Dell XPS Webcams and their Awkward Placement
Dell’s XPS laptop series is one the brand’s flagship products and is listed on numerous tech websites for being the best product for students at its price point. Prices start at $799.99 and compared to other laptops, it’s price range is mid-tier. Therefore, the intended audience would be people who want an affordable laptop, however, are willing to spend a little bit more for increased specs.
Both the XPS 13 and XPS 15 have been praised for their Infinity Edge monitor display that allows the computer to have extremely slim borders around the laptop screen. This is one of the laptop’s most attractive factors since the screen can be very large while the laptop can be minimal in size. While the screen itself has no problems, this optimization in the screen causes other important qualities to fall by the wayside: namely, the laptop’s webcam.
The webcam is located towards the bottom left side of the screen, between the corner and the Dell logo. This is the only location on the laptop’s monitor that the screen does not reach the utmost edge (hence the name of the display, Infinity Edge). This positioning is problematic because it creates awkward angles when used and makes simple actions like calling on video calling more of a nuisance than it should.
Because the camera is positioned on the left side, the user must position a little to the left as well to be in the center of the display. This can be annoying to do when trying to use the laptop while video calling and is an unintuitive action to do.
Also, because the camera is located at the bottom of the monitor, when the laptop is positioned at 90 degrees or less, the keyboard is visible in the display. This obstructs whatever the user is trying to take a photo or video of and trying to use the machine at this angle is relatively common.
Lastly, the camera placement at the bottom side makes it awkward when video calling because it makes it nearly impossible to maintain eye contact. If a user looks into their conversation partner’s eyes, it looks as if the user is looking off into the distance and not paying attention. However, if the user looks into the video camera, they establish eye contact, but then cannot pay attention to the screen.
To improve on this design, I feel that Dell should extend the Infinity Edge display down and leave space at the center of top border to place the webcam. Although this reduces the effect of the Infinity Edge design, the tradeoff is worth it because the camera at its current state is very annoying to use.