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The 10 best webcams: For business and remote-work video calls

What is the best webcam? ZDNet's top choice goes to the Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro. Comparing prices, camera quality, ease of use, and special features, we've compiled a list of the best webcams for business and casual users.
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Written by Cliff Joseph and  June Wan, Tech Editor on

Millions of people turned to video-conferencing apps to keep in touch with family and friends during pandemic-related lockdowns. Video calls have been vital for businesses, too, enabling staff to maintain contact with colleagues and clients while working from home. And even when lockdown restrictions are a thing of the past, video calls will be a core element of hybrid working practices going forward.

Most laptops and all-in-one desktop PCs now include a built-in webcam, so it's not essential to buy any additional equipment for video calls. However, those built-in cameras do tend to be fairly basic, with moderate resolution and image quality, a limited viewing angle, and few controls. Business users who want to project a more professional image can benefit from a dedicated webcam that delivers a better image as well as include a high-quality microphone and other features.

Cheaper webcams tend to offer 720p resolution (1280x720 pixels), and some of the better 720p cameras do provide perfectly good image quality. Increasingly, though, high-definition cameras are becoming the norm, offering 1080p (1920x1080) or even 4K (4096x2160) resolution. Other features to think about include an adjustable stand that allows you to tilt and swivel the camera, a wide-angle lens, and a noise-cancelling microphone.

Most webcams use a standard USB connection, so they're compatible with both PCs and Macs and generally can be used with standard video apps such as Skype and Zoom. However, Mac users should also check to see if the camera requires a special app from the manufacturer that provides additional features.

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Image: Logitech

As the rather long-winded name suggests, the Brio Ultra HD Pro is Logitech's top-of-the-range personal webcam for business users and our pick for best webcam. (There's another model called the Brio Stream, which looks virtually identical, but is aimed at gamers.)

It's packed with features, including a high-quality glass lens that supports full 4K (4096x2160) resolution with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for optimum picture quality. You'll need a PC or a Mac with USB 3.0 or USB-C to use the 4K mode, but the camera also offers 1080p and 720p modes for older computers. 

The Brio provides three viewing angles, with 65 degree designed for simple head-and-shoulders shots, while 78 degree can fit another person into the image, and 90 degree provides a wider view of the room for presentations and demos. There's also a 5X digital zoom available, although this only works when using 1080p resolution, along with a privacy shutter, dual noise-canceling microphones, and optical and infrared sensors that support Windows Hello for extra security.

Pros

  • 4K resolution with HDR
  • Can adjust between three viewing angles (65, 78, and 90)
  • Optical and infrared sensors support Windows Hello

Cons

  • Not all software features are optimized for 4K
  • Expensive
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Image: Razer

The Kiyo webcam was one of the products that helped Razer expand out of its traditional gaming market, gaining good reviews that helped to attract many people who are now working from home.

It's no surprise, then, that Razer has now followed up with the Kiyo Pro. Some have been disappointed that the Kiyo Pro sticks with the same 1080p resolution (1920x1080) as its predecessor, while increasing the price to $199 (now selling for as low as $99). However, Razer has added new features that ensure the Kiyo Pro can cope with the varied and unpredictable lighting conditions of a home office.

The scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass lens can record 1080p video at 30fps with HDR to provide stronger colours and contrast, or it can step up to 60fps -- without HDR -- for smooth, sharp animation. The lens provides three different viewing angles and also includes an adaptive light sensor designed to cope with low-light conditions.

Unfortunately, Razer's Synapse software, which controls the camera settings, isn't available on the Mac, so the Kiyo Pro currently is Windows-only.

Pros

  • Compact, circular webcam design
  • 1080p resolution produces sharp video
  • Built-in microphones

Cons

  • Underperforms in low light
  • Requires USB 3.0 port and nothing less
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Image: Elgato

Even before the pandemic, the content creating industry had seen exponential growth. With more and more teens investing in shooting video, streaming, and publishing digital content, companies like Elgato (now owned by Corsair) have met the call of duty. The latest from the Stream Deck creator is the Facecam, a 1080p webcam that supports 60fps output, has a fixed-focused f2.4 aperture sensor, and dials into Elgato's extensive software support for broadcasters.

Hardware-wise, Facecam's boxy form factor and highly flexible tilt mechanism set it apart from the rest of the gaming-centric webcams. While there are no ring lights, users can take advantage of the in-body Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor to deliver great video output, no matter the lighting conditions. The camera comes geared with all the tools a streamer would want, including a detachable privacy cover when a broadcast is done. 

Pros

  • 1080p 60fps camera delivers crisp video quality
  • Uses hardware and software that's optimized for streaming
  • Fixed-focused Sony sensor keeps you in focus all the time

Cons

  • Chunkier than traditional webcams
  • Requires USB 3.0 port and nothing less
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June Wan/ZDNet

If you're among the many who have transitioned to the WFH lifestyle, then you may be well aware of just how cluttered a desk can be when gearing up for a video call. A webcam, speaker, and microphone setup can be a burden on its own. Toss in anything more, and you've got a desk full of electronics and dangling cables. 

Enter the AnkerWork B600 Video Bar. It's Anker's all-in-one conferencing solution that bundles a 2K-resolution webcam, four microphones, dual speakers, and a built-in light bar that doubles as a privacy cover when closed. The video bar isn't cheap; it retails at $219 but can be had at a discount at many third-party retailers. But for the price, you're getting all that's needed to hop on any video call with confidence.

Anker also bundles the B600 Video Bar with its proprietary companion software, which gives you Windows or Mac access to the camera's features, including visual effects, field-of-view, resolution, and even light bar intensity. From testing the video bar, we found it served its purpose of replacing all the extra video-conferencing hardware that's typically left on the office desk.

Pros:

  • All-in-one design is convenient to use
  • Ample amount of hardware and software customization
  • 2K-resolution webcam is crystal clear

Cons:

  • Speakers are side-firing and sound passable at best
  • Expensive at $219
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Image: Logitech

Logitech's webcams are primarily intended for personal use, but the company also makes a number of "ConferenceCams," which are more versatile, such as the Connect.

 The cylindrical Connect is designed to sit on a desk, rather than being attached to a computer screen, but you can pan and tilt the glass lens using the handheld remote control (which also covers the lens for privacy when the Connect isn't in use). The camera provides 1080p and 720p video modes, with 4X digital zoom, and its 90-degree field of view is good for stepping back and giving presentations, or covering small groups in an office.

There are two internal microphones, and the Connect also can work as a speakerphone for audio calls, using Bluetooth to connect to your mobile devices. It even includes a rechargeable battery so that you can quickly pick it up and carry it from room to room, allowing you to use it as a standalone speakerphone without requiring a USB connection to your PC or Mac.

Pros

  • Sleek cylindrical design
  • Portable and can be used with the built-in battery
  • Handheld remote control doubles as privacy cover

Cons

  • Expensive at $499
  • No optical zoom or digital panning
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Image: Logitech

Logitech has been in the webcam business for decades, and its current range covers everything from low-cost cameras for home users right up to boardroom video-conferencing systems costing thousands of pounds. But if you're after an affordable business-quality webcam, then the C930e is a good place to start. 

Equipped with a high-quality glass lens, the C930e delivers 1080p resolution -- which can be scaled down to 720p if required -- and a 90-degree viewing angle with autofocus, so that you can step back to a whiteboard for presentations if need be. There's also 4X digital zoom for close-up work, dual microphones. and a privacy shutter in case you've just stumbled out of bed in the morning.

You can tilt and swivel the camera on its adjustable stand, which can be clipped onto a laptop or external monitor. There's a tripod connector, too, though you'll need to provide the tripod yourself. 

Pros

  • No-frills webcam with excellent video quality
  • Privacy shutter built-in
  • 4X digital zoom for distant showcases

Cons

  • No optical zoom
  • Very basic form and functionality for the price
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Image: Lenovo

Lenovo's handy little VOIP 360 Camera Speaker seems to have been discontinued, but the company recently launched a new range of ThinkSmart collaboration devices that includes a variety of video and audio devices for home and office use.

The ThinkSmart View is an unusual option for video calls, effectively acting as a self-contained terminal. The all-in-one unit combines a touch-sensitive 8-inch screen with 1280 by 800 resolution, a 5MP camera, twin microphones and a built-in speaker. And rather than using USB to connect directly to your computer, it uses Wi-Fi to connect to your home or office network. It also supports Bluetooth, so you can use a wireless headset or external speakers if you want.

The ThinkSmart View is available directly from Lenovo, and costs $349.99. However, there are two versions of the View, designed for either Zoom or Microsoft Teams, so make sure you choose the right one.

Pros

  • 8-inch display to interact and take video calls with
  • Specially designed versions for Zoom and Microsoft Teams
  • Supports live captions and subtitles

Cons

  • Camera angle is not adjustable
  • Must be recharged, unlike traditional webcams
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Image: AverMedia

Aver's Cam340+ that we covered last year provides 4K resolution and an impressive wide-angle lens, but it's fairly expensive, so the company recently released the Live Streamer Cam 513 to provide a more affordable alternative.

The Live Streamer Cam 513 costs $250 when bought direct from AverMedia in the US, but we've seen it for sale online for under $200. Despite the lower price, the Live Streamer still provides 4K (3840x2160) resolution to provide a clear, sharp image. It doesn't have the wide-angle lens of the Cam340+, but AverMedia states that its 94-degree field of view is suitable for small groups of up to four people in a huddle room, and the adjustable stand also allows you to rotate the camera freely.

The camera does require a USB 3.0 or USB-C port in order to handle 4K streaming and, somewhat oddly, AverMedia reports "video delay" when used with macOS, which might cause syncing problems, so the LiveStreamer may not be the best choice for your new candy-coloured iMac (or any other Mac model).

Pros

  • 4K high-resolution output
  • Software support to fine-tune camera quality
  • Excellent dynamic range for various lighting conditions

Cons

  • Not optimized for Mac users
  • Pricier than traditional webcams
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Image: Owl Labs

Owl Labs made quite a splash when it launched the first Meeting Owl back in 2018, and the company followed up that success with the updated Pro model (the original Meeting Owl is still available from a few online retailers, so make sure you select the correct model).

The Meeting Owl Pro is priced at $999, admittedly rather expensive for simply working from home, but it's an excellent option for small groups that may want to maintain social distancing while working in a huddle room.

The Meeting Owl Pro's most innovative feature is its 360-degree camera, which provides HD video (1920x1080) with a split-screen effect that shows a panoramic view of the entire room along with a close-up Smart Zooming view of the current speaker. You can also lock the camera onto a specific part of the room, which can be useful for individuals who are giving presentations or lectures while working from home. The Meeting Owl Pro also includes a built-in microphone with an 18-foot (5.49m) radius so that you can all spread out a little, and a "tri-speaker" for room-filling sound.

Pros

  • 360-degree camera captures everything
  • Built-in tri-speaker is great for groups
  • Smart software features to focus on presenters

Cons

  • Very expensive at $999
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Image: Cisco

Cisco recently announced a new range of Webex Desk devices aimed at both home and office workers, and the first to arrive is the Webex Desk Camera.

You can't buy directly from Cisco, unfortunately, but it's worth shopping around online as the Desk Camera is a competitively priced 4K (3840x2160) webcam, costing around $170 or £160 (inc. VAT) from Cisco's third-party resellers. It's designed for use in low-light conditions for people working from home, and uses a combination of auto-focus and AI-powered face-recognition to keep you in focus. The face-recognition features also allow it to support Windows Hello for extra security.

Adding to the Webex Desk Camera's value for money are twin microphones that support better-than-CD 48KHz stereo audio. It can work as a conventional webcam, clipping onto a laptop screen or an external monitor but also can work alongside other Webex Desk products, and provides remote management features for IT departments via the Webex Control Hub.

Pros

  • 4K high-resolution output
  • Face-recognition supports Windows Hello
  • Remote management features via Webex Control Hub

Cons

  • Chunkier than the standard webcam
  • Only sold by Cisco

What is the best webcam?

The best webcam is the Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro. When evaluating its price, webcam quality, and general performance, we found it to offer the best value out of all our picks.

Model

Price

Camera resolution

Field of view (degrees)

Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro

$199

4K (4096x2160)

90

Razer Kiyo Pro

$199

1080p (1920x1080)

103

Elgato Facecam

$169

1080p (1920x1080)

82

AnkerWork B600 Video Bar

$219

2K (2560x1440)

115

Logitech Connect

$499

1080p (1920x1080)

90

Logitech C930e Business

$129

1080p (1920x1080)

90

Lenovo ThinkSmart View

$349

1080p (1920x1080)

75

AverMedia Live Streamer Cam 513

$250

4K (3840x2160)

94

Meeting Owl Pro

$999

1080p (1920x1080)

360

Cisco Webex Desk Camera

$170

4K (3840x2160)

81

Why do you need a webcam?

Most modern laptops -- and many desktop PCs -- already have a built-in webcam, but these are often low-cost cameras with 720p resolution (1280x720 pixels) that provide relatively poor image quality. If you're working from home and want to make a good impression with your clients and colleagues, then a high-quality webcam with better image and sound quality is a very worthwhile investment. 

Do you need special software for your webcam?

Modern webcams that use a USB interface -- either USB-A or USB-C -- are plug-and-play devices that should work automatically with any PC or Mac, without requiring any additional software or drivers to be installed. However, some webcam manufacturers do provide their own apps that provide additional controls and features. Some of these apps will only run on Windows PCs, so Apple users should check on Mac compatibility before buying. 

Will your webcam work with your video software?

The USB compatibility of modern webcams should ensure that they work smoothly with any video software that runs on your PC or Mac. However, some webcams may offer features that are designed for use with specific apps, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Some manufacturers also provide their own proprietary video conferencing systems that require both hardware and software to be provided by a single manufacturer. 

How did we choose these webcams?

The webcam market in recent months has very much been driven by people who are working from home, and who need to upgrade the basic 720p webcam in their laptop or desktop PC. This means that the primary feature we look for is improved image quality provided by a 1080p (1920x1080) or 4K (3840x2160) webcam. When scouting for the best webcam, we also look to other useful features including auto-focus controls or a wide-angle lens to keep the speaker clearly in sight at all times, and twin microphones to provide high-quality stereo sound. 

Which is the right webcam for you?

For simple video calls with colleagues you may find that an affordable 1080p camera is perfectly adequate, but if you really want to look as professional as possible then a more expensive 4K model can make a big difference. A wide-angle lens is more expensive, but can be useful for small groups sitting around a table in a huddle room, or for people who need to stand up while giving a presentation. Not all webcams include a built-in microphone -- some people prefer to use a separate microphone or a shared speakerphone system -- so check on that before buying. 

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