Our lives are more digital than ever, with our computers acting as our windows to the world. Why not show the world a more flattering, better-lit version of yourself? The best webcams go well beyond the view your computer's onboard webcam offers. I work on a 2018 MacBook Pro, which is a pretty great laptop. However, its webcam leaves something to be desired. Since I've been Zooming with my family a lot lately, as well as taking online meetings, and co-hosting the iMore Show, I thought it was time to upgrade my webcam.
The Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam is easy to use — just plug it into your computer via a USB-A plug (you may need a USB-C hub if your computer lacks a USB-A port) and go. You can clip it to the top of your monitor or you can attach it to any standard tripod. A small tabletop tripod is included.
You'll look better with HDR 2K live streaming and 1080P up to 60fps. You'll sound better with integrated dual omni-directional mics. The 90-degree wide-angle lens captures more around you and fixed focus means you don't have to worry about making adjustments.
Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam
Bottom line: Improve upon your computer's on-board webcam.
- HDR 2K live streaming
- Switch between 1080P 60fps and 1080P 30fps with a button press
- Plug in and go with autofocus
- Clip to monitor or attach to tripod
- Two omni-directional mics
- Lack of customizability
- A bit pricey
Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam: Price and availability
You can purchase the Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam on Amazon. There aren't any color options besides the black and gray colorway you see in my photos here. The price is $70.
Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam: What looks good
A picture says a thousand words, and the following three photos will show you what you need to know about the Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam's camera quality. The differences you can see in the photos below are indicative of the way video looks as well. I didn't use any filters or edit these photos in any way. All three pictures were taken in the same place at the same time. I didn't change the lighting or the conditions at all.
First, here is a photo taken with the rear camera of my iPhone 12 mini. This is a pretty true-to-life image, it accurately shows the lighting in the room as well as what I really look like.
Next, here's a photo taken with my (2018) MacBook Pro's native webcam. Yeah, it's pretty terrible. This is what I've been Zooming and podcasting with for the past year or so:
Finally, here is the image taken with the Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam:
Seriously, I wish everyone would have had one of these during the height of the pandemic when I was only seeing my friends, family, and colleagues through my computer screen. The camera uses HDR (High-Dynamic Range) to brighten the image or video, making the best use of the lighting you have. It also has a slightly wide angle, so your face doesn't take up the entire screen. This could be a good or a bad feature, depending on your perspective, but I like it. Additionally, maybe it's an HDR effect, but I think I just look a bit smoother. I'd imagine there is a built-in filter of some kind, though it's not explicitly stated in the materials.
It's super easy to use, and it has an auto-focus feature so I never even had to think about focusing the camera. It all just worked, right out of the box.
Seriously, I wish everyone would have had one of these during the height of the pandemic when I was only seeing my friends, family, and colleagues through my computer screen.
Some of the reviews complain about the sound. I didn't find it to be an issue at all. When I recorded video with it, the sound using the webcam's omni-directional mics was clearly superior to the sound recorded from my MacBook Pro's onboard mics. I tested the Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam on a family Zoom call, and no one had any trouble hearing me clearly even though I was outside with some background noise.
Placement of the webcam is easy. Clip it to your monitor using the adjustable clip, or attach it to any standard tripod using the hole on the bottom of the webcam. A small, sturdy tabletop tripod is included in the box. As for security, the Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam does come with a lens cover. It's easy enough to take off and then put it on when the webcam is not in use. It's not attached or anything, so you'll just need to be careful not to lose it.
Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam: What doesn't look good
As I mentioned, the images (and streaming video) taken with this webcam appear to have a flattering filter of some kind, perhaps in addition to the HDR. This is down to personal preference, but I would actually prefer to have the option of whether I want to look true-to-life or embellished. The Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam is not customizable, so you get that enhanced image whether you want it or not. I do appreciate the better lighting, but this feels like a little bit more than that. I look a bit ... plastic, perhaps.
Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam: Competition
Papalook also makes a far cheaper webcam, the Papalook PA452 Webcam. It's just as easy to use, though it lacks autofocus and a privacy cover.
You also might consider the AUSDOM AW635, which has a similar price point (and similar issues to) the Papalook PA452.
You can never go wrong with any of Logitech's offerings. Logitech is a trusted name in tech, and webcams are one of the areas where Logitech dominates. The Logitech C920 Pro has a similar price point to the Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam.
Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want to look and sound better in video calls, streaming, and more
- You want an easy-to-use webcam with autofocus
- You want the option to clip to your monitor or use a tripod
You shouldn't buy this if...
- If you want to be able to customize your appearance
- You want to look exactly true-to-life
- You want something cheaper
This is the webcam for someone who wants to look and sound better than their computer's onboard camera and microphone allow. It's for you if you want something super easy to use with autofocus, either clipped to your monitor or on a tripod. It's not for you if you want to look exactly like reality, or you want the option to switch the HDR/filter on and off. It's also not the cheapest webcam you can buy.
I've definitely enjoyed using this webcam and will continue to do so. The Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam is super easy to set up, either clipped to your monitor or attached to the included desk tripod (or tripod of your choice.) Switch between 1080P 60fps and 1080P 30fps with a button press. The camera's autofocus means no fussing around to get a clear image, it just works. The HDR-enhanced camera brightens up and improves the look of my image. The difference between video/images captured with the Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam and the MacBook Pro's webcam is dramatic. Though I'd prefer to have the option to turn the HDR/enhancements on and off, I guess I'd rather look better than worse! The omni-directional microphones on the Papalook PA930 Live Streaming Webcam are noticeably better than the MacBook Pro's onboard mics. The included lens cap offers security when not in use.
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