In a previous round of testing, we tested (and dismissed) Logitech’s C930e and Microsoft’s Life Cam Cinema.Once we narrowed down the field, we took multiple pictures and videos with each webcam under controlled conditions so we could compare them directly.Andrew Cunningham has spent more than six years writing about PCs and other gadgets for Anand Tech and Ars Technica, and before that he spent five years in IT helping people buy the best tech for their needs.Kimber Streams has written about tech for six years and been a PC expert for The Wirecutter for more than three years.When comparing pictures taken by the six webcams we examined, our testers consistently ranked the C920 first, beating out even newer and more expensive models like the C922x and the Logitech Brio.
It takes better pictures and video than any of the other models we tested, beating even newer and more-expensive models.
They did think that the C920’s audio sounded muffled compared with the other webcams we tested, but the camera’s noise-reduction feature works well and the sound is still perfectly fine for casual chats and virtual meetings.
The C920’s autofocus works quickly, and the camera does a good job of adjusting its exposure and white balance—even in rooms with a mix of sunlight and warm overhead light, or when you’re sitting in front of a bright window.
But if your laptop’s integrated webcam is really bad (or broken, or in a dumb place), or if your desktop or display doesn’t have a camera, a USB webcam that sits on top of your screen is the best option.
A stand-alone webcam can also provide better quality for video calls, recording videos, and streaming games, events, porn—you name it!