Tech Review: Logitech C922 Pro Stream 1080p Webcam: Simple and clean

A new review of this camera will not be a timely one. The Logitech C922 Pro Stream has been one of the company’s flagship webcams since it refreshed the older C920 in 2016 and is the weapon of choice for a lot of streamers looking to get their Twitch channels off the ground.

In terms of its overall look and design, there’s very little that’s changed from the previous model. Put them side by side and they look almost exactly the same. Look at the two of them and if you can find a physical difference between them beyond “they updated the logo” then you’re a much more perceptive person than me.

Like a lot of Logitech’s products, the C922 is designed to be inoffensive. It’s a rectangle that goes on your desk or above your monitor with a single lens and a pair of mics to either side of the eye. There’s nothing terribly exciting about its look which is good because if its going to sit in your peripheral vision, you don’t want it necessarily drawing the eye (unless you intend to speak directly into it, in which case you know where it is).

It’s also packing the same L-mount the C920 had in its kit. Most of this will be hidden down the back of your monitor. Where the clasp sits on your monitor is slightly wider than the previous model which may be a source of frustration for those with particularly thin monitors wanting something that sits flush with the bezel.

If mounting on the monitor isn’t an option then the pack-in tripod might be your best bet. Standing about 15cm tall, the tripod is a stout little accessory but its squat height when placed on my desk doesn’t provide the most flattering angle I’ve ever seen. If the tripod is the go and your set up allows you to elevate it, so much the better.

So, alright, you probably don’t care as much about how the webcam itself looks as much as the image it takes. That’s fine. Let’s talk about performance. There are a number of bells and whistles that even know, a couple of years after its release, that the C922 is still getting very right — 720p streaming at 60 frames per second certainly being one of them. That automated background removal feature’s another good one. But before you get to tose, there is, for me, a far more impressive stat:

You unbox the C922, switch it on and the image you get is a bloody good one. With zero set up or messing around. That’s worth sitting up and paying attention to.

Where it suffers is in its refusal to pack in some of the crazier, high tech RealSense features of rivals like Razer and their gesture tracking, infrared, 3D scanning, depth perception wunderkind cams (and if you’ve used a camera with those features, you’ll certainly miss them). A good example of this deficit is the built-in background removal, which doesn’t come close to emulating RealSense’s more solid hardware-based version.

But what if you just want a webcam? Well, you’ll find the C922 is very good at that. There’s a reason that the C920 was as popular and enduring as it was — little guy got a great image for under a hundo. Where the C922 has it dead to rights is in its surprisingly robust performance in low light environments isn’t going to be much use for business customers but its appearance alone makes it a worthwhile purchase for fledgling Twitch streamers still operating out of their underlit bedrooms.

What this means is that if you’re planning to use this cam for Skype calls or Google Hangouts then its an extremely attractive option, but if you’re looking to drop the better part of $200 AUD on a webcam then chances are your goal is to produce content for YouTube or Twitch which means the camera will be put to use creating an inset image of you in the screen’s lower right quadrant. This it can handle without a problem.

This is where its vaunted background removal feature comes in, designed to keep you from having to buy a green screen for streaming. In the 920, this was accomplished through Logi’s old TriDef SmartCam software. The C922 uses the newer Personify ChromaCam from the jump.

This is, you may have noticed, still a softweare-based way to solve the background removal issue. As stated earlier in this review, Razer’s most comparable offering uses Intel’s RealSense which allows for greater depth perception. What this means is that their older Stargazer webcam is able to pick out people or objects closer to the camera and this is how they determine what is and is not The Background.

The C922 uses Personify’s “Intelligent Shape Recognition” tech instead which means you don’t get any of those bells and whistles. It takes an educated guess what its pretty sure is a person in the foreground and then dumps everything around it. Sometimes it’s fine! Sometimes it … is not fine.

For whatever reason, the C922 absolutely detests my hair. No matter how much light I threw on myself when testing the camera, the C922 would find new and terrifying angles at which to shear my hair off like an avante garde hairdresser. If I turned in the frame, it might remove part of my jaw. Its like a disapproving parent telling me to get a shave and a haircut and clean myself up. This revelation will not come as a surprise to those familiar with webcam idiosyncrasies. Software-based solutions have been getting this stuff wrong for years.

One of the C922’s biggest strengths over Razer’s offerings is that it’s platform agnostic. Razer’s cameras must be attached to a Windows 10 machine. Logitech’s will work with any modern operating system across Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS and even updated versions of Android.

So let’s boil it down. The Logitech C299 Pro Stream Webcam is a tight, reliable little package. It’s plug-and-play, does not require much (if any) tinkering with, it’ll work with whatever you plug it into and at $170 AUD it still lies at the cheaper end of the spectrum. It suffers from some software-based problems its competitors have an easier time with but for those looking for a high-quality, no-fuss webcam, it’s kind of a one stop shop.

Score: 8.0 out of 10
Highlights: Great picture; Great in low light; Great if you’re getting started on Twitch
Lowlights: That background removal feature might give you headaches
Manufacturer: Logitech
Price: $169.95 AUD
Available: Now

Reviewed on a retail unit provided by the manufacturer.

Correction: A previous version of this review mentioned Razer’s Kiyo webcam as having similar background removal tech to its older counterpart, Stargazer. It does not, and we have updated the piece to reflect this.