A great mainstream 2K QHD webcam

The interest in super high-quality webcams has really increased in 2022. It’s why many laptop makers like HP push to include crisp 5MP integrated webcams with their devices. However, the best way to get around a built-in webcam, regardless of quality, is to just buy an external webcam. It’s why you’ll find super-premium webcams like Dell’s own $200 UltraSharp 4K, and super cheap webcams like the $27 Logitech C720.

There are even mid-range webcams in the $100-$150 range, which is where the Dell Pro Webcam comes into play. These webcams are shadowed by the premium features from the very best webcams but also offer good image quality and many smart features. The Dell Pro Webcam, for example, comes with 2K QHD resolution, which you won’t find in many webcams.

I use Dell’s UltraSharp 4K as my daily webcam, but after using the Dell Pro Webcam for a month, I think I won’t need a 4K webcam after all. Sure, it might be missing some features like Windows Hello support, but the Dell Pro Webcam still delivers good image quality, and it’s much more affordable.

About this review: Dell sent us the Dell Pro Webcam (WB5023) for review. The company did not see the contents of this review before publishing.

Dell Pro Webcam
Dell Pro Webcam 1

The Dell Pro Webcam is an excellent 2K resolution webcam. It offers great smart features like AI Auto framing and noise reduction, and the image quality is outstanding thanks to the Sony Starvis Sensor.

Dell Pro Webcam: Specs

Camera resolution 2K QHD at 24 or 30 FPS. Full HD at 24, 30, or 60 FPS. HD at 24, 30, or 60 FPS
Sensor Sony Starvis Sensor
Aperture f 2.0
Field of view 65 or 78 degrees
Mounting system Tripod mount integrated, built-in mount for laptops or monitors
Audio Noise reduction microphone with a distance of up to 3 meters
Rotation Tilt
Connectivity USB-A connector (USB 2.0 and above).
Dimensions & Weight 1.73inch x 3.62inches & 0.34 pounds
Cable length 1.5 meters
System requirements Windows 11, Windows 10, or macOS
HD Digital Zoom Up to 4x
Intelligent features
  • Advanced Digital Overlap (DOL) HDR*
  • Video Noise Reduction (3D + 2D)
  • Temporal Noise Reduction (3DNR)
  • Spatial Noise Reduction (2DNR)
  • AI Auto Framing
Autofocus Yes
Price $134.99 or $99.99 when on sale

Dell Pro Webcam: Pricing and availability:

  • The Dell Pro webcam is now available at Dell for $134.99
  • The webcam is frequently on sale for $99.99

You can buy the Dell Pro Webcam today for $134.99 at Dell.com, and it’s currently on sale for $99 at the time of writing. Dell also has a 4K version of this webcam, the Dell UltraSharp 4K, which is slightly more expensive at $199.99, or $189.99 when on sale. This one you can find at Dell.com and third-party retailers like Amazon.

Design and packaging: Plastic, with a non-detachable cable

  • The webcam is made of plastic
  • The USB-A cable isn’t detachable
  • The overall design mimics the look of the Dell UltraSharp 4K webcam
  • The webcam mounts to the display from the front side, and the supporting bracket has pop-out feet to adjust the tilt angle

There’s not much to the packaging of the Dell Pro Webcam. Since this isn’t meant to be a high-end product, the packaging is plain and simple. Just slide open the box, and find the webcam and documentation, with the cable tucked in tightly. The unboxing experience isn’t nearly as extravagant as the more expensive sibling, the Dell UltraSharp 4K webcam, which has a box with a magnetic lid.

The Dell Pro Webcam and the box, opened up with accessories.

For a $135 product, some people might also be disappointed with this webcam’s build. While the lens and components inside the webcam are indeed premium (it’s a Sony Starvis lens, which we’ll get into later), the exterior of the webcam is all plastic. It’s nowhere near as premium as the Dell UltraSharp 4K, which is all metal. Generally speaking, though, the design visually mimics the UltraSharp, since both are long black-colored cylinders.

The Dell Pro Webcam is simply designed but still looks good on any laptop or desktop.

The Dell Pro Webcam’s simple design definitely helps with setup and portability. It’s 0.34 pounds (compared to the more expensive Dell webcam, which weighs 0.65 pounds). When mounted and facing you, you’ll see a privacy light to let you know the webcam is turned on. There’s also a magnetic lens cover that you can attach to protect or cover the lens for privacy.

Setup is also easy. This camera doesn’t have a detachable mount or cable like its Dell UltraSharp 4K sibling, so everything is integrated as one piece. Untie the cable, plug it into your PC or Mac, and release the mounting clip to get going. Connections happen via USB-A, however, so you’ll need a dongle to attach this cam to most newer laptops. I wish a USB Type-A to Type-C adapter was included in the box like with the Obsbot Tiny 4K webcam.

The Dell Pro Webcam mounted on a Surface Laptop Studio.

I do like the mounting system on this webcam more than the 4K version, though. It’s a lot slimmer and easier to handle. Plus, the way the camera mounts to your monitor or laptop is unique. There’s a slot underneath the front of the camera that will latch to your monitor or display, and the primary mount clip is on the back. It’s made of rubberized materials and has a pop-out foot to adjust the tilt angle. There’s a little risk of it scratching the lid of your laptop or the top of your monitor, or even falling off.

I do like how snug to my laptop the Dell Pro Webcam sits once installed. As you can see in the photo below, compared to the Dell UltraSharp 4K, it sits a lot lower (the Dell Pro Webcam is on the left, and the Dell UltraSharp 4K is on the right).

The Dell Ultrasharp 4K on the left, and Dell Pro on the right.
The Dell Ultrasharp 4K on the left, and Dell Pro on the right.

You can also mount this webcam to a tripod if you want. Dell includes a screw hole on the integrated mount for this. Just screw it into your tripod and get going. It’s really easy compared to the Dell UltraSharp 4K webcam, which requires a separate magnetically-attached 4K mount just to sit on a tripod.

Dell Peripheral Manager Software: A lot of cool manual and smart settings

  • You can manage the webcam from the Dell Peripheral Manager Software (but you have to manually download it)
  • There are a lot of settings to play with for exposure, HDR, white balance, and more.
  • The software also lets you manage settings like AI Auto Framing, zoom, the field of view, and autofocus,

To really unlock the power of the Dell Pro Webcam, you need to use the Dell Peripheral Manager Software. It’s optional and required a manual download, but this software allows you to fine-tune the webcam’s settings.

You get access to controlling HDR, white balance, and image quality settings (like brightness), as well as AI Auto Framing, autofocus, frame rate properties, anti-flicker, and zoom controls. Here is also where you can switch between the different fields of view, either 65 or 78 degrees. The software has a studio area where you can capture videos to test out settings, and you can enable the built-in microphone from here. We included a quick tour below, but as you can see, it’s simple to understand and use.

When you spend this much on a webcam, it’s great to have all these extra controls. The only issue I had with the software is that the sensors take a while to reapply the settings. And, because of Windows, if an app is already open that uses the camera, the Dell Peripheral Manager won’t work.

Image Quality: Great in any setting

  • The Dell Pro Webcam produces great image quality in all conditions and doesn’t overexpose images.
  • The image quality is better than the webcam on most laptops.
  • The webcam lacks Windows Hello support.

The main reason you’d want to buy the Dell Pro Webcam isn’t really for the design. It is for the image quality and the smart features. When configured with the included Dell Peripheral Manager, you’ll look your absolute best on your web calls.

One of the reasons why I loved the Dell UltraSharp 4K webcam was because it handles light well, whether low or bright. I have a window behind my shoulders, which often overblows and overexposes my webcam feed on sunny days. I don’t usually play around with lighting or try to fix the issue by closing blinds or moving curtains to improve; I let the webcam fix it for me automatically.

All around, this webcam has great image quality.

However, the Dell Pro Webcam can do this too, and at a much lower price. The image quality is excellent since the HDR support and software can make you look great regardless of the lighting situation. I look sharp, clear, and crisp in most of my sample images, and the resolution is so detailed that I even could point out the specs of dust in my Mets hat.

Dell Pro Webcam image samples

All of these images are set to QHD 2K resolution, but the Dell Peripheral Manager software lets you lower the resolution to FHD or HD if you want. The first two images have HDR and Auto White Balance set to on, but different fields of view (FOV). The first uses a 78-degree FOV and the second has a 65-degree FOV. The third image is where this webcam didn’t do the best with masking the overblown lighting since HDR and Auto White Balance were off.

The final image is where the webcam hit the sweet spot. It was taken later in the day when it was a bit darker, and when I turned my room lights off. I also had autofocus and AI auto-framing turned on, with the settings tweaked to prioritize exposure. This image has the least noise and was evenly lit, showing that the webcam can even handle low-light settings.

The resolution is so detailed that I even could point out the specs of dust in my Mets hat.

All around, this webcam has great image quality, except when zooming in past 2x, where the image looks more grainy. The webcam uses a Sony Starvis sensor, similar to the large Sony Starvis sensor on the Dell UltraSharp 4K webcam, so this isn’t too surprising, so images are clear and crisp.

If you want the highest frame rate and smoother images for streaming, you’ll have to change the resolution down to HD since 60 FPS isn’t supported on 2K resolution, which maxes out at 30 FPS. You also won’t get Windows Hello; that’s reserved for the more premium Dell UltraSharp 4K or even the Logitech Brio. It isn’t something everyone will want, but it would be a nice feature considering it usually costs over $100.

Microphone quality: Your laptop’s mics are probably better

Unlike the Dell UltraSharp 4K Webcam, the Dell Pro webcam has built-in microphones. However, I was disappointed after using them on a call with my online friends who live across the e country. My friends told me I didn’t sound clear, even though I was sitting right in front of my webcam with my mouth about a foot or two away from the screen.

The Dell Pro Webcam, sitting on a desk.

It’s great the webcam has a microphone, but it doesn’t quite get the job done. I returned to using the built-in dual studio microphones on my Surface Laptop Studio. It’s no wonder the Dell UltraSharp 4K doesn’t have them; they wouldn’t sound great anyway.

Dell Pro Webcam: Should you buy?

You should buy the Dell Pro Webcam if:

  • You want a webcam that costs less than $150
  • You want a webcam that’s 2K resolution for great image quality
  • You want the ability to fine-tune your settings

You shouldn’t buy the Dell Pro Webcam if

  • You want a webcam with Windows Hello
  • You want a webcam with good microphones

If you want a great secondary webcam for your Windows PC or Mac that’s better than the one built into your Dell laptop or other devices, then the Dell Pro Webcam is a great option. The image quality is accurate and great out of the box, and the software lets you tweak the image output, so you end up looking even better. Sure, it doesn’t have Windows Hello, but it has other features that might make this the right external webcam for you.

Dell Pro Webcam
Dell Pro Webcam 1

The Dell Pro Webcam is an excellent 2K resolution webcam. It offers great smart features like AI Auto framing and noise reduction, and the image quality is outstanding thanks to the Sony Starvis Sensor.

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