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Is your built-in webcam enough—or do you need a standalone for video meetings?

Ring Central Blog

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3 min read

Most people rely on the camera built into their laptop or desktop monitor. 

It’s always there, there’s nothing to plug in, and for most people, the quality is good enough. 

So why would someone spend money on a webcam? (Hint: If you’re working remotely and use video conferencing software often.)

Let’s look at when you’re good to go with just a built-in camera—and when you need to splurge a little on a standalone camera.


Shopping for a video conferencing tool? (Or just curious about what to look for?) Grab the free checklist to help you choose the right one for your team or business.

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When a built-in camera is enough:

When you might need a standalone webcam: 

4 considerations when you’re choosing the right standalone webcam:

Resolution

How high of a resolution do you need? If you don’t work in a creative field (e.g., you’re not a videographer) or you’re just doing face-to-face meetings with colleagues all day, you probably don’t need a super HD camera. A video conferencing tool like RingCentral Video and your phone or computer will probably do just fine:

With RingCentral Video, you can have video calls on your phone, tablet, or computer.

 

Design

Do you want a super futuristic-looking webcam, or do you not really care what it looks like? For design, it’s really up to your personal preference. Generally speaking, of course, cool-looking cameras will set you back a little more.

Logitech C920S camera

This Logitech C920S camera is priced pretty reasonably, and one neat feature of the design is its little flap that covers the camera when it’s not being used if you’re worried about being spied on.

Lighting

Depending on your preferences, lighting might be an important factor for you. Maybe your home office doesn’t get enough light (or you just really don’t like being in a shadow during your video calls). 

Some cameras, like the Razer Kiyo, come with built-in ring lights so that you don’t need to buy separate lights for your WFH office setup (granted this one is designed for gaming, but it’ll work just as well):

Razer Kiyo

Price

Standalone cameras range widely in price—you could get one for $20 or $30, or invest in a really good one for hundreds of dollars. (Though you’ll most likely not need something that fancy.)

meeting value calculator

So should you use a standalone or built-in? 

Depending on your needs and the specifics of your role, the built-in camera on your phone or computer will probably suffice most of the time if you’re just doing video conference calls with your team.

If you do need a standalone camera, make sure to look at what you need specifically—don’t get sucked into purchasing an overly expensive one whose bells and whistles you’ll never use!

Originally published Apr 06, 2020, updated Jun 23, 2021

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