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Whether you’re working from home, streaming online, or hosting a virtual meet-up with friends, having a good quality webcam is essential.

What does a webcam do?

A webcam is a digital camera that connects to your computer and allows you to communicate with friends, family and colleagues in real time over the internet. Most webcams can be clipped to the top of a monitor or laptop or can be used with a tripod stand.

Six features to look for when buying a webcam

Woman talking to colleague over video chat

1. Resolution

The higher the resolution of your webcam, the clearer the video quality will be. For best results, look for a HD webcam with a video capture resolution of at least 720 pixels or higher.

Using webcam to collaborate over the internet

2. Frame rate

You need a minimum rate of at least 15 frames per second (fps) to stream video online. Most modern webcams will stream at 30fps or 60fps, which is fine for video calls and group chats.

Woman using webcam to talk to friends online

3. Microphone

A lot of USB webcams already have a microphone built in. This allows you to conveniently chat with others online without needing separate hardware to do it.

A Logitech StreamCam Webcam in graphite black colour.

4. Still images

Webcams will often have a frame capture function that allows you to take still images from the camera and save them to your PC as image files.

Man at desk talking over group chat

5. Video filters

Some webcams come with software that allows the user to add visual effects like filters or virtual backgrounds to live streams and video chats.

Close up of webcam on top of monitor

6. Face tracking

Face tracking webcams recognise the face of the person in the webcam, and automatically tilt and swivel to keep their face in the centre of the frame.

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If you plan on using a webcam for streaming purposes, you'll need one with a higher frame rate. The frame rate determines how smoothly the video plays, so anything below 30fps is likely to lag and stutter. It's also best to buy a webcam with a glass lens rather than a plastic one as it'll provide a better image.

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