I tried a cheap Xiaovv 1080p webcam to test its quality. Here’s what I discovered.
Good 720p webcams like the Logitech C310 HD has been hard to come by since everyone started working from home. These days, webcams have been on the market even as high as double its original price if you can find them. Premium models like the Logitech C922 Pro are more readily available but are priced around US$100. Cheap alternatives are available but the quality is definitely a question. As such, I bought a Xiaomi Xiaovv 1080p webcam to test its quality. Here’s how it performed.
The Xiaovv 1080p Webcam
Here in Singapore, you can get the Xiaovv webcam for about SG$25. It’s also sold under the Xiaomi brand. On Amazon US, you won’t easily find it branded as a Xiaomi product. However, as most of these OEM electronic products, you can find them rebranded under all sorts of name, like this 1080 webcam.
Do take note that the Xiaovv webcam has a 150 degrees of horizontal view angle. While its great to get more into the view of the webcam, it does create a fair bit of ‘fish-eye’ distortion effect. The camera doesn’t do any lens distortion fix.
The look and feel
The webcam has a generic and regular design. Its not sophisticated, but thankfully, it is also not weird looking. The USB 2.0 cable is about 1.5M long, plenty of length to connect your desktop or laptop wherever its placed at your desk.
The camera has two lights that shows it powered and connected to your PC. There is also another green LED that lights up when the camera is functioning and capturing video.
The image quality of the Xiaovv webcam with good lighting
During the day with good lighting, the Xiaovv webcam performs generally well. However, as you can see from the screenshot below, the super wide angle lens with a 150 degrees field-of-view (FOV) causes a lot of distortion. Another point to note is that the colour reproduction of the camera comes off a little overblown and over saturates.
As a comparison, here is a photo from my iPhone 11 Pro from the same spot where the webcam was mounted. See how that the iPhone has roughly the same FOV without very little lens distortion. The colour reproduction is also a lot more natural looking.
The image quality of the Xiaovv webcam with poor lighting
At night, the image quality of the web camera is pretty bad. The Xiaovv over compensates and boosts up the colour and brightness of the video. This causes the image to be washed out. You can also see a lot of blue tint over the image which is coming from my monitor because of the over saturation of the image.
In short, I find it hard to recommend getting a cheap webcam if image quality is important to you. You really do get what you pay for.
If you can afford up to about $100, go for the Logitech C922 Pro. You can’t really go wrong with that one. The alternative is to use an idle iPhone you might have and use it as a web camera instead! I’ve written up how you can use Camtwist app as a virtual camera with the iPhone as the video input device.
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