If you think about it, any front camera on a mid-range smartphone has better quality and more built-in technology than PC webcams. We live in the digital age, where high-resolution video is the order of the day, and yet the webcams that manufacturers sell are hardly capable of recording at 1080p and 60 FPS … Is it perhaps a technology that does not even interest in these boom times?
Why isn’t PC webcam technology evolving?
In the middle of 2021, PC webcam technology seems extremely outdated when compared, for example, with that of the smartphone cameras that we all have. But that’s not all, since the few models that exceed 1080p resolution tend to have prices that are nothing short of prohibitive considering the type of device we are talking about.
When we talk about webcams built into laptops, manufacturers have the excuse that they cannot increase their quality because they have too high demands regarding the maximum thickness that can be integrated, as we remember that these are integrated into the screen and therefore the size of the shutter as of his optics it is very limited. However, when we talk about a PC webcam there are no space limitations, or at least these are not as pressing as in a laptop.
Some time ago, some OEMs were asked why laptop webcams were still 1MP at most, and they literally answered that “users don’t care” so they go for the cheapest and that’s it. Total, to have a videoconference with 720p quality is enough, right? Well really, and in the times in which we live, no. We live, as we have said, in the era of high resolution, and imagine how ridiculous it looks to an interlocutor who broadcasts at 720p on a 4K resolution screen, not to mention the live streams.
It is quite likely that manufacturers have not bothered to evolve their PC webcam technology too much in recent years precisely because it had never been a peripheral with a high level of sales, and the few that do are looking for very high-end models with the best quality are professionals (including streamers) who are willing to pay the abusive prices they ask for this type of product.
To give a couple of examples, the Razer Kiyo webcam is barely capable of handling 1080p resolution at 30 FPS or 720p at 60 FPS and the manufacturer asks for 110 euros for it; For its part, a Logitech Brio Stream webcam has 1080p resolution at 60 FPS but costs a whopping 259 euros in the manufacturer’s online store. And remember that we are talking about devices with 1080p resolution, whose quality is not even close to 4K.
Will the quality improve from now on?
This is a really difficult question to answer, and about which we can only speculate. We have spoken with brands such as Elgato and Logitech, and both have told us that they have much more advanced models in their bedrooms than what they now have in their catalog because they have realized that it is what users are demanding. However, it seems that these improvements are going to be essentially in terms of firmware and software, but the news regarding the hardware (essentially, the optics) will be quite bare.
In any case, if the current trend continues the same and users increasingly demand more and better webcams for PCs, in the end the manufacturers will end up evolving because, otherwise, they will be losing customers and sales since surely other manufacturers will launch better models (you know the saying, “adapt or die”). Therefore, we predict that in the near future we will finally see a great evolution (or revolution?) In terms of hardware for PC webcams, but as we said a moment ago, this is our assumption and we cannot ensure nothing.