So I’ve now got Android 14 on my Google Pixel 7 Pro, and on the 5th December 2023 I did a Security Systems Update and was prompted of a few new features. This forms part of Google’s QPR updates, which stands for ‘quarterly platform release’. In this update, I got a prompt which caught my attention, and that’s the ability to use my Google Pixel 7 Pro as a webcam, which for me as a content creator, and a regular user of OBS to record various content, I thought it might give me a decent video quality, over the current webcam I’m using, the Creative LIVE! Cam Sync 4K . Well, let’s find out.
So getting started was no trouble at all. I plugged in my phone using a USB Type-C cable into the front USB port of my PC, and my phone prompted me to change what I wanted to use it for. Click this notification, click webcam, and then you’re pretty much done on the phone side of things. Activate the webcam preview so you can see what you’re filming, and you’re good to go with setting up your phone with your chosen PC software.
From here, head into OBS, right-click or click the plus button in your sources window, and go to Add > Video Capture Device, and in this list, it should prompt you to add an Android Webcam. Once added, the webcam will appear in your Preview Window.
In the Webcam Preview app on your Google Pixel phone, you can choose to use either the front or rear-facing camera to film. Now this is where I found it a little strange because the front-facing camera was so much clearer in my experience when using it with OBS. The rear camera I found it to focus hunt quite a lot. This might be due to my lighting conditions, but still, the front-facing camera didn’t bat an eye. It was solid. So majorly confused there.
In terms of settings though, it wasn’t too bad. Inside of OBS the Google Pixel 7 Pro managed a max resolution of 1920×1080 with a max refresh rate of 60FPS. This gave me a nice clear image and the dynamic range wasn’t too bad either through the rear camera, and yes, you could definitely get away with using this as a full-time webcam if you need something for work for a meeting every now and then, or to take a call on Teams or Zoom. However, I wouldn’t keep the phone plugged into your PC or laptop full time, because the battery life of your handset will not last, and if you need to be on calls for long periods of time or if you’re in a job that has multiple meetings throughout the day, then maybe think about getting a more traditional webcam. The rear camera gave three preset zoom settings of 0.6, 1. and 2, though you can zoom up to 30 times, on both the rear and front may I add.
The front-facing camera, though I do prefer the image quality in terms of sharpness, gave me a very warm colour tone, which might be quite offputting to some. I couldn’t find a way inside of OBS or even the camera app to change the colour balance, so I was stuck with the warm tone. The resolution though was still 1920×1080 and a max refresh rate of 60FPS which again was nice and smooth.
Finally, I wanted to try my Pixel 7 Pro with Nvidia Broadcast, as I use that quite a lot when it comes to content creation, especially with my Steam Deck videos which you can see at the playlist in the top right hand side. And for the most part, it looked absolutely great. There was a little bit of artifacting and banding in between the gap between my head and the headband of my headphones, but for the most part it looked great, and is especially good if you were to be using this type of background removal setting for your livestreams.
So will my Google Pixel 7 Pro be replacing my Creative LIVE! Cam Sync 4K? No, not yet. The Creative webcam for the type of content we create here on TechNuovo is absolutely fine and I can keep it as a permanent fixture on top of my monitor, where as with the phone, I need to use my new holder for it which hooks on to the back of the desk and is a bit of a pain to get on and off every time, and it just wouldn’t be practical when setting up each time I want to make a video. Saying that though, if you currently haven’t got a webcam, and you don’t particularly want to part with £30 to get one, your phone is a decent choice for sure. And paired with this desk arm which cost £15 from Amazon, I’d say you’re getting a pretty decent setup!