Logitech makes a lot of webcams. They have the most options of any manufacturer, essentially selling a webcam at each $10 interval between $30 and $70. Through all my testing, Logitech cameras were of a consistently higher quality than their competitors, but they were also more expensive. The c525 and c615, Logitech’s mid-tier options, added more features and ease of use instead of increased camera quality, but the next step up, the Logitech c920, was clearly on a different level.
All you have to do is look to see the difference in the c920’s picture quality. It has 1080p resolution with a large FOV, a sharp image, and a wide angle making everything about its picture look more camera than webcam. When I was testing it in low light, the auto image adjustments worked so well I had to double check the lights were actually turned off. It’s significantly cheaper than other webcams of its caliber. The Microsoft LifeCam Studio is only $10 cheaper but looks significantly worse, while the Logitech c930e has better, but comparable, video quality with a higher FOV and costs nearly $40 more.
One test I tried on every webcam was quickly moving my hand extremely close to the lens to see how its focus, white balance, and brightness reacted. When I did this to the c920, the results were amazing; instead of the blurry, pink blob I was used to seeing, I could make out the details of my fingerprints. Time and time again, the c920 impressed me not just for the quality of its image in ideal conditions, but its consistent quality in all settings. On two separate occasions, I streamed live sporting events from the middle of a field with nothing but the c920 plugged into my laptop and—from morning light to nighttime stadium lights with people sprinting through the frame—it didn’t miss one pass.
Logitech’s webcam software didn’t automatically install when I plugged any of their cameras in. That's a minor inconvenience, which Microsoft cameras avoid. Logitech's software is definitely worth downloading, though. The c920’s auto image adjustments are top-notch when adapting to different levels of light, but the white balance and saturation may take some fine-tuning. On its own, the c920 can leave an image a little washed out and lacking in color, which can easily be fixed from the webcam software. Indeed, if you aren’t expecting your location or lighting to change often, I would recommend fine-tuning the image settings for any webcam, as none of the auto-modes I used were entirely spot-on.
For a moment, I questioned whether or not the c920’s large frame size would actually be a problem for live streaming games. I looked small in the frame when sitting at my desk, and when I scaled down to the traditional “facecam” size in the corner of a stream, the wide-angle was a drawback rather than a feature. But, again, a solution came in Logitech’s webcam software, which made it easy for me to digitally zoom in and adjust the frame size without a noticeable drop in quality. Even the best webcams are limited to 1080p while streaming and 720p while Skyping, and claims of high resolution can be a red herring marketing tool—it doesn’t matter if your phone can take 12 megapixel pictures if the camera is garbage, you’re just taking really big, bad pictures—but the c920 has a high-quality camera.
It is Logitech’s most expensive consumer webcam, but the c920’s price never actually reaches its $100 MSRP, instead usually sitting in the price range of $60-$70. That’s still expensive for a webcam, but it’s worth it for the noticeable jump in quality compared to anything close to it. The Logitech c920 is simply the best webcam available. Anything cheaper will come with a distracting drop in quality, anything more expensive and you won’t notice enough of an improvement until you start shooting photos or video with a proper camera.