The Dell UltraSharp webcam is the company’s first dedicated webcam, despite years of installing webcams in its laptops. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that this isn’t an ordinary webcam. The name UltraSharp has been used before for high performance monitors from Dell, so adding it to its new webcam certainly sets expectations.
Fortunately, the UltraSharp webcam doesn’t disappoint. It is a large device with an equally large sensor that provides bright and detailed 4K images. It’s also packed with features, from its magnetic mount and lens cap to on-screen settings, tracking and proximity features accessible through the Dell Device Management Tool.
Using this camera a PC will definitely provide an upgrade to any built-in webcam and bring many of the best webcams to shame. However, not all users will experience all the benefits, and there is a dire lack of a microphone.
Dell UltraSharp Webcam Review: Price and Availability
The Dell UltraSharp webcam launched on June 29 and is priced at $ 199 / £ 179 / AU $ 379. Along with the third-party webcams offered by Dell, this is the highest price point but not the most expensive. The price of the Logitech Brio 4K webcam is the same in the US and slightly higher in the UK, while larger conference-style devices are considerably more expensive.
Dell UltraSharp Webcam Review: Design and Features
The Dell UltraSharp WebCam is a large device, resembling a long camera lens, it is 90mm (3.54 inches) long and has a diameter of 42mm (1.65 inches). Its 111g (3.94oz) weight and anodized aluminum finish gives it a solid, substantial feel that validates the price in a way that many other plastic devices don’t.
The construction is also smart in that it attaches magnetically to the mount. There is both a clip that sits on top of a desktop monitor and a tripod mount in the box and the camera unit can be quickly removed and attached with the magnets in the blink of an eye. The tripod is ideal for laptop users without a second screen, as the camera is too heavy to sit safely on a laptop screen. In reality, you’ll probably only be using one or the other mount, but it’s nice to be able to switch up if you need to.
There is also a lens cap that covers the entire front of the camera. It also attaches magnetically and when not in use, can be attached to the back of the camera in the same way, so you don’t lose it.
Internally, the Dell UltraSharp webcam is just as smart. It uses a multi-lens build and a large Sony Starvis CMOS sensor – I’m assuming from specs that it’s a 1 / 1.2 inch sensor, but specs neither confirm nor confirm this. deny it.
What we do know is that this is an 8MP device capable of capturing 4K UHD at 24 or 30 fps and Full HD or HD at 24, 30 or 60 fps. The lenses can offer a 90 degree field of view which can be shortened to 78 or 65 if needed, through the device manager. There is also a digital zoom up to 5x.
The camera uses automatic light correction tools to ensure the best lighting for shooting, including HDR and a series of noise reduction tools. There is also an infrared sensor for facial recognition and a proximity sensor that can be used with Windows Hello and ExpressSign-in on Dell machines.
Perhaps my favorite feature is the automatic AI framing. This adjusts the faming of the image, using internal zoom, pan, and tilt to keep you in the center of the image. As you move around the frame it adjusts with you.
The Dell UltraSharp webcam has attracted some criticism for not including a microphone in the device. This means that you need a separate device to capture your voice or to use the built-in microphone on your laptop. While this is not ideal, it is not alone not to include one.
The idea is that users will probably prefer to use a separate USB microphone for the best sound, and to deliver sound that matches picture quality would require a much larger and more expensive device. Maybe that’s a good point, but I’ve always missed having it.
Dell UltraSharp webcam review: setup
Setting up the Dell UltraSharp webcam is a straightforward process. Once you’ve taken it out of the box and attached to the mount you intend to use, all you need to do is plug it in and the computer does the rest.
I plugged it into a Dell Latitude 9420 laptop and the device was instantly recognized. He then opened the Dell Device Manager. This then walks you through the process of adjusting the device to your needs. If you do not have a Dell PC, you may need to visit the Dell Support website, where you can download the program.
You can first choose a Picture Style from four presets: Default, Smooth, Vibrant, and Warm. Most seemed a bit too saturated for my liking, so I went for the smooth, which also helps smooth your complexion. Then you can set up the proximity sensor and have it wake up your screen when you approach or lock it when you walk away. I can see it’s a handy tool for the office, but less for the home, although it’s still smart, so I turned it on.
The final screen, which you can review at any time, gives you more manual camera controls, including white balance, brightness, sharpness, and contrast. It also allows you to set your alarm clock / lock and proximity as well as camera control. Here you can enable AI auto framing, change your field of view, zoom, and prioritize exposure and frame rate.
One thing to note here is that Dell Peripheral Manager is not available for Macs, and while the camera will still work without it, you are missing out on most of the features. It would be childish to blame a PC accessory for not being fully compatible with Macs, but it seems like an oversight not to offer some form of Mac control.
Dell UltraSharp webcam review: performance
Once installed, the Dell UltraSharp webcam works seamlessly with all the video and camera features I have used including Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet. The displayed image is crisp and bright, offering natural colors from its default settings. Even using the webcam on a Mac has given excellent results without the benefit of the built-in camera settings.
The benefit of the larger sensor is obvious as the image looks more like something from a DSLR camera than a standard webcam. And while none of the video conferencing tools I tested it with were able to deliver its full 4K image, those on the other end noticed how much clearer the image was compared to an external 1080p model. leading.
It’s a bit of a shame that even on the Dell test machine you had to go back to Device Manager to make changes and the camera settings in the respective video apps weren’t able to provide the full range. of controls. In Skype, for example, in the advanced camera settings, you are presented with a series of sliders in a very old window rather than just invoking the Dell Camera Control Module. Fortunately, the changes to the Dell Peripheral Manager stuck when entering video conferencing applications, including AI tracking.
For me, AI tracking is the most remarkable feature. And while I’m sure there are times this move can get boring, I was happy to leave it on for all my calls. Again, this feature will only work on PCs that have Dell Peripheral Manager installed.
Dell UltraSharp webcam review: verdict
The Dell UltraSharp webcam is one of the best webcams on the market. It has a solid build with a convenient magnetic mounting system that quickly switches between the screen and tripod mounts and sits well on each. The large array of sensors and lenses create a crisp, detailed image with natural colors and well-controlled noise. The feature set is also impressive, from FOV options to proximity sensor and of course AI tracking to keep you in the center of the frame.
The only criticisms here are the lack of audio and the lack of a Mac driver. However, for the target market, none of these items is a priority. A driver version could easily fix the Mac issue and maybe there is already a webcam no longer running that has audio.
Dell UltraSharp webcam review: also consider
Perhaps Dell’s closest rival is the Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro. For a nearly identical price, it also offers 4K at 30fps from its 13MP sensor, although the sensor and lens aren’t on the same scale. While it doesn’t have AI tracking, it does provide Windows Hello sign-in functionality, HDR, and an adjustable field of view. Importantly, it also offers two built-in microphones and is compatible with both Windows and MacOS.
For something a little simpler and cheaper, the Logitech C922 delivers impressive 1080p performance, which is more than good enough for video conferencing (although it isn’t noticeably not as good as the picture quality of Dell). For less than half the price, it’s a great, affordable option with excellent low-light and background suppression, plus built-in microphones for capturing stereo sound.