Another Amcrest Webcam? What changed this time?
In the span of a pandemic Amcrest has released at 5 different webcams. Some are honestly identical with just a different plastic housing. Others have slightly different CMOS sensors, lenses, microphones, and mounting options. So this review will do a side-by-side comparison review of the different webcam offerings to sort through the differences.
The ProStream AWC2198 model webcam sits between the AWC201-B and the AWC195-B if you go by the specifications alone.
In my review of the AWC201-B webcam I found the image quality OK though the colors were a bit washed out and the wide-angle lens probably won't fit everyone's needs. The big problem was the microphone included with it was terrible.
The AWC2198 indicated a high sensitivity dual mic over the standard built in microphone indicated on the AWC201-B. So with the ProStream AWC2198 I was hoping Amcrest improved the microphone giving me a very decent budget webcam.
I perform a side-by-side comparison of the ProStream AWC2198 against the AWC195-B and the AWC201-B in the video below or you can keep reading for more information.
Amcrest AWC2198 1080P ProStream webcam specifications
- 1/2.9" CMOS image sensor (Slightly more imaging area than an iPhone 6)
- 1080P Full HD (1920x1080) at 30fps
- 3.6mm lens (wide)
- 90 degree field of view
- "High sensitivity" dual mic
- USB 2.0 Plug and Play
- Privacy cover
- ~6ft USB cable length
As with the previous AWC201-B the specifications look like it would be sufficient for virtual lessons and classes for kids returning to school and when attending meetings on Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and so on. The webcam video output smoothly records 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second. For comparison, cinematic movies are 24fps, soap operas 30fps, action cameras are 60fps.
The CMOS sensor is slightly larger than the AWC201-B so it should work better in low light by some degree.
This model does not come with a physical privacy cover, but does include a tripod mount if you don't want to use the built-in clamp to place it on top of your monitor.
Installation and Setup
On a Windows computer you simply plug the webcam in and Windows will detect it as the Amcrest AWC2198 USB Webcam if you look for it under Sound, Video, and Game Controllers. No software is bundled with the webcam so adjustments to things like brightness, color, and contrast would be made in your video conference software like Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
The Amcrest ProStream webcam will appear as a video source you can select in Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Hangouts, etc., and it will start streaming video automatically once selected.
Video and Audio Quality and Performance
As you can see in the Amcrest AWC2185 webcam review embedded at the top of the article the microphone is better than the AWC201-B and AWC195-B, but the video is blurry. I was expecting it to be wide angle like the AWC201-B, but this one even distorts, noticeably, the center of the frame.
It's like they fixed the microphone and color issues of the previous two models, but introduced an issue with the focus.
If you were considering one of these three webcams I'd recommend the AWC195-B webcam over this new ProStream model. The focus is too blurry. If you want to upgrade the microphone you can pair it with the Samson USB Meteor mic for a huge upgrade.
For a higher price point you can get better quality video in something like the Logitech Brio.