Make Skype HD Video Calls With These HD Webcams

Click here for an updated 2015 list of HD webcams for Skype HD video calls.

Updated: June 2011

Starting from Skype 4.2, it is now possible to make Skype HD video calls at 720p HD quality (1280×720 resolution at up to 30 frames per second). Skype had announced this HD video calling feature back in January, 2010, but only recently has a wider variety of HD webcams become available. Shown here is what is needed to make HD video calls over Skype, including details on several HD webcams (from Logitech, FreeTalk, faceVsion, and Microsoft).

Make HD Video Calls Using Skype

This is what you need to make HD video calls using Skype:

  1. At least Skype version 4.2, which you can download here.

    For High Definition (HD) video calls both you and the person you’re talking to need Skype 4.2 for Windows or higher, plus HD webcams.

  2. A fast enough computer.

    PC running Windows® 2000, XP, Vista or 7, both 32- and 64-bit operating systems (Windows 2000 users require DirectX 9.0 for video calls) … with at least a 1.8 GHz processor.

  3. A fast broadband internet connection.

    You’ll also need a high-speed broadband connection (we recommend sustained 1 Mbps symmetrical bandwidth or higher).

  4. An HD webcam with microphone, built-in or separate.

HD Webcams for Skype HD Video Calls

With a wider selection of HD webcams available, there are some basic differences between them. The major factors in deciding on a new HD webcam include the HD webcam’s video quality (for video calls and recording), presence of a built-in microphone, still picture quality, construction quality, portability (if used mainly with a laptop), and price.

Some HD webcams are also Skype Certified, which Skype states:

All products that have been Skype Certified will deliver a good Skype experience.

We assess the ‘out of the box’ experience.

  • We objectively measure the video and audio quality of a product.
  • Assess the basic aspects of usability and that the packaging and manual are accurate and helpful.

Some of these Skype Certified HD webcams encode and process the video themselves, with a built-in H.264 hardware encoder, rather than letting your computer do it:

In order to make HD video calling available to as many people as possible, the new HD webcams handle the video encoding and processing onboard. This removes the need for a high-performance computer to encode the HD video.

This is likely more important if you have a lower end computer, that struggles to meet the system requirements for Skype HD video calls. A built-in H.264 hardware encoder will reduce the amount of computing or CPU power needed by your computer.

Please note that it is not required that HD webcams be Skype Certified to make HD quality video calls on Skype, though it is definitely a positive factor.

Details on the pros, cons, and requirements of some popular HD webcams are listed below:

 

Logitech HD Webcams

From Logitech: HD In Every Way – Logitech HD Webcams Now Enable HD Video Calling on Skype

Today we are happy to announce our newest Logitech HD webcams enable video calls in 720p HD on Skype from PC to PC, as long as you’re using the latest version of Skype for Windows (version 5.0 beta or later). So if you’re a Skype user, you can experience HD on the new Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910, or the Logitech HD Webcams C510, or C270.

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910 with 1080p Videoalt (Skype Certified)

Pros for Logitech C910 HD Webcam:
– Full HD 1080p video recording (1920 x 1080, widescreen)
– HD video calling, 720p (1280 x 720, widescreen)
– Skype Certified
– Autofocus, with Carl Zeiss glass lens
– Dual stereo microphones built-in
– 10 MP photos

Cons for Logitech C910 HD Webcam:
None

HD Video Call Requirements for Logitech C910:
System: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, USB 2.0 port
– Internet Connection: 1 Mbps upload speed or higher
– OS: Windows XP (SP2 or higher), Windows Vista, Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit), Mac OS X 10.5 or higher


Logitech HD Portable 1080p Webcam C615 with Autofocus

Pros for Logitech C615 HD Webcam:
– Full HD 1080p video recording (1920 x 1080, widescreen)
– HD video calling, 720p (1280 x 720, widescreen)
– Autofocus (for sharp images, including for close-ups up to 10 cm from the camera)
– Built-in microphone with automatic noise reduction
– 8 MP photos
– 360-degree camera rotation (swivel design)
– Tripod-ready design, for more placement options
– Portable, fold-and-go design for easier travel and storage

Cons for Logitech C615 HD Webcam:
– Not yet Skype Certified (new product)

HD Video Call Requirements for Logitech C615:
System: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, USB 2.0 port
– Internet Connection: 1 Mbps upload speed or higher
– OS: Windows XP (SP2 or higher), Windows Vista, Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit), or Mac OS X 10.5 or higher


Logitech HD Webcam C525, Portable HD 720p Video Calling with Autofocus

Pros for Logitech C525 HD Webcam:
– HD video recording, 720p (1280 x 720, widescreen)
– HD video calling, 720p (1280 x 720, widescreen)
– Autofocus (for sharp images, including for close-ups up to 7 cm from the camera)
– Built-in microphone with echo cancellation (Logitech RightSound)
– 8 MP photos
– 360-degree camera rotation (swivel design)
– Portable, fold-and-go design for easier travel and storage

Cons for Logitech C525 HD Webcam:
– Not compatible with Mac OS
– Not yet Skype Certified (new product)

HD Video Call Requirements for Logitech C525:
– System: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, USB 2.0 port
– Internet Connection: 1 Mbps upload speed or higher
– OS: Windows XP (SP2 or higher), Windows Vista, Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit)


Logitech HD Webcam C510 with 720p Video and Swivel Designalt (Skype Certified)

Pros for Logitech C510 HD Webcam:
– HD video recording, 720p (1280 x 720, widescreen)
– HD video calling, 720p (1280 x 720, widescreen)
– Skype Certified
– Built-in microphone with echo cancellation (Logitech RightSound)
– 8 MP photos
– 360-degree camera rotation (swivel design)
– Portable, fold-and-go design for easier travel and storage

Cons for Logitech C510 HD Webcam:
– No autofocus (but always-focused 40 cm and beyond)
– Not compatible with Mac OS

HD Video Call Requirements for Logitech C510:
– System: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, USB 2.0 port
– Internet Connection: 1 Mbps upload speed or higher
– OS: Windows XP (SP2 or higher), Windows Vista, Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit)


Logitech HD Webcam C310 with 720p Video, 5 MP Photosalt (Skype Certified)

Pros for Logitech C310 HD Webcam:
– HD video recording, 720p (1280 x 720, widescreen)
– HD video calling, 720p (1280 x 720, widescreen)
– Skype Certified
– Built-in microphone with echo cancellation (Logitech RightSound)
– 5 MP photos

Cons for Logitech C310 HD Webcam:
– No autofocus (but always-focused 40 cm and beyond)
– Not compatible with Mac OS

HD Video Call Requirements for Logitech C310:
System: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, USB 2.0 port
– Internet Connection: 1 Mbps upload speed or higher
– OS: Windows XP (SP2 or higher), Windows Vista, Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit)

HD Webcams With Built-In Hardware Encoder

FreeTalk Everyman HD Webcamalt (Skype Certified)

Pros for FreeTalk Everyman HD Webcam:
– Built-in H.264 hardware encoder
– HD video calling, 720p at 22 fps (1280 x 720, widescreen) (video formats: H.264, YUV2)
– Autofocus
– Skype Certified

Cons for FreeTalk Everyman HD Webcam:
– No built-in microphone
– 1 MP photos
– Hardware encoding is not used on Mac so CPU is not reduced

HD Video Call Requirements for FreeTalk Everyman HD Webcam:
System: Dual core 2 GHz processor, 1 GB RAM, USB 2.0 port
– Internet Connection: 1.2 Mbps upload or above for HD.
– OS: Windows XP SP3 and above. Mac OSX 10.4 or higher


faceVsion Technology TouchCam N1 HD Webcam (Skype Certified)

Pros for faceVsion TouchCam N1 HD Webcam:
– Built-in H.264 hardware encoder
– HD video calling, 720p at 22 fps with H.264 format (1280 x 720, widescreen), WVGA at 30 fps with YUV format (768 x 480)
– Skype Certified
– Autofocus wide angle lens
– Dual microphones built-in

Cons for faceVsion TouchCam N1 HD Webcam:
– 1 MP photos
– Not compatible with Mac OS

HD Video Call Requirements for faceVsion TouchCam N1 HD Webcam:
– System: Dual core 2.0GHz processor (for two-way HD 720p calling; HD 720p sending can be achieved with a lower speed processor), USB 2.0 port
– Internet Connection: 1.2Mbps upload speed required to send HD 720p
– OS: Microsoft Windows XP (SP2), Vista, Windows 7

Microsoft LifeCam HD Webcams

Microsoft LifeCam Cinema 720p HD Webcamalt

Pros for Microsoft LifeCam Cinema:
– HD video calling, 720p (1280 x 720, widescreen) at up to 30 fps
– Autofocus, with high-precision glass element lens
– Digital microphone with noise cancellation, built-in
– 8 MP photos

Cons for Microsoft LifeCam Cinema:
– Not Skype Certified

HD Video Call Requirements for Microsoft LifeCam Cinema:
Minimum System: Intel Dual-Core 1.6 GHz or higher, 1 GB RAM, USB 2.0 port
– Recommended System: Intel Dual-Core 3.0 GHz or higher, 2 GB RAM, USB 2.0 port
– OS: Windows XP (SP2) (excluding 64-bit), Windows Vista, Windows 7


Microsoft LifeCam HD-5000 720p HD Webcamalt

Pros for Microsoft LifeCam HD-5000:
– HD video calling, 720p (1280 x 720, widescreen) at up to 30 fps
– Autofocus
– Built-in microphone with noise cancellation
– 4 MP photos

Cons for Microsoft LifeCam HD-5000:
– Not Skype Certified

HD Video Call Requirements for Microsoft LifeCam HD-5000:
Minimum System: Intel Dual-Core 1.6 GHz or higher, 1 GB RAM, USB 2.0 port
– Recommended system: Intel Dual-Core 3.0 GHz or higher, 2 GB RAM, USB 2.0 port
– OS: Windows XP (SP2) (excluding 64-bit), Windows Vista, Windows 7

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