Let’s face it, when it comes to built-in webcams on Chromebooks, the standard fare is less than desirable. For years, webcams have honestly been a basic commodity that have received very little attention, but the pandemic has obviously shed a massive spotlight on laptop webcams across the board and the results have come back fairly negative. 720p setups dominate the Chromebook space and while they were fine enough in years past, it really feels like the standard Chromebook camera should be hitting somewhere closer to 1080p for the majority of devices above $300.
In the video above, you can take a few minutes and see what a 720p webcam looks like on a small sampling of lower-end Chromebooks. After that, we compare those quick shots to the better, more-equipped camera setups on both the Pixel Slate and Pixelbook Go, both of which record video from the front camera at a much more respectable 1080p. The difference is really night and day and, again, matters a lot more now than it used to. The megapixel counts are very different on the two Google Chromebooks, but the quality of the video is fairly similar, showing that you don’t need the Pixel Slate’s 8MP shooter to get crisp video for calls. For reference, the Pixelbook Go is only a 2MP camera.
If you are in the market for a Chromebook that you plan on using for video chats with clients, coworkers, family and/or friends while you own it, you may need to consider these cameras when making your decision. I’m not saying the Slate and Pixelbook Go are the best overall Chromebooks for everyone, but they do deliver the cleanest front-facing video you can get in a Chromebook right now. If your primary use of your device revolves around that camera, perhaps these Chromebooks are worth a look. Luckily, the Pixel Slate has been drastically reduced in price, so its a good time to be shopping for one.