With temporary working from home beginning to turn into a long-term hybrid schedule, the need for a good webcam has presented itself as yet another issue to address for out-of-office work. As some of the worst offenders of that, Apple’s lineup of Macs have long been scrutinized for their less-than-stellar internal webcams. But that’s where Anker’s new PowerConf C300 enters the mix.
Delivering a Mac-friendly design complete with improved picture quality, AI-backed adjusting field of view, and USB-C. But is it actually worth replacing your Mac’s built-in webcam? That’s what our latest Tested with 9to5Toys review looks to answer.
Hands-on with the Anker PowerConf C300
Earlier this year, Anker expanded its collection of work-from-home gear with the brand’s first-ever webcam, the PowerConf C300. Sporting a 1080p sensor that can record in 60FPS, the new accessory also packs AI functionality to automatically adjust the field of view based on the shot or how many people are on-screen.
Alongside USB-C connectivity for pairing with the latest Macs (M1 included) and PCs alike, there’s other notable quality-of-life improvements over other webcams out there, like an adjustable stand. This allows you to not only mount the Anker PowerConf C300 onto a variety of different machines ranging from monitors to laptops, but also packs a threaded mount for pairing with a tripod.
Entering with a $129.99 price tag, though currently on sale for $103.99, we’re going to be taking a look to see if the Anker PowerConf C300 is worth adding into your Mac setup.
Here’s a quick look at the specs:
- Make a great first impression with clients and impress your boss with PowerConf C300’s crisp HD webcam 1080p/60FPS camera with true-to-life colors.
- Be heard loud and clear via HD webcam while working from home thanks to the ultra-sensitive dual microphones.
- When working late or calling clients in different time zones, the HD webcam’s AI-powered auto low-light correction kicks in to ensure you stand out, even in poor lighting conditions.
- Whether you’re calling solo from home or huddled with colleagues in the office, our revolutionary AI technology automatically adjusts the field of view depending on the number of people in your meeting.
- Automatically focuses on people or objects within just 0.35 seconds. Use auto-focus AI to show off every detail of your latest samples and prototypes without waiting for the focus to catch up.
I’ve been testing Anker’s new PowerConf C300 webcam over the past few weeks, and have been pretty surprised by the overall quality. It has everything you’d expect out of a modern webcam, especially from a Mac companion. Its USB-C connectivity still seems to be a regular omission from more affordable webcams these days, and makes for pairing with your Mac about as convenient as can be.
Let’s start by checking out the image quality on the Anker PowerConf C300, arguably the most important aspect of any webcam. As for the brand’s first release, I’d say Anker absolutely delivered. Its 1080p sensor pairs pretty well with the software in order to deliver a clean-looking shot in a variety of lighting conditions.
There’s also a wide field of view that pairs with an AI feature to automatically adjust based on the framing. Even with the more novel side of the functionality excluded, just having more in the shot has proved to be a nice inclusion.
Above you’ll find a comparison between an image shot on Anker’s model on the left, and an image from the 16-inch MacBook Pro’s webcam on the right. There’s a pretty stark contrast in quality on either side, with the Anker offering delivering a more balanced shot with crisper details.
So if you’re rocking any of Apple’s MacBooks, be it the 16-inch Pro you’re waiting to replace down the line or even one of the newer M1 machines, the new Anker PowerConf C300 will provide a much better picture than your built-in webcam and should absolutely be considered.
As for Apple’s most recent desktop, the new M1 iMac does manage to deliver a more natural image, in that it’s more accurate to the actual room’s lighting, but lacks the wider field of view. The Anker PowerConf C300, on the other hand, manages to leverage its AI chops for what many, myself included, may find to be a better overall image. The value proposition isn’t going to be as big of a must-have for M1 iMac owners, but there are certainly some reasons to upgrade. I’ll personally continue using Anker’s model, but that’s just because I prefer the output.
Picture quality aside, the microphone is pretty solid, too. Apple has long been touting the quality of their audio hardware for quite some time with the recent few iterations of Macs, even before the M1 wave swept the world. Suffice to say, Anker is managing to keep up surprisingly well. While the audio fidelity isn’t going to be the main selling point of the PowerConf C300, it’s a nice addition to the feature set.
The bottom line here is that no matter which Mac you’re rocking, there’s a reason to upgrade to the Anker PowerConf C300 if you’re looking to elevate Zoom calls and the like. With hybrid work looking like it’s here to stay, investing in an improved webcam now will likely pay for itself over time.