Since working from home became a thing during the pandemic, many of us have been doing Zoom and Teams calls via laptops with built in webcams. The only catch with that is webcams inside laptops often have small components, influencing the level of camera performance and image quality. Which is why having an external webcam is preferable. So to help my wife up her webcam game, I hooked her up with this.
This is the Kensington W1050 1080p Fixed Focus Wide Angle Webcam. It’s an easy to install and cost effective webcam that has the following features:
- Easy installation
- 1080p @ 30fps video
- Privacy shutter
- Two omnidirectional microphones with noise cancelling
- Kensington Konnect software that allows you to tweak things to your liking. The software is available for both Windows and Mac.
- Meets MIL-STD-810H Method 504.3 Contamination by Fluids testing for resistance to breakdown when exposed to cleaning and disinfecting solvents such as alcohol and bleach for at least 24 hours.
Setup is easy for the most part:
- Mount the camera on your monitor
- Plug it into a USB-A port
- Install the Kensington Konnect software
- Done. Declare victory and have a beer.
The reason why I said that setup is easy for the most part is that this camera is USB-A. My wife’s laptop has nothing but USB-C ports and there wasn’t an USB-A to USB-C adapter in the box. That sent me hunting though my parts drawers to find an adapter for her. My advice would be that Kensington should consider adding an adapter to this to save someone an extra trip to the computer store or to Amazon.
As for mounting it onto a monitor, here’s what that looks like:
To keep it stable, there’s a clip on the bottom that perches along the top edge of the screen, and its position can be adjusted 37° vertically and 360° horizontally. It felt solid and didn’t move at all.
In terms of actual usage, the first thing that I would recommend is that you spend some time in Kensington Konnect to tweak things to your liking. This software gives you the following features:
- You can set a focal area of the shot as well as pan or tilt the image.
- There’s an Effects and Adjust tab to edit the picture with some preset filters, as well as manual controls for brightness, contrast and saturation.
- More advanced controls let you customize the backlight, low light, white balance, sharpness, hue and gamma.
Once you’ve found the perfect balance you can save a camera profiles. For example, you can have different presets saved for daytime, night time, when you’re at work or when you’re at home.
Once my wife did that she did a number of Microsoft Teams and Zoom meetings, plus we tested the camera as well and compared it to the one on her corporate issue laptop. The things that we noticed is that images from the W1050 were brighter and more detailed. Even though both cameras were 1080P. Viewing angles are very generous which allows this camera to be used in a variety of situations. As for the microphones, they made her voice sound clear and loud enough to understand. You do get a small amount of background noise coming through but it doesn’t overwhelm the sound enough to make it an issue.
The best part of this is the price. I found it on Amazon for $103 Canadian which is a good amount to spend to move your webcam game up a couple of notches. Just make sure that you grab a USB-C adapter if you need it, and spend some time in Kensington Konnect to get your camera tweaked the way you want it, and you’ll be good to go.