Logitech Webcam c930e
Sharp video quality, with 1080p in supported business chat apps. Plug-and-play on both Macs and PCs; no drivers necessary.
No optical zoom. More expensive than earlier models in this line.
- BOTTOM LINE
Logitech’s c930e delivers sharp 1080p video chats and smooth recorded audio with effective noise cancellation, making it our top webcam choice.
BYJAMIE LENDINOLogitech has been making great webcams for years, but it’s possible the Webcam c930e is its best one yet. Thanks to various built-in encoding technologies in the hardware, it enables 1080p over-the-Internet HD streaming at 30 frames per second, at least with business-class apps like Microsoft Lync and Cisco WebEx. And it’s compatible with Skype, Google Hangouts, and several other Web video chat services. You also get a 90-degree view, so you can show off a conference table or whiteboard behind you as you speak. Thanks to its excellent video and audio quality and unusually flexible mount, the Logitech Webcam c930e is our new Editors’ Choice for consumer-level webcams, replacing the HP Webcam HD 5210.
Design, Features, and Setup
The c930e is made mostly of black plastic. It measures 3.7 by 1.7 by 2.8 inches (HWD) and weighs 5.7 ounces with the clip and cable included. The Carl Zeiss glass lens is the dominant feature of the silver front panel. Stereo microphones sit on either side. The top edge is clean, while the bottom connects to the built-in mount with three hinges and padded rubber surfaces.
The mount is pretty ingenious; I got it to stay put on a laptop lid, several desktop monitors, and I was able to mount it on a high shelf above a desk. It also has an embedded thread on the bottom for a standard or desk tripod. Thanks to the third, smaller portion of the mount at the bottom, you can extend it a bit so that the webcam tilts down at you from atop a large desktop PC monitor.
An external, black plastic privacy shutter acts as a cover you can open and close to physically block the lens. With the shutter closed, you don’t have to worry if the software you’re using automatically enables a video feed, or if someone enabled the feed for more nefarious purposes without your knowledge. But it’s loose and not permanently attached, so you have to be careful not to lose it.
Installing the c930e is as simple as can be, since it doesn’t require a driver. You take a PC or Mac, plug it in, and tell whatever app you’re using to find it and use it. All you need is a Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC, or a Mac running OS X 10.7 or higher; the USB port needs to be at least 2.0 compatible.
Performance and Conclusions
Logitech’s earlier webcams like the c920 and the HD Pro Webcam c910 have been solid, and the c930e doesn’t disappoint. For this review, we tested the webcam on a ThinkPad running Windows 7, and on a MacBook Pro 17-inch running Mac OS X. We tried a variety of tests, including with and without some professional lights on stands, and in darker settings. The c930e has an upgraded version of the company’s RightLight system, which combines autofocus with light detection to improve low-light quality at multiple distances from the sensor. Video quality is sharp, clear, and well balanced in most situations. The c930e always compensated well and stayed in focus.
I also tested audio quality during Skype calls. My voice sounded clear and crisp on the other side of the call through the c930e’s built-in microphones, and the noise cancellation circuitry did a nice job suppressing the sound of an office fan on my desk while preserving my own voice.
For controls, you get Pan, Tilt, and Zoom options within the 90-degree field of view. But it’s all digital; there are no motors. Logitech claims the camera offers 4x digital zoom, but as with point-and-shoot cameras, it’s pretty useless unless you don’t mind a serious degradation in sharpness.
At $129.99, the c930e is a little expensive for a desktop webcam, but it’s worth the money and a clear Editors’ Choice. It’s a shoo-in if your desktop PC doesn’t have a built-in webcam, and it’s also a pretty dramatic upgrade from whatever is built into your laptop lid or desktop monitor. As an alternative, if you’re using Skype, Google Hangouts, or other home-based chats, you’ll be almost as well off with the less expensive HP Webcam HD 5210, which delivers similar video quality, although it has less effective noise cancellation, its mount isn’t as flexible, and it has a slightly narrower field of view. The Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam$249.99 at Dell, meanwhile, offers a more robust solution for multiple users in, say, a conference room, thanks to its motorized stem mount with remote control, and built-in speakerphone and microphones with a wider recording pattern.
Original review link: Logitech Webcam c930e