Here’s a tech trend no one saw coming. Suddenly, external webcams are among the hottest gadgets money can buy.
Hop on Amazon, Best Buy, or Walmart, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a webcam at a reasonable price. Your choices are slim. Even eBay and Craigslist are unreliable sources.
Amazon is flooded with knockoffs from unknown brands, most with zero reviews and labeled as “New release.” These are highly suspect, and reminiscent of what happened when toilet paper went out of stock. A few of listings could be legit, but most are either scams or wildly overpriced.
Your best bet is to stick with Logitech webcams, such as the C920, C930c, or 4K Brio. However, they’re sold by third-party resellers for up to 65% more than MSRP. If you want to shell out the cash, Amazon does say it’ll deliver within a week or two. It’s a similar situation at Walmart and Newegg.
Unsurprisingly, Logitech’s own online storefront is sold out. The site gives no indication when these items will be back in stock, but I reached out to the company, and received a quick response.
“With a shift in remote work, distance learning, and telemedicine over the past few weeks, many Logitech products are in high demand across the globe,” a Logitech representative said. “We are working to meet this need as quickly as possible with increased production and distribution of our products.”
Fair enough. There’s no way Logitech could have predicted the webcam’s sudden explosion in popularity. The company is working rapidly to meet the demand, but doesn’t expect to catch up with orders for 4 to 6 weeks.
That means webcams won’t be available in mass for purchase until mid-May or early June, at the earliest. For those stuck on desktops, or on laptops with crude 720p cameras, that’s longer than most want to wait.
When asked how the distancing measures would affect production, Logitech remained confident:
“We have aggressively increased production to focus on increased quantities of webcams, headsets, and [keyboards] to meet the new demand [and we] are pulling every distribution lever to improve the supply picture. Goods are moving with supply coming each week,” the representative said.
A few PC laptops and 2-in-1s have 1080p webcams and deliver decent image quality for your Zoom calls. Tablets like theor are your best bet.
Your simplest option, however, is to use your phone, as it already has a high-quality front-facing camera. Propping it up against the wall or buying a a cheap tripod can work in a pinch. You can also attempt to connect your smartphone to your PC. You’ll need a special application like DroidCam, and it’ll cost you extra to stream in 1080p.
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