The webcam that comes bundled with your laptop is likely okay for the video calls you jump on once in a while with friends and family, but when it comes to a work/professional setting, you'd need to do better. Most laptop webcams come with a 720p resolution, and to be honest, it seems they are usually just thrown in as an afterthought by the manufacturer when the rest of the laptop is completed; they're not sufficient for transmitting clear pictures and videos, and they're terrible in low-light conditions. This is for good reason, though; most people rarely use their laptops for video calls, and when they do, they don't need ultra-clear video quality. Besides, streaming videos in high resolutions on real-time calls is bound to put a strain on your internet connectivity and data balance.
Therefore, you should go for options better than your laptop's inbuilt camera only if it's required - most times, that's for formal and corporate meetings. eMeet is a company popular for making gadgets for online meetings and conferences, and many of its products offer good quality and performance at budget prices. The company has an array of webcams, and while they all perform the primary function of a webcam - streaming video, each one is tailored for different applications. One of these is the eMeet Nova which I'm reviewing in this article.
The eMeet Nova is a plug-and-play USB webcam that sports an Autofocus lens and records videos in Full HD (1080 * 1920) resolution at 30 FPS. It also packs two omnidirectional microphones with automatic noise suppression. This array of features all together is only just becoming commonplace in webcams, but at its price point, the eMeet Nova is an absolute steal.
The packaging is very basic, and that's to be expected since this is a very simple device.
Asides the webcam, the package contains a user manual, a warranty card, and an info manual for the warranty.
- eMeet Nova Webcam.
- User Manual.
- 1-year + 1-year Extended Warranty Card.
- Warranty Info Manual.
Purchasing the Nova from Amazon automatically guarantees you a 1-year warranty, and you can activate your device for an extra 1-year extended warranty from eMeet.
Design & Build
- Dimensions: 3.94 * 2.56 * 2.2 inches.
- Weight: 136g.
- Colour: Black.
- Cable Length: 6 Feet.
The eMeet Nova is a small device, when compared to many other webcams in the market. And that's a good thing, as a device meant to capture video doesn't need to be visible itself; it just needs to do the job, and do it well. The four-layered lens is contained at the center of a long rectangular plastic bar, which itself is mounted on a universal clip. The clip can be adjusted up to an angle of 180°, and contains a screw hole underneath it for mounting onto a tripod.
A microphone is present on either side of the lens, and these can be used in conjunction with the camera for scenarios like a meeting. A LED light towards the bottom left side of the camera lens helps to determine when the device is in operation, and the USB connector cable extends from the back of the lens container. The cable is about 6ft in length, which makes it convenient to connect the Nova webcam to devices at far distances. The cable comes wrapped in a velcro strap, which is useful when you need to store the device away for some time.
The top part of the device - which contains the lens, light and microphones - is attached to the clip beneath it by a pivot, which allows you to rotate the camera a complete 360° laterally, and angle it about 25° in any direction. This is great for when you're in an online video meeting with several people, and need to bring people in different locations into view from time to time. With a laptop's internal webcam, you'd need to move the entire laptop around to do this, but you need only swivel the top part of the eMeet Nova webcam around to achieve the same result.
Camera Quality & Video Performance
- Camera: 2MP.
- Video Resolution: 1080 * 1920 (Full HD).
- Frame Rate: 30 FPS.
- Focus Range: >20 cm.
- Wide-angle lens FOV: 96°
In the presence of adequate lighting, the eMeet Nova performs well in terms of camera quality. Images and video are clear enough, and the color reproduction is fairly accurate. When it comes to low-light environments, the device's auto low-light correction feature shines, but the camera struggles with white balance and color reproduction when exposed to a lot of light.
Let's look at some image samples below, with the images on the left taken with the internal webcam on my laptop - an HP Envy 15, and the images on the right taken with the eMeet Nova.
The images above were taken in a room with slightly-below-average lighting. The one from my laptop's webcam is clearly nothing to write home about, but while the Nova's sample has some noise all over it due to the lighting condition, it still manages to capture all necessary details and reproduce the colors accurately; my blue shirt looks exactly as it appears here, and if you're wondering why the lower part of the wall in the background looks dirty, it indeed is a bit dirty (my bad, repainting soon 💀).
The autofocus kicks in too in the picture above from the eMeet Nova; my face is focused, and the items in the background are a little blurred out. I've noticed that the autofocus function sometimes encounters a slight delay, but when it does focus, it's mostly accurate.
While my laptop's webcam can fit in a maximum of two persons sitting in office chairs in a single frame, the eMeet Nova can fit in up to 3 persons wiith its 96° wide-angle lens.
The images above were taken with no lighting source apart from some daylight filtering in through the brown curtain over the window to my left. The Nova manages to keep the details of my face sharp and in focus, while it's pixel and noise galore with my laptop's webcam. The Nova reduces the noise in the frame by an impressive degree, and the color reproduction is okay.
In the images above, the room - and particularly the area around where I'm sitting - is flooded with a lot of light. The Nova webcam tries to compensate for the abundant light it's taking in, but it does too much in this instance; the white balance is off by a lot, and I'm starting to look like a cartoon character. In any case, it's still a lot better than what obtains with my laptop's camera.
I reduced the lighting a bit, and I consider the setting above to be an adequately-lit room; this is roughly how a standard office would be lit up. The Nova seems to get things right here also, as the cartoonish looks are gone and I'm looking a lot more natural. There is no noise in the frame, and the colours are still reproduced well enough.
The eMeet Nova streams video at 30 frames per second which is pretty standard for regular videos, so the performance of this webcam is nothing to worry about, as long as you're not using it on a computer system from over a decade ago.
- Features: Omindirectional, Automatic Noise suppression.
The microphones on the eMeet Nova are omnidirectional, meaning they pick sound from all directions. This checks out, as the webcam itself is meant for use for meetings and situations in which you would like your voice to be transmitted, regardless of where you are standing (or sitting).
The Nova's microphones are very decent, and are absolutely adequate for online meetings and conferences. However, you must note that they are best used in quiet environments, as the microphones' omnidirectionality means they'd be picking up all forms of sound in the background. The company claims it has automatic noise suppression, but to be honest, I haven't witnessed that in action on this camera. Let's look at a few audio recording samples I made.
In the recording above, my voice remains clear and loud even as I move about 10ft away from the position of the webcam. These microphones would have no trouble picking up your voice from a distance of up to 15ft, at regular conversational volume...provided, that you are in a quiet environment.
The sample above is the same test as the first one, but this time with a quite noisy fan operating about 7ft away from the webcam. The noise in the background is picked up in its entirety, but I remain audible even while speaking from behind the fan, about 10ft away from the webcam.
I recorded the sample above while sitting at my desk and laptop, office-style. I swiveled my chair around 180°, and that did little to reduce the clarity and volume of my voice.
Again, the sample above is the same test as the previous one, but with my noisy fan operating just about 4ft away from me. I'm still sufficiently audible, but the backgrounud noise is disturbingly audible as well.
From the full review across different sections above, it's clear that the eMeet Nova is a device that offers its money's worth. It costs $39.99 on Amazon (with a 20% coupon bringing it down to $31.99 as of when this review was published), and for this, you get a decent FHD camera with adequate color reproduction and performance, 2 good microphones, and plug-and-play compatibility with major operating systems. Talk about value for money.
Once you're satisfied with the price-to-feature ratio, the final decision on whether to purchase this device or not then comes down to how you plan to use a webcam most of the time; an Autofocus webcam like the Nova is great for videos with only one primary subject, but you'll be better served with a Fixed Focus webcam if your video meetings will have several subjects. If you fall into the latter scope, you can check out the eMeet C960 instead.