Over the past year and a half, webcams have gone from an afterthought to one of the more important aspects of a computer as more folks are using video conferencing and chat tools to communicate.
While most laptops continue to ship with pretty lousy built-in cameras, we’re starting to see some companies jump into the USB webcam space with higher-quality alternatives. And Dell’s new UltraSharp Webcam is a model that seems to mean business… and it’s priced like a business device to boot, with a $200 price tag.
At its most basic, the Dell UltraSharp Webcam is a 4K UHD camera with support for HDR video and photos. It has an infrared sensor that supports Windows Hello face recognition, allowing you to log into your PC by looking at it. There’s also a proximity sensor that can detect your presence and turn on your PC display when you approach and log you out when you walk away. And there’s a magnetic privacy cover that you can place over the lens when you want to be sure nobody can see you.
But the camera also has some extra features that help it stand out. Dell says it drew inspiration from DSLR cameras, using a 4K Sony STARVIS CMOS image sensor and multi-element lens capable of capturing more light.
The camera supports 65 degree, 78 degree, and 90 degree fields of view and up to 5X digital zoom. There’s HDR support and noise reduction help enable automatic light correction, and there’s an auto-framing feature that uses AI to keep you in the center of the shot.
Dell’s new webcam is made of aluminum and has a tube-shaped design, unlike most modern webcams. But the 90mm x 42mm (3.54″ x 1.65″) camera can be attached to the top of the display with a magnetic mount, or connected to a tripod that can be placed on a desk, table, or other surface.
Dell is positioning the UltraSharp webcam as a business accessory, but the company says it’s available for anyone to buy which means you could also use it for making calls to the family, recording a video podcast, or live streaming to Twitch.
One thing to note is that the Dell UltraSharp webcam is just a webcam. It does not have a built-in mic, so you’ll need to use it with a microphone, headset, or your laptop’s built-in mic if you plan to record or stream audio as well as video.