Last updated: August 17, 2021

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This time we will talk about everything you need to know about webcams or webcams. We will show you which are the best devices you can get in the market and what is their performance. To begin with, you should know that a webcam is a camera that connects to a computer to send images.

Nowadays it is very common to see that many desktop and laptop monitors come with a built-in webcam. That's why we want you to have all the information you need to choose the best webcam. We'll take you beyond the technical details and show you what you need to know about buying one.




Summary

  • Webcams capture images and convert them into digital data to be transmitted over the Internet. They are connected to computers via USB cables and some models allow a wireless connection via Bluetooth.
  • In the past the maximum resolution of a webcam was low, but nowadays we can buy devices with HD (720p) or Full HD (1080p) definition. This means that devices with lower resolutions are becoming obsolete.
  • Today we can see that webcam technology is not exclusive to computers. Smartphones and tablets have also incorporated webcam technology into their devices.

The Best Webcam: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about webcams

The search for the perfect product depends largely on how much research you do beforehand, as well as how well you know what you need. To clear up any doubts you may have, this buying guide tells you everything you need to know about webcams.

The best way to make video calls is with a high quality webcam. (Photo: agenturfotografin / 123rf.com)

What are webcams and what are their benefits?

A webcam is a digital camera that connects to a computer and allows real-time recorded video and photos to be sent over the Internet. In the beginning, webcams were peripheral devices that connected via USB or wirelessly. Today, most webcams are integrated.

Known as the Trojan Room Coffee Pot, the first webcam was created for the purpose of checking if the coffee was finished without having to stop. To see the image transmitted by the camera, they created X Coffee, a programme that allowed them to display the image captured by the webcam.

Nowadays, the market offers a wide variety of brands and models of webcams. Each with different capabilities and functions, as mentioned above. Depending on the brand and model, the cost of webcams will vary.

Advantages
  • You can communicate with people around the world
  • They are easy to use
  • Some models have Full HD resolutions
  • It is an excellent tool for working remotely
  • It allows non-verbal communication
Disadvantages
  • They are vulnerable to attack by computer viruses
  • They can be hacked
  • If you don't have a good webcam the image and audio quality can be poor

Webcams for home and work use or surveillance - what should you look out for?

As mentioned above, webcams are devices that send real-time video images and photographs from one computer to another via the Internet. The market offers a wide range of brands and models of webcams. These devices can be divided into 2 types: home or work webcams and surveillance webcams.

Home or work use Surveillance
Transmission Transmits from one computer to another Transmits from an IP address to a server
Connectivity By USB or wirelessly By a server or directly to a hard disk
Image quality Up to Full HD Up to 4K
Ease of manipulation Very easy Not manipulable
Storage Does not record automatically Stores information

There are many webcam models to choose from. (Photo: Andrei Seleznev / 123rf.com)

Purchasing criteria

Webcams, over time, have become an essential accessory for our communication. It is very difficult to find a computer, smartphone or tablet that does not already have a built-in webcam. Moreover, the market offers us a wide variety of brands and models, each time with better and better quality both in terms of video and photo.

Megapixels

Megapixels determine the quality of the image. A pixel can be defined as the smallest homogeneous unit of colour in a digital image. Therefore, megapixels refer to 1 million pixels. Today's webcams allow us to work with Full HD 1080p or HD 720p resolutions thanks to the number of megapixels they record.

The higher the number of megapixels, the better the image quality. Also keep in mind that the number of megapixels will influence the price of the webcam. When buying a webcam, it is advisable to choose one with a lens that has at least 8 megapixels or more. This way we can be sure that the image quality we get is good enough to transmit and record.

Frames per second

Frames per second defines the speed at which the image moves on a screen. The minimum rate for a webcam to work is 15 frames per second. The ideal rate is 30 frames per second for the best video transmission. For this to happen, a good internet speed is also required. Having a webcam that works at a speed of 30 frames per second will ensure that our video will be smooth and without errors in the image. We stress that, for this to be possible, we also depend on our internet connection.

Facial recognition

Facial recognition allows the camera to identify the face of the person or persons using the webcam, keeping it always in focus no matter if they move from side to side or up and down. Having a webcam that incorporates this technology will ensure that we are always in focus when making video calls, no matter how much we are moving. But if your budget doesn't allow for a webcam with this technology, you can always find the manual focus option. The only problem is that, every time you change position, you will have to focus your camera by means of wheels.

Lens type

As with any camera, it will be good or bad depending on the lens it uses. A high-end webcam is likely to use a glass lens, as it allows for better resolution and image quality. While a cheaper piece of equipment is likely to have a plastic lens.

Choosing between a webcam with a glass lens or one with a plastic lens will be determined by the type of recording you want to do with the equipment and your budget. While plastic lenses offer lower quality, they are perfect for making video calls.

Design and versatility

Finally, we must evaluate which webcam design is best for us, which best suits our needs and which best adapts to the environment where we have our computer. There are two types of models on the market: clamp and base. The clamp webcam is a webcam that only allows us to adjust it to the top of our computer screens. This model limits our mobility as we do not have the possibility to place it in another part of the room.

The base model, on the other hand, incorporates a stand or tripod that allows us to attach our webcam. This gives us the opportunity to place our equipment on any smooth surface and gives us the freedom to move around during our video call or recording. If we are on a tight budget, a webcam with a clamp mechanism can be very useful. On the other hand, if we can afford to spend a little more on a stand, it is, without a doubt, our best option when buying a webcam.

(Featured image source: Olegdudko/ 123rf.com)

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