Hands-on review: Trust Taxon webcam
Image credit: Trust
A plug and play upgrade to your computer’s built-in camera is a quick way to improve how you look and sound in virtual meetings.
This affordable 2K webcam upgrade promises to improve the quality of your video calls and also offers you the option of a two-camera set-up.
I opened the small box and did what everyone does: I plugged it into my computer’s USB port and disregarded the instructions. Would my Windows 10 PC automatically see it and set it up? That’s the smooth tech experience we all seek… and we all know that it doesn’t always work out.
The Taxon is small and lightweight, with a 1.8m cable that’s far too long for most users. The majority of people will want to perch the cam on top of their laptop screen, so 60cm would be plenty. You’re left with a zigzag of excess cable.
But set-up worked. I plugged it in and, before I had time to faff around with the camera positioning, ‘Setting up a device’ popped up on screen. Within seconds, I’d been told, ‘Device is ready’. Promising.
The webcam folds up pretty small. The camera body itself is an oval. Below it, three hinged pieces make up a versatile stand that makes it easy to balance it securely on top of any laptop or screen. The stand can also sit on a desk and point the camera in any angle, plus there’s a ¼-inch standard thread on the underside for mounting on a tripod (not included).
It was connected… now all I had to do was ‘find’ it. I opened the PC’s Camera app and my usual built-in webcam picture came up on screen, an image that’s extremely unflattering, not least because the camera is built into the hinge area, where laptop screen and keyboard meet. As a result, it shows all the chins and not much face.
There was nothing in Settings to switch cam, then I had the brainwave. The button in the Camera app that looks like the phone icon for swapping between front and rear cameras is, in fact, a Change Camera button. I had succeeded in my do-not-RTFM strategy!
The Taxon offers 2560x1440 QHD resolution at 30 frames per second (also 720p and 1080p, again at 30fps) with automatic white balance and auto focus. It shows. Picture quality was a vast improvement on my built-in cam. Skin tone was healthy rather than washed out. The sharp picture made me look… sharp. I looked healthier and happier. It’s not the total makeover of an AR filter. It didn’t give me virtual make-up or botox, but in a meeting or job interview I’d be much less likely to fall victim to the classic: “don’t you think she looks tired?” (copyright Doctor Who, 2005).
Some people use two webcams at once, to give different angles. For example, if you’re chatting while demonstrating how to do something. In Zoom, you can flick between cameras or you can choose Share Screen and then in the Advanced tab pick Content from Second Camera to use both at once. Your talking head appears from your built-in webcam and you can point the Taxon at whatever you’re doing. I used this to try the two cameras side by side and compare everything.
The Taxon’s 80° wide-angle glass lens takes in a bit more than the built-in webcam, so it’s better for fitting the family on the sofa for a video call. The autofocus does an impressive job too. My built-in cam has a large depth of field, so things are generally in focus, but nothing ever looks pin-sharp. With the Taxon, it sometimes takes a moment for the camera to refocus but the results are worth it. Its twin noise-cancelling microphones theoretically offer better sound too, but I didn’t notice a sonic upgrade.
There’s also a built-in privacy filter. Slide the little button on the top to the left and the lens is completely covered. This is reassuring but it would have been good to use a different colour for the lens cover as it’s hard to remember whether left or right equals privacy. There is also a small, green LED light on the front that illuminates just when the camera is in use, but that simply lights up whenever an app is connecting to the camera. It doesn’t turn off if you use the privacy filter to cover the lens.
In all, I thought the Taxon was worth it. You wouldn’t think twice about buying an affordable jacket to help you look the part for work… so why not improve how you look and sound in a virtual meeting? In an age where many meetings and job interviews are conducted by Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet, it’s worth investing in an upgrade to a superior webcam like the Trust Taxon.
This high-end webcam, with a similar design to the Trust, is pricey but offers 4K resolution and HDR. You can pick from three field-of-view presets (65°, 78° or 90°) depending on whether you want a close crop or to fit a whole group of people on camera.
A stylish 2K HDR webcam with an unusual, attractive design. Unlike the Trust, it comes with an optional tripod. But the focal length is fixed rather than autofocus and the privacy cover is a lens cap rather than a slider. Read a hands-on review by E&T online managing editor Jonathan Wilson.
Razer Kiyo Pro
Razer is best-known for high-performance games PCs, and this 1080p HDR webcam doesn’t disappoint. Live streaming is a popular part of gaming and its adaptive light sensor makes the most of all lighting conditions. Alternatively, the more affordable Kiyo has a lower spec but a built-in ring light.
Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.