With Dell’s new 4K UltraSharp webcam, you’ll look better than ever. But nobody will be able to hear you. Somehow, the $200 webcam comes with every feature you could want, except a microphone. What is Dell thinking?
The UltraSharp webcam packs a Sony Starvis CMOS 8.3-megapixel image sensor, which is large for a webcam. The beefy sensor enables up to 4K (UHD) resolution at up to 30 fps. It can also record in 1080p (FHD) and 720p (HD) at a higher and smoother frame of up to 60 fps. The UltraSharp has an adjustable field of view, which can be a handy feature for framing oneself better and keeping a messy bed out of the frame. It even has, what Dell is calling, “intelligent” features, such as autofocusing and auto-framing tech that uses AI to keep the subject centered. Other features you’d expect in a high-end webcam include video noise reduction and something called “Digital Overlap HDR,” which is supposed to provide better color in “extreme lighting environments.”
Can you hear me? — On paper, it looks like a great camera with a ton of useful features, especially the adjustable viewing angles and auto-framing features, but it’s hard to recommend when it lacks a microphone. After ostensibly throwing the kitchen sink at this webcam, it’s wild that Dell didn’t include a microphone. While some people may have headsets with built-in mics, if you don’t, you need to get a separate one. What is this? 1997? A USB microphone or a headset is just another added cost. A $200 webcam should come with a microphone. You expect it to. It’s not like it’s an uncommon feature. Other similarly-priced webcams feature one or multiple microphones.
Better webcam buys — For example, the Logitech Brio is a 4K-capable webcam with the same $200 MSRP ($165 on Amazon as of this writing) as Dell’s UltraSharp, but comes with two microphones. Make that two microphones with noise-canceling technology to keep things quiet on your end.
Razer’s Kiyo Pro is also a $200 webcam. This one, however, is 1080p only with a max framerate of 60 fps. While it’s only FHD, the Kiyo Pro streams uncompressed video in HDR and it has an adjustable field of view as well. More importantly, it has a microphone. It’s truly absurd that Dell is selling a premium webcam that can display more detail on your face than probably any other webcam, but it doesn’t come with a built-in microphone of any kind.
At the end of the day, what are you paying for then? 4K picture quality — fine. Okay, the cylindrical design looks great, too. But that’s like buying an expensive smartphone without a speaker or a DSLR that shoots high-res video without any way to capture sound. It’d be great if Dell threw in even an average microphone than none at all. Dell makes some great products, but the UltraSharp webcam is highway robbery. Do yourself a favor and buy any other webcam with a microphone than this Dell one.