HyperX Vision S Webcam
It might not be perfect but the Vision S webcam, writes PAT PILCHER, strikes a fine balance between usability and affordability.
With video meetings replacing a good chunk of actually meeting people, a good webcam has become a must. Sadly, webcams are usually the weakest part of even the most well-spec’d PC. None of this has been lost on gaming gurus HyperX, who’ve launched the HyperX Vision S, a 4K Webcam.
While you can pick up a USB webcam for next to nothing, you typically get what you pay for. Pixelated, blurred video, washed-out colours and a stutter-laden frame rate video are often the norm with an el-cheapo Tupperware no-brand webcam. The Vision S might not be cheap at $469, but it does deliver the goods.
Looks-wise, the camera is both simple and elegant. Its body consists of a rectangular alloy tube with rounded edges and a glass front housing the optics and image sensor. A USB-C port and fold-out stand sit on its underside for a secure fit against a screen or laptop lid. Its overall look and feel are distinctly more premium than most cheap, plasticky webcams I’ve handled in the past. While offering a decent amount of heft, the one design blooper is the lens cap, which magnetically attaches and is otherwise completely removable. Unfortunately, this makes it easily lost in computer desk or laptop bag clutter.
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The video produced by the Vision S looked great in both 4K and 1080p. This was no doubt helped along by the glass lens and Sony Starvis image sensor. That said, some video processing is evident – my face sometimes looked oddly smooth, even while the background behind me was crisp and sharp.
As well as operating in 4K UHD, I could choose from a selection of resolutions using HyperX’s downloadable Ngenuity utility. The settings on offer are better than those in Windows. However, they’re still basic, consisting of auto and manual focus, exposure, white balance, brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness, low light, backlight, and antiflicker options. That said, unless you’re aspiring to be Peter Jackson, these settings are more than ample. Vision S’s 90-degree field of view is perfect for video meetings and streaming. While there’s no mic in the camera, most laptop users will rely on their device’s built-in mic, and streamers, podcasters, and YouTubers typically use a separate high-quality mic or a headset.
So, if that’s what’s good, what about the not-so-good? I found autofocus was sometimes a bit hit-and-miss; it’d focus on me and then go out of focus and back into focus, which isn’t ideal in an important video meeting. I also found that when set to auto, exposure levels would adjust based on the room rather than my mug. This sometimes saw my face either darkened with too low of an exposure setting or blown out with too much light. Another issue came to light when testing the Vision S on my Mac. While its installation was plug-and-play, there is no Mac Ngenuity app.
Hooking it up to my Surface Book was a doddle: I plugged it in, Windows detected it, and I was good to go after downloading the Ngenuity app. However, a less obvious gotcha is that 4K video requires a USB 3 connection, and there are no notifications to this effect when the camera is accidentally plugged into a USB 2 port. That said, HyperX earns brownie points by shipping the Vision S with a decent length of a red and black braided USB-C cable, making camera placement much easier.
If you’re looking for a decent camera to deliver crisp and clear video, you can spend a lot more, but the Vision S strikes a proper balance between price, usability, and quality.