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Why a 1080p webcam is a great buy for 2021: Buying guide

1080p webcams are plentiful, making them an easy upgrade for you and your loved ones.

logitech c922 webcam
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The deals that made webcams a fantastic stocking stuffer have continued into 2021. Last year they were nearly impossible to find, as millions of people gearing up to work or study from home tried to improve upon the 720p models most laptops have. Now 1080p models are plentiful again, making it a perfect time to pick up a few for yourself or for loved ones.

There are literally so many 1080p webcams available that Amazon is throwing deals at you: coupons, daily discounts, the works.! Need it soon? Amazon should be able to ship something to you as quickly as tomorrow. There's even premium models with high refresh rates and integrated ring lights for a few dollars more. We've added one of our favorites, the Razer Kiyo Pro, to our list below as well.

We haven’t tested these webcams, but we’ve pored through the piles of available models to pick out the best deals based on specs and bundled extras. To help you choose, check out our buying advice below our recommendations.

Great cheap webcams: What to buy

hrayzan webcam Hrayzan / Amazon

Great premium webcams: What to buy

We didn’t include any 4K webcams on this list, as the models we examined didn’t convince us that 4K-quality (or even 2K-quality video) was being streamed. The best option here is still the original Logitech Brio, which is available via a variety of shippers from Amazon, at prices upwards of $213. 

  • Razer Kiyo Pro: $199.99. Why recommend a $200 webcam in favor of cheaper models? Our excellent review (with streaming video) shows why: great natural lighting performance, great artificial light performance, 60 fps, and more.
  • Logitech C920: $79.90. Amazon isn’t discounting this highly popular model, and we don’t expect it to go on sale. (Amazon actually raised the price for Black Friday.) You’re paying for the brand name here, as the C920e/C920 doesn’t offer a privacy shutter, and the 1080p resolution has been equaled by other webcams on this list.
  • NexiGo 1080p 60fps webcam: $59.99. If smoother, more TV-like 60-fps recording is important for you, you may want to pay a bit more for a webcam like this.
  • NexiGo N680p 60fps webcam: $84.14: A slightly pricier, premium version of the other NexiGo camera above, this webcam adds autofocus, noise correction, and an integrated privacy shutter. Autofocus will certainly help when paired with the included webcam tripod. 
unzano webcam Unzano / Amazon
  • Unzano webcam with ring light : $47.99 (40% off): This 1080p webcam gets a lot of positive user reviews. It includes auto-focus, dual mics, and an integrated ring light, which can help you look better even in subpar conditions. There’s no privacy shutter.
  • Vitade 1080p webcam with ring light: $58.87. Another well-reviewed webcam with an integrated ring light. A newer model with light correction and autofocus sells for $75. Note that webcams with ring lights have a tighter field of view: 80 degrees.

1080p webcam buying guide

A standalone 1080p webcam can’t add Windows Hello to your system, but it can greatly improve how you look on your next Zoom call. Here's what to look for: 

Adjustable or fixed focus: Most of these cameras are fixed-focus, 30-fps webcams—about the same as in most laptops. Don’t worry about fixed-focus, as it’s been pre-configured at a focal length that’s about the distance between your face and your laptop or monitor. You’ll need to account for this with tripods, however, or pay a little more for an auto-focusing webcam. Autofocus webcams are handy for situations where you may be moving about the room, but beware distracting webcams that frequently refocus.

Field of view (FOV): The camera’s field of view can vary. A 90-degree FOV helps people focus on you (and perhaps not the clutter you’ve hidden off to the side). A 110-degree or higher FOV works better for group shots, although distortion can become a problem the wider your FOV gets. 

Privacy shutter: These devices are not a privacy threat, for the simple reason that they can be unplugged easily. Most have a flip-down privacy shutter, but you could always tape over the camera or drape it with a dark cloth. 

Ring lights: Yes, integrated ring lights are now a thing on premium webcams, and worth the money if lighting is a challenge for you.

Tripod bundle: With so many webcams on the market, manufacturers are trying hard to differentiate their products. The new trend is a small tripod, which gives you more options for mounting the camera.

Updated at 5:00 AM PT on March 15 with additional recommendations, updated pricing, and a link to the Razer Kiyo Pro review. 

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