Webcam For Your PC, Mac, or Chromebook
Chances are that you’re using the built-in webcam from your laptop, or you have a desktop that doesn’t have a webcam at all. But with more and more folks working from home, you’ll end up needing to join in a video conference call at some point, and you don’t want to end up looking like a potato. With the Logitech Brio 4K, there’s no chance of that happening and you get more added features than you’ll know what to do with. However, you’ll want to take advantage of the 4K recording and Windows Hello support.
Note: While our picks for best webcam remain the same, you can expect widespread shortages due to COVID-19. If you need a webcam right now, here’s where you can check the latest in-stock items.
Best Overall: Logitech Brio 4K
Those looking for the “mac-daddy” of webcams can’t look past the Logitech Brio 4K. Not only do you get 4K HDR video recording, but this webcam is also certified to work with Windows, macOS, and ChromeOS. However, Windows users get the added benefit of getting Windows Hello support with the Brio 4K.
In addition to recording video at either 4K or 1080p, the Brio includes a 5X digital zoom and “RightLight” so that you never look awkward on camera. While 4K video is limited to streaming at 30FPS, you can pump the brakes, transition to 1080p and get up to 60FPS if you want smooth and fluid video. To make sure that you get the “right” picture, the Brio features an adjustable Field of View, with options of 65, 78, or 90 degrees.
Logitech has packed just about the entire kitchen sink into the Brio and for good reason, as it’s quite an impressive webcam. But unless you need 4K video, the Brio will sport a lot more bells and whistles than what you probably will ever use. There are plenty of other, less expensive, webcams that can do almost just as well as the Brio at just a fraction of the cost.
- 4K video recording
- HDR quality
- Windows Hello support
- Certified for macOS, Windows, and ChromeOS
- More included features than you may use
Best Budget Pick: Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
Sometimes you need a webcam that just performs marginally better than the one included with your laptop. If you’re using a desktop, you’ll need a webcam period, as those aren’t typically built into the monitor. With the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000, you’ll get a budget-friendly and solid webcam.
This won’t shock the world or surprise anyone with a plethora of features, but the HD-3000 will get the job done if you need a webcam. Video recording is limited to just 720p, but that should be enough if you just have a lot of video conferencing calls to take. Microsoft also packed in a noise-canceling microphone to ensure that others can hear you, but little else going on in your home.
We’ve talked about how the 720p resolution won’t “wow” anyone, but it should still be serviceable for basic video conferencing needs. It’s also not recommended to go “into” the LifeCam with high expectations for a bunch of extra features, as this is about as barebones an experience as you can get.
- Noise-reducing microphone
- Certified for Skype
- Limited to 720p resolution
- Few “advanced” features
Best for Windows Hello: Kaysuda Face Recognition USB Camera
A lot of cameras promise a lot of different features, but those with Windows computers have a few features that they look for. One of which is Windows Hello support, which makes logging into your computer fast and easy. That’s where the Kaysuda Camera excels.
The company claims that its IR camera is capable of getting you logged into your computer in just one second. This is even more impressive when you consider that Kaysuda has included multi-user support so that everyone that logs into the same computer can get in quickly. What is even handier is how there are two microphones built-into the camera so you won’t have to go and spring for something else after getting the camera.
While Kaysuda’s camera is great for those wanting Windows Hello support, there is a bit of compromise with the video quality. The camera is only capable of recording in 720p and has a max camera resolution of just 640×480. This may leave you looking a bit grainy, but should still get the job done. Plus, those who were hoping to use this with the Windows 10 IoT Core System will have to look elsewhere as this camera is not compatible.
- Built-in IR Camera with depth-sensing
- Multi-user support
- Supports Windows Hello
- Multiple microphones
- Does not work with Windows 10 IoT Core systems
- Average video quality
Best for Gamers: Razer Kiyo
Now is as good of a time as any to try and jumpstart your “streaming” career, or maybe you just want to do some streaming on the side. The Razer Kiyo is great for this, not only for its ability to record 1080p video but also because it has a built-in ring light.
Perhaps the most impressive part about using the Kiyo comes after you’ve installed Razer’s Synapse 3 software. This gives you a slew of customization options, the ability to create multiple profiles, all in an effort to make sure you look your best. And of course, if even you aren’t a gamer, the Kiyo will still perform better than you may expect for the more basic video conferencing needs.
While it’s great to be able to record video in 1080p, it’s a little disappointing that Kiyo users are still limited. When recording at the higher resolution, you are limited to recording at 30FPS. Luckily, 60FPS is available if you drop down the video quality to 720p. While Razer makes it easy to perch the Kiyo just about anywhere, it’s still a bit larger than similar options that you’ll find.
- 1080p video
- Mount to monitor or on a tripod
- Built-in ring light
- Up to 60fps video recording
- Larger than similar options
- Recording in 60FPS drops resolution to 720p
Best for Versatility: Logitech StreamCam Plus
The newest player to the webcam market comes from Logitech in the form of the StreamCam Plus. This camera is capable of recording video in 1080p resolution at up to 60FPS for a smooth and crisp video. Logitech also touts the StreamCam as including “smart” auto-focus and exposure features to make sure that you are always in focus and the lighting is tuned properly.
As for mounting, Logitech includes a flexible mount that can be used at almost any angle but also allows for you to rotate the StreamCam itself. By rotating the webcam 90 degrees and re-mounting it, you can record in 9:16 video, which is perfect for the likes of Instagram and other social media apps. The mount also easily detaches from your monitor, allowing the StreamCam to be used with a tripod.
There are a few limitations as to what computers can actually be used with the StreamCam Plus while recording at 1080p/60FPS. These requirements include at least a seventh-generation Intel i5 processor, at least 8GB of RAM, and at least the Intel 620 discrete GPU. As for the macOS side of things, Logitech recommends any 2018 or newer MacBook Pro, Air, or Mac Mini. The iMac Pro is compatible and provided that you have the 2019 iMac Retina, the StreamCam should work. Anything older, and you may run into issues.
- Stream at 1080p and up to 60fps
- USB Type-C 3.1
- Shift between landscape and portrait mode
- Dual microphones
- Not all computers can use 1080p/60FPS
- Some features limited to Windows users
Best in a Pinch: Wyze Cam V2
This may be an oddball selection to add but Wyze recently pushed a firmware update to both the Cam V2 and Cam Pan that turn them into a webcam. What makes this even better is that it has been tested with both macOS and Windows, along with popular apps including Hangouts, Zoom, Skype, and more. The downside to this is that you’ll need to flash the firmware yourself, but Wyze has an in-depth tutorial on how to make it happen.
Once the firmware is flashed, you will have the ability to stream or video chat in up to 1080p video quality, and get access to the built-in speaker and microphone. Wyze suggests using your own mic and headphones or speakers as the quality can be a bit lower than usual. This is definitely an off-the-wall solution, but it can work if you need a webcam in a pinch and already have a Wyze cam at your disposal.
On the other side of the fence, the process for manually flashing the firmware can be a bit daunting to some. Wyze does the best it can to provide enough insight and instructions, but that just might be a bit too technical for some. Another downside is that your Wyze Cam V2 or Cam Pan will no longer function as a security camera, as the firmware removes the ability to connect to the Wyze app on your device. Finally, ChromeOS users may have to look for another solution, as there is no confirmed compatibility with Chromebooks and other ChromeOS-powered devices.
- 1080p video
- Compatible with all major video-chatting services
- Works with Mac and Windows
- Must flash updated firmware
- Will not connect to Wyze app after updated
- Does not work with ChromeOS
- Not actually a webcam!
There are a lot of webcams out there for you to choose from, many of which come from the likes of Logitech. Whether you need to jump on for some Zoom conference calls or want to try and jumpstart your own Twitch channel, having a solid video camera is rather important.
With the Logitech Brio 4K, you’ll get just about every feature that you can imagine from this webcam. There’s compatibility with macOS, Windows, and ChromeOS, along with plenty of adjustable features including the ability to change the Field of View. And Windows users get the added benefit of being able to use Windows Hello with the Brio for even faster log-ins.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Andrew Myrick is a regular freelancer at Android Central and iMore. He has been a tech enthusiast ever since the original iPhone was released and continues to flip-flop between devices. You might as well hook him up to an IV filled with coffee to get him through the day. If you have any questions, you can find him on Twitter, and he’ll get back to you.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.