If you have an older laptop, you probably already know that the quality of these devices can be surprisingly poor. If you’re using a desktop computer, you know they don’t come with a webcam at all, so when you’re working from home, you’ll have to work hard to keep track of a quality webcam for all your Teams, Zoom, and Skype meetings. There are many poor quality webcams on the market, so whenever I come across a good webcam, I like to write about it here.
The latest webcam on my desk for review is AnkerWork’s PowerConf C200. The average reader will know that when I reviewed the AnkerWork PowerConf C300 a while ago, I was raving about it. Now AnkerWork has released this affordable webcam with 2K HD resolution and a built-in privacy shutter. This model doesn’t have too many bells and whistles, but it does what it does.
The PowerConf C200 is a smart little square format and connects using a removable USB-C cable that terminates in a USB A plug for the host computer. The webcam has an integrated folding stand that can be securely attached to the cover of your laptop or to the top of your computer monitor. The stand also includes standard threads for mounting the webcam to a variety of clamps, grips, or tripods.
The PowerConf C200 is plug-and-play on most Windows or macOS systems, but AnkerWork software is a useful free download that you can use to adjust important settings such as image resolution, angle of view and anti-flicker. The software also allows you to adjust manual settings such as brightness, sharpness, contrast and saturation. You can even flip the image if you like the way you look at things.
The final settings tab in AnkerWork software is to choose the pickup pattern for the two AI and noise canceling microphones built into the webcam. The setting toggles the pattern between omni-directional and directional, and the audio is stereo. The microphone is of good quality and is suitable for most users.
The webcam image sensor has a maximum resolution of 1440p (2K) and can downsample to 360p for slower connections. The field of view of the lens can be switched between 65°, 78° and 95°. The two wider setups are useful for larger room meetings where more people need to be photographed. The 65° setting is ideal for single users and is relatively flattering compared to the wider setting.
The image quality produced by the PowerConf C200 is pristine, and the great thing about this inexpensive, compact webcam is how well it adjusts exposure in low-light or backlight conditions. Autofocus is responsive and images are sharp, although not as sharp as the PowerConf C300.
The image quality of the PowerConf C200 does not match AnkerWork’s more expensive PowerConf C300, which uses the H264 video codec. The C200 has a built-in privacy cover that can be turned on and off using a small slider on the top of the webcam. The leaf of the privacy cover is made of bright red plastic, making it easy to see when privacy is on. There is also a white LED that lights up when the webcam is active.
verdict: The AnkerWork PowerConf C200 is a great value webcam and its square design fits well over the top of your monitor or laptop cover. 2K resolution is probably a bit of a trick as most video conferencing software can’t support resolutions higher than 1080p. But some don’t take too long to apply. The best thing about the PowerConf C200 is how well it copes with low-light settings and backlit scenes. A lot of the webcams I’ve reviewed don’t seem to cope well with light backgrounds and tend to darken users’ faces too much. Whether you need to upgrade your webcam on your laptop or want it for your office desktop computer, the AnkerWork PowerConf C200 is a great value for money.
Pricing and Availability: $69.99.
More info: www.ankerwork.com
- Resolution: 2K/1,440.
- Focus Type: Auto Focus.
- Built-in microphone: AI stereo (directional and omni-directional).
- USB Connection: USB-A termination and USB-C on webcam.
- Device compatibility: Mac OS 10.14+ and Windows 7/8/10.
- Software compatibility: Mac OS 10.14+ and Windows 7/8/10 2.0.
- USB speed: 2.0.
- Video Codec: MJPEG YUV
- Viewing angles: 65°, 78°, 95°.