Tutorial: How to use your smartphone as a high-end webcam via DroidCam
If your laptop doesn't have a great camera, it can be distracting during video meetings. Thanks to DroidCam, you don't necessarily need to invest in an expensive high-end webcam to get razor-sharp images. In the blog below, I tell you step by step how to use your smartphone as a webcam.
What if your laptop has a mediocre webcam?
Through Corona, tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom are daily fare for many Belgians and Dutch. A quality webcam plays an important role here. Despite its importance, on many laptops - even brand new ones - you notice mediocre camera quality.
You then have three options:
- You buy an external webcam (via usb)
- You use that inferior built-in webcam anyway
- You use DroidCam and you use your smartphone's camera.
DroidCam vs standard webcam
Is my smartphone camera (Samsung Galaxy S10) better than my laptop's webcam? I did the test!
As you can see below, an average smartphone's camera is at least as good as a laptop's webcam. Or maybe even better? Especially judge for yourself I would say:
Note: no doubt you will notice that the image via DroidCam is somewhat zoomed in? So this functionality is an advantage of DroidCam over most built-in webcams. Of course, this immediately makes a big difference in terms of atmosphere and "contact" with your online audience.
How does DroidCam work?
Want to replace your webcam with your smartphone or tablet's camera? Then follow the steps below:
1. Install DroidCam
First and foremost, on both your smartphone and PC, you should 'DroidCam' install.
2. Smartphone connect
Once DroidCam is installed, there are two ways to connect your computer to your smartphone:
- Via USB: what is recommended o.w.v. best quality (and no worries about any dead battery)
- Via Wifi: which can be useful if you want free movement with your smartphone
If you go for the paid version (DroidCamX) you can adjust some additional parameters via the app on your PC.
Tip: Should you have problems connecting your Android smartphone, check that the "developer mode" is definitely on. Since this is different for every smartphone, it is best to look online for a step-by-step guide or instructional video for this.
3. Select DroidCam as the webcam
All you have to do now is launch DroidCam on both your smartphone and PC and select DroidCam as your 'new' webcam. Usually identified by the description "DroidCam Source. Useful programs to briefly test the quality are Windows Camera or OBS.
DroidCam vs. DroidCamX
Even with the free version, you already get decent camera quality. However, if you want some extra features such as brightness adjustment or zooming in and out, you better go for the paid version 'DroidCamX'. The price for this license is one-time €5.49 (including VAT).
Below I compare the functionalities between DroidCam and DroidCamX:
Standard features DroidCam:
- Android or iOS device as a webcam or IP camera
- Camera resolution up to 480p
- Both image and sound
- Connection via USB or Wifi
Additional features DroidCamX:
- Camera resolution up to 1080p
- Noise reduction on your microphone
- Additional functionalities in your DroidCam Client (zoom in and out image, flash, brightness, autofocus, rotate image, ...)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
To conclude, I have collected some more frequently asked questions about using DroidCam and answered them for you in advance:
1. Can I use DroidCam on any smartphone or tablet?
Yes, or at least if your smartphone or tablet is recent enough. For Android, this means Android OS 5.0 or higher.
2. Can DroidCam also be used via Zoom or Microsoft Teams?
Yes! DroidCam functions like a regular webcam, so you can use it in Zoom or Microsoft Teams as well.
3. Can I also use my cell phone as an IP camera?
Yes you can. If your smartphone or tablet is connected via Wifi, you will see an IP address that allows you to log in from a computer as an "ip camera. Note that this only works when you are surfing to from the same network. Also be sure to set up a username and password if you are going to use this functionality.
Thanks to colleague Matthias (known from the blog PowrUsr.com) who gave me DroidCam as a tip.
DroidCam vs laptop vs external webcam
So is there no reason to choose an external webcam at all? There is. We have to be honest: the above article proves that you can use your smartphone as a webcam just fine, only the question is how practical it is. Plus you do need some 'technical' skills. Don't want any 'hassle' and is your webcam of moderate quality? Then a external webcam via usb still an excellent investment.