Looking for a new webcam to accompany your work from home (or even in-office) setup? Microsoft has you covered with its "Modern Webcam" that is also "Teams Certified," meaning it's ready for use with Teams without much hassle. Of course, this webcam will work fine in any app, but the Teams Certified stamp is there to let you know that if you use Teams, this is the accessory for you.
It's been a handful of years since Microsoft last shipped a webcam, so it's good to see the company is back with something new. Sadly, this isn't a flagship webcam, meaning it's not 4K or includes support for Windows Hello facial recognition. It's simply a webcam designed for video conferencing, and it does a great job at that, albeit with a few caveats.
There are a lot of great webcams out there, so make sure you check out our roundup of best webcams for Windows PCs in 2022! I've been using the Microsoft Modern Webcam for a little over a month now. Here's my review:
Bottom line: The Microsoft Modern Webcam is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a 1080p webcam for video conferencing on a budget. With a built-in privacy shutter, clear video, and smooth low-light performance.
- Easy setup
- Compact design
- Smooth low-light performance
- Affordable price
- Built-in microphone is not good
- Accessories app needs work
- No Windows Hello
|Category||Microsoft Modern Webcam|
|Dimensions||Length: 1.99 inches (50.53mm)|
Width: 1.42 inches (36.05mm)
Depth: 2.94 inches (74.58mm)
|Weight||0.21 pounds (88.3g)|
|Exterior||Front window: glass, polished black|
Tripod mount: copper, glossy silver
Other components: plastic/TPE/rubber, matte black
|Sensor||1080p 30 FPS video output|
1.4um x 1.4um
Auto white balance
Expansive 78-degree field of view
|Cable length||59.1 inches (1.5 meters)|
|Audio codec||PCM, 16bit, 16kHz sampling|
Modern Webcam: Price and availability
The Microsoft Modern Webcam is available direct from the Microsoft Store for an MSRP of $70. However, right now, you can grab the webcam for just $55, making it a good deal no matter the downsides. It can also be found on Amazon; however, prices there often fluctuate above and below $70.
Modern Webcam: What's good
The Microsoft Modern Webcam is a small, sleek, and functional camera that sits on top of your monitor with the included stand/tripod mount. It's available in a glossy black finish, and looks super clean in any setup. It has a built-in privacy shield that uses satisfying magnets to snap open and shut, with the shut position also cutting camera feed in addition to actually covering the lens. When active, there's a small ring light that surrounds the sensor letting you know that the camera is on.
It's also designed to be plug and play, meaning you can just insert the USB-A cable into your PC and you should be good to go, with no real setup required. That said, if you do want to customize the webcam, Microsoft does have an app called the "Microsoft Accessory Center" that will allow you to do just that. Here, you can change settings such as color temperature, HDR on or off, auto white balance, and more.
Here are all the things you can configure with the Microsoft Accessory Center app:
- HDR on/off
- Retouch on/off
- White balance
- Auto exposure
- Flicker reduction
- Webcam mic on/off
The camera performance itself perfectly acceptable. It is a 1080p shooter, featuring a 78-degree field of view, support for HDR, auto exposure, auto white balance, and anti-flicker capabilities. It's a well-rounded sensor that looks great in well-lit environments. Microsoft does a good job at adjusting exposure so that your face is always the most visible, even if you have a bright source of light such as as window directly behind you.
I did come away rather impressed with this webcam's low-light performance too. While still quite noisy, the webcam didn't drop frames in an attempt to open up the sensor and allow more light in. I remained smooth in video, which is great to see and makes a big difference when presenting in video calls.
I also found this camera doesn't randomly hunt for focus as much as some others do. My Logitech BRIO 4K is really prone to randomly hunting for focus on my face, even though I hadn't moved much in the frame. I've not noticed this behavior on the Microsoft Modern Webcam.
Modern Webcam: What's not good
In our testing, the Microsoft Accessory Center app needs some work. We found that it will often forget settings, and it will sometimes not apply color temperature settings even after selecting them from the drop-down menu. This isn't a huge deal, as it takes a few seconds to go back into the app to reapply the settings, but it is a little annoying.
Some of the color temperature settings are a little strong too, and the same effect can randomly differ without anything changing in your frame. Sometimes this makes it seem like the filters you're applying aren't taking effect, because the differences between some of the effects are sometimes incredibly minor or non-existent.
The biggest downside of this webcam is the built-in microphone, which it appears even Microsoft doesn't recommend you use. By default, the webcam comes with the built-in mic disabled, and attempting to enable it in the Microsoft Accessory Center app will present you with a warning that states this microphone is not Teams Certified.
I'm really happy to see that Microsoft did add an option to enable or disable the built-in mic, as a lot of people have setups where they already have a dedicated microphone and don't need Windows getting confused about which mic it should use. It's also beneficial here because the built-in mic just isn't good.
Audio often sounds buzzy and noisy, even with mic gain settings turned down. It's not a pleasant mic to listen to, which is probably why it's off by default. The built-in mic on my Surface Laptop 4 did a much better job at audio, and Windows will default to your set mic if you have the webcam's mic disabled in the accessories app.
Finally, there's no Windows Hello built into this webcam. For the price, you probably shouldn't expect it, but if you were looking for a Microsoft solution for adding Windows Hello to your existing desktop PC, this is not the product for you.
Modern Webcam: Video and audio test
Here is a brief test of the video and audio performance, including an audio comparison with the built-in mic on the Surface Studio 2.
Modern Webcam: Competition
The webcam market is full of all kinds of different webcams, ranging from top-of-the-line 4K 120 FPS sensors to low-cost 720p cameras. The Microsoft Modern Webcam sits comfortably in the middle ground, being relatively affordable with good enough performance in well-lit environments.
If you're looking for something top of the range, the Logitech BRIO 4K is our recommendation. It has a 4K sensor, up to 60 FPS video recording, dual-array mics, and it even has Windows Hello built right in. But, this all comes at a premium price of $200, way above the Microsoft Modern Webcam, which comes in at just $99.
Alternatively, we have the Logitech C920, arguably the king of 1080p webcams. It has a wide 78-degree field of view, dual microphones, and a glass lens for extra clarify. Microsoft's Modern Webcam competes very well with this device, but I think the Logitech beats it by a small margin thanks to its slightly better image quality.
We also have the HP 320 FHD and 325, featuring a similar price to the Microsoft Modern Webcam, a 1080p sensor, albeit with a slightly narrower 66-degree field of view. That said, these HP webcams are mounted to a 360 stand, which is unique, but could be useful in certain scenarios.
Modern Webcam: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You need a basic, capable webcam
- Looking for something that's plug and play
- Already have a dedicated microphone
You shouldn't buy this if ...
- You need something with a good built-in microphone
- You want Windows Hello facial recognition
The Microsoft Modern Webcam is a great choice for anyone looking for a camera that excels in day-to-day video conferencing in apps like Microsoft Teams. If you're presenting to a large audience, or partaking in small team meetings, you can't go wrong with the Modern Webcam.
That said, it's not all perfect. While I came away impressed with the video quality, even in low-light scenarios, the microphone that's built in is just bad. Microsoft ships the webcam with the microphone disabled for this reason, so I recommend you a dedicated microphone instead.
Overall. for the price, I think you're getting a good deal with the Modern Webcam, so long as you use a different microphone. The built quality is good, it looks sleek above any monitor or display, and the built-in privacy shutter with magnets is a really nice touch.