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Webcam buying guide: The Ars picks, from affordable to extravagant

Whether you’re streaming games or joining Zoom meetings, you’ve got options.

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Webcams are having a moment. With video chats and teleconferences becoming a normal facet of life in a pandemic-addled world, having a device that presents you at your best can be invaluable.

The best webcams will greatly spruce up your online presence compared to the middling cameras built into most laptops, whether you’re working at home, video-chatting with family, teaching online classes, or streaming on Twitch. The best part is that most webcams are plug-and-play, allowing you to improve your video quality instantly.

There are countless webcams on the market today, ranging from affordable options designed for the basics to feature-packed models that can cost hundreds. Some perform better in daylight. Others more accurately render colorful LED backgrounds or produce flattering skin tones. A few record at ultrasharp resolutions like 4K, which can be nice, but it’s not essential. The video quality you get will always be highly dependent on the lighting and general makeup of your surroundings, but some webcams will make looking sharp less of a hassle all the same.

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