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Microsoft unveils $70 Modern Webcam with built-in privacy shutter, 1080p HDR video and Teams certification

Microsoft webcam
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft isn’t new to the webcam market, but it might feel that way given that it has been about five years since the company released one of its LifeCam branded webcams. It’s leaving LifeCam at the wayside now and opting for a more business and education-focused webcam this time around.

It would be easy to assume that the Microsoft Modern Webcam, released alongside the Surface Laptop 4, is the company jumping on the massive influx of video conferencing that has driven interest in higher quality webcams. In truth, there have been hints here and there about this product for years now, so here at long last is Microsoft’s return to the webcam market, the Microsoft Modern Webcam.

Microsoft Modern Webcam price and availability 

The Microsoft Modern Webcam will be available for $69.99 starting in June. Consumers can sign up at Microsoft.com for updates on retail availability, while education and business users can contact their authorized resellers starting today. 

Microsoft Modern Webcam image quality 

Given the $70 price point, it shouldn’t be surprising that the Microsoft Modern Webcam sticks to 1080p. As with most cameras these days the hardware is only part of the story with HDR and Microsoft’s “True Look” enhancing the image via software. The latter delivers facial retouch, light adjustment and autofocus to ensure that you look your best. The 78-degree field of view is similar to what we see on many of the best webcams on the market, wide-angle but geared towards a single user. 

Microsoft Modern Webcam features 

The generic name in a lot of ways fits the generic feature set for the Microsoft Modern Webcam, but it does have a couple of nice added touches. It’s also worth noting that for many webcams the downfall is either reliability or the software, if Microsoft’s webcam can deliver there it should be able to find success even without many specific standout features.

The most notable feature is the integrated privacy shutter, this button allows you to be certain that your video stream is turned off regardless of what video conferencing service you are using. Speaking of video conferencing services the Microsoft Modern Webcam is of course certified for Microsoft Teams.

A feature that is notably missing is support for Windows Hello, the biometric face login for Windows users. Not terribly shocking at this price, but it does feel like a missed opportunity for Microsoft, particularly given the likely target market for this webcam.

The Microsoft Modern Webcam uses a traditional webcam mounting system that can be attached to a monitor, laptop, desk or to a tripod. While some features will require the software be installed, the webcams basic functionality is plug-and-play using a 60-inch cable with a USB Type-A plug. If your laptop only supports USB Type-C you’ll need to pick up an adapter or a USB Type-C hub.

The Microsoft Modern Webcam is compatible with Windows 8 and later as well as macOS 10.15 and later, but not all features are supported on macOS.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.