Review: Best Video Conference Camera
Video conferencing is a popular way for business groups to stay connected, even when there are hundreds or thousands of miles separating team members. While the most basic setups utilize consumer-grade webcams to get the job done, the best solution for video conferencing is to invest in dedicated equipment designed to function in such an environment. Our best video conference cameras in 2021 recommendations are based on ease of use and overall audio/video capabilities. Though they're not the most affordable options around, each one is designed to excel in the most common video conferencing scenarios with minimal attention or maintenance required for reliable performance.
DTEN D7 Video Conference Camera
Logitech MeetUp Video Conference Camera
Meeting Owl Pro - 360-Degree, 1080p HD Smart Video Conference Camera
The Best Video Conference Cameras Compared
If you need to equip your office conference space with video capabilities, the DTEN D7 is easily one of the best all-in-one solutions available. Unlike many other video conferencing solutions that require individual pieces of equipment to be assembled, the D7 simply ships with everything built in. It's available in 55-inch and 75-inch sizes; though similar in appearance to a standard HDTV, it's clear that DTEN designed the D7 from the ground up as a custom-fit solution to video conferencing. The panel offers 4K resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio, and the HDMI input means it can be used as an extra monitor in a pinch. Zoom Rooms is natively supported, and the massive screen also supports touch functionality to allow the D7 to double as a digital whiteboard as needed.
Above the display is a 4K-resolution camera with a wide 120-degree capture angle, ensuring that even sprawling conference tables can be seen by other parties on the call. The portion that houses the camera can be detached from the main unit, whether for maintenance or privacy reasons. The D7 features a 16-microphone array compared to single or stereo mics found on competing products, and the custom-built DSP is effective at boosting voices while cutting out unwanted background noise. DTEN also updates the DSP's AI on a regular basis in an effort to continuously improve performance. The D7 supports both wired Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) connections and offers user-friendly software that provides easy and straightforward setup.
While the $4,329 MSRP for the 55-inch version may initially seem like a tough pill to swallow, it's important to remember that the D7 is designed to work straight out of the box and requires no additional equipment to be used for video conferencing. It's also competitively-priced against the array of equipment needed to duplicate the D7's functionality. Though it isn't meant to appeal to home office users, the D7 represents an excellent value for any setting that requires more professional video conferencing gear. As such, we're hard-pressed to find faults with DTEN's video conferencing solution.
Once you spend enough time researching video conferencing equipment, you're practically guaranteed to come across Logitech's incredibly diverse lineup of cameras. Our favorite of the bunch is the MeetUp Camera thanks to its versatility. The MeetUp mounts above or below a TV much like a sound bar, and the unit itself houses the camera, microphones, and speakers. The included remote can be used to adjust volume and camera position presets, though the latter is largely unnecessary thanks to the inclusion of Logitech's RightSight technology. This system utilizes AI-based software to automatically pan and zoom the camera in order to frame every conference participant, and can even compensate for uneven room lighting to ensure that the whole group appears perfectly visible. The camera itself offers a 120-degree field of view and supports 4K video capture, though the latter requires a compatible USB 3.0 cable. The MeetUp can also double as a Bluetooth speakerphone if the remote meeting requires a phone call. This particular camera is best suited for huddle rooms and smaller conference rooms, and will work just as well in a home office environment.
One of the more unconventional offerings in the video conferencing space is Owl Labs' Meeting Owl. Named (presumably) after its whimsical design that approximates the appearance of an owl, the Meeting Owl packs a 360-degree camera, 8 microphones, and a speaker into a compact case that is meant to sit unobtrusively in the center of a conference table. The Meeting Owl requires two cables to operate - one provides power to the unit itself, while the other connects to the computer joining the meeting. The 720p camera seems to lag behind direct competitors on paper; in the real world, the Meeting Owl's built-in software erases this shortcoming. Thanks to its AI backing, the system automatically focuses the camera and microphone on the active meeting participant, and will effectively capture sound from up to 12 feet away. The Meeting Owl is compatible with all of the most popular video conference applications (Zoom, GoToMeeting, Slack, Google, Skype, etc.) in use today, and is equally effective in either a home office or a conference room.