The Chinese brand Aukey is known for offering consumer products that go straight to the point (that is, without any added paraphernalia, unlike some large manufacturers) and that offer good performance at a very affordable price.
Since in the last year we have all become accustomed to conducting videoconferences, counting for this in many cases with the webcam included in our laptops or tablets, of which we discover that it does not quite measure up to quality level and that In addition, it requires the use of an external microphone, I asked Aukey for one of his best webcams , the FHD 1080p , as a sample to be able to test it as a substitute.
And the truth is that, taking into account the quality / price ratio, the result is the best we could hope for .
Aukey is a pragmatic manufacturer, so its packaging is correct but, unlike other companies, it does not seek to provide an unboxing experience to the buyer, but rather it is a mere vehicle for the device to reach the buyer in a safe and secure way. correct.
Aukey FHD 1080p Webcam Packagind
In a sober brown color typical of cardboard, with the image of the product, the model and the Aukey brand on the front for a correct identification of the product, once the box is opened we find the camera wrapped in a protective bag inside a separator of cardboard, with the cable that is diverted to another section of the cardboard protector.
They are accompanied by the paper documentation, consisting of a 24-month warranty card (which must be completed online), and the user manual in several languages, including Spanish .
This manual explains the technical details of the webcam, and how to install it on a monitor or on the desk table, and its connection to the computer. As it does not require drivers or specific software to function , there are no references to this aspect in this brief manual (only four pages).
The webcam has various protectors that must be removed before starting to use it, especially the one on the front.
Aukey’s FHD 1080p Webcam has a classic look, reminiscent of the Logitech C9xx series , and is still a format that has inspired many manufacturers, not just Aukey.
The webcam in operation. Note its shape and its clear inspiration, and the blue LED that indicates that it is in action
Its measurements are 103 mm long by 41 mm in total height (counting the clamp -which I will talk about right now- fully folded), being 22.5 mm for the body of the camera without counting the clamp, and 24 mm in total length with the collet folded. The connection cable, USB 2.0 (despite being white, the usual encoding of version 1.x, although we can also find it in connectors compatible with high speed USB 2.0) has a length of 1.8 meters .
In this image we can see the clamp, with its two sections, the front stop and how the body can rotate on its axis.
This cable allows us to conveniently connect it to any desktop computer that is not an all-in-one , that is, that has the screen separated from the tower. However, and if we use the webcam with a laptop, the remnant of the cable will surely bother us, so we will have to carry some type of flange or equivalent to be able to tie it and leave it well collected . We do not want anyone to bump into it, but as in many other things, it is better than not to fall short.
In the lower part of the body of the webcam we have the clamp , consisting of two moving parts that can form an L shape adapting to the monitor or the surface on which the webcam must be mounted. In fact, we can place it flat on the table , since said folded clamp forms a surface that facilitates stability, and adapts equally well to laptop screens, or desktop computer screens.
In addition, once we have correctly positioned the clamp, the grip it provides is secure enough to be used even on a laptop on the go , at an airport, train station, or even within the convoy (if the network coverage accompanies).
At the bottom of this structure we find a threaded hole to mount it on a tripod, standard size (that is, the same as a camera) . It will not give us enough quality to think about using it for professional online broadcasts, but it makes it easier to use it for, for example, carrying out a family video conference, or having it permanently mounted on one of those small desktop tripods.
On its front, a stop reaffirms the grip , as we can see in the photographs that illustrate this article, and prevents it from slipping off the top of the monitor.
On the sides of the camera we can see the stereo microphones . And, if we touch the lens, only to the touch we can notice how it has a shape similar to that of a “fisheye”. I will talk about it in more detail later, because it is not what it seems.
Once installed, the body of this webcam can rotate, allowing us to show a part of the room we are in without having to physically remove it from where it is installed.
To function, the Aukey 1080p FHD webcam can be connected to a working computer or equivalent device governed by Microsoft Windows XP or higher, macOS 10.6 or higher, or Android 5.0 or higher .
What caught my attention the most about these specifications is that it listed Android but not GNU / Linux, knowing that the former is a derivative of the latter that works on a version of the same kernel. And, if this Aukey webcam does not require the installation of software for its operation on Android, it means that the kernel of the system recognizes it by default. And, in theory, this should imply that it is also recognized in GNU / Linux .
So, to test my theory, I decided to first connect it to a set-top box that I have next to the TV in the living room, which works with an Android version 9, to check if it really works out-of with Google’s system. -the-box .
And, indeed, that’s right: the first time, the system recognized the webcam , both with the built-in camera program and with the Jitsi Meet client app . The next step was, therefore, the test with GNU / Linux.
Android 5.0 is based on a Linux 3.14 kernel, so any distro that has this version or higher of the kernel should recognize Aukey’s webcam without much effort or software installation, just like my set-top box did. Android.
On my desktop I have an Ubuntu 20.04 with 5.4 kernel installed , more than enough to support Aukey’s webcam, so I connected it to a USB port, opened the Chrome browser, loaded a Jitsi Meet room, gave the mic permissions (when detecting the camera, it also detected his mike), and my image was clearly seen on screen .
Successfully passed the Linux test , which means that the Aukey FHP 1080p Webcam works as is and without requiring anything else on the penguin system , I decided to test it on the most common platforms, this is Microsoft Windows and macOS.
Under Windows 10 on the same computer (that I have with dual boot) it has also recognized the webcam quickly and without having to install anything, in the same way that it has done it on a somewhat old MacBook Pro (more than a decade) that I have with macOS 10.10. Instantly configured, without requiring the installation of anything, and usable from the first moment without having to restart.
In both cases, I have also tested its operation from Google’s Chrome web browser with the Jitsi Meet video conferencing service .
It does not need external software, but Aukey does not offer the possibility of using tools (even if they are from third parties) to modify operating parameters such as saturation or brightness , and that can be very useful in lighting conditions like those that I usually suffer. in my room, with direct light coming from behind.
In these cases, we can only rely on the configuration tools of video conferencing clients, something not all have, or third-party solutions. However, the performance of the Aukey 1080p Webcam is good enough that these lighting issues take a backseat, even though they are still there .
As its name suggests, this Aukey webcam offers support for 1080p image and has a 1 / 2.9 ”CMOS sensor, being able to transmit video to the computer with 30 fps .
It is sharp enough, and offers good performance even in scenarios where the light is coming from behind (that is, it hits the camera lens directly), which is the worst case scenario, since ideally, the light must come from behind the camera (statement valid for any photography and / or video scenario).
Throughout these days I have had the opportunity to carry out several tests comparing the performance of this webcam with the hardware that I usually use for video conferencing, and which is none other than a Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite tablet, with a front camera (which is the one I use for obvious reasons) that has a 5 Mpx sensor and allows a resolution of 1080p, the same as in the case of our webcam, but the latter with a 2 Mpx sensor.
On the left, an image captured with Aukey’s webcam, while on the right we have the image captured with the front camera of a Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite tablet, to be able to compare it. We see more field in the Aukey, and a better definition (click to see full size).
However, in a camera not everything is reduced to pixelation, but the image processing plays in such a way that 2 Mpx can yield more than 5 if they know how to treat them well, in addition to also depending on other characteristics of the sensor. And this is what seems to be happening in the case at hand.
Contrasting with different interlocutors with whom I have been speaking in recent weeks or months, Aukey’s webcam clearly stands as the winner for image quality , without any type of pixelation, providing fluid movement at all times (beyond the part of this statement that depends on the bandwidth of the connection), and playing well with the lighting.
The direct light hitting from behind the image (as I said before, the worst scenario for any camera) does not allow to get the best performance of the camera in terms of image, but it does not cause light artifices or very strange effects, only an aura around the figure of the speaker (in this case, a servant), and the illumination of some part of the body, such as an arm and a half face. Nothing that does not happen to us with other webcams in the same situation.
Earlier I indicated that the lens has a shape similar to that of a “fisheye”, more pronounced in the center than at the edge, as if it were a slightly flattened hemisphere. This shape is noticeable just by passing your fingertip over the lens (tip: if you do this, then clean the lens with a microfiber cloth to avoid dirt and fingerprint marks from impoverishing and distorting the quality of the lens). image).
Despite this, the image can be seen correctly, without the distortion caused by a “fisheye”, although it is true that the image field is notably larger than that of a conventional laptop or tablet / smartphone webcam.
From Aukey they have confirmed to me that their webcam does not have this “fisheye” structure.
Once again, I turn to those who are my usual interlocutors in video conferences that I have on a routine basis, and who have indicated that compared to the hardware I use regularly, they heard me more clearly .
This hardware is none other than over-ear headphones with an integrated microphone, connected by Bluetooth to the tablet with which I usually carry out videoconferences.
Even standing a couple of meters from the webcam and speaking with a normal tone of voice, without raising it, the sound that reaches the other side does not suffer at all (well, it is heard a little lower, naturally, but it is heard without any Type of problem).
The background noise prevailing in the room (and usually coming from a television located on the other side of a wall, and which is usually at a considerable volume) has not generated any annoyance or criticism, contrary to what had happened previously with the headphones that I had been using, and in which the background noise bothered my interlocutors.
With the latter, Aukey proves that the noise reduction functionality of the microphones works perfectly .
Being able to find this webcam on Amazon among other online businesses at a price between € 30 and € 40, I can affirm emphatically and without fear of being wrong that it is worth each and every one of the euros it costs .
And this because it provides good quality -although not at the height of certain Logitech models, for example, although for a fraction of its price- and, above all, ease of installation (pure plug & play, connect and enjoy it) with great compatibility (Windows, macOS, Linux and Android as a derivative of the Penguin platform).
Useful to equip a desktop computer that does not have a camera, and even to replace the webcam integrated in a laptop, which tend to give a lower video quality, especially in laptops that are already a few years old.