The best conference room webcams have become more important than ever. With more and more of our working lives being conducted remotely, you need a way to get everyone into the room without them actually, you know, being in the room.
Fortunately, the world of camera tech has risen to the challenge, and these days there are loads of great webcams to choose from for conferences. There are professional-quality cameras with sophisticated technology that’s specifically designed for conferences – stuff like face detection, powerful microphones, and pan/tilt/zoom capability (also referred to as PTZ). But these tend to come with prices that not every organisation can afford – so if you’re on a budget, there are also traditional webcams that will nevertheless do a commendable job in a conference setting. In this guide, we’ve included both.
If you’re looking for a webcam for solo video calls and home working, our list of the best webcams is worth checking out, and for the Apple users among you, we’ve also put together a guide to the best Macbook webcams. Here, we’ve picked out what we think are the best webcams for conference rooms right now, for a range of budgets and applications.
There are a number of other factors worth thinking about when selecting your conference room webcam. The resolution of the camera is a fairly important one – while you probably don’t need blistering 8K resolution, having at least Full HD will make the video much more pleasant and will ensure everyone can see what they need to if there’s a presentation taking place over video. A good conference room webcam should also have a microphone, or at least the capacity to attach one, and you may want to think about how well the webcam integrates with your software or OS of choice. Some come with useful integrations for systems like Android, enabling control via your phone or tablet.
The best conference room webcams
The team behind the Owl Meeting Pro won an Innovation Award at CES 2021 for their proprietary Owl Connect software, and really it’s well deserved. The Owl Meeting Pro, their flagship webcam, is a fantastic conferencing camera, and the closest you’ll get to feeling like your colleagues are really in the room.
An audio system based around eight microphones and three speakers ensures crystal-clear sound transmission in both directions, and the camera is capable of capturing a 360-degree field of view in pristine Full HD. What’s more, the intelligent speaker-tracking system is capable of following who’s talking and changing focus from one speaker to another. If you have big conferences (and a big budget), you can also buy two Meeting Owl Pro cameras and link them using the aforementioned Owl Connect software. It’s not cheap, but it is unquestionably the best conference room webcam you can buy right now.
If you’re working to a budget and only need a camera for relatively small conferences, the Logitech C930e is an ideal choice. While the short-range mic is only rated for distances of a metre or so, this should be fine for small conference rooms. The video quality is also very good, with Full HD 1080p resolution available and a 4x digital zoom that is great for zooming in on whiteboards or products for demonstrations. The 90° field of view gives you a good amount of range to work with – as Logitech points out, it’s a good FOV for including multiple people on camera while still making sure they are still socially distanced, should you need to.
If you know your way around video, then you’ll likely find yourself pleased with the features offered by the Kandao Meeting Pro. It is capable of bypassing a computer entirely, with an HDMI connection that can be plugged straight into a screen, monitor or mixer. It can produce video in Full HD resolution, encoded in H.264 and MJPEG formats, and the SD card slot allows you to record your meetings to physical format if needed.
It has smart speaker recognition capabilities – not as smooth as the Meeting Owl Pro in practice, but still very impressive. The eight-microphone audio system also ensures that audio is captured in pristine quality. You can control the Kandao Meeting Pro via the Bluetooth remote, or if you prefer you can hook it up to your phone and take advantage of its built-in Android operating system.
There’s some slightly tricksy copywriting in the Microsoft Lifecam Studio – it’s billed as a 1080p camera, and this is technically true, but you need to use some third-party webcam software to get its sensor to record at this resolution – otherwise it’ll top out at 720p. Cyberlink YouCam is a good choice, especially if you’re using it for business conferencing, where a little more fidelity is expected. Still, the CMOS sensor on the camera does do an impressive job, producing a vivid and pleasing image with good colour accuracy across the board. As a webcam with microphone it does the job pretty well, though without the fancy noise-cancelling features of more expensive cameras.
Though it may look like a box camera from a hundred years ago, the Huddly IQ is one of the most advanced conference room webcams on the market right now. It can make use of AI-powered tech to frame up subjects in a meeting for a smoother viewing experience, and also has the capability to provide meeting-room analytics. This means the camera can relay how many people are in a room, how frequently a room is used and when a room is or isn’t occupied – useful if you’re on the other end and need a quick notification for when a meeting is ready to start. It produces Full HD video with a generous 150° – though make note that you do have to pick up the 5-mic module as well if you want the audio to be recorded.
Though it may look like one of Batman’s stealth jets, the Jabra Panacast is one of the most sophisticated conference webcams on the market. It’s capable of capturing “panoramic” 4K resolution – not true 4K exactly, but still pretty impressive, and more pixels than most other conferencing webcams. The 180° field of view means you can put it up against the wall and capture a whole room, while the intelligent zoom system means the camera will hone in on points of interest. The 2-mic setup isn’t quite as comprehensive as we’ve seen on other webcams, but otherwise this lightweight webcam is great for the majority of conferences and meetings.
If you’re looking for the best video quality possible for your conferences, then the Dell Ultrasharp Webcam should be your port of call. The clue is in the name – this is a webcam designed to provide a sharp and highly detailed image, capable of shooting 4K at 30 frames per second, or Full HD at a silky-smooth 60 frames per second. The design and build are also premium, with an aluminium frame that makes a refreshing change from the plastic of most webcams. The Dell Ultrasharp Webcam has no microphone at all, so you’ll need to factor in the cost of one if you want to provide audio for your conferences. This may seem a surprising omission, but Dell’s logic is that if you care enough about quality to buy a 4K webcam, you probably want better audio than can be provided by a built-in mic in any case.
Though it’s a few years old now, the Logitech ConferenceCam Connect will still get the job done for the majority of conference-room requirements, delivering good-quality Full HD video and perfectly clear audio. Its tubular shape is a little unusual – it makes it easy to transport, though a little more vulnerable to being knocked over than other webcams with more secure stands. It’s designed with some sympathy for technophobes, offering impressive plug-and-play ease of use and compatibility with the usual video conferencing apps – Zoom, Skype for Business, etc. It also runs on an internal battery that can last for a 3-hour video call, giving you even more setup flexibility.