Warning: Don’t buy a new computer until you read this… USB-C ports are a nightmare for video and here why.
Hola from Panama compadres. Today, I have some information that will save you a lot of time and frustration when purchasing a new laptop.
You see, I bought one of those new fancy Macbook’s and couldn’t get my webcam and microphone to work, and not for want of trying.
Ironically, I had to return my new Macbook and replace it with the older version, which is still available for purchase from Apple’s website. I could just as easily of experienced the same frustration with a fancy new Windows laptop.
In short, save yourself the time and hassle that I’ve gone through—keep the information that follows in mind, when purchasing a new laptop.
Chances are if you use a webcam and microphone for video, it runs on USB-A.
The regular, large, port we’re all accustomed to:
USB-C is the new, smaller, port that comes standard on newer laptops (like the one I purchased):
But your webcam and microphone require USB-A ports to run. This means you’ll need to use an adapter, and (as I learned the hard way) multiple port adapters cause the audio and video to drift out of sync—turning your video into a bad attempt at a mime and making it unusable. It’s a nightmare!
If you’re lucky enough to have two or more USB-C ports (I wasn’t lucky, mine had one port), single port adapters are an option: one adapter for your webcam, the other for your microphone. However, these adapters can cause problems too, and they’re a pain to carry around.
In time, webcam and microphone manufacturers will create new products that use USB-C. For now, the simple solution, is to purchase a laptop with two USB-A ports.
The benefits: 1) You won’t have to hope a single port adapter will work, 2) Nor will you have to carry adapters around if they do. You’ll be able to plug your webcam and microphone directly into your laptop (like normal).
The moral of the story: switching to a new laptop is hard enough as it is, don’t make it harder by purchasing a laptop with only USB-C ports. Make sure the laptop has two USB-A ports, one for your webcam, the other for your microphone.
If you have any questions, use the comments section below.
Will is the Managing Director of jiveSYSTEMS and creator of the Digital Handshake™, a digital version of a time-proven tradition that turns tedious follow-up into a closing conversation. Will’s a hands-on guy, with a decade of experience enabling sales teams to leverage video. Will's an instant catalyst for positive change, once you get to know him, you’ll completely understand why.
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