The low webcam has gained immense importance in the past year. Never before have so many people relied so heavily on video conferencing to get their work done, as companies around the world have closed their offices and millions of workers have done their work remotely.
Remote workers are right to look for a good solution outside of their crappy laptop webcams. Amazon is brimming with affordable options from brands you've never heard of. This can be a dizzying experience. I've picked five of the most popular options to see if one of these cheap webcams is worth your time and money. Neither is as good as the more expensive webcams from brands like Logitech, but not everyone wants to spend $ 100 on a webcam.
So let's start with three that I tried that weren't terrible, followed by two that I would avoid.
The 2nd runner-up:– $ 65
Let's start with the good. Of the five I've tried, the 1080p Nexigo N66oP was my pick for the third best in the lineup. It's an Amazon's Choice product with 773 reviews averaging 4.5 stars – probably one you might come across while browsing Amazon. When I look at the image quality tests I've run, this one was one of the better ones. As you can see in the screenshots above, it tends to blow out one side of the subject's face, but it's not as extreme as some of the lower quality webcams I've tested. It has also proven itself in darker environments due to its effective built-in autocorrelation for lighting that preserves colors and details.
The Nexigo N660P is also the most expensive of the webcams at $ 65 and justifies the price by offering well-functioning autofocus and video support of 60 frames per second (fps), which ensures smooth video conferencing. The stereo noise-canceling microphones (which it turns out are pretty much standard on these webcams) worked fine, and there's even a privacy shutter built in. Not bad.
The runner-up:– $ 24
The cheapest webcam, the 1080p Wasnview 101, took second place thanks to the second best image quality. It's an extremely popular webcam on Amazon, with 12,457 reviews and an average of four stars. This webcam also lit the face properly without blowing it out, and it really excelled in the darker surroundings. Colors are true to life and the background details are also retained. Not bad for $ 24.
However, you don't get any extras with the Wansview – not even a privacy cover. It is also the least flexible of all webcams. Each of the other models have a swivel mechanism that allows you to adjust the position of the camera, but Wansview does not. That means adjusting your laptop or display so that everything is in place. There are two noise-canceling speakers that create a stereo effect, which is a plus, and the low-light auto correction built into the camera clearly does a good job.
The best:– $ 33
The GoHZQ W8A with 279 reviews on Amazon and an average of 4.5 stars achieved first place, as it can display a balanced image despite strong lighting on the left side of the subject. It manages to evenly light the face even in the darker setting, and that makes up for the fact that the background is hard to see (often a good thing). Colors are handled well in both lighting conditions and artifacts are minimal. It's also the only 4K (3840 x 1920) webcam on our list and shows its details well. That extra spiciness really makes a huge difference.
Amazingly, the GoHZQ is the third cheapest webcam on our list, despite having a higher resolution.
You don't get any additional software, but there is a fold-down privacy cover, an included (but very cheap) tripod, and built-in microphones with double noise cancellation. As with all webcams, it works with the common video conferencing and recording apps, including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook, YouTube, OBS, and more. Finally, you will find a hand button at the top that will freeze the recording and restart it when you press it again. If there's one that I'd easily recommend of the ones I've tried, it's the W8A.
($ 40): Bad color, wide angle
While each external webcam is an upgrade over a laptop camera, you won't be satisfied with the image quality of these next two.
The Nexigo N60 is an Amazon Choice product and has an amazing 11,048 reviews with an average of 4.5 stars. The discrepancy between the Amazon reviews and my own experience with the product was greatest with the N60.
Like many of the ultra-cheap webcams you can find on Amazon, the Nexigo N60 is a wide-angle webcam. This is the opposite of what most people expect from a webcam setup. Beyond the unfavorable angle, the Nexigo N60 also blew out the subject's face in the bright surroundings and oversaturated the colors.
The dark surroundings were even more problematic, with the face being more evenly lit, but the image showing a distinct bluish cast. The Nexigo N60 isn't the most expensive webcam we've tested for $ 40, but it is perhaps the worst value.
There's only a noise-canceling microphone this time, and the usual privacy screens are in place. Otherwise, there's not much to recommend for this webcam, and the wide-angle lens is a clear blow to it. A better choice from Nexigo is that. It's more expensive but offers a non-wide-angle lens and auto focus.
($ 28): Blown out lighting
The 1080p Nulaxy C900 was the second cheapest webcam on the list and had the worst quality – despite 4,917 reviews on Amazon with a 4.5-star average. The subject's face is completely blown out in both lighting conditions and there are some artifacts, especially in the darker surroundings.
The Nulaxy C900 is also a kind of wide-angle webcam that we don't prefer – we want our subjects to be the center of attention rather than the background. Again, there aren't many additional features in the Nulaxy C900. As usual, there is a privacy screen and stereo noise-canceling microphones. Otherwise, you won't get much more for your $ 28.