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Elgato Facecam review

The Elgato Facecam is better than a laptop webcam — but not by much

Elgato Facecam review
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Elgato Facecam features a 1080p shooter and a sturdy design, but the pictures it takes are noisy and lack the microphone and 4K resolution you’d expect at this price point.

For

  • 1080p, 60 fps video
  • Included privacy cover
  • Useful companion app
  • Sturdy design

Against

  • No 4K or microphone
  • Photos gets noisy
  • Included cable is too short
  • Expensive

Laptop Mag Verdict

The Elgato Facecam features a 1080p shooter and a sturdy design, but the pictures it takes are noisy and lack the microphone and 4K resolution you’d expect at this price point.

Pros

  • + 1080p, 60 fps video
  • + Included privacy cover
  • + Useful companion app
  • + Sturdy design

Cons

  • - No 4K or microphone
  • - Photos gets noisy
  • - Included cable is too short
  • - Expensive

Elgato is at the forefront of streaming tech, so one would think the company could produce one of the best webcams for streaming, but that’s far from the case with the Elgato Facecam.

Sure, the Elgato Facecam features a 1080p resolution at 60 frames-per-second video, a seamless privacy cover, a sturdy design and a useful companion app. But it’s not worth $200 because there is no microphone on board and you'd expect 4K resolution at this price. Also, photos and videos can get noisy and the included cable is frustratingly short.

Overall, the Elgato Facecam is a decent webcam, but a bad one for the $200 price, especially when there are 4K webcams like the Logitech Brio at the same price.

Elgato Facecam design

The Elgato Facecam features a square frame that is on the bulkier side than some webcams, but not as big as something like the Razer Kiyo Pro. It has a medium-sized lens surrounded by a circular pattern that curves inward, creating room for the privacy cover to be placed neatly inside. On the right side, you’ll see white text that reads: “Elgato Prime Lens 1080p60 24mm 1:2.4.” And on the left is an LED indicator that when turned on, lights up blue.

Elgato Facecam review

(Image credit: Future)

On the top of the square frame is the Elgato logo, and on the right side, there’s a Facecam logo. Meanwhile, the USB Type-C port for power is located on the back, and the underside of the Facecam features the connector for the mount (can be detached and reattached to a tripod or Elgato Ring Light). You can use the L-shaped clamp to mount the webcam on a monitor. The first piece of the L can move up to 90 degrees and the second one can move up to 180 degrees.

The Elgato Facecam is sturdy and once it’s set, it’s not going anywhere. However, the USB Type-C cable is not very long, coming in at only 5 feet. For comparison, the Type-C cable included with the Logitech Brio is 7.2-feet long. But the small webcam cover is nice to have, and it’s easy to place on the lens, too.

Elgato Facecam picture

The Elgato Facecam takes decent photos, but I wouldn’t call it a $200 picture. It features a 1080p lens capable of shooting at 60 frames per second. The aperture is set at f/2.4, the focal length is 24mm with a field of view of 82 degrees.

Elgato Facecam review

(Image credit: Future)

The color balance accurately captured the pink and white in my shirt as well as the yellow and green in the Grookey poster behind me. However, the contrast balance leaves a lot to be desired. The white in my shirt was slightly too bright, and the window to my right was completely blown out. There are even parts of my skin that were shinier than normal. However, if you spend time messing with the shutter speed and ISO settings, you might get a more desirable look, but it’ll be much darker if you want to capture brighter atmospheres.

You'll spot some noise upon close inspection, so zooming in will create an unflattering photo. Despite all of its fancy tech, like the Sony Starvis CMOS sensor, which lets the Facecam capture minimal noise, this very much remains a 1080p webcam and there’s no escaping the attached limitations without bumping up the resolution.

Elgato Facecam video

Now, if you’re looking for a camera for streaming, specifically something that you can pop in the bottom-right corner of a gameplay stream, then the Elgato Facecam is a good choice. But again, it isn't worth the whopping $200 entry fee.

Elgato Facecam review

(Image credit: Future)

Thanks to the 60 fps rate, video looked incredibly smooth when I was talking or moving around in the shot, which is helpful especially when I play D&D online. There are certain movements and nuances I need to capture on screen to convey to my players, so I was glad to see this webcam capture every detail.

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Elgato Facecam review

(Image credit: Future)

Facecam Test Shot

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Elgato Facecam review

(Image credit: Future)

Razer Kiyo Pro Test Shot

However, the noise doesn’t do the Elgato Facecam any favors. When comparing the Elgato Facecam to the Razer Kiyo Pro, there was a clear difference in detail between the two. The Razer looked like it was shot on a professional camera, whereas the Elgato looked closer to a laptop webcam. It’s hard to believe that these webcams cost the same.

Elgato Facecam microphone

The Elgato Facecam’s microphone is…oh wait. Well, there is no microphone. Webcams at the same price feature microphones so this is a major drawback of the Elgato Facecam.

Elgato Facecam software

Elgato provides the Facecam with the Camera Hub, which is pretty neat and runs smoother than some of the other camera software I’ve tested.

Elgato Facecam review

(Image credit: Future)

You can adjust your zoom/FOV, contrast, saturation and sharpness. There’s an automatic setting for the exposure settings, otherwise, you can adjust the metering between being center-weighted or average, and you can also adjust the shutter speed and ISO. There’s also an automatic white balance setting that you can manually adjust if you’re feeling brave. And then there’s the processing tab, which features settings for noise reduction and anti-flicker. It can also easily mirror your camera’s viewpoint.

Overall, the software provides a clean interface and makes it super easy to set up your webcam.

Bottom line

I love Elgato’s streaming tech, but it feels like the company is so wrapped up in its premium pricing that it can’t see the Elgato Facecam for what it’s worth. There are some positives, like its privacy cover, sturdy design and companion app, but those aren't worth the price. The Elgato Facecam should cost $99, not $199.

People who want to start out streaming typically go to Elgato for all of the goods, but this webcam is not worth the premium price point. Turn to Razer or Logitech for a better webcam at the same price.

Overall, the Elgato Facecam is a decent webcam, but there is much better competition out there.

Rami Tabari

Rami Tabari is a Senior Writer for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-like challenge.