Logitech is well known for making some of the best webcams on the market, but its latest product announcement is actually something to improve the quality of your camera footage rather than another webcam model itself.
The Litra Glow is a lighting solution that can be mounted onto your laptop or desktop monitor just like a webcam, and is designed to softly illuminate your face in a similar way to professional studio lighting. It joins the Logitech for Creator's lineup, a list of products designed to help content creators improve the quality of their streams, videos and general broadcasting, and has an official MSRP of $59.99 / £59.99 / AU$89.95.
Having insufficient lighting can cause even the most expensive webcams marketed towards professional content creators to look grainy and low quality because the sensor within the camera will struggle to capture a decent image without enough light in the environment.
Much in the way that a photography studio will be equipped with fancy DSLR cameras, they'll also be set up with a lot of lighting kit to illuminate the subject. Simply put, your camera only does half the work, so ensuring you're well lit will greatly improve the quality of even a cheap webcam with low resolution, removing things like background noise (the static-like 'grain' that appears when a camera is struggling with a poorly lit shot) and freeing up some of the exposure time to instead maintain a high framerate.
Logitech isn't the only brand to have introduced a lighting solution to complement other broadcasting equipment, with Razer having released the official Razer Ring Light to use with its Razer Kiyo webcam line, and Elgato having its own ring light, as well as the Key Light and Key Light Air.
What makes this different is that most of the other offerings on the market require a dedicated stand or tripod to set up behind your display, while the Litra Glow has the same mount style as an actual webcam, allowing it to rest on top of your monitor next to your camera. If that doesn't suit then it is possible to mount it onto a standard tripod, but the option to keep your desk clear is a great benefit to remote workers looking to improve their webcam quality in meetings without causing additional clutter.
We won't know how well it performs against other options on the market until it gets tested for a full review, but the bases of providing more light to your filming environments is a sure-fire way of getting a boost to your webcam and camera quality without having to ever mess with your hardware settings.
Analysis: Office equipment could learn a few things
I have my doubts that offices will be adopting webcam lighting solutions any time soon, but remote and home workers should look into products like the Litra Glow if they have the cash to spare. Low-quality webcams and microphones in meetings can have an effect on how you're perceived, which is why top streamers tend to have high-quality equipment. You're simply more enjoyable to watch and listen to when you... well, look smart and sound clear.
Decent lighting is hardly going to turn a beast into a beauty but it's a point often neglected by people in a working environment. It's less important during casual meetings or catch-ups, but the amount of digital press conferences and industry broadcasts I've seen where it's apparent that an important speaker is calling from a poor-quality laptop webcam is a little embarrassing.
Its appeal to remote workers aside, the Litra Glow design is interesting as it's one of the few non-invasive lighting solutions on offer right now, and certainly more affordable than professional studio lighting. We see a similar appeal with the original Razer Kiyo webcam that has an integrated ring light built around the camera, though its small size doesn't provide the best results.
This panel-style 'softbox' light could offer something more natural, and it's small enough to toss into a bag and take on the go if you frequently travel for work or broadcasting. That kind of portability for lighting is nothing to sniff at.
The elephant in the room of course is that buying something to illuminate your face can cost money, and 'cheap' solutions might not provide the results you're looking for. If you're in a pinch, just try recording yourself or your subject outside in daylight, or positioned facing a window. It doesn't cost a thing, and anyone watching your broadcast will thank you for it.
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Jess is a former TechRadar Computing writer, where she covered all aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed as an industry expert for the BBC, and while her educational background was in prosthetics and model-making, her true love is in tech and she has built numerous desktop computers over the last 10 years for gaming and content creation. Jess is now a journalist at The Verge.