Logitech C920x Review - A Great Webcam for Streamers

Logitech C920x Review – Still a Great Webcam, even in 2021

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This review contains my honest criticism, praise, and thoughts on the C920x Webcam. This is not a sponsored review. I purchased this webcam using my own money and have been using it regularly for a little over two years.

Logitech C920x Overview

Streamer’s Haven

Picture Quality
Ease-of-Use
Cost
Mounting Options
Features
Console Support

Summary

The Logitech C920x is the defacto go-to webcam for many due to its video quality, low cost, and ease of use. It is plug & play, for the most part, however, it does not give you any control over the web camera’s internal settings if you use it on a console device, such as a PlayStation 5. Its auto settings are inconsistent at best, and there are some other issues with it. My overall score for this product is 3.8 Stars.

Still, It is one of the best webcams for the price out there if you’re willing to deal with needing to tweak the settings every time you start using the webcam.

3.8

The Logitech C920x is one of the most well-known webcams in the world. Released in 2012, this webcam is almost 10 years old. However, despite its age, it is still heralded as one of the best webcams on the market, and there is no shortage of C920 clones to prove it.

With that said, due to the rise in popularity of content creation and the remote working movement, webcams are undergoing a bit of a transformation. One not seen since the ’90s with the surge of advanced microwave technology features all vying for customer attention. It is anyone’s guess as to when the venerable c920x is finally dethroned, but the real question is whether or not it is worth buying today, considering all of the new, modern options and the novel features they support.

The short answer is a resounding Yes. Despite its age and many flaws, you really can’t go wrong with this webcam, especially for the price it goes for these days. I should mention that there are a few different versions of the C920x –

  • C920 (The OG version – Officially discontinued)
  • C920s (A version with a physical lens cap on a hinge to ensure privacy, among a few internal upgrades)
  • C920e (An Enterprise version of the webcam, with some software differences, and internal microphone disabled by default)

The differences between these variants are very minor, so whatever one is available for the lowest price will do the job nicely. Just be aware that the C920e version has the microphone disabled by default, so if you need a microphone too, then I’d advise steering clear of that one. (You can enable it using the software, but it just adds unnecessary complexity.)

What is the Difference Between the C920 and C920x?

The only difference between the two webcams is that the c920x comes with 3 months of XSplit VCam. XSplit is a paid competitor to OBS Studio.

This added benefit can be handy to try out the broadcasting software, which has a few extra features that may be useful for you that OBS does not. However, personally, I don’t see a need to invest in Xsplit, as OBS Studio is 100% free and is more than capable of setting up a quality live broadcast. But, of course, I am also biased, so you are welcome to form your own opinions on the matter.

The Good and the Bad Summarized for this Logitech Webcam

There is a lot I could say about this Logitech Webcam, but here are some of the highlights to save you some time.

Pros:

  • Low Cost
  • Decent Video Quality
  • 1080p 30fps
  • 1/4″ mounting tap to allow mounting on Tripods/desk clamps
  • lightweight

Cons:

  • The monitor clamp will overlap the screen on modern, small bezel monitors (see first image)
  • Can’t be panned left or right when using the monitor mounting method
  • Software is finicky
  • Does not save settings on reboot
  • Image is inconsistent when you restart your webcam feed
  • “Auto” features don’t do a great job
  • Requires a lot of external light due to it’s small sensor size for best image quality

The Good

The Video Quality Is Fairly Good, Especially When Paired With Nvidia Broadcast

Nvidia Broadcast Blur Effect on C920x
I’m a little bit over-exposed here, I only have my overhead light on, so I had to ramp up the gain a bit. However, the image is still very much usable, as you can see.

Once you’ve dialed in your settings, the C920x makes for an excellent webcam. This is especially true if you have a video card capable of running Nvidia Broadcast. I recently managed to get my hands on an RTX 3060 Ti (This Exact Card), so I can finally show you this result. The image above showcases this effect – It does a reasonably good job at defining my outline, and the blurred background effect works pretty well to emulate a shallow depth of field.

It is not a perfect substitute for proper shallow depth of field by any means. If you look closely at the edges of my headphones, parts of them look a bit unnatural and a little bit less defined than what you might expect. Additionally, my hand below my knuckles has a small area of focus where the AI has a hard time figuring out the edge of my hand, and the margin of error goes out more to make sure it keeps my hand in focus.

With that said, it is still a big step up from the infinity focus that the C920x is traditionally capable of.

A little bit of a warning, if you plan to use the background replacement or removal feature, just be aware that the edges won’t look nearly as natural as the blurred effect.

The C920x is Affordable & Mounting Options are Varied

For a little more than the cost of a typical console video game, this webcam is very good. Barring, of course, any sort of price gouging and scalping that occurs from shortages.

One of its most useful features is the inclusion of the 1/4″ threaded tap to utilize a tripod or other mounting mechanism. This negates the small issue of the monitor mount covering some of the pixels at the top of an ultra-thin bezel monitor.

The Bad

The Logitech C920x Software Is Extremely Frustrating

Logitech c920x in G-Hub software
Values are based on percentages, rather than absolute values.

One of the weakest points of this webcam is its software and seemingly variable internal settings.

Yes, it has autofocus and auto exposure.

Yes, it lets you change the white balance values.

However, these features are incomprehensibly inconsistent, requiring that you spend a bit of time reconfiguring it every single time you want to start using the darned thing. The settings also do not save through a system restart unless you use Logitech G-Hub to configure it, but then you lose control over the gain setting. Even so, because the webcam literally changes how it looks every time it is turned off and back on in some way, it becomes exceedingly frustrating to deal with.

no gain control in the ghub software for the c920x
Where is the Gain Control? The heck does priority even mean? Why is there no Number for Exposure!?

Even if you don’t restart your pc, simply closing out and re-opening your broadcasting program will result in some kind of change to the image, even at identical settings. It’s truly mind-boggling.

In most cases, the image you get out of these auto settings is overexposed, blown out, and generally looks terrible. Manual configuration of the settings can alleviate this issue and is the best way to get the most out of this webcam.

Proper Gain control in the old interface, absolute values rather than percentages (Or none at all)
Using OBS Studio, we can adjust the gain settings of the webcam. We shouldn’t need third-party software to do this, Logitech.

This makes this webcam exceedingly frustrating to use when trying to get the most out of it and knocks off 2.5 stars on the Features rating. Even so, the quality of this webcam is respectably good, even when you don’t fine-tune it, and most would be happy with the auto settings.

It is Plug and Play… Mostly

Yes, you can plug it in, and yes, you can select it in a list to have it show up. That’s about where the plug-and-play aspects end. Still, only half a star off, because it will be good enough for most of you, even barring the issues with this webcam.

Those of you who care about getting the most out of your purchase will need to manually configure the camera settings, and tweak them until they look right to you. I made a video a while back that showcases how to go about doing this. Just be warned, it is one of the very first videos I ever made, and it is full of novice mistakes. I also Identified myself as “Mr. Goodhand” at the time. That’s still me, but I changed it to Monodex later on for reasons that should be plainly obvious if your mind wanders to the gutter.

If you intend to use a webcam with your consoles, I recommend giving this webcam a hard pass due to the problems mentioned next that you can’t do anything about on a console. (-3 Stars on Console Support. It works, but it won’t look very good.)

The C920x Needs a Lot of Light

One of the biggest selling points for cameras these days is the idea that they will look good in low-light conditions. Logitech has mentioned, “Low Light” as a “Special feature” of this webcam. I don’t really agree with this, knowing what I know about cameras and how light interacts with camera sensors. I feel that this marketing point tends to be more snake oil than fact – it enforces the idea that the camera will look great in low-light conditions.

This is almost never true, cameras will always work better when there is more light, due to physics. More light = more data points, and thus more information within the image, resulting in higher quality video. Conversely, low light conditions result in somewhat grainy video.

I suppose the point they were trying to make is that it can be used in low light conditions, but they fail to mention that the image quality will suffer as a result. Of course, marketing being what it is, I can’t really blame them, but I feel responsible to inform you of the truth of the matter, so you understand what it is you’re buying a bit better.

In order to get a good-looking picture on this webcam, you’ll need to add more light. No matter how advanced technology gets, you can’t change physics, and AI filtering only gets you so far. Of course, more light will require adjusting the exposure, gain, and white balance settings to compensate.

To get around that issue of over-exposure, you need to add more light to your subject. The subject is, in most cases, the main focus of the camera. You or I would be the camera “Subject,” and we would need to be more well lit. You can use any light you want, ideally in a three-point setup, but the better quality lights you use, the more natural the image will appear. (You only really need one light source, and ideally, not your monitor.) The Sun is an okay option too, but it isn’t very consistent since the light angle changes throughout the day.

Check out this article to learn more about what lighting equipment would work well as your subject lights. I personally recommend the Raleno kit, as you get the most for your money with it.

I knock off a Star and a Half here because while the quality of the webcam is good, it is time-consuming to get it to a good point.

Overall, Is the C920x Worth Buying, even in 2022?

As I stated at the beginning of the article, and despite its flaws, I have to say that, yes, this old gem of a webcam is still worth buying. Other options out there simply can’t touch the value prospect of this webcam, and even auto-configured, the quality is acceptably good.

With a little bit of tweaking though, you can really stretch the limits of what the C920x is capable of:

  • Nvidia Broadcast can give you access to an AI-powered noise reduction filter, and a fairly good representation of a shallow depth of field
  • More light supplies the sensor with enough datapoints to make it approach the levels of a halfway decent dedicated camera
  • Tuning the brightness, contrast, gain, exposure, white balance to match your environment

At the very least, it is an excellent investment, should you maybe want to start your own YouTube channel or live stream.

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