Dell UltraSharp Webcam Review | digital camera world

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No doubt spurred by a pandemic that has pushed millions of office workers online from home, the webcam market is more diverse than ever. Those who want the cheapest possible weekly call can spend just $20 on a webcam, while those who want a seamless, DSLR-like experience can spend ten times as much on a premium webcam with build quality at height.

This is the area of ​​the market occupied by the Dell UltraSharp webcam reviewed here. Costing around $200 / £175, the UltraSharp is a serious piece of kit for those who want the best image quality – making it one of the best 4K webcams around. (opens in a new tab)money can buy.

Maybe you’re a C-suite member who needs to look your best when speaking to dozens of employees, or a reporter who makes regular television appearances from his home office. Either way, the Dell delivers the kind of video quality you’re looking for – and it pairs that with market-leading hardware, too.

Dell UltraSharp Webcam Specifications

Dell UltraSharp Webcam Review

(Image credit: Alistair Charlton/Digital Camera World)

Resolution: Ultra-HD 4K

Field of view: 65, 78, 90 degrees

Frame rate: 30 fps in 4K, 60 fps in Full HD

Digital Zoom: Up to 5x

Built-in microphone: Nope

Autofocus: Yes

Privacy cover: Yes

Link: USB-C

Main characteristics

Physical design and excellent video quality are key features of the Dell UltraSharp webcam. The former is detailed in the next section, while the latter includes the use of a large 1/2.8-inch Sony Starvis CMOS sensor with 8.2-megapixel resolution, F2.7 aperture and HDR.

Other features include a proximity sensor to automatically lock your computer when you walk away, then use Windows Hello to log back in using facial recognition. There’s also an auto-framing feature, which uses artificial intelligence to digitally zoom and pan to keep your face in frame. Step back and the camera zooms in; get too close and it will zoom out again.

Build and manipulate

(Image credit: Alistair Charlton/Digital Camera World)

The Dell UltraSharp is a beautiful piece of industrial design. Reminiscent of the similar cylindrical Apple iSight webcam from nearly 20 years ago (still feeling old?), the Dell is an anodized aluminum device with a glass lens and a magnetic cover that cleverly attaches to the rear when not protecting the front.

The camera also uses magnets to attach to a pair of brackets included in the box. The former is designed to attach to the top of your monitor, while the latter gives the webcam a tripod mount – this is better for laptop users, as Dell’s weight can cause the lids to move around. some laptops when placed on top. A high quality two meter USB-A to USB-C cable is also included.

We like the look and feel of the Dell UltraSharp webcam, but it’s certainly a lot larger than most of its rivals. That means a large imaging sensor hides below – more on that later – but its size means it sits a bit above the top of your monitor. Your audience will likely notice that your eye line is lower with this camera because it’s further away from the screen.

The monitor mount allows plenty of vertical adjustment, so you can point the camera 10 degrees up and 20 degrees down – handy if placed above a wall-mounted screen in an office, where she can look at a meeting table and put everyone on stage.

Performance

(Image credit: Alistair Charlton/Digital Camera World)

Thanks to the large sensor and high resolution, the video quality is absolutely superb. It produces an image that’s among the best of any webcam we’ve ever used and, when viewed from the other side of a video call, isn’t too far behind that of a tethered DSLR. to a PC.

The auto-framing feature works well to keep your face in frame no matter how you move, but it’s quite slow to respond. We found the Jabra PanCast 20 (opens in a new tab) locked to our face and zoomed/panned faster to keep us in view. But that’s a minor complaint against the Dell webcam, as the rest of the experience is fantastic.

However, a major downside is the webcam’s lack of a microphone. Instead, you’ll need to plug in a USB microphone (opens in a new tab), or use your computer’s built-in mic, which probably won’t be very good. To make sure your audio quality matches the smooth video from the UltraSharp webcam, we also recommend plugging in a decent USB microphone.

It should be noted that while this camera works with both PC and Mac, the Dell Peripheral Manage application, which is used to control the camera and adjust its settings, is Windows only. That said, we found that the Dell Display Manager app for Mac works with the webcam and lets you adjust the field of view and enable or disable the AI-powered auto-framing feature. It’s really clunky software compared to Peripheral Manager, but it at least gets the job done, and any changes you make persist when the webcam is used in video conferencing apps, like Zoom.

Dell UltraSharp webcam: Verdict

Dell UltraSharp Webcam Review

(Image credit: Alistair Charlton/Digital Camera World)

There is no escaping the high price. But a smart and attractive design, great build quality, and great video all work together to justify the high cost. The software for Mac users is mediocre to say the least, but at least it’s there (once you manage to find it), while PC users get a better app and extra features like Windows Hello .

The lack of a microphone is frustrating, but if you’re willing to spend $200 on a webcam, you clearly value your online appearance, and you’ll probably already have a USB microphone to ensure your sound is just as accurate. Ultimately, this is a very high quality webcam for those who demand the best and are happy to pay a premium for it.

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