Dell Pro 2K Webcam Review
Webcams have been an essential part of a streamer’s setup since streaming began. Some companies, like Logitech, have set the standard for webcam expectations with the C922x Pro. Others, like Razer, on the other hand, are trying to push the boundaries of what we’ve come to expect from cameras like the Kiyo Pro.
Yet in the last year we are beginning to see a shift in webcam development. Dell tried to break into the webcam market. They first released the UltraSharp 4K webcam earlier this year to pretty solid reviews. What was most impressive was that it easily rivaled some of the best gaming webcams while still sticking to that $249.99 price tag. However, it looks like Dell isn’t done yet as they just released the new Dell Pro 2K webcam.
This new 2K version offers many of the same features as its 4k counterpart but at a fraction of the price. Could this be your next Steam update? Grab that coffee, relax, and find out in our Pro 2K Webcam review courtesy of the good folks at Dell.
- Current price: US$99.99 (Dell)
- Camera Features:
- Resolution / FPS: 2K QHD / 24, 30 fps – Full HD / 24, 30, 60 fps – HD / 24, 30, 60 fps
- Sensor: Sony STARVIS
- Field of view: 65, 78 degrees
- HD Digital Zoom: Zoom up to 4x
- Auto Light Correction: Advanced Digital Overlap (DOL) HDR, Video Noise Reduction
- Auto white balance: Yes
- Face Detection Auto Exposure (FDAE): Yes
- Aperture: f2.0
- Smart camera features: AI auto-framing
- Noise canceling microphone: Yes
- Microphone range: 3 meters
- Connection: USB-A 2.0 and above
- Software: Dell Device Manager (optional)
The Dell Pro 2K webcam is an interesting design. Moving away from the standard rectangle on a stand, the Pro 2K instead opts for an elongated cylinder style to house its components. On the surface, the camera actually looks like a mini can of cola. However, on closer inspection, you quickly realize all the subtle and clever design decisions.
For starters, the Pro 2K comes with a simple lens cover that serves to protect the device when stored in a bag as well as a privacy screen when the camera is not in use. Several other webcams I’ve used come with similar covers, but Dell has magnified the cover so that it not only attaches to the front of the camera, but also to the back. This greatly reduces the risk of losing cover, which I may or may not have done with covers from other webcams I’ve owned.
The mounting bracket is also integrated into the cylinder design and when not in use it slides into the camera to create a smooth, clean look. A small but durable hinge allows for quick setup and storage and an included tripod mounting point sits discreetly on the underside of the stand. It’s simple and clean.
Even the USB-A cable that’s attached to the camera is tucked away in a small cable tray feeding the bottom of the camera, allowing you to store it upright when not in use and reducing the bending at the cable connection point.
The entire design is smart and clean, with a focus on on-the-go professionals who want to up their Zoom meeting game. It’s easy to handle, easy to store, and easy to set up, making it a great design for those who need portability.
Plug and play and more
Speaking of setup, the Pro 2K webcam is designed for plug-and-play experiences. On my Mac and PC, the camera was immediately recognized when plugged in. Everything from Discord to OBS to Zoom had no problem recognizing the included camera and microphone as options for audio and video.
As a user, you can plug in the Pro and never think about it again. This makes it a great device for gamers and professionals who need a simple and convenient solution. Still, that would be underutilizing everything the Dell Pro 2K has to offer.
The Pro 2K is an incredibly powerful webcam. Housed within the aforementioned cylinder design is the STARVIS sensor system. In short, the STARVIS sensor uses a back-illuminated pixel system that allows the sensor to shoot a higher quality image even in low light situations. Originally designed for security systems, the STARVIS sensor has since been adapted for use in a number of other applications, including high-end webcams. The result is a higher quality image in both well-lit and low-light situations.
As the name suggests, the Pro 2K supports up to 1440p at 30 frames per second. Priced at $100, that puts it immediately above most webcams in this bracket. However, Dell didn’t stop there. They also included some serious image processing power with support for HDR digital overlap and face detection auto exposure. HDR essentially pushes to present a realistic color experience despite extreme lighting conditions, while Face Detection automatically balances the lighting on your face to help present the best possible picture quality.
Finally, the Dell Pro 2K comes with Dell’s own AI Auto-Framing which is designed to track a subject and adjust focus and zoom to keep up with them as they move. All of these features, plus a host of standard webcam settings, are managed from the Dell Peripheral Manager which is available for PC and Mac. The software itself is quite simple to use and allows you to easily and quickly adjust all these features.
The Dell Pro 2K performed well overall in testing. I tested everything from lens capture in low to extreme lighting situations, to AI auto-framing, HDR processing, and recording at different frame rates and resolutions.
When it comes to photo and video, the Pro 2K delivers. This STARVIS sensor does an excellent job of capturing images. Recording at 2K 30 FPS presented a crisp, well-balanced image throughout my testing. Even in low-light capture tests, the webcam managed to produce a pretty solid image. With the image below, I took the shot with nothing but a little backlight and the light from my monitor. The camera managed to shoot a fairly detailed image without much noise. Considering how little light to work with, that’s a pretty impressive feat for a webcam.
If there’s a lighting problem, optional HDR is available to try and compensate for the lighting conditions. However, in my testing, I found that the camera handled lighting better without HDR. In most cases, the HDR ended up being too aggressive and added a lot of noise to the photos I took. In the slides below, I took the same photo with HDR on and off. In almost all cases, the image without HDR is the best quality shot.
For those specifically looking for a webcam that can handle less than ideal lighting conditions, I would still say the Dell Pro 2K is the camera that can accomplish this. The STARVIS sensor had no problem handling various lighting conditions in my tests. I would however recommend keeping HDR disabled unless there is a specific situation where you need it as images tend to be noisier when shot with HDR.
The Pro 2K is equipped with the aforementioned face-detection auto exposure as well as autofocus. Both work very well and feature fairly solid and realistic skin tones. In the case of both features, in all my tests the webcam had no problem detecting and then adjusting focus and exposure to present a fairly clear and well-balanced image.
My criticism of the system is not how well it does the job, but rather how quickly it does it. In some cases, when the camera is doing an initial scan, it may take up to 3-5 seconds for it to find and adjust appropriately. Luckily, once he’s settled, he doesn’t seem to have a problem maintaining focus and balance. It would have been nice to see a faster overall response time with these systems, but the systems themselves performed consistently and satisfactorily.
Another feature I was excited to test out was AI auto-framing. I, in a previous opinion, had the opportunity to test another AI-driven tracking camera and was curious to see how the Dell Pro 2K handled the process. My tests revealed two things; the system basically relies on exploiting the full 78° angle and then zooming and tilting the camera lens within that angle range to track the subject and this process is quite slow. So much so that I wouldn’t find it useful to use it in a live environment without some very intentional movements planned in advance. It’s a great idea conceptually and it works, but too slowly to be exploited on a day-to-day basis.
The Pro 2K also comes with a built-in mic designed for noise reduction and clean sound pickup. It offers slight noise reduction but still sounds hollow and lacks any real low-end mic. It sounds clean enough to be usable and is arguably better than a built-in laptop mic, but doesn’t compare to a headset or USB mic for quality.
Despite a few flaws, the Dell Pro 2K Webcam is still a solid offering at a great price. Its overall capture quality and low-light capabilities easily surpass anything I’ve tested in this price range. Although some features, such as AI tracking, focus, exposure, and slowness, all work well. The only area I really would have liked to see a little more is in the area of HDR, the feature really didn’t impress me compared to what the camera could capture without it.
Overall, if you’re looking for a solid webcam that won’t break the bank, I’d consider checking out the Dell Pro 2K Webcam. Currently priced at 99.99 on the Dell websiteit’s a good camera at a great price.
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.