Best Webcams for Working from Home in 2020


Best Webcams for Working from Home in 2020

This isn’t news to the world that professionals are asked to sit back at home and work during this uncertain time. This is not just important for the corporates but in fact, applies to each and every one of us. If you are reading this, then I would request you too to pass on this message to your loved ones and anyone you know to stay at home and try to do your work remotely.

This brings us to the next in line problem of working from home! “The meetings!”. Oh, the dreaded ones. God only knows whenever there is a notification alert on my laptop and my smartphone, I start thinking if my beard requires a trim, or if my hairs are tidy. Whether I should be wearing casuals Infront of my bosses or shall I just hop in the virtual meeting in my shorts. Heck, I am sure even you must have had done that. Wearing a blazer with a nicely knotted tie, but with shorts on your bottoms. Well, just got one word. Desperate times call for drastic measures!

When you have all that out of the way, what if you end up knowing that the Webcam you have got jacked up to your desktop computer or your laptop is not good enough for the meeting. It is either an oldie (like my grandfather); or that it lacks the capacity to send in a decent feed of yourself during the session. Well, not that it is essential, but, in most cases, it is socially unacceptable if your broadcasted video is downright too pixelated just because your Webcam wasn’t decent enough.

The best webcams do not necessarily need to be expensive. They just need to have that right balance between a decent make-up and the right price-tag. You don’t need to go overboard with your purchase and do not necessarily need to invest a thousand bucks just to satisfy your inner-ego that your broadcast would be the best amongst your colleagues. There is no race here to be won, people! Move along.

Since now more and more people are working from home there is always a need to connect with both your loved ones abroad and your office colleagues. And thus, these tiny peripherals relevance has yet again taken a boost. Beyond this, the webcams are also essentially important if you are fond of streaming yourself on YouTube or heck if you are a PC-gamer like me who Twitch’s a lot of his gameplays online; you need a decent webcam to ensure your viewers are enjoying each and every moment of your expressions once you get pounded in by your opponents. Well, banter here at its finest! Needless to say, if you are working from home, then chances are you are working off of a laptop and if that’s the case, then this article might not be that relevant to you. But if you are on an old laptop and your Webcam is not up to the mark, then continue reading. This article is mostly targeted towards those who are working from home using a desktop machine.

This is why I have made up a list of well researched and the best webcams the year 2020 has to offer to us. I have gone the extra mile of covering those cameras that I have personally used and have also listed webcams that are capable of broadcasting 4k resolution videos to high-quality microphone-based cameras. If you are interested in finding out which swivel-based camera is best for work from home, then fret not! I have covered that too in my list down under.

Whether you’re someone who needs a webcam to work from home or someone who just needs to connect with their loved ones back home or abroad, I am confident you will find a camera in the list below that would fit your needs. Let us get going!

What Are the Key Requirements of Working from Home?

Whether you are working from home one day per week or full time – by choice or because of the current health risks involved in working from an office environment. You should ensure that you have got all the below pointers aligned and sorted out to the “T” to provide you are most productive during these times. These include but are not limited to:

Setting Up of a Functional Workspace

If you are like me, then your child’s play-room is now officially declared as a workspace. Well, not everyone has the liberty to have a dedicated home office, but let me break it down to you. It is crucial to have a private yet comfortable and a quiet place for you to work from home. Separate your work area from your personal area at home, and use this place just to work. No other activities should be conducted in this space, thus giving you the vibe and the mental satisfaction of working at your utmost productive levels. Period!

Having the Right Internet Speed

If your kids love FaceTime calls and use XBOX / PS4 most of the time when they are awake, then you sir are in for trouble. The reason being these gadgets are bandwidth hogger’s and can quite quickly eat up the speed required for you to carry out your tasks while working from home remotely. Therefore, the only viable solution to this is to connect the internet to your work-from-home device via an ethernet cable to the router. This would then ensure that you get the best possible speed that is available to your machine.

If all this doesn’t solve the problem, then you may also resort to setting up a strict work schedule where you demand (in my scenario, demanding doesn’t work; therefore you may also resort to begging your children) your household members to refrain from using gadgets that consume internet so that your work remains unaffected.

Ways of Dealing with Kids

As the saying goes

“Productivity doesn’t equal eight hours.”

– by someone on the “Internet”

You aren’t going to be a 100% productive team member if you have kids who are screaming and shouting throughout the day. The best practice that I have personally adopted and has turned out to be fruitful is to take turns to manage the kids. If you have a toddler, then the best bet is to ensure that you work at times when he or she is fast asleep. This would obviously mean that you would need to communicate it to your boss to work evening hours.

Having the Right Gadgets and Tools

The first and the foremost thing to work from home is to ensure you have the right gadgets and tools. By that I mean, you need to ensure you have relevant stationery available at all times, a functional laptop or a desktop, an external keyboard and a mouse, a decent internet connection, the right apps and most importantly a decent Webcam.

Here is a list of the best Webcam’s that I have come up with after carefully reviewing each and every one of them. What else could I have done better for my readers during the quarantine period!

Razer Kiyo

This is my favourite Webcam that I personally use for both Work from Home and connecting my family and friends via video-calls.

If your room has poor lighting or is at a distance from the window, you sure are in the same circumstances in which I am. Poor image quality! This camera has a built-in LED ring light which ensures to light up your space while the Webcam is active. If you want to give yourself a video edge during video conference calls, then lightning is the key here!

It is made up of 12-LED’s embedded around the lens in a circle format. It is designed in such a way that it flatters the face with adjustable intensity. You would be surprised to know it also comes with a daylight-balanced colour temperature.

Technical Specifications

Connection typeUSB 2.0
Image resolution4 Megapixels
Video Resolution1080p @ 30FPS
720p @ 60FPS
480p @ 30FPS
360p @ 30FPS
Video encodingYUY2/MJPEG or H.264
Still Image Resolution2688×1520
Image Quality Settings CustomizationYes
Diagonal Field of View (FOV)81.6 °
Focus TypeAuto

Ring Light specifications

Illumination12 white LEDs
Colour Temperature5600K “Daylight”
LED DiffuserMilky White
Buttons12 step ring dial
Brightness10 Lux @ 1m
Illumination12 white LEDs

The RING LED adjust itself automatically based on your surroundings. If you want to ramp up the light or reduce it, all you need to do is manually rotate the LED dial on the camera to your liking.

Microphone Specifications

Audio Codec16bit 48KHz
Polar patternsOmnidirectional
Sensitivity-38dB

Verdict

My personal favourite!

ProsCons
Bult-in LED Ring lightNo external audio support
FULL HD Resolution @ 30 FPS

Microsoft LifeCam Studio

If you are fond of CCTV cameras installed out in the malls or your favourite shop on the Highstreet, then you are in for a surprise. The look and feel of this Webcam are almost identical to a commercial CCTV camera. This is a cut-throat business model and offers great video and audio quality over apps that you may use for your business or personal use.

Technical Specifications

Connection typeUSB 2.0
Image resolution5 Megapixels
Video Resolution1080p @ 30 fps
Still Image Resolution2560 x 2048 pixel
Diagonal Field of View (FOV)75° diagonal field of view
Focus TypeAutofocus from 0.1m to ≥ 10m

Verdict

ProsCons
Clips on easily to the monitorOnly capable of 15 FPS @ 2k Resolution
Wide field of viewOnly has one microphone
Low priced 

Logitech C270i – PTV 960-001084

Logitech C270i – PTV 960-001084
Image Source: Logitech

This is Logitech’s best model when it comes down to clarity in both Video and Audio transmission. This oval-shaped model is capable of pumping out crispy images on any meeting app that you use for your work from home needs. This device is capable of adjusting its image quality based on the light in your surrounding area. Quite an intelligent camera I must say.

Let us now dig further into the “fine details”.

Technical Specifications

ResolutionHD 720p / 30 fps
Focus TypeFixed Focus
Hardware2.4 GHz Intel Core2 Duo
RAM2 GB
Internal Space200 MB hard drive space
Photo Quality3 MP
Lens TechnologyStandard
Built-in micMono
Diagonal Field of View (FOV)60 degrees
Fits onA universal clip that fits comfortably on laptops, LCD or Monitors
Cable Length1.5 meters

System Requirements

You do not require a super-computer to run this Webcam.

It is compatible with:

  1. Windows 7
  2. Windows 8
  3. Windows 10 or later

It also can run in UVC mode with supported video-calling clients, such as:

  1. macOS 10.10 or later
  2. Chrome OS
  3. Android v 5.0 or above

This camera works flawlessly with:

  1. Skype
  2. Google Hangouts
  3. FaceTime for Mac

Package Contents

  1. 5-foot cable
  2. User documentation

Warranty Information

2-Year Limited Hardware Warranty

If you already own this product and need further support directly from Logitech then head over to this product’s support page and register a query.

Verdict

ProsCons
InexpensiveFixed focus
Great microphonePoor exposure control
Decent details in good lightingSlightly distracting noise in low light
Walk in the park to configure 

LOGITECH C920 HD PRO

LOGITECH C920 HD PRO
Image Source: Logitech

If you are planning on making a strong impression in a professional Skype call or a Microsoft Teams business meeting, then I recommend that you do not settle in for your built-in Laptop cameras. They just don’t cut it!

You can get a far more polished impression by broadcasting yourself using the Logitech C920 HD PRO which is capable of broadcasting 1080p resolution and a Stereo sound with a very affordable price-tag. It also comes with its very own Privacy Shutter.

Technical Specifications

Resolution1080p / 30 fps
720p / 30 fps with H.264
Focus Type20 Step Auto-Focus
Hardware2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
RAM2GB
Built-in micDual Stereo
Fits onTripod-ready, Universal clips that hold onto Laptops, LCD or Monitors
Cable Length1.5 meters

System Requirements

The Logitech C920 HD PRO camera is compatible with:

  1. Windows 7
  2. Windows 8
  3. Windows 10 or later

It also can run in UVC mode with supported video-calling clients, such as:

  1. macOS 10.10 or later
  2. Chrome OS
  3. Android v 5.0 or above

This camera works flawlessly with:

  1. Skype
  2. Google Hangouts
  3. FaceTime for Mac

Package Contents

  1. 5-foot cable
  2. User documentation

Warranty Information

2-Year Limited Hardware Warranty

If you already own this product and need further support directly from Logitech then head over to this product’s support page and register a query.

Verdict

ProsCons
Sharp, Clear PhotosBuggy software
Long Cord 
Wide field of view angle 

Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro

Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro
Image Source: Logitech

Without a doubt in mind, Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro is one of the highest-quality webcams found in the market today. Capable of recording Ultra 4k HD videos is surely an eye-candy to watch.

Let us now dig into more technical details for the tech-savvy.

Technical Specifications

Resolution4K Ultra HD video calling (up to 4096 x 2160 pixels @ 30 fps)
1080p Full HD video calling (up to 1920 x 1080 pixels @ 30 or 60 fps)
720p HD video calling (up to 1280 x 720 pixels @ 30, 60, or 90 fps)
Field of View:Diagonal: 90°
Horizontal: 82.1°
Vertical: 52.2°
Built-in micBuilt-in dual Omni-directional mics with noise cancellation
PrivacyExternal privacy shutter
Fits onMultiple mounting options, including clip and tripod mount
Cable length2.2 meters

Package Contents

  • Brio Ultra HD Pro Webcam
  • USB 3.0 cable (compatible with USB 2.0)
  • Removable clip
  • Privacy shade
  • Carrying pouch
  • Documentation

Compatibility

  • Plug and play USB connectivity
  • Certified for Skype for Business and ready for Teams
  • Certified for Zoom® Meetings
  • Fuze Certified
  • Microsoft Cortana®
  • Windows Hello
  • Cisco Jabber®

Warranty Information

3 Year Limited Hardware warranty.

If you are interested in the datasheet of this particular camera, then head over to DATA SHEET available via the Microsoft website.

Verdict

ProsCons
Sharp resolution with vibrant coloursA bit pricy
Wide-angle field of view4k ready apps and services are still scarce
Infrared based facial recognition 

Related Questions

I am confident after reading through this article, there may be a plethora of questions that you would find the answers to down in the section below.

How Much Bandwidth Does a Webcam Use?

Multiple variables need to be kept into consideration while answering this question. But to narrow it down, the top 3 variables are:

Resolution

Higher resolution cameras would ultimately require high bandwidth

Frame Per Second (FPS)

Higher the FPS, higher the requirements of the bandwidth.

Video Compression Codecs

Webcams these days come up high-end video codecs. These codecs ensure how a video is compressed and then transmitted across the internet. To name the popular codecs, are H.264 and MJPEG.

Most of the latest HD Webcam use H.264 video and audio compression codecs to enhance user-experience.

Not to hold me for a ball-park figure, but you can always resort to the below table if you are keen to quickly skim-through this question’s answer.

Webcam Bandwidth Requirement
ResolutionH.264
1MP (1280*720)2 Mbps
2MP (1920*1080)4 Mbps
4MP (2560*1440)8 Mbps

How Much Bandwidth Does GoToMeeting Use?

GotoMeeting is not a resource-hungry app. The internet connection required for GoToMeeting to perform smoothly is close to 1 Mbps. More the merrier.

How Much Bandwidth Does Skype For Business Need?

According to an official statement by Microsoft (Since Skype for Business is owned by Microsoft), Skype for Business bandwidth requirements are:

A one-way stream on Skype for Business would require

Audio ConferenceAudio and Video Conference
65 Kbps500 Kbps

A two-way stream on Skype for Business would require

Audio ConferenceAudio and Video Conference
130 Kbps1000 Kbps

If you are keen to know more about what is the bandwidth requirement for using Skype for Business, then heave to this spreadsheet calculator devised by Microsoft for your ready references.

How Much Bandwidth Does Zoom Video Conferencing Use?

To explain this better, I will resort to the following table for better understanding:

Recommended Zoom bandwidth for meetings and webinar panellists are:

For 1:1 Video Calling600kbps (up/down) for high-quality video
1.2 Mbps (up/down) for 720p HD video
Receiving 1080p HD video requires 1.8 Mbps (up/down)
Sending 1080p HD video requires 1.8 Mbps (up/down)
For Group Video Calling800kbps/1.0Mbps (up/down) for high quality video
For gallery view and/or 720p HD video: 1.5Mbps/1.5Mbps (up/down)
Receiving 1080p HD video requires 2.5mbps (up/down)
Sending 1080p HD video requires 3.0 Mbps (up/down)
For Screen Sharing Only50-75kbps
(No Video Thumbnails)
50-150kbps
(With Video Thumbnails)
For Audio VoIP60-80kbps
For Zoom Phone60-100kbps

Recommended bandwidth for webinar attendees:

For 1:1 Video Calling600kbps (down) for high-quality video and 1.2 Mbps (down) for HD video
For Screen Sharing Only50-75kbps (down)
(No Video Thumbnails)
50-150kbps (down)
(With Video Thumbnails)
For Audio VoIP60-80kbps (down)

Conclusion

Webcams for Work From Home
Webcams for Work From Home

If you are working at home or in isolation, you will definitely be using video calls more than ever. Therefore, it is equally vital that you make the right decision of spending your hard-earned money on something that would last you a lifetime. Well, not a lifetime per-say! But for a decent amount of time, if that sound logical.

Stay safe people! And keep on supporting me at SmartNutter.com. Thanks!

Sign

Zohaib S.

A technology enthusiast who has converted his home into a "JETSONS" edition.

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