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.

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3 replies on “Dell’s UltraSharp Webcam is a 4K camera with DSLR-like features for $200”

  1. Not including a mic makes a lot of sense. Most integrated mics (either in laptops or standalone webcams) tend to kinda suck. Anyone likely to invest in this kind of cam will most likely be willing to invest in a standalone mic (even a “low end” one like a blue snowball ice is leagues better than most integrated ones). And hopefully Dell took the money saved on a mic and spent it on camera quality

  2. I always find it funny that webcams in general aren’t improving much. For the past 7-8 years, you don’t seem to get anything better than a simple 720p webcam. And the USB webcams on the market don’t seem to improve much either.

    It’s too bad this seems to be focusing on business customers, because there’s lots of Youtubers, and game streamers who would buy something high end like this, if it offered them manual controls over the lens.

    Most people like this need a DSLR/Mirrorless camera, with faster lens to achieve a certain creative control over their video (a setup that can cost $700+). If someone could deliver a $200 camera like this, with that kind of manual control, it would probably sell well.

    1. Agreed. Dash cams have improved, and there are plenty offering similar sensors.
      I think the reason is the limiting factor is the cost of the lens, which hasn’t reduced significantly. Lenses max out at about 3um, so smaller pixels are of very limited benefit. To improve resolution you need a bigger sensor and hence lens, which is much more expensive.

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