Refurbish, look sharp: here’s a webcam that will help you look your best in any situation.
After more than a year of seemingly uninterrupted video calls via Zoom, Teams, Skype, FaceTime et al.,
They have become second nature to many of us, an essential part of our daily existence after Covid. Meanwhile, live streaming video is a parallel computer cam experience that many people enjoy, both for work and pleasure.
Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, appearing on camera regularly is now normal. Of course, many laptops and desktops already have a built-in webcam.
If that’s all you ever need and use, there’s nothing here for you, pilgrim. However, for anyone looking for a professional webcam to support their streaming ambitions, you’ll almost certainly be looking for both a visual and audio upgrade through any built-in camera.
Another key benefit of a separate webcam – along with the enhanced visuals and sounds – is the flexibility it can offer in positioning your webcam for the best and desired results, whether you want to shoot right on or off, or even want to to blend.
at your own discretion, depending on the situation. If you’re looking to upgrade your webcam game, Papalook (with its strangely endearing name) is at your service.
The latest offering of cameras for every niche is the PA930 HDR 2K Streaming Webcam, which is designed to serve the 9-5 WFH business community as well as gaming and streaming night owls.
Also referred to as a “studio quality” streaming webcam with dual microphones for noise canceling, the PA930 HDR 2K features a 90 degree wide angle lens with f.20 fixed focus (90cm range) capable of capturing and streaming HD. video quality at two different quality settings.
Your choice between 2K @ 30fps or 1080P @ 60fps is just a simple tap of the button on top of the camera. Keep it lower for business meetings to minimize bandwidth impact; increase it to a higher definition for your more personal streams.
The fixed-focus lens is designed so that the camera can capture more light with a wider aperture, resulting in less distorted image quality, even in low-light environments.
Anyway, images are captured in high dynamic range (HDR) and the results look good indeed – visibly a lot better than the standard cameras in most laptops.
The webcam instantly adjusts brightness and contrast to expand the color gamut and capture a more accurate version of the subject and surroundings for a realistic image.
The two microphones – one on each side – are omnidirectional, with built-in noise cancellation and echo cancellation for clear stereo sound.
The stated sound pressure level is 36dB, so it should be able to handle the loudest voices from a reasonable distance. Just don’t get there right away and shout in, punk rock style, unless deafening distortion is the effect you’re after.
The computer connection is via USB 2.0 and it was a simple plug and play affair on our test computers, with no additional drivers required.
Systems officially supported are Windows XP / 7/8/10 and above, Mac OS 10.6 and above, Chrome OS, Android v5.0 and above.
The PA930 also comes with a full-size privacy cover that easily snaps over the entire front of the camera for peace of mind and security. A word here about the overall size of the Papalook PA930:it’s small.
It may look large in some product photos, but in reality it is no bigger than a standard playing card. This is a good thing: it’s a discreet addition to a monitor or desk, not a monstrous protrusion.
The PA930 can be mounted directly to a monitor (as we did with our test Mac Mini, Apple’s “headless” computer, connected to a separate webcamless display) or mounted on the included desktop tripod and stand wherever you want.
The clip on the PA930 is adjustable and the webcam can also be tilted for perfect framing.
Due to the large flat base of the webcam, it can also stand directly on any stable surface, e.g. on top of a desktop speaker.
Finally, a word about industrial design. A lot of webcams look quite … fugly. Either too “office-y” or too “totally extreme gamer”.
It’s all a subjective matter of taste, of course, but in our view, the PA930 has an understated, stylish design that manages to bridge both camps, with the non-blinking glass eye reminiscent of looking through the lens of a classic SLR camera.
With support for the most popular streaming services right out of the box, the Papalook PA930 is a great choice for any novice or budding YouTube, Twitch, Snap or Facebook Gaming addict.
That it also does an excellent double job as your video connection to the office job, icing on the cake. Or the other way around, depending on your priorities in this post-pandemic world.
There are hundreds – possibly thousands – of different webcams on the market and we’re not going to pretend we’ve tried them all, but our experience with the Papalook PA930 would make it difficult to be persuaded to look elsewhere