There’s no doubt about it: during our current situation, more people will be working from home and staying in the house, potentially for significant periods of time.
That means that more people will have to find new ways to stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues, whether that means dialling in to video conferences or speaking to their grandparents.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to keep communicating is by attaching a webcam to your PC, laptop or TV. A lot of laptops and tablets have forward-facing cameras but if it’s not clear quality, it’s in a strange position (looking at you Dell) or you’d like to place the camera in other spots around the house – above the TV is great if you have kids – then buying a separate web cam makes sense. They’ll allow you to easily chat to the important people in your life and to more easily get on with work with minimal disruption.
We’ve rounded up five of the best webcams around, from high-end models that offer 4K video recording and extra lighting for game streaming, to mid-range and affordable options that deliver great video and audio without breaking the bank.
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What is the best webcam in 2020?
The Logitech C920s (£66) is the best webcam to buy right now: it has superb image quality, a broad range of features and intuitive design that’ll ensure it lasts for years.
The Logitech C310 (£45) is the best budget webcam option – it has good image quality and reasonable design that will allow it to work well at home and when working.
The Razer Kiyo (£100) should be your pick if you need extra light or if you want to stream games, as its lighting ring and 60fps operation both provide a huge boost in these areas. It’s the best webcam for streaming.
Wired Recommends: The Logitech C920s is best all-round webcam for work and home use
Resolution & framerate: 1080p/30fps, 720p/30fps | Focus type: autofocus | Built-in mic: stereo | Cable length: 1.5m | Dimensions: 94 x 71 x 43mm (WxDxH) | Warranty: 2yr RTB
The Logitech C920s (£66) ticks virtually every box that you’ll need in a webcam, whether you’re keeping in touch with family or working from home.
Image quality, for starters, is superb: crisp, clear and well-balanced, with natural colour and good detail. The good core image is bolstered by fast, effective autofocus, solid exposure adjustment and automatic white balance. Audio quality is decent thanks to stereo microphones.
There are few weaknesses when it comes to image quality, and the C920s is able to record 720p and 1080p footage at 30fps – easily fast enough for home and work use. The 78-degree field of view is accommodating, and Logitech’s software has fun filters, easy angle adjustment and good security options.
The C920s is sturdy and includes a privacy cover. It can be tilted up and down, and it’s easy to mount to any desktop display or laptop screen. If you have slim bezels, the front mounting mechanism may overstretch these – a slight annoyance. No tripod is included either.
The only other minor criticism is that the C920s is only middling in some low-light situations; easily usable, but not as good as some other devices. Also make sure you buy the C920s, rather than the similar C920 HD Pro – the latter doesn’t include the privacy shutter.
Overall, the C920s is the best option around right now: a crisp, clear and intuitive device that’ll work in virtually any home or office situation.
Also consider: The Logitech C922 (£90) costs more than the C920s, but it offers 720p footage at 60fps and it includes a tripod, so it’s better for streaming and smooth video.
An excellent all-rounder that doesn’t cost the earth
Resolution & framerate: 720p/30fps | Focus type: Fixed | Built-in mic: Mono | Cable length: 1.5m | Dimensions: 60 x 37 x 50mm (WxDxH) | Warranty: 2yr RTB
The more affordable Logitech C310 (£45) has a no-nonsense specification that is easily good enough to handle the vast majority of home or office tasks.
Video quality is decent: colours are natural and reasonably accurate, contrast is consistent and well-rendered, and the white balance remains pretty level throughout.
The C310 only records at 720p and 30fps, but that’s ample for calling family or holding important business calls.
Of course, this unit’s lower price does mean that some features fall by the wayside. It doesn’t have autofocus or exposure adjustment, and audio quality is fine but not outstanding thanks to a lack of stereo microphones. Unsurprisingly, there’s no privacy cover, and no tripod mount.
The C310 is small, sturdy and discreet, which makes it easy to live with this device day-to-day. At the rear, its smooth unfolding mechanism means it can sit comfortably on all sorts of screens, even if the lack of a front holding mechanism makes it a little tricky to attach sometimes. The software also offers handy options to record videos and then upload to YouTube and Facebook with a single click.
The C310 is understandably a little more basic than some of the pricier options on the market, but it offers good core image quality and audio for work and family calls alongside subtle, smart design and a decent price. If you need an everyday webcam, it’s the best option.
Pros: Good core image quality; small, sturdy exterior; easy uploads to social media
Cons: No 1080p video; lacks auto-focus; only average audio quality
Price: £45 | Check price on Currys
Top-notch image quality for streaming
Resolution & framerate: 1080p/30fps, 720p/60fps | Focus type: Autofocus | Built-in mic: omnidirectional | Cable length: 1.5m | Dimensions: 69 x 48 x 69mm (WxDxH) | Warranty: 2yr RTB
The Razer Kiyo (£100) is designed for streaming as well as the usual video calling and family catch-ups, so it’s a great alternative if you want to broadcast your gameplay as well as catch up with people.
To that end, the Kiyo includes two crucial features. The first can’t be ignored: the lens is surrounded by a ring of light that illuminates your face. It’s a smart addition that can be adjusted by rotating the ring itself, and it does a superb job at brightening things up. It’s rated to deliver light at 5,600K – a colour temperature chosen to mimic daylight.
The other key feature here is the ability to record 720p video at 60fps. That’s twice the framerate of most webcams, and it means that video from this device is butter-smooth.
Elsewhere, 1080p is recorded at a conventional 30fps, and image quality is good – warm and bright, with solid autofocus. The saturated, warm images won’t be for everyone, though, and the images here generally aren’t quite as crisp as they are on the Logitech C920s but those are tiny criticisms.
The good-looking Kiyo folds down for easier storage and transit, and it has a sturdy mounting design. The only other design criticism is the audio: it’s fine, but not excellent.
This unit isn’t cheap, either at £100, it’s only worth buying if you need the lighting ring or 60fps video. If you’re thinking of doing some streaming alongside your usual webcam use, though, the bright and smooth Kiyo is the best option.
Pros: Light ring works extremely well; warm, clear image quality; offers 720p video at 60fps
Cons: Very expensive; audio is fine, but not great
Price: £100 | Check price on Razer
Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro
The best web cam for 4K and HDR
Resolution & framerate: 4K/30fps, 1080p/60fps, 720p/90fps | Focus type: autofocus | Built-in mic: omnidirectional | Cable length: 2.2m | Dimensions: 102 x 27 x 27mm (WxDxH) | Warranty: 3yr RTB
The Logitech Brio (£200) is the most expensive webcam here by some distance – it’s twice the price of the Razer Kiyo.
Paying extra does deliver loads of extra functionality. This is the only webcam in the group that offers 4K video recording. It runs that high resolution at 30fps, and it’s a stunning option: video is crystal clear, with loads of detail and sharpness.
The Brio’s auto-contrast performance isn’t the best on the market, but it’s still easily good enough for most situations – and still better than most webcams.
The Brio also supports HDR, which means bold colours and better performance in low-light situations. And, if you don’t need 4K, the Brio also offers 1080p recording at 60fps – the only webcam here to also offer that feature.
Image quality is outstanding: crisp, bright and colourful, with great contrast. The white-balancing works well, and the Brio handles lighting adjustment with ease. In short, you’re almost always going to get fantastic image quality with this unit.
The rest of the feature set is excellent. The field of view can be widened all the way to 90 degrees, and there’s an infrared camera that works with Windows Hello login. The USB-C connection also means longer cables can be used.
The Brio includes a privacy shade and carrying pouch, its 2.2m cable is longer than most webcam cables, and its mounting mechanism is intuitive.Â
Logitech’s priciest option is overkill for most people, but if you want a future-proofed option that can do absolutely everything, then this 4K device is excellent.
Pros: 4K and HDR functionality; superb all-round quality
Cons: Very expensive; autofocus could be better
Price: £200 | Check price on Logitech
A very cheap option for family calls on a budget
Resolution & framerate: 1080p/30fps | Focus type: Fixed | Built-in mic: Mono | Cable length: 1.5mm | Dimensions: 111 x 39 x 65mm (WxDxH) | Warranty: 1yr RTB
This Advent camera is one of the cheapest options on the market – its £25 price means it’s several times more affordable than options like the Logitech C920s, and it’s almost twice as affordable as the Logitech C310.
Despite the low price, the Advent AWCAMHD15 (£25) records 1080p video at 30fps. It’s got a mono microphone, which is not surprising considering the cost of this unit, and it doesn’t have autofocus.
When it comes to image quality, it’s fine: it has decent contrast, preserves reasonable detail and features natural colours. The audio quality isn’t anything to boast about, but you’ll have no issue hearing your family and your colleagues.
Savings are made elsewhere. The Advent’s exterior is made from glossy plastic that isn’t particularly attractive or sturdy, and its mechanism for attaching to screens and laptops is fiddly and not as secure as some other models. The software is basic, too: don’t expect any fun extras like filters here. This unit also has a one-year warranty, which is half as long as many other webcams.
Nevertheless, the Advent provides reasonable 1080p image quality and acceptable audio for less cash than almost anything else. If that’s all you need and you’re on a tight budget, it’s a good buy.
Pros: Cheaper than anything else; offers 1080p calling; easy setup
Cons: Mediocre audio quality; unconvincing external design; basic software
Price: £25 | Check price on Currys