The year is 2021 and the gaming community has expanded and grown more than ever before. Not just social media websites but virtually any video sharing mediums now have millions of clips related to games. Similarly, we’re seeing an increase in the rise of young streamers looking to flex their gaming skills as well. Whether you’re a professional content streamer or an individual looking to make their mark in the streaming sector, investing in a webcam is of supreme importance.
Ranging from the pricy and high resolution to a little easy on the wallet webcams, we’ve carefully picked the best out there. Keep on reading ahead to find the perfect fit to help you become the next online celebrity.
1. Logitech BRIO
Best Value Webcam
- Built-in microphones are great and come with noise cancellation
- Supports Hellow Windows face recognition
- Flip-up privacy clip
- Supports plug and play
- Autofocus tracking is slow
Supported Resolutions: 4K, 1080p, 720p | Field of view: 90° | Number of mics: 2 | Compatible OS: Windows and Mac
Logitech has, for years now, been sitting at the very top by making the most advanced and reliable webcams. And they were not about to sit idly by while the 4K cult gains increasingly more followers. Being one of the first-ever webcams to stream in 4K resolution, the Logitech Brio has secured the number one spot in our list of the very best.
Brio’s construction feels premium: having a glass shield at the front with rigid plastic for the remaining body. The detachable clip-on comes with the Brio which can hook the cam to the screen. Behind the glass, the shield is streaming LED, IR sensor, and LED along with the camera itself. The Brio has two omnidirectional microphones on both sides and has active noise cancellation. This makes it ideal for not just streaming but conferencing purposes also.
With a maximum resolution of 2160p, the performance is mind-blowing. Brio supports streaming at 4K with 30fps, 1080p, and 720p both at 60fps. The greatest strength of this webcam is its ability to pay attention to detail and deliver the best output even in low lights. That and 4K. Colour settings, brightness, etc are automatically adjusted thanks to Real Light 3, as Logitech has dubbed it.
The software allows for a vast variety of customization and tweaking options. And all of that is fairly easy to grasp. Using sliders in the software, the FoV can be adjusted to 90, 78, and 65°. This makes this webcam ideal for streaming purposes of all sorts.
We found that there was little to dislike about this webcam. The only thing that stood out was the autofocus taking its fair share of time to readjust. This isn’t a dealbreaker in any way and the Brio is still the very best but, the slow focus times can get on some people’s nerves. However, the wide FoV, the noise cancellation microphones, 5x digital zoom, and of course, the 4K resolution all come together to make this the best of the best. There is little demand for 4K streaming itself in the current age however, Brio is an excellent choice for future-proofing your setup for when 4K streaming does become feasible.
Once again, we have Logitech’s C922 for the spot of number 2. The C920 was a fan favorite and loved product for quite a long while. Logitech finally decided to rework that model and upgrade it to fit the latest trends, which gave us the C922.
The C922 has a rectangular shape with plastic grates for the microphones at the sides and a glass shield at the front. It has a very bulky weight to it which adds to its strong and compact design. Like the previous one, this too comes with a clip attached at the bottom making the C922 webcam perch above your screen. To allow the users to hook this to a tripod stand, a screw mount is present at the bottom.
The video quality was found to be very excellent. It supports 1080p resolution at 30 fps and 720p at 60 fps- all of these are H264 encoded. The picture quality at 1080p is extremely sharp with very minimal room for noise. Even in dimly lit rooms, the sharpness remains the same, focusing on the right amount of details and backgrounds. HD autofocus and light correction with C922 is excellent. However, when outputting in 720p, the picture quality seems to significantly dropdown. Only at 60fps in 720p, the noise reduction is amplified to a great extent, resulting in picture quality with low sharpness and jaggy edges.
A key feature that was going to make C922 stand out was its background removing capability. The background can be effectively removed via the Personify software. Logitech wanted the C920 to make a mark with this feature and it did, alas not a very good one. The background remover is only bearable when there is the least amount of distraction in the form of extra objects.
To sum it up, the C922 may not have the extreme broadcasting capabilities that the Brio has but, in most cases, those are not needed. With the resolution the C922 offers, a lot can be achieved when worked with the software. Switching between auto and manual focus along with many other color correction options are provided in the software. The background removal isn’t anything special but from a pure streaming perspective, the C922 performs remarkably well.
3. Razer Stargazer
- Background replacement is not jaggy
- Supports 3D scanning
- Gesture and facial recognition
- Unstable framerate at 720p 60fps
- Customizations with Synapse are buggy and slow
Supported Resolutions: 1080p, 720p | Field of view: 78° | Number of mics: 2 | Compatible OS: Windows 10
Razer’s Stargazer was among the first-ever webcams to have dynamic background removal as well as 3D scanning capabilities. With years of service to back them up, you’re safe to assume that this kit by Razer is also a very well product while being on the pricier side of the scale.
The build quality feels great and, as expected by Razer, rightly gives the impression that it will last long. With a mixture of metal and plastic instructions, there is an IR sensor, camera, and a laser projector in the middle. The two microphones are on the sides.
The Stargazer has 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 60fps as its resolution modes. The picture quality turned out great and it delivered what it promised but with some drawbacks. What was noticeable right out the bat was how the framerate was extremely unstable with a 720p resolution. Under good lighting conditions, 720p quality is somewhat better than C922’s. However, this feels very restricted and stiff as even the slightest light changes bring about drastic fps drops. Moreover, the C922 has significantly better low lighting corrections than the Stargazer.
Razer employed Intel’s Real Sense technology with the Stargazer which allows for dynamic background removal. The IR sensor and laser projector work together to distinguish between subject and background. The background removal is better than C922’s however, a webcam’s primary focus must be picture quality and that is where C922 takes the lead.
Razer Synapse software has sliders for gamma, contrast, etc but nothing for manual exposure and focus. The auto-exposure and focus settings can be overridden by using third-party software which is a letdown. Razer should’ve let Synapse do all of these things without having to go through these hoops to get the right settings to work.
Razer’s Stargazer, in theory, is a great idea and an excellent webcam. But, Razer failed to deliver the proper execution needed for this webcam making it fall short on quite a several things. However, from a purely streaming perspective, the output quality of the videos and framerates are well and high enough to make this a legitimate choice.
4. Razer Kiyo
- Really fast autofocus
- Focus works in dark room with the ring light
- Too much color saturation
- Robotic sound with the microphone
- Not compatible with many streaming software
Supported Resolutions: 1080p, 720p | Field of view: 81.6° | Number of mics: 1 | Compatible OS: Windows 10
Meticulously well-thought design, great finishing, and an innovative ring light around the camera- that’s Razer Kiyo. For the spot of number 4 on our list, we have another addition by Razer, the Kiyo cam. But how does it fare against the other contenders in this list? Let’s find out.
It’s very safe to say with a glance, how the unique and well-made design of Kiyo speaks out. With a circular shape and glossy plastic finishing, all of it feels sturdy. It comes with a non-detachable cable which is kind of a bummer. The key feature of Kiyo is the LED ring light around the camera. It may not be enough to beat a dedicated light but it works very nicely to even out lightings on the face.
The Kiyo supports 1080p resolution at 30fps and 720p at 60 fps, the same as the last models. The picture quality is amazingly sharp and accurate. It performs really well in good lighting conditions with minimum noise. When the picture quality was compared to the C922, Kiyo’s colors were really saturated. C922 picture looked more accurate to real-life colors than Kiyo which had a lot of red and blue saturation. But still, the quality is very sharp and pleasing to look at. And, by adjusting the ring brightness, etc you can tweak around until there is minimum noise in the picture. It does have trouble focusing in dark rooms even with the light on but, because the quality is amazing in light rooms, the Kiyo still comes out strong.
The Kiyo only has one microphone and, if we’re going to be very nitpicky, that is one of the factors where Kiyo falls short. Webcams do not really require a good microphone built in them, but when Logitech puts in great mics, we wish Razer hadn’t been so frugal with theirs.
The software side of things is kind of disappointing. Most Razer products, like the Stargazer, connect with Synapse. Kiyo was intended to be a pure plug-and-play webcam so it wasn’t intended to be connected. The settings are adjustable but, come with very limited options and put a lot of restrictions. The picture quality still isn’t so bad as to make this a totally obsolete product but it would’ve made much more sense if better software compatibility was an option.
The Kiyo has a very thoughtful design, with a neat ring light around the camera. But, due to its restricted options, it falls short when compared to the other products on this list. However, the noise reduction has been well optimized and, with the ring light, makes Kiyo ideal for live streaming. For some, the high price tag might make Kiyo a questionable choice but, this one is made to last and you’ll be investing in a good piece of hardware.
5. Microsoft LifeCam Cinema
- Easy to use and integrate software
- Full 360° rotation
- Autofocus takes time to readjust
- No 1080p despite having a 1080p chip
- Windows 10 users sometimes experience overheating
Supported Resolutions: 720p | Field of view: 73° | Number of mics: 1 | Compatible OS: Windows and Mac
Alas, we’ve reached the very last product on our list. And this one is by the beloved Microsoft, giving us their contribution as a budget webcam. For the 5th spot, we have Microsoft’s LifeCam Cinema.
The design of the LifeCam is very different than the rest of the webcams on the list. It has a cylindrical shape with black plastic for its body. The LifeCam rests on a swivel of a stand, making it able to rotate at a full 360°. This is what makes the LifeCam stand out from the rest. This is very useful in situations where streamers host a guest or showcase a product.
This one supports a maximum resolution of 720p at 30 fps and can display bright videos, albeit not too sharp. LifeCam is a budget webcam but it doesn’t trade performance price. The output quality is not bad and it can cope with the ongoing high definition trends. The video is very bright and, with TrueColor technology’s light and color adjustments, the LifeCam can display a bright picture even in medium-lit rooms. This makes the LifeCam suitable for budget streaming as well as conferencing if need be.
On the top, there is only one microphone, and all things considered, the mic works really well. It has noise cancellation and also prevents echo. The mic was able to hold its ground against the more expensive options. While the audio department did a good job with the microphone, the video has some flaws that were hard to look past. Most notably, the autofocus feature taking ages to adjust. LifeCam ends up taking a lot of time adjusting the autofocus when the subject in focus is quickly changed.
So, the LifeCam Cinema by Microphone is actually a very good addition by Microsoft. With an incredibly cheap price, the LifeCam can capture high res stills, stream at 720p and do that with bright and vivid quality. LifeCam can not compete against the other products in this list but, it is still an incredibly useful budget webcam for the young streamers out there.