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Papalook PA452 PRO webcam review

A decent budget webcam for the price

Papalook PA452
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Papalook HD 1080p Webcam PRO offers a lot for its reasonable (reduced) price and has only a few cons. It can only go up to 30 FPS, which will be a small turn-off, and the security isn’t the best: you have to unplug the whole the USB in order to turn it off.

For

  • 1080p resolution
  • Inbuilt mic
  • Tuneable focus lens

Against

  • Only 30FPS
  • No kill switch
  • Not the best for the price

Two-minute review

The Papalook PA452 PRO is a webcam with a built-in microphone. It can capture at 1080p and at up to 30 FPS (frames per second), take photos and is designed for video chatting, and is Windows, Linux, Chrome OS and Mac compatible.

It’s super-easy to set up: just plug it in and use it with all video chat/conferencing apps like Zoom, Skype and Discord.

It's also pretty affordable, costing $99.99 (£78.00 AU$142), down from $139.99, and is available on the Papalook website and Amazon.

The camera lets you change the focus of the lens by twisting it – a nice feature, though for normal webcam stuff you probably won’t need to touch it.

The inbuilt mic records well, is omnidirectional and has noise-cancelling capabilities. Depending on what you’re using the webcam for, you might prefer to use a dedicated microphone that will allow you to choose more customised settings – for example if you’re a professional streamer.

Papalook PA452

(Image credit: Future)

The design, meanwhile, is stylish, despite its budget price. Two LEDs on the front can be turned off and on by a switch at the back, and the unit clips tightly to your monitor screen. It has a nice weight to it, so the wire won’t drag it down when you try to set it on your monitor screen.

However, there is no way to turn the mic or the camera off outside of use, except by unplugging it directly from your PC. Being able to quickly switch off the PA452 PRO without having to pull it out of your computer would be a far more convenient way of ensuring your privacy, and it’s a feature some more expensive webcams offer.

While the camera does provide a smooth framerate and clear picture, the image is slightly grainy in artificial light. If you are looking to use this webcam for streaming, you might want a webcam with a better-quality image.

For its current reduced price, the PA452 PRO is a good buy. You’re getting both a webcam and a pretty good inbuilt mic. But if you’re prepared to spend more, Logitech’s StreamCam offers the same specs as the PA452 PRO and more.

Another option is Microsoft’s LifeCam HD-3000, which you can snag for a cool £49 (around $65, AU$90) on Amazon, and offers similar specs plus 360 degree rotation.

Papalook PA452

(Image credit: Future)

The PA452 PRO’s zoom lens is also pretty good. Being able to focus the lens is definitely a plus, but it doesn’t decrease the graininess, and it doesn’t affect how clear the camera image is. We would even go as far as to say it captures your background image better than it captures you.

It records well in low lighting due to its 2.0 super large aperture. It also has a 1/4-20 screw thread for tripod placement.

As it boasts a simple plug and play setup, it doesn’t require any software to use, but if you would prefer a little bit more customization, like disabling the mic to use your own, or to play with the very minor features supported by the webcam and mic combo, Papalook suggest using AMCAP, a generic webcam program that can be used on Windows. The only problem is this software is very buggy and a lot of the features it offers are not supported by the PA452 PRO.

Papalook PA452

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You want a good, straightforward webcam
With no setup, and for a reasonable price., this is a great choice. It works immediately with all video apps, so using Skype, Discord or Zoom will be a breeze. 

You want to be able to focus your image
If you’re taking close up-shots or recording from a distance you can adjust the lens to suit your needs. Having this option really gives the webcam some much-needed edge. 

You want a crisp and clear mic
The omnidirectional mic on this webcam is truly an MVP, clear and with inbuilt noise-cancelling, making it great for video calls.

Don't buy it if...

You want or already own your own mic
The mic is really good, but depending on your mic needs you may much prefer to use your own mic to better customise your settings or if you have very specific recording needs. 

You want a fast webcam
A camera that offers 60 FPS might be more up to your standards, especially if you plan on using it for any type of filming. 

You’re concerned about security
There are no options to turn off the camera and mic, and considering some of the camera-hacking horror stories shared by Zoom users, the option would have been a great addition to the webcam.