This Kensington W1050 1080p webcam review is for those who make a lot of video calls during the workday but who don’t want to spend over the odds to do so.
Kensington office kit strives to make your work life more efficient and totally fuss-free, whether you're based at home or in an office, they offer a whole range of products from the best mice to the best keyboards as well as everything in between, from docking stations to backpacks.
While the Kensington W1050 doesn’t quite match up to some of the very best webcams there are, if you’re on a budget then this is the most affordable option they have and it does exactly what it says on the tin.
Kensington W1050 1080p webcam review: price and availability
Available to buy right now, the Kensington W1050 1080p Fixed Focus webcam will set you back $50 in the US and £35 in the UK. Take a look at the widgets on this page to see where you can pick one up.
Kensington W1050 1080p webcam review: design and setup
While it may not be as slim and compact as other webcams out there, the Kensington still looks neat and tidy when it’s placed on top of a monitor. It has a glossy black surface across the front and a privacy cover that slides across the front to reveal or hide the camera lens. To keep it stable, there’s a clip on the bottom that perches along the top edge of the screen, and its position can be adjusted 37° vertically and 360° horizontally.
Setting it up couldn’t be simpler, you just plug it in. My computer automatically recognised it and did the rest for me, after that it appeared in my list of devices and could be used across all types of video conferencing tools when you go to select your video source.
To make the most out of everything this webcam has to offer, I also had to download the Kensington Konnect software which is now available for both Windows and Mac.
Through the desktop app, you can set a focal area of the shot as well as pan or tilt the image. There’s an Effects and Adjust tab to edit the picture with some preset filters, as well as manual controls for brightness, contrast and saturation.
More advanced controls let you customise the backlight, low light, white balance, sharpness, hue and gamma. There isn’t much in the way of automatic quick fixes but you do get plenty of manual control.
Once you’ve found the perfect balance you can save a camera profile for each potential use, for example, you can have different presets saved for daytime, nighttime, when you’re at work or when you’re at home.
Kensington W1050 1080p webcam review: performance
Because this is a Fixed Focus webcam, it shouldn't need any autofocus or manual focus to produce consistently sharp videos, but I found this could be a little hit and miss.
Without the desktop software downloaded, the image quality from the Kensington W1050 came out looking dim and grainy unless I was sitting next to a sunny window. My face looked shrouded in darkness on a few occasions which meant people couldn't see me as well as they should do.
Luckily, the Kensington Konnect software provides a solution to that because it allows you to make crucial adjustments that improve the quality of the shot. I found that it made a world of difference, brightening up the stream and making it look a lot more detailed and flattering.
If you don’t realise that the quality is coming out poorly until you’re already on the call then you can actually make adjustments there and then as well which will be very handy, especially if the lighting around you changes
The field of view sits at 95° which does give plenty of room to fit more than one person in the frame at once, although I’d say that you most likely won’t get more than three in each time.
Built into the camera are omnidirectional microphones which for the most part, made my voice sound clear and loud enough to understand. You do get a small amount of background noise coming through but it doesn’t overwhelm the sound enough to make it an issue.
Kensington W1050 1080p webcam review: verdict
The Kensington W1050 1080p webcam isn’t going to wow you with ultra clear image quality or an abundance of the latest features, but what it will do is give you a cheap and easy way to make video calls from your computer.
Easy to set up and easy to use, it stays securely propped along the top edge of your monitor or laptop and the Kensington Konnect software will give you just enough control over the picture quality as well as the opportunity to create different set profiles for different situations.
It would have been great to get more automatic image adjustments so you don’t need to fiddle around so much with the settings but it's a sacrifice you have to make at this price.
If you wanted to improve the camera quality in other ways, you could also invest in some other Kensington kit, like a ring light. That would definitely solve any issues when it comes to lighting and it’ll be very useful for anyone who is recording themselves as well as simply making video calls.
Kensington W1050 1080p webcam review: also consider
If money is no object then the best premium webcam you can buy is the Razer Kiyo Pro, while it may not be 4K, you still get excellent Full HD image quality even when the room’s lighting is low, while HDR makes things look more natural by keeping an eye on the contrast and exposure of the shot.
A very popular webcam worth considering is the Logitech StreamCam, it will be suited to everything from work video calls to Twitch streaming because it offers both fantastic image quality and free software that adds lots of extra options.
The only downside is the lack of privacy cover and the fact that the software doesn’t yet work on Mac but it’ll be up to you as to whether those points are dealbreakers, if not then you should be able to find some good deals on right now.