The 5 best external HD webcams for under $100
If you need a webcam but don’t want to break the bank, start here.
Let’s face it, a lot of integrated webcams are, well, kinda terrible. Nobody wants to see a version of you that looks like a Gameboy printer spat you out. No, they want to see your resplendent visage in all of its glowing-sheened glory. They want to see your glistening pearly-whites and amazing lockdown hairstyle. That’s right, they want you in…HD.
It could even be that your webcam might be located in a weird place, like the unflatteringly positioned camera that the Honor MagicBook 14 comes with. Either way, you probably aren’t happy with your stock cam in one way or another.
So, if your onboard webcam isn’t cutting the mustard, you might need an external webcam. They can seriously improve the experience and some of them are even suitable as podcast and streaming webcams. Even if you plan to use them for an online meeting, the quality of your webcam feed is going to project an image of professionalism to your chat partners. Whatever you plan to use your external webcam for, though, let’s take a look at some of the options out there.
AUSDOM’s AW615 webcam is capable of shooting 1080p hi-def images. So, that makes it great for broadcasting to YouTube, Twitch, or another streaming service you might use. It attaches to the top or side of your screen with a flexible, rubber-coated clamp. This means it will stay securely fastened in place without damaging your laptop screen. Also, with the 360-degree rotation, you can focus the camera on any part of the room.
You can pick the camera up for one cent under $80. For that price, you’re getting plenty of features for a simple plug and play webcam. It has manual and digital focus and zoom, so you can adjust your image until it is perfectly represented in delightful 1080p quality. Not only that but the camera also boasts a noise-canceling mic, meaning you’ll not only look good, but you should also sound pretty sharp, too.
Logitech knows what it is talking about when it comes to the world of peripherals. The company has been at it for years, so you know you can trust their devices to deliver on spec, without breaking the bank. This is exactly the kind of criteria that the Logitech B525 fulfills. It may be the only 720p webcam on our list, but at under $70, you are getting a webcam from a brand pretty much anyone who has touched a computer has heard of.
You can take control of the video call angle around 360-degrees. So, if you spill hot tea all over your crotch, you can quickly spin it around while your performative dance screams “excruciating inner-thigh scalding pain.” Given that it is certified for Skype, that probably tells you that it is perfect for personal or business calls between colleagues. If you have to seriously impress, we suggest going for a 1080pm camera, but this one is fine for chatting with family and friends over Zoom.
The Vitade 960A is a great webcam for things like make-up or hair tutorials, so YouTubers and Instagrammers will love it. It is 1080p, so no issue with a good-quality image, but what this webcam does feature is the added bonus of integrated lighting. The lighting ring around the front is perfect for lighting the face, which is exactly why we’re suggesting it for budding YT tutorial producers. It will give you the added benefit of some professional lighting, with three brightness levels, without the added spend on a separate unit.
At a shade under $100, the price point positions this as an excellent entry-level device. The camera has a hinged clip with which you can clamp it to the front or sides of the screen. It can also double up as a base stand if you don’t want to clip the camera on to anything. This gives you freedom of movement which you don’t get with cameras that have static clips. Great for versatility or if you want to film from a different angle altogether but have nothing to clip to.
At only $79.99, the PAPALOOK AF925 webcam represents great value for money. It is a 1080p clip-on camera that comes with a nice foldable clamp, lined with soft rubber to protect your screen. The camera itself can rotate 360-degrees around the pin that attaches it to the clamp. It also has fast autofocus that stays locked in on your face, meaning you shouldn’t go out of focus. With this in mind, the AF925 is also a great pick if you’re looking to start streaming games.
The webcam is compatible with Windows 7 thru 10, Mac OS 10.10 or later, and Chrome. This again strengthens the case for using the AF925 as an ideal entry-level camera. Particularly for those who are learning the ropes with streaming. A noise-canceling, omnidirectional mic will pick up your voice while blocking out background sounds. That makes this great for unboxing vids and such. At this price, you could pick up a couple if you wanted to try out broadcasting more than one screen.
Aukey is a brand we all know and love. It is fairly likely that you have encountered their peripherals at some point (they make great wireless chargers, for example). But did you know that they have a full HD camera for less than fifty bucks? Well, you do now, and the Aukey FHD webcam is it. It is pretty basic in terms of appearance and features. But if you want an external webcam from a reputable brand, then you won’t go wrong with Aukey.
The webcam follows a fairly straightforward design. The cuboidal camera sits atop a swiveling pin which allows it to turn around its vertical axis. The camera lens sits in the middle and a clip clamp sits at the bottom. That way you can fix it to a screen. Alternatively, you can fold the clamp up and it will sit pretty much anywhere. Just keep it within the range of the USB port it is plugged into. Really, for $50 you’re unlikely to get a 1080p webcam you can rely on, so this is a bargain.
The right webcam for you
If you want to get an HD webcam on a budget, then the Aukey FHD webcam should be your choice. If you don’t mind paying a little more and you want to net yourself a 1080p camera, then the PAPALOOK is a great option for you. But what if you don’t want to spend a dime? Well, in that case, you could try setting your smartphone up as a webcam. Whatever you choose to do, at least you won’t look like a sand carving anymore.
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