With the events of the last couple of years leading to the exponential popularity and use of the now infamous Zoom, individuals of all generations and levels of comfort with technology were thrust into a new world of video conferencing and communication. Although the basic technical requirements for Zoom mean that this app can be used by a wide variety of PCs, Mac, smartphones, and other mobile devices ensuring that your Zoom call is well lit and that you have clear audio and video both coming and going are critical. Should you find that your preferred device for accessing Zoom calls simply is not meeting your needs, you should strongly consider updating your setup with some quality peripheral devices. With these five accessories to improve your Zoom video and audio quality, you can rest assured that your video conferencing has never looked better.
While virtually every computer, smartphone, and tablet now come with webcams installed as standard equipment, that does not necessarily mean that your device's camera is ideally suited for participating in Zoom calls. Depending on your existing device's capabilities and your desired level of improvement to your video quality, you might be interested in understanding various technical specifications.
Examples of desirable camera features to enhance Zoom calls include the ability to autofocus and adjust exposure and contrast, having the capability of broadcasting 4K-quality footage and zooming in up to 5X, having a base resolution of 1080p, and being able to operate with at least 30 frames per second. You should also consider whether the camera has a sufficiently long cable to connect and power the device or whether it operates using your Wi-Fi network.
Depending on your physical location, the amount and quality of available lighting, and the time of day or night, you can not always rely on your environment to provide sufficient illumination to present your best appearance on a Zoom call. Rather than having your fellow participants know that you are streaming in from a closet with poor lighting or another unflattering environment, it may be worth investing in lighting solutions to give yourself and your surroundings a brighter appearance.
Some of the most popular solutions to creating a stable and attractive lighting setup are called ring lights because they are circular and designed to illuminate your face from all angles when pointed directly towards yourself. In addition to providing a stable appearance for your own sake, ring lights will also help your fellow Zoom callers by reducing the shadowing and glare that show up on their monitors.
Being the mainstay of your ability to effectively communicate using the Zoom app, having a high-quality microphone that does not deafen your listeners with uneven audio that repeatedly drops and reconnects mid-sentence is critical. Many Zoom users find that their onboard microphone options are simply insufficient for their needs. There are a wide range of external microphones available for a range of budgets and systems, so you should review any device's technical specifications to ensure compatibility.
Before you purchase a microphone, things to look out for include overall cable length, the type and number of available USB connections, ease of use, plug-and-play setup, supporting multiple audio modes like binaural or stereo, and overall costs.
While this can be a commonly overlooked aspect of ensuring that your Zoom meetings go off without a hitch, you might be surprised to learn that a good webcam stand can make a difference in the quality of your digital appearance. Depending on the size of your device's monitor, this can be especially true if you are Zooming from a particularly chaotic environment or are multitasking and using multiple programs simultaneously.
Rather than having your video feed look unsteady and distracting to other participants on the call, making a modest investment in a webcam stand can save you a lot of time and trouble. Whether you are interested in using a relatively simple tripod stand to convert your smartphone into a stabilized camera platform or prefer a fully adjustable boom area with multiple angles and setups, you can find a model to suit your visual requirements.
Aside from the more obvious accessories to help improve your Zoom video and audio quality, several other devices can significantly assist with the overall quality of your appearance on Zoom calls. Although microphones and cameras are certainly important technical components to pulling off a good-looking Zoom call, you should also consider whether a wired or wireless headset would be more comfortable during extended meetings.
Another product that may improve not only your Zoom calls but also the ergonomics of your desk setup are riser stands, which are designed to lift and hold your monitor or laptop at a higher angle. Stands present a more flattering angle for your video feed and can help reduce neck strain and free up valuable room in your workspace.
If you use Zoom to connect with loved ones or colleagues regularly, it is important to look your best. Taking the time and money to invest in appropriate accessories can notably improve the quality of your appearance and help prevent embarrassing technical difficulties.
About Dan VanPatten: Dan is a full-time technology writer with interests in gaming, gadgetry, and all things PC tech related. He writes about a variety of topics including technology news, product reviews, and software. His experience stems from years of experience writing & producing content for technology newsletters & publications.