With the recent rise of the Zoom era for people working from home, you’d expect the webcam market to see a surge in product innovation. We’ve seen a massive increase in webcam sales, but not much has changed when it comes to new features. Many webcams are lagging behind as smartphones have become the primary media device we use for just about everything, including video calls. Smartphones these days have powerful dedicated image processors and sophisticated AI tricks up their sleeves that most traditional webcams simply can’t match.
Of course, it took many years of research and development to get smartphone cameras to where they are today. Smartphones are so popular today because of their many uses, while webcams can only do one thing: video. A basic webcam can work in a flash; however, you can actually turn that smartphone in your pocket into a pro-grade Zoom camera. This guide will show you some apps and accessories to help you make high quality Zoom calls on your smartphone for an enhanced user experience.
Choose your Zoom camera configuration
First, you’ll need to decide whether you want your mobile device to connect to your computer and act as its webcam or a standalone camera.
If you prefer the companion setup, you’ll want to install an app like DroidCam or Iriun for your Android device. You will also need to install the app on your Linux, Mac, Windows, or Ubuntu machine for it to work. These apps allow your computer to recognize your phone as a webcam if it’s connected via a USB cable or the same wireless network. Following this route requires a few extra steps; however, it may increase visual quality. You will also be able to use your computer for other tasks, such as interacting with the chat room.
You can gand DroidCam apps for Windows and Linux here.
You can get Iriun apps for macOS, Windows and Ubuntu here.
Since you probably use your smartphone for most things anyway, you might be looking to move your Zoom environment to mobile. As you probably guessed, all you need to do is download the Zoom app on your phone and log into your account. By offloading your Zoom calls to your mobile device, you also free up your computer’s workspace, allowing you to focus on other tasks.
Whether you decide to go with the companion computing method or the dedicated Zoom app on your smartphone, video calls will eat up a lot of battery life. As such, it’s definitely a good idea to keep your devices plugged in and charged, especially during long meetings.
Once you’ve taken care of your camera situation, there are a few more things you need to consider. For example, your phone will need a stand or stand, so you won’t have to hold it or wedge it in a tight spot. Your room may also be dimly lit, which isn’t ideal for your live video stream if you’re sitting in the dark. And since video conferencing usually involves talking, you can also use a quality headset or earphones to hear better.
What accessories might you need?
If you’re using a desk or table to place your phone and light, you’ll want to have a lamp that uses LEDs arranged in an array or ring for even illumination of the face. There are also ring lights with built-in phone holders, giving you the best of both worlds. When it comes to how you want to hold your phone, you have various choices, such as desktop tripods, clamp mounts, or just a regular phone holder.
You might already have everything you need right now, but you’re looking for upgrades for the best possible experience. Along with the few extra accessories you might need to take your Zoom calls to the next level, we have some recommendations to point you in the right direction. The sections below list various products that we find useful for room lighting, phone stands, power banks, headphones and earphones.
- LED table lamp on my desk
- Adesso LED desk lamp
- Miady LED Desk Lamp (Ring)
- Beetwo LED desk lamp with clamp
- VALUSIN ring light with phone holder
- Neewer Ring Light Kit
- FIMEI LED floor lamp
- Outon LED floor lamp
- Nopoor LED floor lamp
- Brightech Orion Arc LED Floor Lamp
Stands, tripods and brackets
- PopSockets PopMount 2 Car and Desk Mount
- Tryone Gooseneck Phone Holder Clamp
- JOBY GorillaPod 500 (without stand)
- JOBY GripTight One Phone Holder
- JOBY GripTight PRO tablet holder
- AmazonBasics Lightweight Camera Tripod (50″)
- Sunpak 58″ Tripod
- UBeesize 8″ Selfie Ring Light with 51″ Tripod and Cell Phone Holder
- UBeesize 60″ extendable tripod
- Sunpak Portable Vlogging Kit for Smartphones
- Ailun Tripod Phone Holder
- Klsniur mobile phone holder
- OMOTON mobile phone holder
- Amazon – $11
- Slim Charmast
- Anker 525 Power Bank
- Anker PowerCore 10000 Redux
- Mophie Powerstation XXL
- Belkin 10K Charger
- Anker PowerCore III Elite 19K
- mophie power station mini
- Anker Powerhouse 100
Most modern smartphones these days have moved away from the 3.5mm headphone jack we once knew, which might change your approach to audio a bit. You can choose to use a wired headset, but you’ll need to pair them with an adapter to plug them into your phone. Of course, we’ve been without a headphone jack for a while now, so wireless options have become more widely adopted. And starting with Bluetooth 5.0, this can now be considered a reliable audio solution for smartphones, making it ideal to use for your Zoom calls.
Android Police made several recommendations for the wireless headphones and over-ear headphones we reviewed. We’ll highlight many of our top picks while offering a few alternatives. Since Bluetooth 5.2 is the latest consumer version available today, many items on this list will support the newer standard.
True wireless headphones
- Sony WF-1000XM4
- Jabra Elite 7 Pro
- Jabra Elite 3
- Google Pixel Buds A-series
- Anker Soundcore Freedom 3 Pro
- Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
- 1MORE PistonBuds Pro Hybrid
- Soundtrack by Anker Life P2i
- Raycon Fitness Headphones
- Soundtrack by Anker Life A1
- Mifo O5 Gen 2 touch version
On-ear wireless headphones
- Anker Soundcore Life Q20 hybrid
- Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 Hybrid
- Sony WH-XB910N
- Sony WH-1000XM4
- Beats Studio3 Wireless
- Bose SoundLink II
- Sennheiser HD450SE
- Skullcandy Hesh ANC
Lights, smartphone, action!
Once you have the gear you need, you need to test it out to make sure everything looks and works well. Connect the audio device, adjust your lighting, and mount your phone as you would if you were about to join a Zoom call. Once everything is in good order, you’ll be ready for your next big meeting. You also have the freedom to move your Zoom meetings wherever you want for a change of scenery, which adds to the overall versatility of using your smartphone.