Dell displays help video calling with built-in pop-up webcams and crew buttons
Dell The latest monitors reflect the growing need for simple, solid solutions to video conferencing needs, with a clever pop-up camera and possibly half-way integration of teams. The new displays contain a number of advanced features – however, they are still developed exclusively for offices.
The new video conference monitors 24, 27 and 34 from Dell are clearly intended as a turnkey solution to the needs of many companies for video-enabled setups that do not cost a fortune.
The most interesting feature is a popup camera on top; This is nowhere near the first of these (we saw them dating back a few years) or even the first from Dell, but it's the first of them on a monitor as opposed to an all-in-one and it is probably the best so far.
The five-megapixel camera (which is a little over 1080p, probably around 3K) won't blow your mind. So if you want things like optical background blurring and enhanced lighting, you'll need to create your own setup. However, it should be perfectly fine for business calls, and if it slips away when not in use it is comforting for the privacy conscious.
Another, non-obvious reason why you like this setup is because the camera isn't limited to the bezel on the monitor itself, potentially allowing for a better lens and larger sensor. Dell contacted me with technical information after I published it. Happy to say I guessed the resolution exactly (2560 × 1920), although it will likely only output 1920 × 1080 for your calls. The fixed focus is between 35 cm and 1.5 m or about a foot to five feet away. Sounds pretty normal.
At the bottom of these new screens is a comfortably felted speaker bar with just enough power to make calls sound good – but it doesn't work for bangers.
However, there are some interesting, if not entirely practical, new buttons on the left side of this speaker. Best known is a dedicated Microsoft Team key as well as call, volume and mute key.
I don't know about you, but I don't want any of these. And not just because we don't use teams.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't like reaching forward and slapping my monitor, which I have carefully positioned every time I want to adjust the volume or answer a call or mute myself – good luck with that subtle when the entire view wobbles every time. Even if I did, I wouldn't want a button specifically for a single brand of video conferencing. Seems limiting when there are so many video platforms involved.
I would be far more likely to pay for a puck with these controls, plus a mono speaker for voices and microphone that is closer to me. Incidentally, it might be better to leave the noise cancellation to the software side – calling apps often integrate their own, and who knows how the built-in noise cancellation interacts with them.
Undoubtedly, of course, this is a simpler product solution and probably one that Microsoft and Dell have worked on together. The pop-up webcam also has an IR camera that works with Windows Hello. The facial recognition login method that I didn't know existed until recently.
Obviously, Dell and Microsoft are tracking enterprise customers who are already in their ecosystem. But as a Dell monitor lover, I wouldn't mind having a pop-up camera – minus the unnecessary sound bar and team button. Where's the love, Dell?
The new video conference monitors will be available next month. They start at $ 520 for a 24 "monitor and go up to $ 720 for the 27" monitor and $ 1,150 for the 34 "(curved) monitor.