If you use an older laptop then you probably already know that the quality of these devices can be shockingly poor. And if you use a desktop computer, you know they don’t come with a webcam at all, so you have to do the hard work of tracking down a good quality webcam for all those Teams, Zoom and Skype meetings when working from home. There are a lot of poor-quality webcams on the market so whenever I come across a good one, I like to write about it here.
The latest webcam to land on my desk for review is the PowerConf C200 from AnkerWork. Regular readers will know that I raved about the AnkerWork PowerConf C300 when I reviewed it a while back. Well, now AnkerWork has released this affordable webcam which has 2K HD resolution and a built-in privacy shutter. There aren’t too many bells and whistles on this model, but what it does it does well.
The PowerConf C200 has 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 integral folding stand that enables it to be perched safely on the lid of a laptop or the top of a computer monitor. The stand also includes a standard thread for mounting the webcam on a range of clamps, grips or tripods.
Although the PowerConf C200 is plug-and-play with most Windows or macOS systems, the AnkerWork software is a useful free download that can be used to adjust important settings like image resolution, angle of view and even an anti-flicker function. The software also enables manual settings to be tweaked like brightness, sharpness, contrast and saturation. The image can also be flipped if that’s how you like to view things.
The final settings tab in the AnkerWork software is for selecting the pickup pattern of the two AI and noise-canceling microphones that are built into the webcam. A setting toggles the pattern between omnidirectional and directional and the audio is in stereo. The quality of the microphones is excellent and should be more than adequate for most users.
The webcam’s image sensor has a maximum resolution of 1,440p (2K) and can be downsampled as low as 360p for slow connections. The field of view of the lens can be switched between 65°, 78° and 95°. The two wider settings are useful for meetings in a larger room where you need to fit more people into the picture. The 65° setting is ideal for a single user and relatively flattering compared to the wider settings.
The image quality produced by the PowerConf C200 is clear and the best bit about this affordable little webcam is how well it adjusts exposure in low light or backlit situations. The autofocus is responsive and the images are sharp although not perhaps quite as clear as the PowerConf C300.
The image quality from the PowerConf C200 is not quite up to 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 privacy cover’s leaves are made from bright red plastic so it’s easy to see when privacy is on. There’s also a white LED that illuminates when the webcam is active.
Verdict: The AnkerWork PowerConf C200 is a great value webcam and the square design looks good on the top of a monitor or laptop lid. The 2K resolution is probably a bit of a gimmick as most video conferencing software can’t support resolutions higher than 1080p but it can’t be too long before some of them do. The best bit about the PowerConf C200 is how well it copes with low-light settings and backlit scenes. Many webcams I’ve reviewed don’t seem to cope well with a lighter background and tend to make the user’s face too dark. If you need to upgrade the webcam on your laptop or want one for your office desktop computer, the AnkerWork PowerConf C200 is great value for money.
Pricing & Availability: $69.99.
More info: www.ankerwork.com
- Resolution: 2K/1,440.
- Focus type: Autofocus.
- Built-in mic: AI Stereo (directional and omnidirectional).
- USB Connectivity: 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
- Field of view: 65°, 78°, 95°.