Lockdowns and quarantines due to COVID-19 may be lifting in some areas, but many people are still working and socializing from home—and will be doing so for months to come.
Amid this health pandemic, video chat apps have never been more popular, as they have become important cogs in keeping businesses and educational institutions running. Services like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, FaceTime and others have garnered millions of new daily users.
While modern laptops and all-in-one PCs already come with decent webcams built-in, some desktop users may have to go out and buy one. If you take a quick look at Best Buy or Amazon, there is indeed plenty to choose from. So, to help you in your creation of a shortlist, here are five very solid webcam options to consider if you’re in the market for one.
Leading off is the Lenovo 500 FHD Webcam. Perhaps better known for its laptops, the brand’s webcam offerings are pretty robust. This particular model is within the average price point range of $50 and provides an array of useful features, which include 75-degree-wide angle lens, pan and tilting capabilities and a facial recognition feature for Windows Hello login.
Up next is the Logitech C270, which comes in at $10 cheaper than the Lenovo model. This particular webcam is perfect for someone who doesn’t want to deal with the hassles of higher-end features. Setting it up is a snap and your instant messaging and video chat apps will automatically detect it. Despite its 720p resolution, it’s fine for run-of-the-mill video conference calls and virtual happy hours with friends and family.
No. 3 on the list is the Razer Kiyo, which retails for $100. It may be a bit on the pricier side but it’s one of the best webcams out there for streamers and YouTube vloggers. Featuring an integrated ring light that helps illuminate your face when you hop on video calls or broadcast games online, this webcam is able to record at 30 frames per second at 1080p.
If you’re searching for great value at under $50, look no further than the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000. Equipped with 720p video-recording capability for your basic video calls and group chats, the camera itself is enhanced by Microsoft’s LifeCam software that provides various filters and effects to customize your look. If you find yourself on Skype often, know that this webcam is Skype-certified.
The last option is for those folks who don’t mind splurging a bit on a webcam. The Logitech Brio Webcam retails for $200, but you’ll be getting video that’s on par with what your high-end smartphone can achieve. It boasts 4K UHD resolution, HDR and Windows Hello functionality. To top it off, you’ll get a convenient stand to place your webcam wherever you wish.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. He currently resides in Minneapolis.