The best webcam you can buy gets a little better and a little fancier.
Our recommendation for the best webcam you can buy has been the Logitech C920 for some time now. Now, finally, that looks set to change as its direct successor, the C922 is here.
And it's terrific.
On paper and even sat side-by-side with the C920, there are a number of similarities between the new webcam and the not-so-new one. This new one is labeled the "Pro Stream," a hint as to which market it's being targeted at by Logitech.
But it's not just the Twitch crowd who will get a great webcam here. They'll just get the absolute most from it.
Hardware wise, here's how the C922 stacks up against the C920:
|Video resolution||1080p (30fps) or 720p (60fps)||1080p or 720p (both 30fps)|
|Microphone||Dual-stereo with auto noise reduction||Dual-stereo with auto noise reduction|
|Tripod mount||Yes (mini tripod included)||Yes|
Visually the C922 is almost identical to its predecessor, save for an updated logo, a glossy black finish around the camera lens and a white glow compared to the old blue when in use. On either side sit omnidirectional, stereo microphones which as far as webcam mics go perform rather well. If you just need a quick solution to make your voice go over the internet, you'll be well served.
The C922 is almost identical to its predecessor, and that's not a bad thing.
Also, like its predecessor you'll find an ample 6-foot USB cable poking out of the rear. Because there's nothing worse than a short cable.
Video-wise there are still both 720p and 1080p Full HD recording options, but new for the C922 is 60fps at 720p. Video quality is still fantastic from Logitech, and in good light you'll look super sharp. Logitech's own software will let you tweak brightness and contrast to give yourself a little more color.
But, given how good the C920 has been all this time, none of this is surprising. The C922 handles low light correction a little better than the older model, with the image being a shade brighter but noticeable.
At this point, you'd be forgiven for thinking Logitech had just given a new name, a lick of paint and a new box to its old stalwart. But the really interesting stuff is in software, not hardware.
The C922 and its accompanying software allow you to replace or remove your background entirely, leaving just you as if you're in front of a green screen. Unlike something like the Razer Stargazer with its RealSense array, there's no fancy hardware here to make it happen. Just clever software with a good webcam.
It's all virtual, so the software, provided by Personify, will aim to detect your head and shoulders and remove everything else around it. Or, if you prefer, you're able to easily add in a replacement background instead. It's very neat and, when it works, mostly effective.
I say when it works because there are some caveats. The first is your PC, and you'll need some beef inside it to run it properly. On a desktop PC with a Haswell Core i5 processor, I couldn't get it working in Xsplit or a Hangouts video call in the browser, and with almost no success in OBS.
However, on my laptop with a Skylake Core i7 processor (with the same amount of RAM and a lesser GPU compared to my desktop) it works absolutely fine. It's because the virtual green screen relies on your PC to do it, and with CPU video encoding generally the way things are done, it puts a lot of pressure on your hardware.
You'll need some beefy hardware to make your background disappear
It's not a bad outcome, though, and if you're into streaming you're likely using some fairly decent hardware anyway. In good lighting it works quite well, though if you're someone who moves around a lot you will find it might cut bits of you off. In lower light it's not as effective and struggles a little more, but good streaming 101 would say you should be well lit anyway!
The software isn't all good, though. For starters, it's a "beta" which doesn't send the best signals on a product that costs $100. It's not as if it's buggy, which is good, but it does only work on 32-bit apps right now for the fancy background removal bits. So you're OK in Xsplit but you can't use the 64-bit version of OBS I'm afraid.
You also get a surprisingly good mini tripod in the box with the C922. The legs extend to 18cm, it's made partly from metal and you have a solid, adjustable head. The best angle isn't always attached to your monitor whether you're vlogging, streaming or just talking to someone through the internet and it's a nice touch for Logitech to include this as standard.
For the streamers out there or anyone else who needs a green screen effect on the cheap, the C922 is a terrific bit of kit at a good price. With a price of $100 it's a good bit cheaper than something like the Razer Stargazer and you get a three month Xsplit Premium license thrown in (value $24.95 on its own) which is a pretty sweet deal.
So, should you buy one? Absolutely. Whether you're a streamer or not this is a fantastic webcam and it doesn't try to reinvent the wheel. Folks looking for Windows Hello will still be looking elsewhere at a RealSense camera, but Logitech stuck to what it does best.
It made a terrific webcam of the highest quality and added some new features that will be attractive to a large part of the buying public right now. You will need a decent PC to use everything, but there's no denying Logitech still makes the best all-rounder.