With remote work becoming an essential part of life for many in 2020, webcams are once again a must-have computer accessory thanks to their ability to connect us with our co-workers virtually. While we have all assumed that the webcams in our beloved all-in-one computers or laptops were good enough, many have found them to be quite the opposite, leading to the category being in high-demand, with many of the go-to picks sold out for months.
Naturally, with the webcam boom, I have been sent a few over the course of the year for testing purposes, with the latest being the AUSDOM AW635 Webcam. AUSDOM's webcam is an affordable option that sounds great on paper: 1080p high definition resolution, compatibility with Windows, Mac, Android, and ChromeOS, built-in microphone, and plug and play setup with USB. However, depending on your situation, all of this may or may not be enough to justify an upgrade.
Bottom line: AUSDOM's affordable AW635 webcam is a worthy upgrade over built-in solutions on budget laptops or older Macs with 1080p resolution. For those with modern Macs or mid-range PCs, though, it doesn't quite offer enough to make it a must-have.
- Easy plug and play setup
- Rotation and tilt adjustments
- Works with Mac, Windows, Android, ChromeOS
- Manual focus hard to adjust
- Average video quality
- Lacks privacy cover and in-use indicator
Plug and play
AUSDOM AW635 Webcam review: What I like
AUSDOM's AW635 Webcam comes in a clip-on style and an all-black package that gives it the look of a tiny video projector. The webcam's lens portion sits off to one side on the face, with a chrome ring complete with a mirror finish around the edge to give it a little visual appeal. The design is subtle, but I enjoy how it fades away into the background versus some competitors' flashy looks.
The camera's stand is versatile as it works as a traditional clip-on mount solution or on a flat surface. In either orientation, the top half of the camera rotates freely in a full 360-degrees, and the camera does have a smaller tilt range available, which is nice to have. The AW635's stand can also unfold completely flat, perhaps to provide a thinner profile for traveling or to possibly act as a handle when holding it in the hand as the stand's hinge is sturdy.
The AW635 webcam records and streams video in 1080p high definition resolution at 30fps with a wide-angle lens and low-light correction but lacks autofocus capabilities. In testing, I found that the webcam produced good visuals in well-lit environments, and it was able to keep up with hand waving and other fast motions with ease. Colors in images produced from the webcam were muted, which I generally prefer over highly saturated looks, but some may find them to be a little too much on the dull side.
Surrounding the lens is a set of omnidirectional microphones that offers noise reduction. However, I did not do extensive testing to confirm how effective it is as I recommend users stick with external solutions for sound. Rounding out the hardware highlights is a non-removable USB 2.0 type A cable that spans around five feet in length, generous enough for most desktop installations. I would have certainly liked to have seen USB-C as well as a detachable cable, but like it or not, USB-A is still ubiquitous.
The camera works with Windows, Mac, Android, ChromeOS, and for my testing, it was ready to go in macOS just by plugging in it. I love how I didn't have to hunt down a specific piece of software for it and how I could get started with web apps like Google Meet right away. AUSDOM does offer software for the camera, AMCAP, which is available as a free download via ausdom.com. However, the software is only available for Windows.
AUSDOM AW635 Webcam review: What I don't like
Despite the growing focus on privacy with today's apps and technology, the AUSDOM AW635 strangely lacks some pretty basic features. The AW635 webcam does not include or have a built-in lens cover, and it does not have an in-use indicator light, two rather large omissions for something that usually stays plugged into our computers at all times. Because of this, I strongly suggest that you purchase and install a third-party lens cover if you plan on picking up the AW635.
Another headscratcher when it comes to the webcam is the lack of auto-focus and how you make adjustments. While it is true that your position in front of the camera doesn't change much in a typical desktop scenario, relying on a manual focus system that requires a few moments to dial it in isn't ideal. To make matters worse, actually adjusting the focus is frustrating as AUSDOM gives you two incredibly small bumps around the lens that you are supposed to use to grip and rotate. The adjustment spots are so small that they are hard to get a hold of, and the rotating motion is not very smooth at all.
Moving over to image quality, the AUSDOM AW635 didn't quite live up to my expectations with its 1080p high definition capabilities. As I previously mentioned, the webcam's image in a well-lit room was adequate for video conferencing and general chats. However, I noticed that the camera's lens picked up an overhead light, which put some reflection marks in the center of its view. The spots aren't apparent on lighter backgrounds, but on a black shirt, I was able to see them immediately. In darker environments, the AW635's image quality is noticeably softer and suffered from bouts of noise or artifacts on solid colors or backgrounds.
Comparing the AW635 against the competition comes down to your current computer situation. If your setup lacks a webcam, then the AW635's price-point puts it up against options like the PAPALOOK PA452, or the Logitech C920s. I recently spent some time with PAPALOOK's webcam, and I found that it produced a better image in both light and dark scenarios, although I prefer the hardware aesthetics of the AW635. The Logitech C920s is my day-to-day webcam, and it features a much better image as well, along with the perks of having a built-in privacy cover and an excellent suite of software.
Things get a little tricker, though, if you are looking to upgrade over your laptop's camera. In most cases, the AW635 at 1080p will likely offer better image quality over budget Windows laptops and all-in-ones. However, for those with the most recent Macbook Air, the AW635 won't be a significant upgrade, and for those with the latest iMac, it will actually be a downgrade. If you are in this boat, I suggest checking out our best webcam 2020 guide for higher quality options.
AUSDOM AW635 Webcam review: Should you buy
You should buy this if ...
You are looking for a webcam now for video conferencing
Let's face it; finding a decent webcam with everyone working from home today is rather challenging. The market for webcams from established brands like Logitech has dried up, so the AUSDOM AW635 is worth considering. Sometimes, just being there is good enough, and the AUSOM AW635 is readily available with fast shipping at Amazon.
You currently rely on a budget Windows PC or older Mac
If you have an older computer and are looking for an upgrade without spending too much money, then the AW635 fits the bill. AUSDOM's webcam with 1080p high definition resolution will outperform most built-in 720p solutions in well-lit environments. With a manual focus adjustment, you can dial-in the right look if you don't plan on changing things up regularly.
You want a simple plug-and-play solution
The AW635 is ready to go right out of the box, at least on macOS, only by plugging it into an available USB port. This simple method means that you won't have to worry about finding drivers or wondering if it is compatible with your video conferencing app — it should just work. The manual focus system may also benefit some since you can make adjustments without having to dig around into camera settings as well.
You should not buy this if ...
You have privacy concerns with webcams in the home
Adding a webcam into the home always introduces potential privacy issues, and the AUSDOM AW635 does little to protect its users. The webcam does not come with a built-in cover or accessory that you can use to obscure its view when not in use, which means that you will need to unplug it or purchase a third-party solution. The webcam also lacks an in-use indicator light, so you never really know if it is active.
You want a webcam with autofocus
If you are looking for a webcam that automatically adjusts focus, you will need to look elsewhere. The AW635 utilizes a difficult to use, manual focus adjustment system, so you will have to tune it for the best picture. If you plan to use the webcam in different locations, you may need to adjust it each time.
You have a mid-range PC or modern Mac
The AUSOM AW635 doesn't have the highest resolution or best image quality around, especially in low-light scenarios. Even at 1080p resolution, the camera lacks finer details and color saturation, which may not be an upgrade if you have a modern Macbook Air, iMac, or even a mid-range Windows PC. In darker environments, image quality suffers from noise issues and overall clarity.
If you are in the market for an upgrade over the built-in webcam on your older computer or need a webcam right now, then AUSDOM's camera is one to check out. The AW635 doesn't offer the best visuals, lacks auto-focus, and doesn't have built-in privacy features, but is readily available and has 1080p imagery that will beat lower quality webcams. AUSDOM's webcam also is straightforward to set up, with a plug and play method that works without friction, at least for those who use macOS.
In the end, AUSDOM's AW635 is a mixed bag that makes recommending it a little more complicated than just saying go out and buy it now. If the webcam had autofocus, a privacy cover, and better image quality in darker environments, I would not hesitate to recommend it to everyone looking for a webcam regardless of how old your existing webcam is. Unfortunately, the AW635 doesn't include these, so it comes down to your current computer situation.
For those that want to upgrade over an older or budget built-in laptop webcam, then the AW635 will indeed make your video conferences or chats visually more appealing, and it is available for purchase right now. AUSDOM's camera won't offer anything more than a tiny visual difference for those with modern Macs or PCs, so you will be better off just saving your money or applying it to a more premium option.
Bottom line: The AUSDOM AW635 is a simple, plug and play solution for those who need an upgrade over older 720p webcams. However, with autofocus and missing privacy features, it isn't a must-have, especially if you have a modern Windows PC or Mac.
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