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Android 14’s webcam feature makes my $1,000 Pixel 8 Pro look like a cheap camera

Android 14’s webcam feature makes my ,000 Pixel 8 Pro look like a cheap camera

Your laptop’s built-in webcam doesn’t compare to the best Android phones out there when it comes to video quality, which is why many people use their Android phone as a webcam for their PC. The only problem with this approach is that it’s not as convenient to set up, which is why most people settle for external webcams that are usually plug-and-play. That’s why we were initially excited to see Google bringing native webcam functionality to Pixel phones with an upcoming Android 14 update. However, after trying it out for ourselves, our enthusiasm has waned.

Those of you running Android 14 on your Pixel phone may be a little confused because this native webcam functionality is nowhere to be found. This is because it is currently only included in the Android 14 QPR beta versions. The way this internal feature works is quite complicated, but all you really need to know is that it turns your Android phone into a standard USB webcam that most Windows, macOS, or Linux PCs will recognize. All you have to do is connect your phone to your PC via USB, open your phone’s notification panel, open the USB preferences page, and then change the USB mode to “Webcam”.

Webcam information when using a Pixel 8 Pro as a USB webcam via Android 14’s webcam feature. (Image credit: Mishaal Rahman/Android Central)

You don’t need to change any settings or install any additional software on your phone or PC; Your phone will simply appear as an “Android webcam” in video conferencing software like Google Meet or Zoom. Android 14 offers a preview of the video stream, lets you adjust the zoom level, and change the camera lens being used, but you don’t get any of the countless controls offered by third-party webcam software like Camo.

Using a OnePlus 9 5G as a webcam for a Macbook via Reincubate Camo. (Image credit: Jeramy Johnson/Android Central)

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Google keeping Android 14’s webcam feature simple, because most Android phone cameras can handle typical home office lighting scenarios well. But there seems to be something wrong with the way Google set up the feature in the first place, because for some reason, the video quality is substantially worse than it could be.



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