Can Dell's New 4K Capable UltraSharp Webcam Help You Up Your Work From Home Game?
The humble webcam has seen a surge to prominence fueled by the rise of web conferencing and remote work, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Only a few short years ago, a webcam could be buried away below the display of a laptop and few users would complain or even notice. With those days behind us, consumers and professionals alike have been scrambling to improve their on-screen presence to the point of creating a shortage of the now critical device. That same demand has drawn more players into the discrete webcam space, including Dell. Dell's recently released 4K-capable UltraSharp Webcam aims to bring exceptional image quality and ease of use, but does it stand up to the hype? Let's take a look...
Dell UltraSharp Webcam Design, Features And Build Quality
The Dell UltraSharp Webcam has a very premium feel to its build. It is essentially a metal cylinder measuring 3.54” (90mm) long with a 1.65” (42mm) diameter. This is a little larger than most webcams on the market, but still significantly smaller than any DSLR or mirrorless camera setup could be.
However, this webcam's defining feature is its image sensor. The Dell UltraSharp Webcam houses a "large" 8.3MP Sony STARVIS sensor. The STARVIS family of CMOS sensors is primarily intended for industrial and surveillance applications where low-light performance is critical. These sensors feature an excellent signal-to-noise ratio which can result in less grainy images under suboptimal conditions.
There is some irony here, in that Dell is calling this a "large" Sony STARVIS sensor, however. At 1/2.8-inches (a hair over 1/3rd-inch), this is the smallest size STARVIS sensors are produced in. At least for webcams, though, this descriptor is mostly true. Logitech's competing BRIO 4K camera uses a 1/4-inch sensor, which means the Dell UltraSharp Webcam has about 33% more area. Is this size difference in and of itself enough to improve image quality? Not likely, as with all other factors held equal this would only make about a 1/3 stop improvement in sensitivity. At the end of the day, this is still smaller than many cellphone camera sensors. It is the STARVIS sensor's other qualities including Backside Illumination (BSI) which will help it stand out.
The camera includes a magnetic lens cap for protection and privacy when the device is not in use. The magnet’s attraction is strong enough to survive a trip in a bag without being difficult to purposefully remove. While in place, the camera does not power off though, which may be a nice addition in the future if Dell could work it out in software. The camera array does include a proximity sensor, so perhaps a future firmware update could make this happen.
The camera’s main 4K sensor and proximity sensor are joined by an IR camera. This makes the Dell UltraSharp Webcam compatible with and well-suited for Windows Hello sign-in option. In our testing, the Windows Hello setup process was very quick and easy. Windows had no issue distinguishing between our faces using this camera. We will point out that Windows Hello apparently does not care if eyes are closed and the machine it's plugged into will still unlock.
Regardless, one feature missing from the Dell UltraSharp Webcam is a microphone. Dell likely assumes anyone in the market for a $200 webcam is also interested in a better audio solution than an integrated array may offer. Still, laptop users in particular may have appreciated having a microphone embedded as an option. Laptops can often have laughably poor integrated microphones, and a headset is not always the most convenient solution.
The two included mounts also feature solid metal construction. The first option is hinged so it can perch atop a monitor or laptop display with ease. The front lip is just large enough to hook in place without intruding on thin-bezel monitors, like our LG 27GN850-B, and the interior of the hinge is rubberized to avoid scuffing the display. The other mount is designed to fit any ¼”-20 threaded tripod and is similarly rubberized on the bottom. The top of each mount is magnetized and recesses securely within the cylindrical camera body.
When the Dell UltraSharp Webcam is first connected to a computer it will prompt to auto-install the Dell Peripheral Manager (DPM) application. DPM enables the user to tweak camera settings, enable advanced features like AI Framing, and perform basic local recordings. We will explore most of these features as we step through our image quality assessment.
Dell UltraSharp Webcam Image Quality
Most screenshots in this review are captured using Open Broadcaster Studio (OBS) with a 3840x2160 60fps canvas and the software’s Screenshot Output option. Camera feeds at lower resolutions are scaled up to match the canvas resolution without any scale filtering (e.g. Bicubic). This allows us to show two cameras side-by-side and capture comparisons simultaneously. The screenshots showing the DPM interface are captured using the built-in window snipping tool.
The Dell UltraSharp Webcam’s native field-of-view (FOV) is 90-degrees on the diagonal which equates to about a 22mm focal length equivalent on a full-frame camera. This is a very wide angle which can allow the camera to be used at close distances. Using DPM, users can opt to select 78-degree and 65-degree FOVs instead, or otherwise adjust a stepless digital zoom slider. Screenshots in this review are captured using OBS with a 3840x2160 60fps canvas and the software’s Screenshot Output option. Camera feeds at lower resolutions are scaled up to match the canvas resolution without any scale filtering (e.g. Bicubic).
The camera's 8.3MP sensor amounts to a 3840x2160 UHD resolution. As a result, changing the FOV options from the default will necessarily reduce the resolution. This typically is not a great concern with most web conferencing software but is a consideration to be aware of. The image looks relatively sharp even at the tightest 65-degree FOV setting, though near-pixel level losses can be observed.
Before we move forward, we found the saturation and contrast of the Dell UltraSharp Webcam are boosted unnaturally high by default. Here is a comparison of default color rendition compared with our “to taste” adjustments…
While the default image is generally oversaturated, the red channel is particularly boosted which gives me a sunburnt appearance. Thankfully, the correction is easy to make in DPM. These color and image settings, along with Camera Control, apply to all applications the camera is used with. The resolution and framerate options are specific to DPM’s recording function and will be overridden by your application of choice.
The HDR toggle is a function we would personally avoid. Even with our saturation and contrast reduction applied, the colors with HDR enabled tend to be unpleasant. This setting appears to only be boosting the darker parts of the frame without also toning down their saturation. This also results in a noticeably noisier image. The camera handles high contrast environments better by simply turning down the contrast slider.
So far, all sample images have been captured with the Dell UltraSharp Webcam set to 4K and 30fps. While 30fps is the maximum at 4K, this webcam can reach 60fps by dropping the resolution to 1080p.
HotHardware 2.5 Geeks Episode - Chris' Shot, Produced By Dell UltraSharp Webcam
At 1080p and 30fps, the image quality is still very respectable. Most viewers would be hard pressed to spot the differences between this and 4K. Unfortunately, there is significant degradation moving to 1080p at 60fps. The image becomes very soft with sub-optimal detail rendition.
Finally, we wanted to compare the Dell UltraSharp Webcam to one of our favorite options, the Logitech C920. The C920 typically retails for about $79 and delivers respectable 1080p video. Logitech also makes a comparable 4K webcam, the Logitech BRIO, but we did not have a unit on hand to perform a direct comparison. Nevertheless, we can get a sense of whether or not the Dell UltraSharp Webcam is worth its two and a half times higher price point, versus the popular lower-end C920.
These comparisons were performed with the Dell UltraSharp Webcam set to 78-degree FOV to most closely match the Logitech C920’s angle of view.
First up, we have the two cameras in balanced lighting. The Dell UltraSharp Webcam is moderately sharper than the Logitech C920. This is particularly evident in the skin texture, even when the Dell’s 4K image is scaled down to 1080p.
Up next, we turned off the room light and only kept our diffused face light on. Again the Dell UltraSharp Webcam delivers stronger details with very little loss of quality. The Logitech C920’s image has gotten noisier and pushes for a brighter exposure which blows out some skin tones.
We then reversed our lighting setup with the room light turned on and the face light shut off. This is a common lighting scenario we see in the real-world. Interestingly, the background brightness is similar between cameras, but the Dell does a much better job of bringing up brightness on the face. The Logitech C920 loses the face to shadows and would require manual adjustment to bring exposure up to an acceptable level.
Finally, we shut off all the lighting in the room. The only light is coming from the monitor and some sunlight peeking through the window blind. Despite the darkness, the Dell UltraSharp Webcam still produces a usable image that is only just starting to show grain. The UltraSharp Webcam's Sony STARVIS sensor really shines here.
Dell UltraSharp Webcam Final Thoughts & Review Conclusion
The Dell UltraSharp Webcam succeeds at delivering impressive image quality in a small form-factor. We are particularly impressed by its ability to manage exposure and curb grain across a wide range of lighting environments. Folks looking for a set it and forget it experience will be well satisfied here.
Nevertheless, we have a few observations about the Dell UltraSharp Webcam that more discerning shoppers may want to consider. The first is largely superficial, but relates to the webcams touted "large" sensor size. Beyond low-light capability, a large sensor size typically indicates that the camera can create a shallower depth of field which blurs the background. This is attractive for videoconferencing because it can minimize the appearance of distracting background elements in the frame. In our testing, we found the background remains very sharp. In fact, the Logitech C920 with a smaller 1/4" sensor provided more background separation, albeit slightly. If a shallow depth of field for a bokeh blur effect is a priority and you do not want to rely on software filters, a conventional camera plugged into a capture card or via USB, with a wide aperture lens is the way to go.
Beyond that, we just encountered some quibbles with the webcam's functionality. In particular, we noticed the Dell UltraSharp Webcam would hunt for focus pretty regularly. The Logitech C920 was much better about locking in focus across all lighting environments, and when it did lose focus it was less dramatic. The Dell UltraSharp Webcam tends to rack through its focus range before recovering which can be jarring at times. Again, this is something that could be remedied in a future software update, however.
We were also unable to get the Dell UltraSharp Webcam working with OBS at 1080p/60fps. While the settings appeared to apply, motion in the frame did not appear smooth as it should for a 60fps feed. We investigated by recording snippets and then played them back frame by frame. When we did this, the webcam's image would only update every 2-3 actual frames.Video captured within DPM played 60fps smoothly and OBS captures other sources (e.g. overlaid scrolling text) at 60fps smoothly, so we are not certain which aspect is to blame.
Our biggest gripe is with the AI Framing feature which we have saved discussion on until now. We were hoping for a solution that could track movement in real-time, such as a presenter moving around a stage, but in practice it only updates periodically. Furthermore, it only seems to "punch in" to track about as far as the 78-degree FOV, regardless of the subject's distance from the camera. The tracking can also lose the subject momentarily, in which case the camera quickly reverts to 90-degree FOV and then pseudo-zoom's back in. We recommend leaving this feature off in most cases and frame up the old-fashioned way.
We expect that these latter issues also can be resolved through firmware updates, but that does not mean they will be. We can only assess the camera as it performs currently, so we recommend keeping an eye out for updates to address these aspects if they are concerns you share. For future revisions, we would love to see some amount of optical zoom incorporated into the camera. Even a 2x optical zoom would result in much better framing flexibility, without throwing away resolution and sharpness.
Regardless, we really like what we have seen in using the Dell UltraSharp Webcam. It does feel like a genuine step forward over the Full HD webcams of yore. Sure, it falls far short of matching a conventional camera's quality and features, but it costs significantly less as well. While many will be served just fine with options like the venerable Logitech C920, the extra image refinement the Dell UltraSharp Webcam can deliver helps justify its premium pricing.
Dell UltraSharp HDR 4K Webcam with Privacy Cover, HD USB Computer Camera with 4K Sony STARVIS CMOS Sensor, IR Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Black - Anodized Aluminum - WB7022 – for Windows.What is Dell UltraSharp Webcam? ›
"The Dell UltraSharp webcam is an intelligent 4K webcam that features advanced AI auto-framing, a large 4K Sony STARVIS™ CMOS sensor, Digital Overlap HDR, Dell ExpressSign-In, and Video Noise Reduction." — iF Design. Dell UltraSharp Webcam: PowerUp - Gaming Review.How do I use the built-in webcam on my Dell monitor? ›
- Click the Start button. ...
- Click "Webcam Console" or "Launch Webcam Console." Click the "Camera" tab to adjust the brightness, contrast and color, change pan / zoom and enable or disable face tracking.
Dell UltraSharp Webcam: What you won't like
This camera does not have a built-in microphone. That's odd, but Dell makes a good point that most people who need a more "pro-level" webcam will also bring a higher quality microphone.
* Masterfully crafted with a premium platinum silver finish, select UltraSharp monitors feature a virtually borderless InfinityEdge design for a seamless, uninterrupted view across a multiple monitor setup. With dual monitors, you can increase your productivity by up to 21% * .Do Dell monitors have hidden cameras? ›
Many Dell laptops and flat panel monitors include an integrated webcam above the LCD screen. Unlike external webcams, which connect to your office computer through a USB slot, you cannot unplug a built-in camera.Is 4K webcam better than 1080p? ›
The primary difference between 4K and 1080p built-in webcams is based on resolution, with 4K models offering better image quality in more lighting conditions for video calls.Can your PC camera be hacked? ›
It's a common phishing technique cybercriminals use to slip remote-access software into your device. Such software then allows them to access your camera and manage its permissions. Another way to lure victims into downloading RAT software is through phishing emails that hide spoofed URLs and malicious files.Can you plug webcam directly into monitor? ›
No. A webcam is a computer peripheral, and provides image data only to a program running on the computer. It does not have a video output. If your screen is a computer monitor, it also must be connected to a graphics card which feeds image data to the monitor using one of a few standard connection methods.How do I use my monitor camera instead of my laptop? ›
- Press Windows + S and type “Control Panel.”
- Choose the first item and click “View Devices and Printers” under “Hardware and Sound.”
- Confirm that the webcam is there.
- If this is the case, right-click on the webcam and choose “Set this device as the default.”
Connect the USB cable to the monitors USB Type B port on the back of the monitor and attach the other end of the cable to an available USB port on the computer. Allow 10-15 seconds for the computer to recognize the external webcam. Please do remember to connect the video signal cable between monitor and computer.How do I test my Dell microphone? ›
- Find the Sound icon. The Sound icon is found in the bottom right corner of your screen (usually where your clock is located). ...
- Utilize your audio settings. ...
- Test your Microphone. ...
- Ensure your microphone is performing correctly.
You can use the webcam on the Mac Operating System and have a seamless experience on your Zoom and Teams calls (certified webcam). However, you cannot make changes to the webcam settings that are enabled using the software.What is the Dell camera driver called? ›
This package contains the Realtek IR Camera driver.Why are Dell monitors so good? ›
Most Dell monitors have easily adjustable stands, allowing you to place the screen in the ideal viewing position. Many of them are designed with multi-monitor setups in mind. Good quality. With very few exceptions, most Dell monitors have good build quality and are well-designed.Which is best Dell or HP? ›
Dell laptops have the upper hand when it comes to components like the CPU and memory capacity. If we compare HP's computers with similar features, Dell's CPUs are quicker and of higher quality. However, HP continues to produce durable devices, which indicates that they will have even better batteries.How do you detect if a hidden camera is watching you? ›
- Look for Odd Objects. It's a good practice to thoroughly scan your surroundings whenever you enter a new room. ...
- Use a Flashlight. ...
- Use Your Smartphone Camera. ...
- Scan the Wi-Fi Network. ...
- Use a Phone Call to Detect Interference. ...
- Use a Hidden Camera Detector App. ...
- Use a Specialized RF Detector.
- Artificial Plants: Place the camera in a flowerpot or a vase and use leaves as a concealer.
- Curtain Rods: Small cameras placed high up are less likely to be detected.
- Use An Anti-Spyware Program.
- View Active Connections To The Internet.
- Check For Open Ports.
- Review Installed Programs.
- Check The Wi-Fi Security.
It actually depends on the size of the screen and where you are sitting. From a distance, it is virtually impossible for someone to tell the difference in quality between a 1080p and 4K screen. However, if you have a big enough screen, in a small enough room the difference is immediately apparent.
It's a waste of time, money, and resources. It will actually end up making the experience worse for both of you. Unless you need a super high-resolution video and you know that you and the person on the other end have the resources to handle the 4K connection, don't invest in a 4K webcam.Is it worth having a 4K Webcam? ›
4K does have it benefits in some situations. Better depth perception, a higher definition image, and more vibrant colour are all great. In an important meeting or a conference room with multiple people, 4K can offer better resolution.Can someone watch me through my TV? ›
When you use a smart TV, you face the same security and privacy risks as with any device connected to the internet. Your smart TV's built-in camera and microphone, originally included for voice and facial recognition features, can be accessed by hackers and used to spy on you.How can I tell if my computer is being monitored? ›
- Your webcam is recording without your authorization. ...
- Your task manager or activity monitor is disabled. ...
- Your computer becomes slow. ...
- Your browser often gets redirected. ...
- Your computer heats up frequently. ...
- You got logged out of websites you automatically log in to.
Capture Images: Your camera (either front or back, or both) can be activated remotely by the hacker. They can capture images that are uploaded directly to an online database that is also accessible to the hacker. Record Videos: Some spy apps can activate your camera remotely to record videos without your knowledge.Why is my webcam poor quality? ›
Check your Internet connection. A poor Internet connection can result in a blurry or lagging image in video chat. If you are using a wireless connection, switching over to an Ethernet connection -- plugging directly into the router -- can improve your video quality as well.Does webcam improve video quality? ›
To be clear, a good webcam adds higher resolution and better lighting smarts, so the end result is of higher quality. But if the connection is poor it doesn't matter what camera you have, it won't be able to improve that. So be sure to check your connection isn't the issue before turning to webcam fixes.Why is my webcam low quality? ›
All of this left me wondering: Why are the cameras in laptops still so bad? It turns out there are two key reasons: Our laptops have become very thin, and manufacturers buy the cheapest components possible. One of the most difficult problems facing laptop webcams is the limited space available for better hardware.Where should a webcam be placed on two monitors? ›
You don't have to put your webcam above the screen. If you have two screens, a laptop and an external screen for example, you can put the webcam between the two screens. Put it on a tripod (an inexpensive selfie stick tripod works just fine) either using a built-in mounting screw or just tape or clip it on.Can webcam work through HDMI? ›
If your camera doesn't have webcam software or a USB data port but has an HDMI port that outputs clean video, you will need a capture device. Capture devices take a video input via HDMI and output data to a computer via USB.
Steps to setup live streaming
Connect one end of the HDMI cable to the camcorder HDMI output and the other end of the cable to the HDMI input of the video capture device. Connect the video capture device to the computer using the USB cable. Turn on the camcorder by moving the POWER switch to the CAMERA position.
If you have both a desktop computer and a laptop, you can use the laptop as a second display for the desktop. All the usual benefits of having two screens apply: More space for your apps, more windows and tabs open at once, and easier multitasking.Can I use my phone as a webcam? ›
You can connect your smartphone via Wi-Fi or USB, the latter of which will help preserve the battery life of your phone. If you're using an Android phone, you can run DroidCam in the background and use it as an IP webcam.Can I use a monitor instead of my laptop screen? ›
Plug the monitor's power cord into an outlet, and then plug the video cable into the video output port on your laptop and the video input port on the monitor. Turn the monitor on.Is a webcam better than laptop camera? ›
A dedicated webcam is absolutely worth upgrading to, as they are made of better materials, have higher resolution sensors, work better in low-light scenarios, and even have better microphones than built-in laptop cameras. You'll look and sound better in calls, recordings, and streams.What is the difference between a webcam and a camera on a computer? ›
The main difference between a laptop camera and a webcam is that the webcam is an external piece of equipment that is hooked up to the laptop, whereas the laptop camera is integrated into the system. As a result of this integration, the built-in camera tends to be of lower quality. What is this?Do you need a computer for a webcam? ›
All you need is a Wi-Fi enabled webcam that can automatically upload images using your wireless router. It doesn't need to be plugged into a computer and you don't need any complicated software either.How do I test my mic quality? ›
- Make sure your microphone is connected to your PC.
- Select Start > Settings > System > Sound.
- In Sound settings, go to Input and under Test your microphone, look for the blue bar that rises and falls as you speak into your microphone.
Examine the edges of the LCD screen for a small hole labeled mic or for a microphone icon. Integrated microphones are often found at the top of the display, especially when there is an embedded webcam directly next to the microphone. Look at the edges of the laptop's body.Are Dell Monitors good for Mac? ›
Dell UltraSharp monitors with USB Type-C are compliant to USB Type-C standards & VESA display modes. Mac systems compliant to USB Type-C and VESA standards should work with Dell UltraSharp USB Type-C monitor.
|Dell Ultrasharp Monitor with USB-C||PIP / PBP||KVM|
Because of the very thin screen border (also called a bezel), the webcam had been relegated to a spot below the screen, rather than above it.How do I test my Dell Webcam? ›
Click “Start | All Programs | Dell Webcam | Webcam Central” to launch the webcam application. Sit up straight in the chair and look toward the webcam located in the top center of your computer's monitor.How do I use my Dell camera as a monitor? ›
Enable the webcam in the monitors On-Screen Display (OSD): Open the Menu. Browse to Audio and webcam. Go to webcam.Which Dell monitor has a camera? ›
Dell S2722DZ 27 inch Work From Home Monitor, Video Conferencing Features - Built-In Camera, Noise-Cancelling Dual Microphones, USB-C connectivity, 16:09 Aspect Ratio, 4ms Response Time, QHD - Silver.Where is the camera on a Dell screen? ›
The integrated USB camera and analog microphones allow you to take pictures, videos, and communicate with other computer users. The camera is located at the top of the monitor and is fixed. However, the camera's software--Dell Webcam Software suite, provides limited panning abilities.Do Dell laptops have built-in cameras? ›
Related. Dell Inspiron laptops include an internal webcam located above the screen, allowing you to make video calls or record videos of yourself without having to attach an external webcam.Where is the camera on a Dell? ›
2. Click “Start | All Programs | Dell Webcam | Webcam Central” to launch the webcam application. Sit up straight in the chair and look toward the webcam located in the top center of your computer's monitor.Do Dell monitors have eye care? ›
Knowing these statistics, brands such as ASUS, BenQ, ViewSonic, and even Dell have begun marketing “Eye Care” monitors. As the name implies, these monitors are designed to minimize the strain of extended hours of monitor viewing.Why did Dell put the camera at the bottom of the screen? ›
The goal was to take the screen as close to the edge of the laptop as possible, and to make that happen, Dell moved the webcam under the display. It was just above the laptop's hinge, and that meant most of the time, other people would be looking at you from below.
Connect the USB cable to the monitors USB Type B port on the back of the monitor and attach the other end of the cable to an available USB port on the computer. Allow 10-15 seconds for the computer to recognize the external webcam. Please do remember to connect the video signal cable between monitor and computer.Why is my webcam on the bottom of my laptop? ›
Make a right click on your task bar and go to Task Manager, see if there is an app there using your camera and end the process. If you can't find it there go to Start > Settings > Privacy > Camera and turn it off. Regards. Was this reply helpful?Does Mark Zuckerberg cover laptop camera? ›
The image revealed a surprisingly makeshift security precaution against hackers. The world-class coder and co-founder of the world's largest social network apparently covers both his laptop camera and microphone jack with tape.Is a built-in camera in a laptop the same as a webcam? ›
The main difference between a laptop camera and a webcam is that the webcam is an external piece of equipment that is hooked up to the laptop, whereas the laptop camera is integrated into the system. As a result of this integration, the built-in camera tends to be of lower quality.Can someone hack my camera on my laptop? ›
All webcam hackers need to do to hijack your webcam is to slip remote-control malware into your laptop (this also gives them access to your personal files, messages, and browsing history). However, it's easy to spot the warning signs and enhance your computer camera security.How do I see what my camera sees on my laptop? ›
To open up your webcam or camera, select the Start button, then select All apps, and then select Camera in the list of apps. If you have multiple cameras, you can switch between them by selecting Change Camera at the top right once the Camera app is opened.Why is my Dell camera showing a black screen? ›
A blank, black, or dark screen can be caused by low light conditions or when the webcam is in the wrong mode. Ensure to use the webcam in a well-lighted area.