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Lifewire / James Huenink
True HD on a big screen
Quality audio recording
Sturdy, sleek design
Stable mounting system
Camera doesn’t rotate
With real HD and quality audio, the Logitech C920 Pro HD Webcam is an excellent webcam that’s marred only by its autofocus system.
Inexpensive webcam options abound in online marketplaces. They boast HD video with built-in microphones, but they are almost always too good to be true and promise more than they can deliver. But what about more expensive options? We tested the Logitech C920 Pro HD Webcam to see if it’s worth the extra cost.
The Logitech C920 Pro HD Webcam is a sleek device in all black. Its low profile, wide camera means it blends in well clipped to the top of a laptop or monitor. The glass cover spans most of the width of the camera with microphones on either side. The top of the camera is a glossy plastic that smudges with every touch, but the webcam’s construction is solid. The base is heavy enough that it feels like there is metal beneath the plastic housing, and you can easily use it as a stand for the camera. The hinge for the base is solid, strong, and it takes some effort to open and close it. Once it’s set, it stays in place.
Close to twice the price of some of its competitors, but you get what you pay for—higher quality video and audio.
The base unfolds to clip the Logitech C920 Pro HD Webcam to the top of a laptop, a monitor, or an HD TV. The base has four pieces. There’s a front edge that hangs down from the front of the camera which slides over the front of a monitor. The inside of the base has two pieces, one on top and one on the bottom connected by a hinge, and each is lined with a non-slip material. At the front side of the bottom, where the bottom edge would touch the back of a screen, there's a flexible foot. It can fold to 90 degrees so it can rest snugly on the back of the screen. This flexible foot design is superior to most webcams, because it makes the C920 extremely stable when it’s mounted on a screen. There’s a nonslip foot on the bottom next to a standard tripod mount.
The Logitech C920 Pro HD Webcam doesn’t rotate left or right, a strange omission given how many cheaper competing models do. The camera does have decent vertical rotation range, approximately 30 degrees forward and 15 degrees back.
The Logitech C920 Pro HD Webcam works as soon as you plug the USB 2.0 cable into the computer. Once we opened up an app like Photobooth, it worked without a problem.
It’s also a simple process to mount the Logitech C920 Pro HD Webcam to the top of a screen. We tried it on a MacBook Pro and an HD TV, and it was easy to mount on both. The flexible foot at the end of the base offered an extra level of stability over most cameras, because it places a larger surface area against the back of the screen. Whether it’s a thick TV or a slim laptop, the Logitech C920 Pro HD Webcam rested securely. The camera doesn’t rotate left and right, so it was more difficult to position the shot exactly where we wanted it. We had to move the whole device instead of rotating the camera. This is fine if you’re sitting dead center in front of the screen, but if you want to mount it to the side, against a wall, it will take a more creative solution.
The C920 produces HD 1080p video, and it shows. Both live video and recordings are sharp with tons of detail. We took some stills and video with small objects in the background, and we could easily distinguish them, even read some of the smaller text. We also didn’t notice any distortion in the image, either. The images were just as clean when we blew them up on the big screen, too—both stills and video still looked great.
Both live video and recordings are sharp with tons of detail.
We also measured the field of view. We set up the Logitech C920 Pro HD Webcam 9 inches away from the wall, and then we measured the width of the image, 10 inches. With a little trigonometry, that gave us approximately 60 degrees, slightly more narrow than the 78 degree field of view Logitech advertises.
The camera is 2 megapixels, which would normally be too small to work on a large screen, but the software does a good job upscaling the image to the big screen. The camera also does an excellent job managing the white balance in a variety of lighting.
We tested the Logitech C920 Pro HD Webcam by mounting it on top of a Macbook Pro and on an HD TV, using Skype for video calls and Photobooth for stills and recorded video. When we tested video calling with the Logitech C920 Pro HD Webcam clipped to the laptop, it performed admirably. The autofocus system kept the HD image sharp and focused on the person talking. The sound, while a little muffled, was clear, and it did a good job filtering out background noise.
When we mounted the Logitech C920 Pro HD Webcam to the top of the HD TV, we had a few problems. The video and images had the same HD quality, and the microphone did a great job recording voices at a distance, but the autofocus system didn’t track the speaker very well. It tended to focus on the background unless someone moved directly in front of the camera, taking up most of the shot. We ended up with some calls where the caller was out of focus most of the time while the background was tack sharp. The problem could be easily solved by pointing the camera at a foreground object, like a table or desk, or keeping a background object close to the people, but it's an annoying extra step.
The Logitech C920 Pro HD Webcam is one of the more expensive options in our best webcams roundup with an MSRP of $100, though you can frequently find it for around $60 online. This is close to twice the price of some of its competitors, but you get what you pay for—higher quality video and audio than the cheaper alternatives. If you want real HD, this is a great camera.
Genius WideCam F100: The Genius WideCam F100 boasts a 120 degree field of view with HD video. The lens is manual focus, which can be a good thing if you don’t move around. The focus ring, however, is awkward, making it difficult to get in focus quickly. Our tests also showed poor quality video. While it was technically 1080p, the camera poorly upscaled the image so it was pixelated and looked blurry.
C930e Business Webcam: The C930e Business Webcam is one step up from the Logitech C920 Pro HD Webcam. It has a wider field of view, 90 degrees, and it boasts a 4x digital zoom. It’s designed for business meetings in a conference room, evidenced by the wide angle lens. These extra features come with extra price, though—the MSRP for the C930 is $130. Unless you need a wide angle and zoom, the C920 for $30 less is a better option.
An excellent webcam at a steep price.
The Logitech C920 Pro HD Webcam is an excellent webcam that takes HD video and quality audio. Plus, the base makes it sturdy when it’s mounted on a screen. The C920 is only marred by some autofocus problems, distracting from an otherwise outstanding webcam.