motion video 1920x1080 resolution, and a wide-angle auto focus lens for sharper video imagery. This webcam uses as flexible mounting clip with three hundred sixty degree rotation for great versatility in positioning it just the way you want. Together, all these features add up to a camera that is a great value.

Logitech HD Portable 1080p Webcam C615

This is another outstanding offering from Logitech offering great features at a very reasonable price. First, it has a maximum software enhanced resolution of eight megapixels for outstanding still images, full HD video calling at 1280x720 pixels, and video capture at 1920x1080 resolution. It also employs Logitechs own Fluid Crystal technology which assists in creating shape images and smooth video. In addition to auto focus and a built in mic with automatic noise reduction, it features a convenient swiveling mounting system that easily attaches to your PC or to a tripod. The end result is an outstanding web-cam with little in the way of downsides.

Creative Live! Cam Chat HD Webcam

This is a fine offering from Creative offering a suite of great features at a wallet-friendly price. First of all, it features a five point seven megapixel lens and can capture full motion video at thirty frames per second (FPS) at full HD resolution of 1280x720 pixels. It’s also equipped with auto-focus for sharper images. It's also bundled with Creative Live! Central 3.0 software which includes a surveillance module so this camera can double as a valuable home security device when you’re away. With a USB 2.0 connector for compatibility with most laptops and computers, this web-cam is great option for the budget-minded consumer.

Logitech HD C310 Webcam

This offering from Logitech gives you a software enhanced, five megapixel camera that can capture HD video at 1280x720 pixels resolution. This webcam comes equipped with automatic color correction for more vivid imaging and has a built-in microphone with noise reduction for clearer audio. It's also compatible with popular communication applications such as Skype, Google Hangouts and Yahoo Messenger as well as USB 2.0 outputs for compatibility with most PC's. With great bang for the buck, this camera deserves your serious consideration.

Buyer's Guide

Webcam Buyer’s Guide

While webcams are often used as fun devices to let people communicate online across long distances, they are still digital cameras so it is important to consider technical elements like pixels, video resolution, and frame rates. You also want to keep in mind the available focus settings and the image sensor used for the camera, as these both impact how well the webcam works and the overall picture quality. The actual setup of the webcam is also important, so consider how the unit connects to your system, mounts to your computer or desktop, as well as if there are additional features included like built-in microphones.

Effective Pixels

When it comes to looking at any kind of digital camera, it’s important to remember one major concept; the more pixels in an image, the better it looks. Digital camera image quality is often indicated in terms of megapixels, which indicate how many million pixels, or picture elements, are used to capture an image.

The bare minimum you should accept is about 1.0MP but 5.0MP is really what you want if you’re looking for good picture quality. If you’re willing to go higher, some webcams provide up to 8.0MP for incredible clarity and high definition.

Maximum Video Capture Resolution

While pixel counts are definitely important when considering picture quality with a webcam, don’t overlook the maximum resolution available. Resolution is a measurement of the height and width of an image, in pixels; the higher the resolution, the more pixels within an image which result in a crisp, sharp image. The minimum you should look for is 640x480 which should be acceptable for casual use. If you want picture quality that looks really great, then a resolution of 1280x720 is really what you should choose. This is also the resolution you will probably find for HD video, so keep that in mind.

Frame Rates

Although you can typically use a webcam to capture still images, you ultimately want to look for a unit which provides you with exceptional video performance. Pixel count and resolution are both important, but a large, clear image is meaningless if the frame rate is so low that it looks like a series of still images instead of true, flowing video. You want to get a frame rate of 30 frames per second (fps) or higher because anything less than will be noticeably choppy.

Focus Settings and Controls

Focus refers to the way in which any camera, including a webcam, adjusts the depth of field to clearly capture an item or person that is either close to the camera or far away. Most webcams have autofocus, which lets the camera adjust to focus on a near or far object without you making any adjustments. While this is convenient, since you do not have to adjust it manually, it also means you have no control over it.

Manual focus settings let you change the focus, usually by physically adjusting a ring around the lens of the camera. This gives you control over what is in focus, but you need to make these adjustments each time you want to change it.

If you want manual control without any hassle, your best option is a webcam which includes a remote control to adjust the focus settings. This lets you alter near or far focus, but you can do so from across the room or without physically touching the camera.

Interface Type

Just about every webcam uses a USB connection to plug into your computer. The one thing to really look at is the type of USB interface and make sure you have an available USB connection on your computer.

USB 2.0 or 3.0 is ideal, since it ensures data transmission at high rates, preventing bottlenecking and frame loss due to slow data. USB 1.0 or 1.1 can work pretty well, but 2.0 is certainly ideal.

Also, keep the webcams cord length in mind as you look at your USB connections and be sure you have an available port in an area of your computer accessible to a webcam with a three or six-foot long cord. From there you can choose a model with a long enough cable for your setup.

Image Sensor

There are two common types of image sensor used in webcams to capture light as a picture.

Charge-Coupled Device (CCD)
In the past, CCD was demonstrably superior in terms of image quality, but also more expensive. They’re often used in medical imaging equipment and cameras used on telescopes for taking images of astronomical phenomenon.

Complimentary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS)
CMOS sensors were typically inferior but also less expensive, making it ideal for lower resolution webcams. This distinction has diminished in recent years, however, as CMOS webcams have become better and better.

Ultimately, you should look at pixel count, resolution, and frame rate, but just be aware that CMOS webcams have largely caught up with CCD models in terms of picture quality.

Mounting Design

There is no particular mounting design that is superior to others; instead you need to make sure you pick a model that works well with your setup and computer work area. Clip models usually fasten to the edge of a desk, top of a monitor, or other relatively thin area. Other models have a stand that you rest on a monitor, shelf, or other surface and the webcam sits on it.

You need to decide where you plan on placing your webcam and then choose a mount that works with your setup. One thing to keep in mind is that some webcams can lift off or detach from the mount, so that you can move the camera around if necessary, and then place it back onto the mount for stationary use.

Additional Features

While image quality and resolution might be your primary consideration, there are also some great secondary features worth looking at before picking a webcam.

If you need audio and don’t want to buy a microphone, then look for a camera that includes a microphone built into it. Some webcams include not only remote focus control but also remote directional control, letting you turn the camera up or down and side-to-side without physically touching the device.

The software included with the webcam is also important, as the right package can let you effortlessly capture images and then load them into other programs/social media. You should also consider additional options like motion-detection that lets you use a webcam for security, facial recognition to quickly (and securely) log into your computer, and low-light or night-vision compatibility.

Manufacturer and Warranty

Like any other computer peripheral or electronic device, look at the manufacturer and consider your options for reliability and performance.

Companies like Logitech and Microsoft are well known for making excellent webcams that work a long time and provide clear, high definition picture quality at high frame rates. Cisco and Creative Labs also produce excellent webcams, so consider all of your options before making a purchase.

You should also look at the warranties available that cover your investment in a webcam. A one-year warranty is pretty standard for webcams, even on fairly expensive models, and anything less than that is unacceptable.

Bestcovery Staff
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
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