There’s an old saying which I just made up: the longer something has to happen, the better the efforts and results will become. In this case it’s about using a webcam for business calls, the home office or personal —- the recent lockdowns and continued work at home experiences have taught all of us that trying to make a zoom call or do anything with an inferior webcam only results in failure. Plus it makes you look bad too. So over the last year or two companies have really stepped up their game when it comes to webcams — a camera that attaches via a USB cable to a laptop or computer and which enables the person operating it to be seen and hear by other parties.
In the past webcams tended to be big and bulky — partly because the electronics and lenses, et all weren’t so advanced and it was easier to have a “box” with a camera in it than try and reduce all the bits in size. Kinda cheaper for the company to do it this way too. Anker’s PowerConf C200 2K HD Webcam doesn’t go that route at all, obviously, because the box it comes in is smaller than a paperback book. And the C200 itself only measures in at 1.97 x 1.57 x 2.17 inches. That includes the base
Continuing with the physical aspects of the camera, two microphones are employed, not just one, and they function in stereo. Granted the distance between the two mics doesn’t create much of a stereo sound field, but at the least it does provide a wide angle of sound absorption for the person talking. That alone is important because a webcam picture without clear and distinct sound won’t cut it — especially if the C200 is being used for a conference call business-wise. Hey, even if just used for fun, who is going to put up with doing a zoom call with someone when you can’t hear them well or understand what they’re saying?
So that there’s another embedded tech works at noise canceling of the surrounding environment, well that’s good to hear (really bad pun, sure). Add being able to make the mics directional or omni-directional and what more is needed to say for this under $100 webcam? The final physical part is a lens cover (called here a “Privacy” cover) and which does the simple job of making it impossible for someone to hack into the camera and see what’s going on. For the truly paranoid, just unplugging the C200 after use should alleviate any further concerns.
Speaking of others viewing, in a lot of cases people will take the webcam and attach it to the top of their monitor or laptop screen. The adjustable angled based easily attaches to the top rim and, since there’s no adhesive involved, can just as easily be removed. The angling effect of the webcam through the base allows from 65 to 95 degrees of movement — that’s more than enough to work out a decent line of sight between the camera lens and the person (aim for about the middle of the face and you’ll be fine). Since the camera provides autofocus (not if you stick your face right up to the lens obviously), maintaining a reasonable distance can become simple and it does eliminate the shaking/jitter of the camera that can occur if one needed to rework the focus after taking care of angling the camera to capture the person’s face.
Now the C200 is a 2K webcam, which means that it can provide a Full HD high-definition image while flipping frames at 30 per second. Of course you do need to use it with decent lighting, because besides not needing to have shadows appearing under one’s eyes or going up one’s nose, good lighting aids in showing off detail and rendering shadow areas better. In the case of this webcam, built-in is an automatic low-light compensation, basically embedded tech that strives to work the sensor to gather in light and compensate for the lack of it.
Technical aside, the C200 works exceedingly well under average lighting conditions, which is what most will find happening — especially since the light coming off a monitor or laptop screen also blasts a person’s face — one of the big problems today is how close people tend to get to the webcam, which results in some wide angle facial nonsense — sometimes fun to look at but not at all what the webcam is designed to do or what the people at the other end watching will enjoy. The lens here works hard at avoiding distortion and so if you don’t force against it, facial proportions won’t be an issue.
The Anker PowerConf C200 2K HD Webcam comes with a USB-A cord that is long enough for most uses, but no case so if it’s going to be taken along for using with a laptop — wrapping it in a cloth or being careful when traveling with it makes sense (as does putting the Privacy cover over the lens as protection). It’s lightweight too so no weight training is necessary. More details can be had at https://us.ankerwork.com/collections/webcam/products/a3369