Targus Webcam Plus
Targus HD Webcam Plus Review
At the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic, it was hard, if not impossible, to buy a webcam. The low-resolution 480p cameras on many laptops weren’t cutting it, and 720p “HD” cameras weren’t doing much better. Camera feeds were grainy and dark. Luckily, microphone technology was often better. Cameras were torn off shelves when stores were open, and then flowed in rivers from online retailers until the supply chain interrupts made them nearly impossible to find.
But web cameras are back, and like the Targus Webcam Plus, they offer superior performance over the majority of older built-in laptop cameras. And even in newer laptops with Full HD cameras, an external camera offers flexibility that a stationary camera trapped in the top of a bezel can never offer.
What we like
The $59.99 Targus HD Webcam Plus with Auto-Focus transforms the video experience for resolution-starved laptops and desktops that don’t have a camera. The sharp, clear images appear professional to attendees, and the integrated, omnidirectional microphone offers equally crisp sound coming synchronized with the video. As noted in the name, the Webcam Plus uses auto-focus exclusively, as Targus does not offer an app to tweak the camera’s parameters.
And speaking of parameters, a key one for the Targus HD Webcam is its 67° diagonal field of view that keeps focus on the speaker, but also offers enough background to provide context. The 1080 feed runs only at 30fps, which is comparable to other cameras at this price.
Like most webcams, the Targus HD Webcam Plus hangs over the back of a monitor or display, dangling its USB-A cable like a robotic tail in search of a port.
For those who would rather mount their camera on a tripod rather than the top of a monitor, the HD Webcam comes complete with a universal tripod thread in its base.
The Webcam Plus HD supports Windows, macOS and Chrome OS.
To make a point on build quality, Targus offers a 2-year limited warranty on the camera.
What could be improved
Security was seemingly an afterthought with the Targus Webcam Plus, as it arrives as an adhesive lens shutter that the customer must place on the front of the camera. While the lens shutter works, it mars the attractive camera design. My older Microsoft Lifecam arrived with a rubber cover that fits inside the lens housing. The Poly Studio 5 integrates a privacy shutter in the housing, which evokes with a twist. Targus’s solution is serviceable, and I appreciate that they added it to a camera already designed ahead of the flurry of privacy concerns that precipitated out of the video conferencing avalanche.
I know many people have pasted sliding shutters on their laptops, purchased in bulk from Amazon, received as a conference giveaway, or gifted as a stocking stuffer. So, an adhesive shutter might not seem a big deal, and it really isn’t, but I would appreciate a little more elegance in the shutter when paired with a new, attractive camera design. Logitech offers a solution Targus may want to consider in its C920s/e, in the form of a hinged lens cover that folds over the camera—and it’s removable for those who don’t see a need.
The other issue I have with the Targus HD Webcam Plus comes from the light which refracts off its flush lens cover, often producing unwanted lens flares. Targus may want to consider built-in LED lights as Logitech did with the C922 Pro HD Stream Webcam to create an even more complete solution.
My only other suggestion to Targus: get on the USB-C bandwagon. It’s time to let the USB-A hangers on buy adapters (or for some period of time, companies to include a USB-C to USB-A adapter on their cables).
On the environmental front, a recyclable blister pack (or cardboard holder) and cardboard hang tag would improve the mostly cardboard presentation of the Targus HD Webcam Plus.
Targus HD Webcam Plus: The Bottom Line
Targus did not produce the best webcam on the market for its price, but the Targus HD Webcam Plus proves more than serviceable. It delivers outstanding, clear video to laptops with older, built-in webcams, and it enables camera-less desktops to see. It looks good despite the kludgy lens shutter but otherwise appears to offer good build quality. The $59.99 price will likely get discounted as the product becomes more widely available, which will keep it competitive as many webcams at higher list prices often sell in the $60 range at discount.
Targus provided the HD Webcam Plus for review. Images courtesy of Targus.
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