Zoom.us reported, the maximum number of daily meeting participants, both free and paid in December 2019, conducted on Zoom was approximately 10 million. In March of 2020, that number reached more than 200 million daily meeting participants, both free and paid. (Zoom)
COVID-19 and stay-at-home guidelines have entirely changed the way we communicate with our co-workers. Even though the quarantine restrictions have started to loosen in many states, the odds are that, in the future, video conferencing for team meetings could become the norm rather than the exception.
With this in mind, it might be time to upgrade some of your equipment to boost the quality of your next video conference call. Many people are still using their laptop webcam and internal microphone for their meetings, often resulting in substandard video quality and terrible audio. If you want to make your calls crystal clear and provide everyone with the best experience possible, you may want to take a look at these gadgets!
One area that laptop manufacturers usually cheap out is on the internal webcam. Frankly, they are sub-par. An internal webcam does the job, but if you want high-quality video, you’re going to need to invest in an external webcam.
This can be a confusing market, as there are countless webcams available from dozens of companies. Here are some recommendations at various price points:
If you want a premium webcam experience for a reasonable price, the Razer Kiyo is an excellent choice. It offers two video quality options, 1080p at 30 fps, and 720p at 60 fps. There is a ring light built-in, providing illumination if you’re in a darker room. There is also an excellent built-in microphone. It’s slightly pricier than some webcams, but you can find it for as low as $100.
This is probably the best middle-of-the-road option available today. It’s an old favorite of professionals, having been on the market for the last seven years. Despite this, it still offers some fantastic features at a reasonable price. By default, it offers 1080p video at 30 fps. As another cost-saving feature, it also includes a built-in microphone, although we would still recommend using a headset for the best audio quality. You can find the C920 for around $80 at most electronics stores, including Amazon.
Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
If you’re looking for a budget model of webcam, the LifeCam HD-3000 is a decent choice. While there are few bells and whistles, it does its job well, recording at 720p at 30 fps. Best of all, the price comes in at around $40, making it very affordable for professionals on a budget.
Being able to see someone on video conferencing is clearly important, but being able to hear them properly is non-negotiable. The last thing you want is everyone trying to read your lips on a video conferencing call. Thankfully, there are a ton of microphone options in various form factors to fix this issue, once and for all.
But if you don’t want to be sitting in front of a microphone, vaguely feeling like a contestant on American Idol, then you might be in the market for a headset. While there are wired headsets available, Bluetooth models offer comparable audio quality with no cords, so they get our recommendation.
Here are some suggestions:
Blue Yeti Nano
This $100 premium USB microphone is used by professional content creators the world over. It features a much more compact design than its famous older brother, the Blue Yeti, but offers many of the same features. When you speak into this mic, people are going to pay attention! If you’re looking for something similar, but a bit cheaper, we’d recommend the Blue Snowball for around $70. It lacks some of the Yeti Nano’s features, but it’s still an excellent quality USB microphone.
If you want a dedicated wireless headset for all of your business needs, the Logitech H820E is terrific. It’s comfortable to wear all day and features a 300-foot range and up to 10 hours of talk time. You can usually find them selling for around $200.
If you’re an Apple user, then your best bet might be a pair of AirPods. These wireless earbuds are comfy, offer excellent battery life, are incredibly portable, and pair instantly with all of your Apple devices. They can work on PCs or Android phones, but they may lack functionality on these non-Apple devices. You can choose between the noise-canceling AirPods Pro at around $250 or the regular AirPods at around $200.
Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2
If you want a headset that works for both video conferencing and entertainment, it’s hard to beat the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2. These Bluetooth headphones might look a little intimidating, but they’re surprisingly light, offer outstanding audio and microphone quality, and only cost $200.
For most video conferencing, standard room lighting will be enough. But if your computer setup is in a darker room, you might want to invest in some lighting for your video calls.
Elgato – Key Light
At $200, you might think that the Elgato Key Light is a little too expensive for your needs. But in terms of customizable lighting for video, it’s tough to beat. With a 2900-7000K color temperature range, wireless connectivity, and a Studio LED panel with a 2500-lumen output, you could use this light for everything from video conferencing to content creation!
If you’re currently on a very tight budget, there is one tool you likely have that can deliver outstanding video quality and clear audio on your video conferencing calls: your smartphone!
Camera quality is usually a selling point in most mid-range to high-end phones today. Plus, they have outstanding microphones built-in because they are, well, a phone! All you need is a stand to stabilize the video, and you’ll be all set. We wouldn’t recommend this for video calls featuring many people, but one-on-one, they’re an excellent choice.
With everyone working from home, keeping in touch with your team can be challenging. By upgrading your video conferencing setup, your video conferencing will be much smoother, helping you keep in contact!
And if you’re looking for new talent to join your organization, Raso Solutions can help by connecting you with virtual team members in the US and the Philippines. These are experienced professionals already trained to work remotely, a perfect solution for staffing in these uncertain times. If you’d like to learn more, we invite you to contact us with your questions, and we will get back to you ASAP