About a year ago, I got myself a Logitech BRIO Stream webcam. The reasons for buying the particular webcam were simple: For uninteresting reasons, I had 175€ I needed to spend and I wanted a better webcam. It still is around the same price of 175€ on Amazon.de, by the way. However, it was not until a few weeks ago that I realized something was off with the behaviour of that tech.

I was excited to replace my no-name webcam with one of a reputable brand. The thought of a 4K sensor got me excited on how good my input image would look, even when it got mangled before transport when using Zoom, Slack or Teams. For the record: I did not have any problems with my previous webcam. It provided 1080p video without any problems. I could plug it in to the back of my monitor into the USB hub. I gave the old webcam away after I got my shiny new one and haven’t heard a thing since, so I assume it still works fine in daily use.

Right after I started using the new webcam, what I noticed was that the image of the Logitech BRIO would sometimes stay black (in Zoom calls), or I would get random messages from both macOS or Windows telling me something along the lines of there being a power surge on the USB port and needing to “reset” or replug the device on that port. As it was not happening immediately after plugging in the webcam at first, so I did not think of the webcam. I tried multiple things to debug the situation and eventually it went away. It probably also helped that I did not use the webcam most of the time.

Now, on my current job we use Microsoft Teams instead of Slack and there the video would always flicker crazily, for both my me (in the preview) as well as my colleagues. I had to disable my video because I did not want to cause headaches for them. As a quick fix, I plugged in the webcam directly into my thunderbolt 3 dock. That seemed to fix the problem.

I assumed one of my powered USB hubs to be the problem along the chain and did not think about it much. After all, I was planning my new desk setup anyway. A few weeks ago, I actually built said setup and discovered my mouse stuttering at random times for random amounts of time. It got so frustrating that I could not even hit a button properly without multiple overshoots. Even when my cursor landed on the correct area, the first few mouse clicks were just lost. I suspected Logitech’s “Options+” software to be the problem because it would spike in CPU load during those times. Maybe it was reconfiguring the devices and overloading the wireless connections, especially to the mouse?

Turns out, the Logitech BRIO webcam was showing up as using 896mA of 900mA available. While it was connected, the USB device tree would refresh multiple times a second. It seemed like the USB connection was overloaded itself and every device needed to be checked multiple times a second. After disconnecting the webcam, all USB accessories — including mouse and keyboard — worked just fine.

I found a blogpost describing a similar issue which said that the webcam was behaving weirdly until plugged in to a USB port that was directly connected to the CPU. I guess my thunderbolt 3 dock matches that requirement. My monitor hub obviously does not.

TL;DR: The Logitech BRIO webcam is a good webcam that is not worth its price. If you plug it in into the correct ports, it works just as expected. However, I would not recommend it because of its jankyness and the price.