Even if you found one of the best webcams in stores last year, you might have discovered that getting your setup for video conferencing or video chats just right with a webcam, a microphone and lighting can be a hassle.
This is precisely the issue that Movo is looking to tackle with its new WebMic series, it combines a cardioid microphone, a webcam and in some models a ring light all into one reasonably compact device that plugs in with a single USB-C cable (via New Atlas).
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Now the company has turned to Kickstarter for this product, which understandably may turn some off. However, it's worth noting that Movo has been around since 2013 and shipped a number of well-regarded products in the realm of photo, video, and audio including three previous Kickstarters. There's always some risk involved with a Kickstarter, but with nearly $100,000 in funding on a $15,000 goal as of this writing and a solid past track record, there's reason to believe they can deliver.
With that out of the way, there are five models of the Movo WebMic; WebMic, WebMic HD, WebMic 4K, WebMic HD Pro and WebMic 4K Pro. The base model is purely a microphone, the HD and the 4K models add a webcam and the Pro models integrate an LED ring light.
The microphone is a cardioid condenser microphone with a directional pickup pattern to avoid picking up extraneous noise. A gain control knob lets you hone in your audio and a built-in 3.5mm headphone jack ensures that you can hear yourself properly.
The camera delivers 30 frames per second video, either at 1080p or 4K depending on the model you choose. Top-of-the-line webcams like the Logitech StreamCam or Logitech Brio 4K Pro Webcam offer 60 frames per second, but this isn't something that most users are going to miss.
Finally, the Pro models add a built-in LED ring light, which probably doesn't deliver results on par with a dedicated ring light. However, the promise here is convenience. You have three levels of brightness to choose from depending on your environment.
All five models come with the same portable stand, which also doubles as a handheld grip as well as a detachable clamp that allows you to place it on your desk or clip it to the top of your monitor or laptop. The WebMic uses a USB Type-C port and comes with a USB Type-C to USB Type-A connector, so if you have a Type-C only laptop you'll need an adapter or a USB Type-C hub.
During the Kickstarter campaign, the prices range from $89 for the WebMic up to $159 for the WebMic 4K Pro. It would be hard to recommend the basic mic option, there are plenty of great options at or below that price point, but for the options that integrate the webcam, it's a solid value.
The Kickstarter will end on April 10 and the company anticipates shipping by June. Again, the short timeline there is actually encouraging as it suggests the company is basically using this as a pre-order process. If you hate trying to juggle a few different devices every time you need to jump on a video conference, this might be a compelling option to cut down on complexity and clutter.
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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.