Microsoft’s modern webcam review: This $55 webcam makes you look good, but you’ll need a better mic
Looking for a new webcam to go along with your work-from-home (or even office) setup? Microsoft has you covered with its “modern webcam” which is also “Teams certified”, meaning it’s ready to use with Teams without too much hassle. Sure, this webcam will work well in any application, but the Teams Certified stamp is there to let you know that if you use Teams, this is the accessory for you.
It’s been a few years since Microsoft last shipped a webcam, so it’s good to see the company is back with something new. Unfortunately, it’s not a flagship webcam, which means it’s not 4K or includes Windows Hello facial recognition support. It’s simply a webcam designed for video conferencing, and it does a great job, but with a few caveats.
There are plenty of great webcams out there, so be sure to check out our roundup of the best webcams for Windows PCs in 2022! I’ve been using the Microsoft Modern Webcam for a little over a month now. Here is my review:
Modern webcam from Microsoft
At the end of the line : The Microsoft Modern Webcam is a great choice for anyone looking for a 1080p webcam for video conferencing on a budget. With a built-in privacy shutter, clear video and smooth low-light performance.
- Easy setup
- Compact design
- Smooth performance in low light
- Affordable price
- Built-in microphone is no good
- Accessory app needs work
- No Windows Hello
|Category||Modern webcam from Microsoft|
|Dimensions||Length: 1.99 inches (50.53mm)
Width: 1.42 inches (36.05mm)
Depth: 2.94 inches (74.58mm)
|Weight||0.21 lbs (88.3g)|
|Outside||Front window: glass, polished black
Tripod mount: copper, shiny silver
Other components: plastic/TPE/rubber, matte black
|Sensor||1080p 30fps video output
1.4um x 1.4um
Auto white balance
78 degree wide field of view
|Cable length||59.1 inches (1.5 meters)|
|An audio codec||PCM, 16-bit, 16 kHz sampling|
Modern webcam: Price and availability
The Microsoft Modern Webcam is available directly from the Microsoft Store for an MSRP of $70. However, right now you can grab the webcam for just $55, making it a bargain regardless of the downsides. It can also be found on Amazon; however, prices there often fluctuate above and below $70.
Modern webcam: what is good
The Microsoft Modern Webcam is a sleek and functional little camera that sits above your monitor with the included stand/tripod. It comes in a glossy black finish and looks super clean in any configuration. It has a built-in privacy shield that uses satisfying magnets to open and close, with the closed position also cutting power to the camera in addition to actually covering the lens. When active, there’s a small ring of light that surrounds the sensor letting you know the camera is on.
It’s also designed to be plug and play, meaning you can just plug the USB-A cable into your PC and you should be good to go, with no real setup required. That said, if you want to customize the webcam, Microsoft offers an app called “Microsoft Accessory Center” that will allow you to do so. Here you can change settings like color temperature, HDR on or off, auto white balance, etc.
Here are all the things you can set up with the Microsoft Accessories Center app:
- HDR on/off
- Retouch on/off
- white balance
- Auto Exposure
- Flicker reduction
- Enable/disable the webcam microphone
The performance of the camera itself perfectly acceptable. It’s a 1080p shooter, featuring a 78-degree field of view, HDR support, auto exposure, auto white balance, and anti-flicker capabilities. . It’s a well-rounded sensor that looks great in well-lit environments. Microsoft does a good job of adjusting exposure so that your face is always the most visible, even if you have a bright light source such as a window directly behind you.
I also came away rather impressed with the low-light performance of this webcam. While still quite noisy, the webcam didn’t drop frames in an attempt to open the sensor and let in more light. I stayed smooth on video, which is nice to see and makes a big difference when presenting on video calls.
I also found that this camera does not seek focus randomly as much as others. My Logitech BRIO 4K is really prone to randomly seeking focus on my face, even though I hadn’t moved much in frame. I did not notice this behavior on the Microsoft Modern Webcam.
Modern webcam: What is not good
In our tests, the Microsoft Accessory Center app needs some work. We found that it often forgets the settings and sometimes does not apply the color temperature settings even after selecting them from the drop-down menu. It’s not a big deal, as it takes a few seconds to go back into the app to reapply the settings, but it’s a bit annoying.
Some color temperature settings are also a little strong, and the same effect may differ randomly without changing anything in your frame. Sometimes this gives the impression that the filters you apply are not taking effect, as the differences between certain effects are sometimes incredibly minor or non-existent.
The biggest downside to this webcam is the built-in microphone, which it seems even Microsoft doesn’t recommend you use. By default, the webcam comes with the built-in mic disabled, and attempting to enable it in the Microsoft Accessories Center app will present you with a warning that this microphone is not Teams certified.
The built-in mic just isn’t good.
I’m really happy to see that Microsoft has added an option to enable or disable the built-in mic, since a lot of people have setups where they already have a dedicated microphone and don’t need Windows to confuse themselves with the mic it has. should use. It’s also beneficial here because the built-in mic just isn’t good.
Sound often sounds buzzy and noisy, even with the mic gain settings turned off. It’s not a pleasant mic to listen to, which is probably why it’s disabled by default. My Surface Laptop 4’s built-in mic did a much better job of audio, and Windows will default to your set mic if the webcam mic is disabled in the accessories app.
Finally, there is no Windows Hello built into this webcam. For the price, you probably shouldn’t expect it, but if you were looking for a Microsoft solution to add Windows Hello to your existing desktop PC, this isn’t the product for you.
Modern webcam: Video and audio test
Here’s a brief video and audio performance test, including an audio comparison with the Surface Studio 2’s built-in mic.
Modern webcam: Competetion
The webcam market is full of all kinds of different webcams, ranging from high-end 4K 120 FPS sensors to low-cost 720p cameras. The Microsoft Modern Webcam sits comfortably in the middle, being relatively affordable with sufficient performance in well-lit environments.
If you’re looking for something high-end, the Logitech BRIO 4K is our recommendation. It has a 4K sensor, up to 60 FPS video recording, dual-array mics, and even Windows Hello built-in. But it all comes at a premium price of $200, well above the Microsoft Modern Webcam, at just $99.
Alternatively, we have the Logitech C920, arguably the king of 1080p webcams. It has a wide 78 degree field of view, dual microphones and a glass lens for clarity. Microsoft’s modern webcam competes very well with this device, but I think Logitech beats it by a small margin thanks to its slightly better image quality.
We also have the HP 320 FHD and 325, similarly priced to the Microsoft Modern Webcam, 1080p sensor, but with a slightly narrower 66-degree field of view. That said, these HP webcams are mounted on a 360 bracket, which is unique, but could be useful in certain scenarios.
Modern webcam: Should I buy it?
You should buy it if…
- You need a basic, high-performance webcam
- Looking for something that is plug and play
- Already have a dedicated microphone
You shouldn’t buy it if…
- You need something with a good built-in microphone
- You want Windows Hello facial recognition
The Microsoft Modern Webcam is a great choice for anyone looking for a camera that excels in everyday video conferencing in apps like Microsoft Teams. If you’re presenting to large audiences or attending small team meetings, you can’t go wrong with the modern webcam.
That said, all is not perfect. Although I came away impressed with the video quality, even in low-light scenarios, the built-in microphone is just plain bad. Microsoft ships the webcam with the microphone disabled for this reason, so I recommend a dedicated microphone instead.
Globally. for the price, I think you’re getting a good deal with the modern webcam, as long as you’re using a different microphone. The build quality is good, it looks sleek on top of any monitor or screen, and the built-in privacy shutter with magnets is a really nice touch.
At the end of the line : With excellent video performance even in low light conditions, you can’t go wrong with Microsoft’s modern webcam, designed with Microsoft Teams certification in mind.
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