Shopping for a Computer Webcam: What do You Need to Know?
Computer webcams are used in a variety of applications: business online meetings, video podcasts, commenting during game streaming, online education, or videoconferencing to chat with friends and family, using many popular multi-person video call apps like Zoom, Skype®, Webex™ or MS Teams™. It is therefore important getting the right web camera.
Most laptops come with an integrated webcam. However, there are still a number of reasons to purchase an external webcam to connect to your laptop or desktop. Very often, the integrated camera does not have the right amount of resolution or the laptop is closed and set on a docking station with an external monitor. In both cases, you will need an external camera that can be easily connected to your laptop and placed on top of the external monitor.
Most webcams are affordable, but you pay for what you get, so be sure to match webcam features with your needs. Here are some basic features to help you determine what you need to look for when shopping for a new webcam:
Resolution will determine how crisp and clear your image is. The lower the resolution the more grainier the image will look on the screen. You should select a webcam with at least 720p or higher, ideally 1080p. The Coralsix CW-201 Webcam has a full HD (high definition) resolution of 1080p. To understand resolution more in depth, read our blog: “720p Versus 1080p Resolution”.
What about 4K Ultra HD resolution? First, only people with 4K monitors will benefit from getting a 4K webcam. These cameras are normally selected if you plan to make a living from streaming or creating video content online.
Another important common feature is the frame rate, defined as frames per
second or FPS. The higher the frame rate, the more fluid the streaming video will be. A minimum of 15 fps is necessary to stream video. The Coralsix CW-201 Webcam delivers a frame rate of 30 FPS.
There are a couple of options when it comes to the ability to focus the image on a lens and there is a debate on what kind of focus method is best: manual focus, autofocus or fixed focus?
Some webcams are equipped with manual focus, thus the lens can be manually moved in and out to focus the camera. True autofocus lenses try to automatically adjust the focus as you move closer and further from the lens. However, unless you are buying a high-end expensive camera, autofocus lenses often become an annoyance trying to continuously adjust the image. We prefer the Coralsix CW-201 fixed focus lens. This lens has a sufficiently large depth of field that its use does not impact the image sharpness to a great extent, and it makes it much easier for the user as no adjustments are needed when moving closer or further from the camera.
Good webcams will include a built-in microphone to make video calling and videoconferencing more convenient. The Coralsix CW-201 built-in mic is multidirectional with noise reduction and echo cancellation.
Not all webcams work with all operating systems. Once you select your web camera, make sure the specifications confirm it is compatible with your system. The Coralsix CW-201 webcam is designed with super wide system & software compatibility. The webcam works with Windows, Mac OS, Linux and Android computers with a
Other nice to have features to look for
Look for a webcam with quick and easy setup as the CW-201: a simple USB cable connection to your laptop and no need to download or install driving software.
Finally, almost all USB webcams turn ON when plugged into the USB slot and don’t have an OFF button. This means that having a privacy shutter will be a great feature for safety.