Laptop Webcams Are Terrible And Its Your Fault

Published on April 9, 2020

The ongoing pandemic is ravaging entire economies, and the world is changing in response to that. More and more of our daily lives are moving online. Now, more than ever, people are relying on the ability to work and communicating at a distance. And now all at once, everyone is realizing just how terrible their laptop webcams are.

The sensors on these devices are often limited to 720p resolution, but that’s really not the problem. The problem is with the physical size of both the image sensor and the all important light capturing lens. In this department, laptop cameras are seriously lacking compared to just about all other devices. It’s more common to find a better front-facing camera on a budget smartphone than on high end laptop.

It’s All About Bezel Space.

You see, resolution is only one of many metrics of a camera. Its not all about the megapixels. Things like number of f stops, a good aperture, and image stabilization go along way. Another important metric, especially for video, is the frame rate. A high resolution, super clear image doesn’t do much good when its turned to an indistinguishable blur once a video session starts.

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The thing is, all the bells and whistles require physical space, something that is a premium on just about any device that has a display. Simply put, the market has demanded that laptops have super sleek bezels like their smartphone cousins. In fact, the smartphone industry has gone so far as to remove chunks of the screen in favor for a more ‘screen only’ experience.

But you can expect that to change.

So, manufactures have been able to ‘get away’ with using outdated camera modules. They have been able to stuff them in odd, off center places on the screen, and even under keys. No one has noticed because they are super happy with their smartphone’s front facing cameras performance and they have not had to use their laptop webcam that much.

Until now.

With Plexiglas panels being installed at businesses that conduct face to face transactions and with social distancing being the new normal, lots of people of people find themselves somewhat disconnected from the ‘IRL’ world and are spending more time on the internet. This goes far beyond watching more cat videos on YouTube and binge watching more of your favorite shows on Netflix, this extends into work.

More and more jobs are allowing their employees work from home for the first time. As a result, more and more people are turning on those webcams to find how shabby they really are. This will no doubt increase the number of consumer complaints about this, and it applies to all manufactures. Overall, you can expect a storm of innovation in laptop webcams in the near future.

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