HP 325 FHD Webcam review: The perfect webcam for users on a budget

Sometimes budget is best.

HP 325 FHD
(Image: © Future)

iMore Verdict

A cheap and cheerful Full HD webcam, perfect for desktop video calls or an upgrade to an existing 720p laptop webcam at an extremely reasonable price - just don’t expect any fancy software here.

Pros

  • +

    1080p quality at a super-low price point

  • +

    Surprisingly good microphone

  • +

    Super easy to set up

Cons

  • -

    No companion software

  • -

    Privacy shutter is fiddly

  • -

    USB-A cable means you might need a USB hub

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If you’re looking for a decent, easy-to-use webcam that won’t break the bank, HP’s 325 FHD Webcam might be the single best option on the market right now.

This is a no-frills product, so don’t get your hopes up for any clever, unique features here - what the HP 325 offers is just 1080p video with a straightforward setup and a frankly excellent price point - so let me start with that.

HP 325 FHD: Price and availability

HP 325 FHD

(Image credit: Future)

At just $34/£30, the HP 325 is fantastically cheap for a 1080p webcam. The only way you’re getting this quality for cheaper is if you keep a close eye on sales - or opt for one of the slightly dodgy unheard-of brands you can find on Amazon, but I wouldn’t recommend that.

At this sort of price, you can only expect so much, but the HP 325 still offers everything you’d expect from a basic webcam - more on that later. If you keep an eye out for sales, you can likely pick it up for less than the listed MSRP - although it’s worth noting that this webcam is a bit hard to find at MSRP in the UK, and isn’t stocked at HP’s own online store at the time of writing, so if you’re outside the US you may need to find a third-party vendor.

HP 325 FHD: Ease of use

HP 325 FHD

(Image credit: Future)

The HP 325 FHD Webcam is as easy to use as it gets: unbox it, plug it in, and that’s literally it. There’s no companion software here, and attaching the webcam to your monitor is very straightforward, since the rubberized hinge clips into place easily and the angle of the webcam can then be adjusted afterward.

There’s also a UNC thread for connecting the webcam to most standard tripod or arm mounts, although potential buyers should be aware that this isn’t a serious webcam for streamers and other content creators - it’s literally just a cheap option for those who need a decent webcam for video calls.

The 1.5m cable is non-removable and requires a USB-A port, so bear in mind that you’ll need an adapter or a USB hub if you’re using a newer Mac device that only features USB-C Thunderbolt ports. Other than that, it’s very easy to connect and set up, and the compact size means it can happily sit atop a laptop display as well as a desktop monitor.

The privacy shutter is a little fiddly to use; it’s not fully attached to the webcam itself, but rather slides on at either end and clicks into place over the lens. To reveal the camera, you slide it to the left - but there’s nothing to stop it from simply slipping all the way off if you’re not careful, which proved a tad annoying while I was testing it.

The HP 325 is rated for use with macOS, Windows, and ChromeOS devices, and it worked fine when I hooked it up to an Android tablet too. While the lack of software for tweaking your settings might be a problem for some users, I can certainly appreciate the streamlined user experience here.

HP 325 FHD: Build

HP 325 FHD

(Image credit: Future)

Despite the low cost, the HP 325 doesn’t feel ‘cheap’ - sure, it’s not the best-constructed webcam I’ve ever seen, but at this price point you can’t be too fussy. The design is almost exclusively matte black plastic, and the simple aesthetic matches its no-nonsense functionality.

The clasp hinge feels reasonably sturdy, and the camera chassis itself is mounted on a small ball-and-socket joint that allows for 360-degree rotation (cable permitting) and a small amount of vertical tilt too. I didn’t have any issues with the webcam moving out of position once I’d set it up.

HP 325 FHD: Features

HP 325 FHD

(Image credit: Future)

This is a tricky section for me to write, because… well, there’s just not much to write about. Normally I’d talk about AI-powered auto-framing or adjustable FOVs here, but the HP 325 doesn’t have any of that: it’s just a webcam. What you see is what you get.

I will dig into the specs a bit here, though. It’s a standard 5MP Full HD (1080p) camera with a maximum framerate of 30fps and a fixed FOV of 66 degrees - a bit narrow for my liking, meaning that if you’re sitting an average distance away from your display, you’ll appear quite close to the camera. It’s also fixed-focus, meaning no background blurring without the use of third-party software.

I’ll be honest here: the picture quality isn’t great, but for less than forty bucks I can’t really complain. It’s sharp enough that I could notice the difference between the 325 and my old laptop’s 720p webcam, and the low-light performance is okay if not spectacular. Ideally, you’ll want to use this webcam in well-lit environments; I looked a little pink on-screen when I closed the curtains!

One thing that impressed me was the microphone quality. There’s no post-processing noise cancellation here and it’s only a single-array mic, meaning you’ll need minimum background noise and correct positioning (i.e. directly in front of the camera) for optimal performance, but the integrated microphone was actually capable of producing relatively clean recordings in my tests and I had no complaints about my audio when I used it for video meetings. Considering the price tag, I was ready for the microphone to be garbage, so I was pleasantly surprised.

HP 325 FHD: Competition

HP 325 FHD

(Image credit: Future)

Without dipping down to 720p resolution (or taking a gamble on a Chinese-made webcam on Amazon), the best Mac webcam alternative to the HP 325 is the Logitech Brio 100/101, which costs slightly more at $39.99/£39.99. If you’re willing to wait for a good discount, the excellent Logitech C920 and its many variants are frequently on sale - any deal price below the $50/£50 mark makes it a great pick. 

HP 325 FHD: Should you buy it?

You should buy it if…

 

  • You want 1080p on a budget
  • You don’t need companion software
  • You want a quick and simple setup

You shouldn’t buy it if…

 

  • You want a webcam for content creation
  • You like software tweaking

HP 325 FHD: Verdict

If you want a no-frills webcam that just works, this is the one to pick. The HP 325 FHD Webcam isn’t a complicated product, and it doesn’t need to be. Some users just want a webcam they can plug in and jump straight into a FaceTime call - and if that’s you, this is the webcam you should buy.

Conversely, anyone who cares about high resolutions, adjustable focus and FOV, or basically anything when it comes to tweaking your webcam experience should probably look elsewhere. This is as basic as it gets, and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s not going to satisfy everyone. 

Christian Guyton
Contributor

Christian is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing Editor. He came to us from Maximum PC magazine, where he fell in love with computer hardware and building PCs. He was a regular fixture amongst our freelance review team before making the jump to TechRadar, and can usually be found drooling over the latest high-end graphics card or gaming laptop before looking at his bank account balance and crying.


Christian is a keen campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights and the owner of a charming rescue dog named Lucy, having adopted her after he beat cancer in 2021. She keeps him fit and healthy through a combination of face-licking and long walks, and only occasionally barks at him to demand treats when he’s trying to work from home.