Review of the Dell UltraSharp Webcam: Excellent hardware, but image quality falls short of Logitech’s

While webcams have become increasingly vital to how we work, it’s remarkable that Logitech’s BRIO 4K, which was released in 2017, is still the best option. That isn’t to say that other businesses aren’t vying for the throne. On paper, Dell’s new UltraSharp Webcam has a lot of the correct features, but is it truly better?

While the UltraSharp advances the category in several major areas, Dell still has opportunity to grow in the image processing sector, since I’ve been using it for a few months now.

Review of the Dell UltraSharp Webcam: Excellent hardware, but image quality falls short of Logitech's

Dell UltraSharp Webcam

Dell's large webcam looks the part, but it trails Logitech in terms of overall image quality.
Pros
Windows Hello and presence detection have an excellent design.
User-friendly software
8MP sensor, 4K/30 video

Cons
Presence detection is unlikely to work on desktop PCs because color science isn’t as sophisticated as Logitech’s.
No horizontal inclination
Auto-focus is slow, the image is dim, and the sharpness is poor.

Price and availability of the Dell UltraSharp Webcam

The Dell UltraSharp Webcam costs $200 and is available through Amazon and Dell directly. There are no different configurations or options.

What you’ll like about the Dell Ultra Sharp Webcam

There’s little doubt that Dell is giving the UltraSharp its best. If you could develop the perfect webcam, Dell would nail the aesthetics, feel, quality, and features list.

You get a sturdy, tube-like camera right out of the box. It’s made entirely of machined anodized aluminum, with no plastics like Logitech’s cameras. The magnets are powerful, won’t fall out, and are precisely manufactured. Two mounts are included: one for your PC display and one for a tabletop that also functions as a tripod mount. The mounts are entirely magnetic, which is a fantastic feature. With no tools or screws, simply peel out and swap out.

Resolution4K UHD / 24, 30
Full HD / 24, 30, 60
HD / 24, 30, 60
Megapixel8.3MP
Sensor brandLarge Sony STARVIS CMOS
FOV65, 78, 90 degrees
HD Digital ZoomUp to 5x
Auto-light correctionAdvanced Digital Overlap (DOL) HDR
Video Noise Reduction (3D+2D)
Auto white balanceYes
AI Auto-FramingYes
MicrophoneNo
PrivacyWindows Hello
Dell ExpressSign-in
CertificationMicrosoft Teams, Zoom
Size42mm x 90mm
1.65 x 3.54 inches
MaterialAnodized aluminum
ConnectivityUSB-A
USB-C to USB-A (inbox)

A Type-C to Type-A connection (Type-C for the camera; Type-A for the PC) provides connectivity and measures roughly 7 feet in length, which is more than enough for most configurations. It’s rubbery, thick, and powerful.

The accompanying privacy cap simply adheres to the front glass with magnets, preventing the camera from recording anything. When not in use, Dell allows you to slap it to the back of the camera (again, using magnets) so you don’t lose it.

When it comes to the major point, the camera, Dell once again hits the appropriate notes on paper. It has a large 8.3MP camera, Windows Hello, HDR, Sony sensor, and is 4K ready. Windows Hello works well, and Dell’s ExpressSign-In (also known as presence recognition) turns on your computer and logs you in without you having to do anything. It can also lock your computer when you walk away.

img3

When you plug the camera into your PC, the program (Dell Peripheral Manager) is automatically installed. There’s no need to look for an app on the internet. Dell Peripheral Manager is easy to use and will help you through the setup process. You can then use the default option or one of the presets, such as smooth, vivid, or warm. Custom is also available, allowing you to create your own profiles with settings such as field of view (65, 78, or 90 degrees), focus, zoom, HDR, white balance, sharpness, contrast, and more.

AI Auto Framing is a key selling point under Camera Control. It overrides the field of view preset and follows your face/body when enabled. It’s a great alternative for people who fidget on camera or move around a lot during calls because it keeps you centered. The action is fluid and appears to be purposeful.

What you won’t like about the Dell UltraSharp Webcam

There is no microphone built into this camera. That’s strange, but Dell makes a solid point: most individuals who need a “pro-level” webcam will also bring a better microphone. It also makes it clearer in Windows which microphone is your default. However, if you don’t have an external mic (on your desktop) or your laptop’s mics aren’t up to snuff, you’ll have to invest some more money to fix it.

The Dell UltraSharp tilts up and down beautifully, however it does not move side to side. Although not essential, a pivoting mechanism would have been advantageous.

The Dell UltraSharp Webcam’s default image settings are not to my liking. My complexion appears redder than in real life, photos are overly soft, and the entire picture appears darker than other webcams. It’s not bad, and some people may appreciate the aesthetic, but the default regular settings don’t seem to be perfect.

img

The good news is that you can customize your profile to meet your preferences by “dialing in” sharpness, brightness, white balance, and more. My perceptions of image quality improved as a result. However, Logitech has an advantage in this area, as the BRIO 4K works out of the box. In addition, I was never able to make Dell’s camera seem like Logitech’s.

It’s regrettable that human presence detection, also known as Dell ExpressSign-in, is unlikely to operate on many desktop PCs. “Walk Away Lock and Wake on Approach does not operate” on PCs that support an S3 sleep state, according to Dell. Laptops, on the other hand, employ the S0 sleep state (Modern Standby) instead. I love this feature on laptops and was looking forward to having it on my cutting-edge Intel 12th Gen machine, but it doesn’t even appear in the app (also confusing). However, if you plan to use this camera on your laptop, ExpressSign-in performed as expected and is a great security feature.

While I appreciate the notion of the magnetic privacy lid, I typically just lay it on the desk when it’s not in use because reaching behind the camera is a stretch. Logitech offers a $9 privacy cover that simply opens and closes, making it more simpler to use.

Competition for the Dell UltraSharp Webcam

The Logitech BRIO 4K, which is presently priced about $150, is the most obvious alternative to this Dell webcam. Despite the fact that it is nearly four years old, it remains one of the best solutions available. It misses Dell’s handy ExpressSign-in feature and outstanding build quality, but the image quality (without tuning) is still excellent, with a crisper, brighter picture overall.

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Razer also has the Kiyo Pro, which is massive and has exceptional low-light performance. In my experience, it’s a decent webcam with a size that falls short of the promises, but it’s sharp. It costs $200 as well. It is the worst of the three options.

Should you buy the Dell UltraSharp Webcam?

I had high expectations going into this because Dell does a lot of things right with the UltraSharp Webcam. But, as the phrase goes, you can’t miss when attacking the monarch. Dell falls short of the Logitech BRIO 4K, which is remarkable given the camera’s age of four years. It’s not that the hardware is bad; I prefer Dell’s design and quality to the BRIO’s; it’s just that the software and color science aren’t as excellent as Logitech’s, which has a lot more experience in this area.

This is something you should get if…

  • You require a versatile 4K webcam for daily use.
  • You wish to upgrade your laptop’s webcam.
  • You require Dell ExpressSign-in for security reasons.

If…, you shouldn’t buy it.

  • You’re looking for the greatest 4K webcam.

It’s a bit ironic because, despite its name, I don’t find this webcam to be particularly sharp. Indeed, it appears soft to me while keeping the background text focused.

In principle, those complaints indicate Dell may release software and firmware updates for the UltraSharp Webcam to fix soft-focus, white balance, and scene brightness. However, you should never purchase a product based on what it could be rather than what it is (and there are no signs of any substantial Dell updates in the pipeline).

The fact that Dell’s camera is roughly $50 more expensive than Logitech’s exacerbates these concerns. That makes it tough to recommend it over the BRIO.

This isn’t to suggest the UltraSharp isn’t good. Indeed, I’d argue it’s the second-best webcam on the market right now, and it does have certain advantages, such as ease of installation. However, before Dell can knock Logitech, it needs a little more skill with software tuning.

Review of the Dell UltraSharp Webcam: Excellent hardware, but image quality falls short of Logitech's

Dell UltraSharp Webcam

Dell's large webcam looks the part, but it trails Logitech in terms of overall image quality.
Pros
Windows Hello and presence detection have an excellent design.
User-friendly software
8MP sensor, 4K/30 video

Cons
Presence detection is unlikely to work on desktop PCs because color science isn’t as sophisticated as Logitech’s.
No horizontal inclination
Auto-focus is slow, the image is dim, and the sharpness is poor.


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