In a recent live questions & answers session, I suggested that I was still on the lookout for the world’s best HD webcam – specifically, one that would work with Windows (and preferably, baked into a laptop computer). Apple’s served me well enough with the FaceTime HD webcam, but Justin Haghighi helped dig up a few viable PC options for my Windows needs – and his research is too good not to share with the rest of the community:
Let me start out by saying that I’m a big fan and have been watching your videos for a long time now. I’ve commented on videos before but I’ve never done anything of real value for you or the community so I thought I’d email you for the first time. Anyway, in a recent video you recorded live on YouTube, you mentioned you’ve been looking for a good notebook with a nice HD webcam. I decided to look for some that you may or may not have looked at to provide you with some suggestions. I looked at many, and I felt that these could potentially fit your needs. You’ll note that they are from major players in the PC market, but I did not select them because they are major brands. They are pretty much in the same class and prices run from more or less about $899.99 to $1299.00, but it depends on how you customize which one you select.
The first PC I looked at was a Dell XPS notebook. It comes in fifteen and seventeen inch versions, but both sizes come with a two megapixel HD webcam. I did find a couple of videos on YouTube with a quality test of the HD webcam on the fifteen inch version, but I pretty sure they’re the same on both versions. The video quality looked decent and very comparable to the FaceTime HD webcam, but I think you’ll have to see for yourself. Note — I won’t be linking the video quality videos because I don’t want you to feel like you have to watch them; I want you to decide if you want to research these products further. Dell claims the webcam is Skype-certified, but I don’t know if that makes a difference. One person in a quality test said that they thought the camera performed well in low-light, and I sort of agreed. It was watchable, but certainly not as nice as from even a modern point-and-shoot with video capabilities — frankly, no laptop HD camera I’ve seen is. The specs of this PC are highly customizable and there are many base versions to choose from. I believe that the choices you have with this notebook in terms of specs are pretty good.
The second notebook group I researched were the HP Pavilion DV6s and DV7s. Like the Dell, the specs are highly customizable (there’s no point in listing them since there are so many variations) but all include an HP TrueVision HD Webcam. I didn’t find very many videos showing this notebook’s camera, but HP makes a few cheap standalone webcams which, I assume, have very similar quality to the notebook cameras. The few videos that I found had pretty good video quality, but a lot of the people had not changed their webcam’s settings to record in HD, resulting in some standard definition video. It took some digging to find a widescreen 720p video. The camera, by HP’s specs, is supposed to perform better in low-light than other notebook cameras thanks to the TrueVision technology. Once again, there wasn’t much footage that I could find online to test this theory. Personally, I thought that footage from this webcam looked better than the Dell’s, but they were too similar to tell which was truly better. These were videos uploaded by regular consumers for their vlogs and various non-tech related shows, making it hard to compare the footage from each webcam. Again, I’m sorry I won’t be linking the test footage I found. I’m sure you’ll look for yourself if you’re interested.
The final notebook that I felt good enough to mention is a Sony VAIO F series notebook. I wasn’t able to find any footage of the webcam, but Sony’s Web site states that the camera does record in HD. There are many notebooks in Sony’s line that record in HD, but I chose this one not only because it’s one of Sony’s more powerful notebooks but also because of the large, high-resolution display. I understand that you like larger, high-res displays so the other two notebooks have a 1920×1080 resolution option for each screen size (fifteen to seventeen) while the VAIO F series comes standard with one for its sixteen point four inch (2D version) LCD. I also chose this machine because I’m a big fan of Sony hardware and I’m sure it will have video quality similar to the FaceTime camera, the Dell camera, and the HP TrueVision webcam. I didn’t select it just because I’m a fan of Sony hardware, though. It has several desirable features such as Fresh Start (which is when Sony factory uninstalls all bloatware and unneeded Sony media programs), great standard specs (including an i7 quad-core), and an excellent display.
I’d like to thank you for reading my suggestions. I hope you’ll find it helpful in your search. Keep in mind, however, that this is pretty much just a research project. Unfortunately, I don’t own any of these notebooks (I do own a last-generation VAIO S series, but it doesn’t have an HD webcam), but I did try to find some good notebooks with decent HD cameras. Should you purchase one of these machines based on this email and the camera quality turns out to be subpar, I apologize. Keep in mind you could always return any of these machines if you do end up purchasing one, though. If you do want me to link you any of the articles or footage that I used in forming my opinion about these notebooks, please contact me. I’m sorry I won’t link them here, but this is already long enough and I don’t want you to feel obligated to watch the videos and read the articles that I link.