New MacBook for video conferencing, any good with 480p cam?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by 212rikanmofo, Apr 19, 2015.

  1. 212rikanmofo macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2003
    I want to get the new macbook for its size and portability, and I will be mostly using it for video conferencing, like facetime, skype and google hangouts. I'm curious as to how the quality of the built-in 480p cam? Is it that bad as to what I'm hearing. I would like to know from someone who has actually used one.
  2. Dennison, Apr 19, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2015

    Dennison macrumors regular


    Apr 19, 2015
    United States
    This 480p webcam will get you by for video conferencing.

    Just got my new MacBook in the mail a couple days ago. Last night I Skyped with my friend to test out the quality of the webcam. He was directly comparing the 480p webcam on my new MacBook with a 720p Logitech webcam that I use with my MacMini.

    Seems that the webcam will get you by just fine when it comes to casual video conferencing. Most of the critics are underestimating the quality of the webcam just because of it's lower resolution (generally seen as abysmal for a 2015 piece of technology). However, the light exposure, coloring and frame rate seem to match the 720p "FaceTime HD" cameras Apple has in their other products. The only difference you might notice is a small dip in finer detail, and that's solely based on the lower resolution factor. Apple appears to be squeezing the best image out of this camera that they can get. Remember that this is only an issue because the panel of the MacBook display is so thin that it cannot house a FaceTime HD camera at this point.

    DetroitBORG on YouTube has the best review on the new MacBook that I've seen to date. I highly recommend watching the entire review, but you may click this link to skip to the part where he'll show you real footage comparing the MacBook's 480p FaceTime camera with a MacBook Pro's FaceTime HD camera:

    In my personal opinion, the webcam in the new MacBook looks way better than I thought it would. My friend over Skype said the same, and noted how he couldn't tell that much of a difference over Skype. Now I should also mention that sound quality doesn't seem to be an issue either, and noise cancellation works great. Before purchasing, the quality of the webcam was one of two of my main concerns with the machine, with the other being performance. Luckily, both of these have turned out to be negotiable based on my harsh testing of the new MacBooks in the Apple Store and my experience so far with my machine.

    You mentioned in your post that you're looking to use your new MacBook mostly for video conferencing. I have to note that this will affect battery life and performance. This will also depend a lot on the service that you are using. I'd be safe to assume FaceTime is the best option when it comes to siphoning battery and performance, and that Microsoft's Skype and Google Hangouts are going to have worse results and affects on the system.

    Before I began Skyping with my friend, I had unplugged my MacBook and it was fully charged. The battery icon up on the task bar gives estimates on remaining battery life depending on your current usage. Before my Skype session, remaining battery estimates were about nine or so hours. A few minutes into my Skype call, and the estimation dropped to just under five hours remaining. Also during the Skype call I attempted to multitask in other apps, with most of them running full-screen. So I was swiping between desktops and whatnot. This was all possible, but I did notice just a tiny bit of hit on performance, but certainly nothing big. However, we did experience a hitch in image quality in the call while I was doing this, but that probably has more to do with connection issues from either end of the line.

    TL;DR: The new MacBook's webcam is actually pretty good, just keep in mind that video conferencing will almost halve your battery life and performance might drop a little depending on how much you have going on. I wouldn't recommend video conferencing on this machine all the time, but you can absolutely do it when you need to. This computer handles most of it just fine.
  3. matt2053 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2012
    I have to disagree completely with the previous poster.

    The webcam on my MB is terrible. It doesn't let in nearly as much light as the webcam on the MBPro. Not only is the resolution lower, but I look darker and grainier and noisier in anything less than ideal lighting.

    It doesn't bother me too much though, because I don't share my webcam too often.

    By contrast, the webcam on the 2015 MBPro is amazing. I look clear and crisp even in lower light. It's night and day.

    For me, this is easily the worst thing about the new Macbook.
  4. dexterbell macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2015
    If people really need to see you in HD, you can buy a Logitech 720 cam for $40, problem solved.
  5. shenan1982 macrumors 68040


    Nov 23, 2011
    Yep, no built in camera is a solution for business class videoconferencing, so unless someone is running a small business from home, to which they communicate with their clients via FaceTime, the camera is fine.

    Real companies have big-boy videoconferencing setups. No legit company does videoconferencing via a built-in webcam on their laptops. That's just an alternative for phone calls among employees, to which 480p is just fine.
  6. saifrc macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2010
    I'll second this. At my company, no videoconferencing ever happens on our personal laptops. Most of the consultants at my company put tape over their webcams, to avoid even accidental security breaches. It may seem paranoid, but it just goes to show how much videoconferencing doesn't matter for us. Then again, I can't imagine any major corporation issuing Macs to the rank and file anyway.

    That's not to say that small businesses or freelancers aren't important. If the 480p camera doesn't suit your business needs, then that's a valid knock against the MacBook. If videoconferencing is rare for you, you could use a separate webcam, or use your phone/tablet as the videoconferencing device instead.

    For home use, I plan on being satisfied with 480p. I generally avoid FaceTime like the plague, but when I need it, I can just use my iPad Air 2 (stood up) as my camera instead. Everyone's priorities are different, but I would buy the MacBook even if it didn't have a camera.
  7. Dennison macrumors regular


    Apr 19, 2015
    United States
    I'd say the same for 480p YouTube video in today's world. But hey, in it's day, it was pretty good, and so is the new MacBook's webcam. Why? Because it has one, it works, and it'll work for most things that you'll need it for. I obviously would recommend recording video blogs and youtube videos with something more personal, like an iPad or iPhone, which have FaceTime HD cameras anyway.

    And, I have to point out that the fact it has one is pretty nice in and of itself. This is Apple's thinnest display ever, it's crazy how thin this panel is, so it's nice to even have a webcam on this machine. Just trying to offer a little perspective.

    It doesn't bother me either, video conferencing is something I hardly do. When I'll actually do it, I won't even be focussed on how this webcam is simply just not 720p.

    I also agree. The webcam is the worst thing about the new MacBook, and it's one of those things that were obviously compromised for the overall design, weight and function. I was really turned off by the product when I found out about this spec, but later realized it wouldn't affect my experience hardly at all.
  8. newellj macrumors 603

    Oct 15, 2014
    Boston, MA, US
    It could be worse - look where Dell stuck the web cam on the latest XPS 13. :(


    Yes to that one. Low tech solution to the problem. :p
  9. Hieveryone macrumors 68040

    Apr 11, 2014
    Thanks for the video.

    I'd say it's enough for business use. You don't really need all that detail when talking to colleagues.

    But for

    Good news is the next gen will probably have 720?

Share This Page