EMEET Nova Webcam (Hardware)

Author:Krista Noren

Still need a webcam for video calling? Then there's a budget-friendly option out there, with a few fun features, too.

Video-chatting is certainly the comeback kid. As lockdown turned our forms of communication more towards digital ones, the need for webcams rose dramatically. In fact, a CES presentation made specific note of the outstanding sales jump that had happened within the webcam market, even causing a shortage of them just a year ago. Now that the hype has died down, maybe you're looking to grab one on a discount, or maybe just have a webcam on hand for video calls with your grandparents. If so, then the little budget EMEET Nova is here to help.

The last time I dealt with a webcam, it was the early 2000s, and the device I had needed a driver disc in order to even work correctly. Fortunately, the EMEET Nova doesn’t have any such setbacks, and works directly out of the box. Windows immediately picked it up, and it was ready to go, simple as that. Discord, Windows Camera, and Zoom all picked up the webcam, becoming my default (and only) video device. I also noticed that it changed my audio settings as well, and that’s because the Nova has a little microphone inside of it. It’s no Blue Yeti, but if you don’t have any other audio input source, it’s not a bad mic, really; it even has a little noise cancellation going on, so the people you’re in a call with won’t hear you hammering away, typing on your 30 mechanical keyboards. I’d even wager that it’s better than most laptop mics, too.

When it came to the video quality, I was surprised--prior to opening the webcam, I’d expected something that would be decent, at best. The Nova managed to be a bit better than that, with the webcam’s super wide view being the first immediately noticeable detail. Rather than just focus on a small view of whatever was directly in front of it, the Nova’s FOV was large enough that it captured my entire room around me, which was really neat. EMEET bills the webcam as having a 96-degree lens, and while I’m no webcam aficionado, a wide-lens view definitely looks far more pleasing in video calls, as opposed to a front-facing phone camera.

Using the webcam for Discord video-calls worked exceptionally well, and while the concept of talking over video chat casts an anxious chill down my introvert spine, the other party was able to clearly see myself, and was able to identify small things I pointed out that were nearby the center of the camera’s focus. It even handled low-light settings really nicely, which was something I expected it to struggle with.

On the bottom of the webcam is a clip that you can use to attach it to the top of your monitor, as well as a small bracket that lets you mount the Nova onto tripods or something like a ring light. It also has full 360-degree rotation, and the ability to tilt it slightly up and down to adjust the angle to look the most flattering. I liked that, and found that it worked perfectly with the Elgato Ring Light, which let me further tweak the lighting to best accommodate the webcam’s intricacies. The cable, which is a simple USB, is decently long, letting you plug it in even if your PC is a few feet from your screen.

I did find an aspect of the Nova that was disappointing after messing around with it for a bit: how it handled colors. While the webcam gets acceptable quality out of its 2MP camera, colors tended to look pretty washed out, or just de-saturated in general. It also did not like bright light sources in the background; my lamp looked like a raging sun inferno to others viewing the video. For what you get though, there had to be a bit of a drawback somewhere, and a slightly paler-than-average color tone to your camera capture isn’t the worst thing, and I’d take it any day over compromising the fidelity of the video itself.

For a bit over the $30 mark on Amazon, I believe the EMEET Nova webcam is a great little device that you can pick up on the cheap. For a lot of us, lockdown isn’t quite over, so if you still need a 1080p webcam for school discussions, or your grandparents are hounding you to get around to calling them on Zoom so they can see how much you’ve grown since they last saw you, well, this is a perfect worry-free budget option.

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