Why laptop cameras are not as good as smartphone cameras?

You might be quite excited to get your new laptop and there are obvious reasons to be excited about it. With a new laptop, you can break through all your limitations, that you have faced with your previous desktop or laptop. A new laptop means more RAM, a better processor, and sometimes a new GPU to break the 60 FPS mark why playing your favourite game and there is a lot of other things to cherish about, on your new laptop. But in spite of all that, there is one single thing, which you may or may not pay important to at the time of purchasing a laptop and you might end up not getting the best of that.

I am talking about the webcam on your laptop. You might pay thousands of dollars for getting a new laptop that will definitely offer you lightning-fast speeds and can also have an eye-catching design at the same time, but the performance of the webcam on your laptop is not going to impress you in any way. On the other hand, even if you pay half of the amount or even less for a smartphone, you can get a great camera that is going to take for better photos than the inferior webcam on your laptop. Why can’t the laptop webcam be better or at least as good as your smartphone camera? I will talk about that here today.

Laptop Camera vs Smartphone camera


So, without any further delay, let’s get started with why you cannot get the best camera on your laptop, even if you can get a far better camera on a smartphone that is priced much less than that of your laptop.


 

Why laptop webcams should be good, as per users think


Talking about the laptop inbuilt webcam, a question might come to your mind, why they are not as good as smartphone cameras when they look similar. Furthermore, talking about the space available to keep the cameras, the top of a laptop, where most laptop cameras are housed, has more space and comparatively more bezels to connect a high-quality camera. Coming to price, the price of even a decent laptop is far higher than even mid-range smartphones, which also has great rear as well as selfie cameras. I will try to answer all the questions that you have in mind today here in this story.

Internal connectivity and post-processing


Even though a smartphone Camera looks similar to that of the webcam that is connected to the laptop, the reason why the photos captured by your smartphone camera are far better has a number of reasons. The first big reason is connectivity and the way post-processing is carried out on the photos that are captured by your smartphone camera.

After a photo is captured by a smartphone camera, the smartphone uses a number of post-processing algorithms to make the photo look the best. Most popular smartphones will even capture multiple photos of the same subject as soon as or before you even press the shutter button on your camera and it uses data from multiple photos to give the finished product, which is undoubtedly going to be better than just single photo without any fancy post-processing which is the case with laptop webcams. Modern smartphone cameras also use artificial intelligence to find out what exactly a user is looking for within the photo, and it can also tweak several parameters of the photo so that it looks the best after the photo is captured.

Coming to the laptop webcam there is hardly any kind of post-processing that goes on, and I’ll talk about the reasons later on, in this story. Another big problem with laptop webcam is the connectivity of the webcam with the actual system.

Even though the laptop webcam might be present on top of your laptop monitor, and that might make you consider, that it is connected internally to your system, which it indeed is,  but there is something else that you should keep in mind. The laptop webcam is connected to the system using a serial port, typically USB, which is the same interface that you use in order to connect external peripherals to your laptop. The USB standard isn’t anything fancy and it is far slower compared to the communication between the smartphone camera to a smartphone’s mainboard.


When a photo is captured by your camera on your smartphone, the post-processing is carried out by the processor as the signals reach the smartphones main memory using a superfast connection and it is connected directly to the main memory, which is also faster than the USB counterpart used on laptops to transfer the images captured. So, the smartphone’s processor has more time to process the images to deliver a great image.

So, even if you are laptop has the latest Intel or AMD processor overclocked, the images do not reach the processor fast enough, and thus, complex post-processing algorithms cannot be carried out and that is the reason, why photos captured using your laptop webcam doesn’t go through intelligent post-processing algorithms.

Talking about videos, which the laptop webcam is frequently used for, in the case of smartphones it is a different story. As I just said, the communication between the camera of a smartphone and the actual system is very fast, you will hardly notice any kind of lags while recording a video. But in spite of that, if you are capturing a video on an entry-level smartphone, you can sometimes find lags, and that is caused by slower communication or due to the inefficient processor used on the smartphones to carry out intense video processing tasks back to back.

Talking about the laptop webcam, I just said, the communication between the laptop webcam and the actual system is very slow. Thus, in order to capture the video or capture 30 images per second, each frame or individual image in the video has to be compressed and thus, you come across a not so good video and that too with lags.

Economic perspective


It is not always the fact that the use of low-quality hardware or the the the technical bottleneck that make laptop web cameras bad. Laptop manufacturers do not invest a lot of money, time and programming resources to make the laptop Camera perform its best. Talking about smartphones, a smartphone is used in a different perspective compared to that of a laptop.

Modern smartphones are concise devices, which can be used in parallel with a computer to carry out simple to most complex activities nowadays. That said if a smartphone has a great camera that becomes a unique selling proposition for that smartphone and that is the reason why smartphone manufacturers do a lot of hard work to make the smartphone cameras perform its best.


On the other hand, laptop webcams are basically supposed to do a quick video call, and not for taking any fancy photos with a blurred background which is a modern trend of photography these days. So, even if there are scopes for laptop manufacturers to offer great cameras on the laptops, it will cost the manufacturer and eventually the end-user more, which is something that was manufacturers will not want. When it comes to a laptop, as I have discussed earlier, people look for a better processor more RAM and storage, and obviously a new graphics card to play all the games or carry out other activities that they want to do while on the go, and capturing great photos isn’t always the priority.

Flexibility


Lastly, flexibility is one of the biggest reasons. When it comes to a smartphone, smartphones are not at all flexible. You cannot add more RAM to a Smartphone and talking about external peripherals, you can do connect external peripherals using and USB OTG cable, but that is going to make your smartphone look bulky, and thus, it is not the way to go. It can be a temporary solution to hook up a mouse or keyboard if you want to type a letter quickly but it is not a  permanent solution. If your smartphone had a bad camera hooking up an external webcam every single time you want to take a groupie, your friends that groupie will keep leg pulling you for that one photo for the rest of your life. Thus, as smartphones are hardly flexible, manufacturers strive to offer the best hardware at a particular price range.

Talking about laptops, they might not be as flexible as a desktop but you can at least add additional peripherals quite easily and you can also use an external webcam or even a DSLR for the same purpose, and go live on YouTube, or do a lag-free Twitch stream. An external webcam is far better than the internal webcam on your laptop and most of the external webcams come with better camera lenses, better processors that use better image processing algorithms to offer you better overall image quality.  As a result of the added flexibility on laptops compared to that of smartphones, the laptop manufacturers leave it to the users so that they can choose the best camera for their own requirements instead of investing extra to offer a premium webcam, which some users might not use at all.


So I think, it is now clear to you, why smartphone cameras are far better than Laptop cameras even though, it is possible for laptop manufacturers to offer better cameras on laptops. Do you know any other reason, why Laptop Cameras are not good? Let me know your views in the comment section below.

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